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Book Review: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong.

Title: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Author: Ocean Vuong

Length: 256 pages

Publisher: Jonathon Cape

I had this book on my shelf for a while and I wanted to read it before the end of the 2019 and I managed to sneak it in and I couldn’t be more pleased I did.

Synopsis: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ is a letter written from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born – a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam – and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness.

‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ is a letter written from a son to his mother. But for me, it felt like the son wrote this for himself to save his own soul, and the outcome is exquisite.

So first up, let’s talk about how beautifully this book was written. It’s gorgeous. It felt like I was reading a book of poetry. With lyrical prose and searing honesty it honestly left my speechless at points. I always like to be honest in my blog posts, so I have no shame in telling that it’s beauty made me cry on page 4. Yep, you read that correctly, page 4.

At times when reading this book, it felt like I shouldn’t have been. It felt to personal, to intimate, like I was reading someone’s diary. I mean all this in the best possible way, it’s a testament to the wonderful writing and storytelling of Ocean. It was like reading 242 pages of the characters soul. It really was beautiful. Yet it was also expansive, it felt like the story between mother and son, yet it’s somehow encapsulated so much more. Just genius. It also deals with the unpleasant side of their relationship. It details the abuse, the trauma. It shows him realise that she was more than just him mother, but a person who had been through her own trauma. But the overall out come for me, I felt was love.

There was a love story in this book, that was stunning. It was so real. It was the kind of lone that was never shared between anyone but Little Dog and his lover Trevor. It was full of first love and experimentation. What makes it outstanding is that it perfectly captures that feeling of first love. And because it was a gay love story, it was different. Different in the sense that the love was never said out loud, it was just felt. Although the characters didn’t even know it themselves. That’s what makes it wonderful. How Ocean captures this perfectly.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It was just beautiful and heartbreaking. Searingly honest and gorgeously written. It’s made both my top five queers reads of the year and my top ten overall reads of the year. Don’t let this one pass you by. It’s short but gloriously sweet.

It’s out now.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez

Title: Rainbow Milk

Author: Paul Mendez

Length: 384 pages

Publisher: Dialogue Books

You know when you have high expectations for a book and it surpasses them. That’s what did Rainbow Milk.

Synopsis: In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with is wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted who unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive. At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London – escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black County – but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality.

It’s starts of with Robert, a Jamaican man and his wife, moving to Britain in the 50s, where they hope for a better life, but have to deal with racism. The story then moves onto Jesse, a young Jehovah Witness, who leaves his family behind for a new life in London.

I’m just going to start by saying that my review will never do this book justice, so just go out and by it already. I had pretty high expectations going into this and it surpassed them. It really was everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved it. Absolutely loved it.

The novel just works as a whole. Every element on its own is sublime and it all comes together cohesively. It’s got a fantastic story, fantastic writing and fantastic characters. Every part is fantastic. Can you tell I love this book?

Jesse, a young gay black man, is a wonderful character to follow. Paul creates such depth, his portrayal of him will absolutely break your heart, but I do believe it will be put back together again. In terms of his sexuality, it’s so well done. Paul perfectly captures the fine line of acceptance/ hating yourself. Jesse goes on such a journey. Paul captures his confusion over everything in his life brilliantly. You just become so invested in his life. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a character that captures your heart. Jesse is character I won’t forget for a long time.

Most books just tackle one subject, but this book tackles race, religion and sexuality and intertwines them all fantastically. There’s just so much inside this book. It deals with some harrowing things. It also deals with parts of British history that are often forgotten about. Racism that happened (and still does) that just seems to be ignored and it’s heartbreaking and infuriating. But it’s what makes the novel so special. I don’t want to say to much, because I want you to read it and just be blown away by the depth of this novel.

I also loved, loved how the two stories connected. I was worried that was going to be a bit of a let down but it really wasn’t. It ties the novel together perfectly. It gives Jesse some real clarity and the story. The book is just so bold and fresh. It tackles the exploration of finding ones self and the world around.

This is Paul’s debut novel and a debut it is. It’s moving, delicate and assured. What a talent. He’ll capture your heart with this book. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s one of those books that I’m just grateful to have read. It’s one of the Observer’s top ten 2020 debuts and I can totally see why. Paul is a writer that I’ll definitely be looking out for in the future.

Easily my favourite novel of the year, I know it’s only April but it’s going to be hard to beat. I want it nominated for every prize. I’d to love to see it on the Booker prize list. I just don’t think novels come along like this very often. It’s the queer novel I’ve been waiting a long time for.

