Book review: Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I requested an ARC of this book from Netgalley because I loved The Interpreter of Maladies.
This book follows a year in the life of a nameless narrator. She talks about the places she goes, the people she knows. No one has names, we only see what these people are to her.
The book is a series of vignettes, where we see the world through one woman. We get a sense of who she is – bookish, melancholy, lonely, not entirely likeable (but interesting enough to make you want to keep reading). There is a story of sorts, but mostly it’s about us getting to know and understand the narrator. The language is sparse and deployed with precision so that you get a great sense of place and personality with minimal description.
It’s a thought provoking book. I enjoyed it.

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Book review: All That Was Lost by Alison May

All That Was LostAll That Was Lost by Alison May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All That Was Lost is an exploration of loss and grief and the lies that we have to tell ourselves to get through the days afterwards. There is a running theme of untruths – Patience learns to lie and slowly discovers about the lies that keep wheels turning in her family, Patrice’s whole life is a lie, Leo lies in tiny ways at first, Louise’s life revolves around the untrue belief. Running alongside is the thread about loss.
The characters are vividly drawn and their grief, and in one case, mental illness is described so realistically that at one point I was practically shouting at Louise not to misinterpret something. Alison May captures the stifling nature of being an adolescence in a northern sea side town perfectly.

This book is very different to Alison May’s other novels. It’s not a romance. Whilst it’s not a jolly book, but it is deeply moving. It was compelling enough to keep me reading until 2 o’clock in the morning. I really enjoyed it.

I received a review copy through Netgalley.

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