Wednesday, 14 June 2017

May's Reading Adventures


There wasn't much time for reading in May but I squeezed in three books... don't worry I've started to read in the park at lunchtime so I'm hoping to read more than 3 books this month.

Most of my time was spent rewriting chapter 37 not once but twice but I'm definitely happier and I've moved onto the next chapter...only two left and then this draft will be done. I've started to research agents and creating a synopsis...maybe after 4 years it'll be time to send this novel out into the wild.


So here are the books I read in May:

The Faithful - Juliet West
England is moving slowly towards war. Oswald Mosley's blackshirts are causing trouble on the streets. Hazel, a 16 year old girl is pulled into the clutches of this organisation one summer. Falling in love, forming new friendships and broken families push Hazel's life into an unexpected journey. This is a novel about loyalty, loss and guilt. I really enjoyed this novel, and you can read my review soon.

Anything is Possible - Elizabeth Strout
I'm one of those people who has only just jumped on the Elizabeth Strout bandwagon after reading My Name is Lucy Barton and Olive Kitteridge last year. Anything is Possible is a spin off of last year's My Name is Lucy Barton and tells the story of the inhabitants of rural Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton. Each chapter tells the story of a person who either directly knows Lucy or knows of her. The stories are rich, complex, and beautifully written. Looking forward to reading more Elizabeth Strout.

The Storyteller - Kate Armstrong
Kate Armstrong's novel, The Storyteller, is a story of coming of age, depression, isolation and relationships. You can read my review here.

So what did you read in May?

Monday, 5 June 2017

Book Review: The Storyteller by Kate Armstrong

The Storyteller
By Kate Armstrong
Published by Holland House

Kate Armstrong's novel, The Storyteller, is a story of coming of age, depression, isolation and relationships.

In a psychiatric ward, Iris an elderly writer, insists on writing Rachel's biography, a young girl, recently admitted to the ward. Rachel can not resist this tempting offer - to be fictionalised, her life captured.

Rachel has lost her sense of self after being discharged from the hospital and finds herself drifting from one experience to another, isolated from society, unable to cling to reality or relationships. Armstrong captures the feelings of being lost, emptiness and fear of mental health, showing Rachel directionless with no support. The writing style pulls the reader into Rachel's emotional state - the world around the characters and the reader is claustrophobic.

Rachel is disconnected from society and herself. She wanders through her life detached, observing other people's behaviour, trying hard to relate within the romantic and friendship relationships she has but finds herself drifting away. She looks for physical relationships, and uses these to anchor herself with reality.

The reader is always left wondering if this reality of Rachel is the one that she is actually living. The story is being told by Iris so the reader is left wondering, much like Rachel wonders, if we are in the correct reality. Armstrong builds up the claustrophobia with each narrative - Rachel's story is layered with Iris's version of rachel's story and then Iris own story is plastered across the top.

This is an intense coming of age story with sharp observations around mental health issues. If you're looking for something a bit different this summer then pick up The Storyteller as you won't be disappointed. You can order The Storyteller from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy via the publisher.