Again, I haven’t done the book justice.

Thank you Millie at Dialogue Books for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Title: The Book of Longings

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

Length: 432 pages

Publisher: Tinder Press

Synopsis: Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome’s occupation. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father’s ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. An eco inter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating.

I should start by saying I’m a huge, HUGE Sue Monk Kidd fan. I absolutely adore every fiction novel she’s written. ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ started my love for reading, and ‘The Book of Longings’ is easily my most anticipated read of the year.

In The Book of Longings, we follow Ana who meets a man called Jesus and falls in love and marries him. But the real love of Ana’s life is writing.

This book is absolutely beautiful. It’s called The Book of Longings and it’s so apt as you can the feel the longing on every page. I didn’t know I needed to read a book about the wife of Jesus, but it turns out I really did. It’s such an interesting premise for a book. I’ve never read a book like it.

Ana is such a wonderful main protagonist to follow. She’s so brave, vibrant. You can’t help but connect with her right away. She wants more out of her life and you as the reader want her to achieve everything she can. There’s also fantastic supporting characters such as Yaltha, Ana’s Aunt who has her own longings. Tabitha, Ana’s friend. They all had such spirit. I adored them all.

The story is also beautiful. It’s got a beautiful flow to it. It feels like you’re getting a different view on history. It was also incredibly interesting to see a different side to Jesus.

This is a historical fiction novel, but it felt so modern. I loved the juxtaposition of ancient times to the characters modern attitudes. The novel was full of powerful, complex women. Women who wouldn’t of even been given the chance to have a voice back then. Sue has done it for them. The relationship between Ana and Yaltha is truly something special. It might, aside from the writing, have been the highlight of this book for me. You could feel how much they care for each other, how much they respect one another. It’s a joy to read.

The Book of Longings is all about Ana finding her voice, but in this book Sue Monk Kidd finds hers. She absolutely writes from the depths of her soul and you can feel. So many times I had to pause to really take in a sentence. It often made me cry at its beauty. I just love the way Sue writes.

I can’t recommend this book enough, if you’re already a fan of Sue Monk Kidd then this book will make you love her even more. Or if you’re looking for a book that’s heartfelt, powerful and original, then this is definitely the book for you.

This book will stay with you. Long after you’ve finished it. I still think of Ana often. What a testament to the writing and storytelling of Sue Monk Kidd. It’s incredible.

Thank you so much to Caitlin at Tinder Press for a copy of this boil in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes

Title: The Prisoner’s Wife

Author: Maggie Brookes

Length: 396 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Synopsis: 1944, Czechoslovakia. In the dead of night, a Czech farm girl and a British soldier creep through abandoned villages. They were never mean to meet, let alone fall in love. But when Bill was brought to work on Izobela’s family farm as a prisoner of war, their chemistry was undeniable. Before they could be torn apart forever, they marry in secret and go on the run. Their only hope for safety is to reach Izobela’s father and brother, fighting deep in the countryside as partisans. But when their luck runs out, they are delivered straight into the hands of the Nazis. But they still refuse to separate, and have prepared for this moment. Izobela’s hair has been shorn and she wears men’s clothing, posing as an escaped and mute British soldier. The secret lovers are transported to a Nazi POW camp deep in German territory, and if Izabela is discovered, a fate far worse than death awaits both her and Bill. The gravity of the their situation soon becomes chillingly apparent, and it will require the help of their fellow POW to maintain their deception, and all their love, devotion and strength to withstand the trails to come. Because should they fail, Izobela and Bill will have put far more than just themselves in danger…

In The Prisoner’s Wife we follow the story of Izzy, a Czech farm girl and Bill, a prisoner of war. As they fall in love and begin an epic journey and a fight for their survival.

This book turned up at my door as a surprise and I’m so glad it did. It was a thrilling, heart wrenching yet beautiful read. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end.

The love story between Bill and Izzy is one for the ages. It was so tender, passionate and generous. They sacrificed so much for each other. It was beautifully written as well, it was understated and it made more believeable. They never give up fighting for each other. You are willing them to survive, so they can have wonderful life together.

I absolutely loved how the fellow British POWs helped protect Izzy as she hid in Bills camp to stay close to him (see I told you it was a great love story). It gave the novel a real uplifting feel. I also loved how Bill, Izzy, Max, and Ralph became such a team. It was a joy to read. I wanted them all to survive and stay together. They way the all looked out for Izzy and each other was absolutely fantastic. It was the highlight of the novel for me. It really captures the tenacity of the human spirit. Maggie managed to create some tender moments for them amongst the brutality.

