June 26, 2017

Turn of the Century by Kurt Andersen

Turn of the CenturyLast year Turn of the Century twice made it as far as my bedside table, but I never quite got to page 1. I’ve now finally got past that point!

It’s the story of husband and wife Lizzie and George who are a New York power couple. She runs a cutting edge software firm, and he produces some of the hottest shows on TV. It’s a tale of the pressures of modern life, dealing with death, kids, envy of your spouse, the chaos of a life straddling New York, LA, Seattle etc.

There are some great characters, some real cartoons of people and the premise is great. BUT at over 600 pages it’s 200 pages too long. There is far too much description – why illustrate a point with one example when 20 will do.

The book takes us from NYE 1999 through 2000 to NYE again. They have one hell of a year. And some of what happens seems pretty implausible, whilst rest is believable but not dull. I have enjoyed reading it, but would have appreciated it being markedly shorter.

 

In a Country of Mothers by A. M. Homes

Any book that starts with a quote from The Who – especially one from Substitute – has to be good.In a Country of Mothers by A. M. Homes

And thankfully In a Country of Mothers it is. Again A. M. Homes takes us deep into suburban America, and rips it’s structure apart.

We explores the worlds of Claire Roth and Jody Goodman. Claire is a happily, perfectly married with kids who works as a psychotherapist. Jody Goodman is a teenage girl who heads off to UCLA and becomes Claire’s patient.

The story is really the tale of how Claire and Jody’s relationship evolves and the impact that has on everything else. Some might describe it as a psychological thriller.

A fascinating tale that leaves you re-evaluating everything around you. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I don’t think it’s A. M. Homes’s best.

Music for Torching by A. M. Homes

Music for Torching by A. M. HomesIn Music for Torching A. M. Homes takes us into the lives of an all-American couple, Paul and Elaine. They’ve got the house, the kids, the life – but yet they’re stuck in something of a rut. The novel shows them trying to get out of that rut – back to the good times – and in the process laying their lives and the foundations of their life together bare.

It’s got lots of entertaining and dramatic incidents throughout the book too.

It’s a brilliant book and one I’m going to try and read each decade – just to remind myself that not having all the answers, and adapting to the future are perfectly normal!

The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

The End of Alice is possibly one of the most disturbing books I’ve read. But it’s not obviously disturbing – it just creeps up on you.The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

The book explores paedophilia, narrated by a paedophile child-killer who’s in his 23rd year in prison it’s structured as a series of letter between him and his admirer – a 19 year old woman not in prison who wants to seduce a young local boy. As more is revealed about the two of them, the more disturbing it all becomes.

There’s not much more I can say without giving away some of the story.

But it’s a fantastic novel – that really makes you think.

And if you read it and want to know more – you should also read her Appendix A.