After my post-Christmas break when I managed to romp through a great pile of books, I have been trying to set aside a little more time to read rather than a few minutes in bed before i fall asleep. So here are the latest two novels I have enjoyed:
Last Summer by Andrew Greig.
Andrew Greig, a Scottish author, was highly recommended to me by a friend in a pub. The book group read Electric Brae but I wasn’t terribly impressed. The writing was good but the story didn’t do much for me. A few folk mentioned Last Summer so I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It is set in the Battle of Britain and tells of the love affair between a fighter pilot and a woman who watches a screen for enemy aircraft. (Sorry, but I returned the book and can’t remember the proper name!) Throughout it you are wondering if one of them is going to be killed which keeps the suspense going. One wonders what it was like to live with that fear daily. Won’t give the ending away because I’m not sure I got it.
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Picked this one up in Borders while I was waiting for my car to be cleaned and hoovered this week and haven’t been able to put it down since. Set in Ireland, it tells the parallel stories of Roseanne, a woman of 100 who has been in a mental hospital for most of her adult life, and Dr Grene, the psychiatrist responsible for moving the patients out into the community or to another hospital when the current one is closed. It tells of religion, the troubles, prejudice and tragedies. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The language is beautiful too.