This historical fiction novel has been researched meticulously and it adds so much to the story. Maggie has made the story so detailed and accurate, it was outstanding. There are many books out there set in this period of history, but I haven’t read any from the British POW point of view and I loved it. It was so refreshing to see a different side to this story.

The fact that is book is based on a true story makes it all the more heartbreaking. Maggie perfectly captures the horror these POWs had to go through yet when you finish the book, you are somehow filled with hope. It’s a testament to the great writing.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s everything you want it to be. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction novels this year, and it’s definitely one of the best. You won’t to miss this one.

This book is being published on April 16th, in time for the 75th anniversary of VE Day (May 8th) and the end of WWII.

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 16th (now).

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: ‘The Yellow Bird Sings’ by Jennifer Rosner

Title: The Yellow Bird Sings

Author: Jennifer Rosner

Length: 304 pages

Publisher: Picador

Synopsis: Poland, 1941. After the Jews in their town are rounded up, Róża and her five-year-old daughter, Shira, spend day and night hidden in a farmer’s barn. Róża does all she can to take care of Shira and shield her from the horrors of the outside world. They play silent games and invent their own sign language. But then the day comes when their heaven is no longer safe, and Róża must face an impossible choice: whether to keep her daughter close by her side, or give her a chance to survive by letting her go…

I enjoyed this book so much. From start to finish. It never let up. It was Thrilling, intense and completely heartfelt. I loved it. If my review seems a little vague about the plot, it’s because I’m trying to avoid spoilers for you.

The story starts with Róża and Shira hiding in a barn as they try and avoid being captured by the Nazi. With Róża having to decide to keep her daughter with her, or send her away to safety. Then following their journeys after the decision was made.

I read this book in a day. A DAY! This never happens, you all know what a slow reader I am. But I couldn’t put this book down. I just kept reading and reading. I had to know what happened to these two characters I’d come to care for. And let me tell you it didn’t disappoint. At all.

‘The Yellow Bird Sings’ was so intense from the start, with it never letting up really. Jennifer perfectly captures the fear, the brutality, the harrowing conditions and the human spirit. When Róża and Shira are hiding in the barn, Jennifer makes you feel their fear. I haven’t read a book like that in a while. The detail, like a codes they use was so clever and something I’d never thought of. Shows new sides to a very known story. Even after the barn, it’s still so intense. I just had to know how the story was going to resolve it’s self. I never knew what was coming next.

This book is packed full of fantastic characters. Róża and Shira are brilliant. There connection is so pure and loving. They are both so complex. You can really feel the damage this situation is doing to them. They also meet some fantastic characters. Miri, Chana and the Nuns. I love the relationships that are formed. The intensity of the relationships, because of the situation every character finds themselves in, is a real shining point for me in the novel.

Now, let’s talk about that ending shall we? It was perfect. Literally perfect. For a while I wanted a bigger, Hollywood story ending but upon reflection I think this was so perfect. After a page turning, intense novel there is a real simplicity to the ending. I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. The whole novel conjures up wonderful imagery, but I can see the ending so clearly in my head. It was brilliant! Yes, I cried. I cried a lot. A good book does that to me.

I can’t help but feel this book would a perfect series for television. It’s got such a grand cinematic feel to it, with real heart.

I can’t recommend this book enough. If you love historical fiction (or just a good book in general) you really won’t want to miss this one.

Thanks to Bookbreak UK and picador for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: ‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Title: My Dark Vanessa

Author: Kate Elizabeth Russell

Lenght: 384 pages

Publisher: 4th Estate Books

With so much hype surrounding this book, I was so lucky to get myself an early copy and I couldn’t wait to read this polarising book.

Synopsis: Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student of his. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Stane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. But now, in 2017, in the midst of allegations against powerful men, she is being asked to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape.

I’m going to start by saying it’s taken me a long time to write this review. A really long time. I’ve also written this sometime after I read it. I had to sit with my thoughts for a while and let myself realise just what an impact this book had on me. My Dark Vanessa is the kind of book that will have a massive impact on anyone that reads it. It just will. It’s that powerful and visceral.

In this book we follow Vanessa, who at the age of 15 begins a love affair with her English teacher, but as time goes on and more allegations come out about him, she begins to question whether it was love at all.

