This is Us reading The Man Booker 2015.
Not really that impressed with the six finalists, if we're honest, and we didn't manage to read all of them, even between all of us. Anyway, here they are:
A Brief History of Seven Killings: well, E tried this one for 50 pages (as said before) and couldn't continue. The pidgin or Patois dialect was too difficult to decipher, and the characters were too extensive - even in 50 pages! Apparently, we're introduced to 75 different characters within the first 50-100 pages, so at least I doesn't feel quite so stupid! Still, obviously missing something here, as there must be something good in it for the nomination!
Satin Island: A tried it, and it was basically unintelligible. Another non starter.
The Year of the Runaways: E has read it, and A is partway through. Pretty good novel - darting between three men emigrated from India, and one woman, and their struggles there, and their pasts trials before moving. Quite a heavy read, but ultimately pretty good. Would have been more enjoyable with more of their lives in Britain, as it felt more interesting, but there needs to be a balance. A fairly good read.
A Spool of Blue Thread: as said before, a fantastic read. Just wonderful. In good hands from the offing. Recommend to anyone. However, it won't win as the judges look for something ground breaking and innovative in terms of structure or point-of-view etc, and this isn't it. What happened to just a Good Read? All the other titles are pretty horrific in their own ways and this isn't but was so compelling, and there's only so many awful things one can read. The world itself is bad enough.
A Little Life: E read this (not so little at 720 pages) one. Well, it is fantastically written, there's no doubt about it. You are completely inside the characters' (one in particular) heads, and feel with them. It's deftly constructed, has believable characters and a compelling storyline.
I would not recommend this to anyone. Anyone. If you suffer/have suffered with any of the myriad difficulties explored, it is triggering, and a nightmare to read. Literally: I am dreaming about it. 'Impossible to put down... and impossible to forget...' I guess I agree with this review, but please don't read it. Apparently I was advised not to read it, but I only had this communicated to me two thirds of the way through the novel. I would have heeded the advice, and I pass it on wholeheartedly. Please don't read it.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life) is predicted to win, according to 'The Bookies.' I hope it doesn't. I don't want anyone else to be exposed to it.
But we shall see!