Book Reviews - September 2010 Part II
The Widow’s Tale by Mick Jackson (Faber and Faber)
The recently widowed narrator of this tale leaves her London home for the Norfolk coast, where she rents a small cottage. The chilly, raw weather and magnificent desolation of Norfolk matches her state of mind. The Widow’s Tale is an internal monologue – its barely there plot exists merely as a canvas upon which Mick Jackson paints a complex character study. Appropriately, he even denies his heroine a name. It’s an absorbing read – the widow has a wry-to-bitter sense of humour that subverts heartbreak into unexpected hilarity – and keeps you turning the pages.
Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley (Jonathan Ball)
If there’s nothing you relish so much as poring over the florid details of celebrity lives and loves, Kitty Kelley’s latest outing, Oprah: A Biography may just be your cup of tea. After a host of unauthorised biographies on the likes of Jackie Onassis, Frank Sinatra, the Bush family and Britain’s royals, Kelley, famously described as a “poison-pen biographer” takes on America’s incredibly popular and influential TV show host. But what best-selling secrets has Kelley dug up about Oprah, whose past – including childhood rape, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and weight issues– the lady herself has bared on national television? Only the identity of her biological father, which neither Oprah nor you will come to know, until her mother, Vernita Lee, chooses to tell all!
Soldier Girl by Annie Murray (Pan Macmillan)
Pan Macmillan writer Annie Murray’s Soldier Girl tells the story of Molly Fox, brought up in the mean streets of Birmingham by an alcoholic mother and vindictive grandfather. Beautiful, yet scarred by her dreadful childhood, Molly tries to make something of her life by signing up for the army. Life briefly takes a turn for the better and Molly blooms in her new career. Soon however, her past catches up...
The fourteenth of Annie Murray’s ‘Birmingham’ novels, Soldier Girl is the sequel to A Hopscotch Summer.
Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos (Grove Press)
Larken, Gaelan and Bonnie Jones have never recovered from the mysterious death of their mother, Hope Jones, in a tornado; her wheelchair bound body vanished without a trace. Twenty-five years later, the Jones siblings return to their childhood home in the small town of Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, to mourn the passing of their father, Llewellyn. Through Hope’s diary notes, Kallos weaves a poignant, evocative tale of the pain and longing that lies unresolved, both in Hope’s children and Viney, her best friend and Llewellyn’s mistress. For those who like their fiction warm and emotional, Sing Them Home is a must read.