Here’s what so interesting about this book, it takes a different approach to the situation. We of course as a reader know it’s totally wrong, it’s not love, it’s abuse. But to follow Vanessa as she comes to realise this herself is both heartbreaking, and powerful moment. And it’s handled by Kate Elizabeth Russel brilliantly, it’s somehow delicate yet firm. You’ll immediately feel for Vanessa. As the ‘relationship’ carries on can feel her slipping away. You can feel the effect this trauma is having on her and she doesn’t even realise it. It’s undeniably sad.

Never have I read a book that captures so perfectly what it’s trying to say. Whilst reading it, I just knew the clear message Kate was trying to get across. It’s shines another light on these horrible situations. This book did have some very uncomfortable scenes in, there’s a scene where Vanessa and her English teacher are on the phone, and he says something and you instantly know, as the reader what this book is really trying to say. Powerful.

This is Kate Elizabeth Russell’s debut novel and all I can say is wow. To take a situation that is so complex, especially in these times, and to make this book as nuanced and uncomfortable must have been incredibly hard, but Kate’s created a master of a novel. It’s everything you need this book to be, its challenging, thought provoking and exceptional.

There’s been a lot of hype around this book, and it’s totally worth it. I couldn’t put it down. I promise you, you’ll never forget this book.

I was lucky enough to receive this book at the 4th Estate Live event back in November (click here to find out about the other books I received). This one is out now. Don’t miss it.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: ‘The Weight of Love’ by Hilary Fannin

Title: The Weight of Love

Author: Hilary Fannin

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: DoubleDay UK

Synopsis: London, 1995. Robin introduces the woman he loves to his oldest friend. Their attraction is instant. Powerless, Robin is forced to watch on as Ruth and Joseph begin a passionate affair. Dublin, 2018. Robin and Ruth are married and have a son. Haunted by the ghost of Joseph, the distance between them grows until one day Robin makes a choice, the consequences of which could be devastating.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. But for me it just missed the mark. I can’t help feeling like it was all something out of nothing.

There were points in the story, especially at the beginning, where I was really into. I was excited to see where the plot was going, but ultimately it didn’t end up going where anywhere. It just needed something to happen. Something to keep the plot interesting, or something so we could connect to the characters.

Now, I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to like characters for them to be fantastic, or to care about them, or for the book to great. But you do have to care about them, and I just couldn’t care about the characters in ‘The Weight of Love.’ At times I felt sorry for Robin and thought I might be forming a tiny bit of connection to him but the moment was fleeting. None of the characters had personalities, they weren’t likeable or interesting. Two characters were in love with Ruth and I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine why. She was so dull. If there’s not much plot to a book, the characters need to better than this.

I just wonder what the point of this book was. It all felt very shallow, but like it was trying to be deep and meaningful. It was all very one tone. The book didn’t ebb and flow. It all felt very flat. I feel like I could see what it was trying to do but it just didn’t get there. The synopsis says ‘a passion affair’ but I can’t think of anything less passionate.

I at least thought the ending might save the book. But it was more of the same. It was one of those books that when you finish it, you put down and think was that?

Like I said, this book could’ve been great but for me, sadly, it just didn’t get there. It wasn’t a bad book, it just could’ve been so much better.

Thanks to DoubleDay UK for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out March 19th.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: To Lahore With Love by Hina Belitz

Title: To Lahore With Love

Author: Hina Belitz

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Headline Review


This book arrived in my mail box and I couldn’t wait to get started reading it.

Synopsis: Addy Mayford has always struggled with her identity. Bought up in a household of stories, food and faith by her Irish mother and Pakistani Nana, she feels constantly torn between two sides of her upbringing. Since the death of her father, she’s found contentment cooking delicious recipes from his home city of Lahore, despite the protestations of her mother that being a chef is no career for a young woman. It’s only with the lobe of her gorgeous husband, Gabe, that she’s truly found happiness. When Addy stumbles across a secret that shatters her entire world, she desperately need to escape and is drawn to the sights of Lahore and the family she’s never known. Waiting for her there is Addy’s final acceptance of who she is, and a long-buried family secret that will change her life forever.

I have to say I really enjoyed this novel. It was super sweet, heartbreaking and brimming with joy. It was one of those books where I finished reading and was just grateful I’d read it.

We follow Addy after her life falls apart, and she travels to Lahore with her best friend and Nana.

Like I said this book is super sweet, even though it has its share of heartbreak. It’s sweet because it’s full of love, family, joy and food. I feel ‘To Lahore With Love’ is life affirming I mean because it shows you no matter what happens, there’s still hope. The character of Nana, has some great advice. It just gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling.

