Bookclub Review of The Green Road, Anne Enright ( June 2021)

Enright is the master of portraying something, without saying it, so we are left to fill in the gaps with our own thoughts about what is actually going on in their minds.
July 07, 2021 by Books Scissors
Tags: book reviews

Showcase : Contemporary Northern Irish Writers

A curated selection of some of our outstanding writers in and from Northern Ireland today.
June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors

BPS Bookclub Review of Love After Love, Ingrid Persaud ( May 2021)

 

This was another interesting dynamic, where two thirds of readers were strongly in favour, the other third not so much. For those of you wondering about the title, I am attaching Derek Walcott’s poem of the same name, which does add, I think, some explanatory context. Love, in all its forms, is explored in this novel, but ultimately, one has to learn to love oneself, as a form of protection.

  Ingrid Persaud spent her childhood in Trinidad ( until 18) and wrote this book in her forties. Some say this leads to a slightly nostalgic, dated view of the island, but does this impact the story? It still supplied a charming, inviting backdrop of food, voices, beaches and music.

  Opinions were divided on whether the ‘light touch’ of dealing with some heavyweight issues was a good thing or not. Some said it was a sympathetic and nuanced treatment, others felt it was too superficial for what was actually happening. On the negative side, some found it a hard read, with just too much tragedy, domestic abuse, latent homophobia and above all, frustration that the relationship problems don’t resolve or engage enough.

  If we ‘allow’ the light touch approach, we can also allow that Persaud was fully aware of the vulnerabilities and sensitivities of each situation, she just chose not to dissect them. Solo’s childhood clearly was far from perfect with his father and this led to his self-harm and his anger directed at others. Mr Chetan is a delicately drawn character, with a lot of conflicting emotions but with a steadfast loyalty to his friends, his first boyfriend Mani, and to Solo and Betty. Each character is beautifully imagined, as we see them from their own perspective and from others, a clever and rounded structure of narrative. The language is warm, colloquial and with humour. There is a physicality to the descriptions, which was well received by everyone - it provides a candid and personal response which really brings the characters to life - Betty and her dancing, Mr Chetan and his searching for love, Solo and his lonely thoughts in New York.

 The second half, with Solo in New York, was a darker book, although the sudden and shocking death of Chetan spurred a reconciliation of sorts, a healing through the funeral. Persaud is quoted as wanting to explore “what constitutes a good death in a family” with all the ritual and shared experience that it brings - something that resonates well in Ireland. Overall, an intelligent book that manages to be a ‘light read’ ( i.e widely popular) whilst leaving us with great characters and many an issue to mull over once we put the book down.

 

 

 

"Love After Love" is a poem by Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean author Derek Walcott, originally published in his collection Sea Grapes (1976). The short poem, one of Walcott's most popular, urges people who have been disappointed in love to get back in touch with their authentic selves.

 

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

 

 

 

June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors
Is your child a reluctant reader? How to use this summer to help that!

Is your child a reluctant reader? How to use this summer to help that!

Here’s what I learned about how to help your kids with their  summer reading.
June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors

Review of A Good Neighbourhood, Therese Anne Fowler, April 2021

Whilst it’s easy to pick it apart, and dismiss it as light fiction and definitely not literature, it is an immensely readable book, without clunky writing. I certainly have read worse, as I’m sure you all have!
May 19, 2021 by Books Scissors

BookClub Review of My Dark Vanessa, March 2021

This was certainly a startling, “addictively disturbing” book. I don't think we have ever read a book that seemed to compel readers to want to talk quite so much about it, and my conclusion overall after now going through the two sessions, is that we needed our own kind of catharsis after reading it
April 20, 2021 by Books Scissors

Review of Pachinko, Feb 2021

The great metaphor around which the novel spins, is the betting driven game of pachinko. A game of some skill - but mostly luck - and somewhat skewed so that in fact nobody wins too much. There is no real choice in how you play, the balls skitter down however they fall and the player can’t really do much about it.
March 24, 2021 by Books Scissors

Review of Long Bright River, Jan 2021

In interview, Liz Moore talks about the constant evaluation of moral right and wrong, about decisions that can seem right but then turn out to be wrong, and about perceptions of right and wrong — this is explored really well in this book.
March 24, 2021 by Books Scissors

A Note About Postage

When you order something from us, the website will add a 'standard' postage and packing charge of £3.95.

We can't make a more detailed estimate because that would entail us weighing every single book and logging the weight online. 

If however you order something lightweight such as a book voucher, we will NOT charge you this amount. 

Each payment is firstly authorised by you, the customer, and subsequently 'captured' by me. I am able to take LESS than you authorised, but never more! So I will simply reduce the postage charge to an envelope and post.

Most of our packages need to be shipped as 'small parcel' via the Royal Mail as they are too big to be registered as a letter. This usually means they cost approximately £3.10 for packages up to 2kg. I don't send them 'signed for' as a rule but I can do this if you prefer, just email us and let us know. It's an extra £1 to do this via Royal Mail.

If you have a large quantity of books or other items, we may have to come back to you for more postage once the parcel has been prepared, but I will always let you know. 

For Christmas and Birthdays, we can offer an additional gift wrapping service at £1 per book. 

 

 

November 16, 2020 by Linda Murray

Review of The Nickel Boys ( read in October 2020)

The Nickel Boys is a great example, like all ‘good’ novels, of a story that reveals more cleverness and subtlety the more you dig and discuss.  It starts with a factual part of history and builds a fictional narrative around it, the author setting himself up to be the voice of the young black men that are under-represented, even in today’s survivor and justice groups.
October 31, 2020 by Linda Murray