This book also has great characters in it. Addy is a great character. You feel sorry for her immediately in the prologue, and then you just want her to succeed. I loved reading her passion for food. Also, the food in this book feels like a character itself. It’s such a huge part of the book. Also, there’s some fantastic recipes throughout this book. What more could you want? It’s fiction and a cookbook! Also, the recipes have fantastic names and backstories that give the book real charm. ‘Love me forever Lamb’ is just one of the great names.

Now when I say it’s heartbreaking, I mean it. There’s a few things that happened, that I won’t spoil but it truly shocked me. It’s hard to see Addy go through it all, because she’s such a wonderful character. Don’t worry though, it’ll break you heart. But it will put it back together again.

This is the perfect book to forget everything that is going on, and just enjoy reading.

I can’t recommend this book enough. As I’m sure you all can tell from my review I really enjoyed it. It’s so rich in love, food and culture. It’s out March 19th.

Thank you to Headline Review for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: ‘In Five Years’ by Rebecca Serle

Title: ‘In Five Years ‘

Author: Rebecca Serle

Length: 272 pages

Publisher: Quercus

I was pleased when I was gifted a copy of this book from Quercus, it didn’t sit on my tbr long before I picked it up.

Synopsis: Where do you see yourself in five years? Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals. That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future. It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind. That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…

Ohhh, I really enjoyed this book. A lot. Funny, intriguing and super emotional. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and I loved that.

In ‘In Five Years’ we meet Dannie as she is close to getting the life she has always dreamed of. The job, the finance, the best friend. But when all that is thrown into question when Dannie sees what her life will be in five years and it’s nothing like she planned.

This was a love story but not the kind I expected. I have to say after reading the first few pages, I thought I knew how this book was going to end. But boy was I wrong. I even found myself smiling as I was reading. I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen. How everything would unfold. It was so intriguing.

Then the twist came. Oh that twist. I didn’t see it coming and it broke my damn heart. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you. All I’ll say is get your tissues ready. Bring a few, trust me you’ll need more that just one. It’s been a while since a book has made me cry like that.

I have to be honest and say there are still a few things that I question about the book and the story. Why did Dannie see how her life would turn out? It was never explained. Also some of the choices Dannie made confused me, or the lack of reasoning behind the choice. But it didn’t take away my enjoyment, or my love for this book.

I read this around the two year anniversary of my mums death. The whole time I was reading it, all I could think was how much my mum would’ve loved this book. How I wish that I could share it with her. And I can’t really think of a higher compliment than that.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It a heartfelt, heartbreaking, emotional book that will remind you what’s important in life and the power of love and friendships. I’m so glad I read this book.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Thanks to Quercus books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out March 5th.

Until the next review


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ARC Book Review: ‘The Discomfort of the Evening’ by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Title: The Discomfort of the Evening

Author: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Length: 282 pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber Books

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this beautiful book and I can gladly say it disappoint.

Synopsis: Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns. As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas retreats into increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.

We follow Jas, who after not being allowed Ice skating and her brother is, wishes he was dead. Then, when he does die, we see the family deal with the grief.

The Discomfort of the Evening deals with grief so beautifully and honestly. It’s shows it in its every form. It really makes you appreciate all the choices these characters make from their sadness. It’s devastating. The grief is so poignant, so left unsaid. Marieke just capture it beautiful and shines a light on it.

This book was so immersive. I thought of nothing else while reading it. Now don’t get me wrong, there was some dark subject matter in here. It was even brutal at times, but it fit in with the story. Everything was a reaction to the grief.

Can we talk about the end of the book? It broke my heart. I didn’t see it coming, yet it made perfect sense. It’s an ending I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I can say I had a little cry.

I read this at the beginning of February and I’ve saved the review for its publication date and I can’t stop thinking about this book. It gets under your skin. It’s hard to explain. It’s so cohesive and compact. It’s just absolutely fantastic.

This book is dark, honest and so sure of itself. It’ll sweep you up in the emotions and won’t let you go until it ends. It probably won’t even let you go then. Marieke’s characterisation is out of this world. She captures the darkness that Jas slips into perfectly. It’s mesmerising. This is Marieke debut novel, and I think it’s safe to say there’s a new talent on the scene.

It’s also just been longlisted for the International Booker Prize for 2020. I can’t say I’m surprised, this book is definitely worthy of it. I can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to Josh at Faber & Faber for gifting we with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review