TBR Thursday 248…

Episode 248

And the TBR drops back down 1 to 208! I seem to be stuck there…

Here are a few more that should escape from the quagmire soon…

Fiction

The Island by Ana Maria Matute

Courtesy of Penguin Classics via NetGalley. I might not normally have chosen this one, but I’ve been keeping my eye out for fiction for my Spanish Civil War challenge, preferably written by Spaniards, and this fits the bill. And that’s half the fun of challenges – being tempted to go off the well-worn path…

The Blurb says: “This is an old and wicked island. An island of Phoenicians and merchants, of bloodsuckers and frauds.”

Ana María Matute’s 1959 novel (original title Primera memoria) is a stifling story of rebellious adolescence, narrated by Matia, as she struggles against her domineering grandmother, schemes with her mercurial cousin Borja and begins to fall in love with the strange boy Manuel.

Steeped in myth, fairy tale and biblical allusion, the novel depicts Mallorca as an enchanted but wicked island, a lost Eden and Never Never Land combined, where the sun burns through stained glass windows and the wind tears itself on the agaves. Ostensibly concerned with Matia’s anxieties about entering the adult world, this internal conflict is set against the much wider, deeper, and more frightening conflict of the civil war as it plays out almost secretly on the island, set in turn against the backdrop of the Inquisition’s mass burning of Jews in previous centuries. These two conflicts shimmer at the edges of Matia’s highly subjective account of her life on the island, where life is drawn along painful and divisive lines.

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Vintage Crime

The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

Courtesy of Pushkin Vertigo via NetGalley. This and the next two are all from my 20 Books of Summer list. I’ve read and enjoyed a few contemporary Japanese crime novels but I think this is my first vintage one…

The Blurb says: Japan’s greatest classic murder mystery, translated into English for the first time.

In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions about the Ichiyanagis around the village.

Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi family are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music – death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. The murder seems impossible, but amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is determined to get to the bottom of it.

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Fiction: Sychronised Reviewalong

A Month in the Country by JL Carr

Every review I’ve seen of this one has been glowing, so my expectations are stratospheric! I’m delighted that some of my blog buddies – Sandra, Christine and Alyson –  will be reading it at the same time, and we’ll be posting our reviews or, for non-bloggers, sharing our opinions in the comments of the reviews on 31st August. If you fancy joining in, you’ll be more than welcome! It’s very short…

The Blurb says: In the summer of 1920 two men, both war survivors meet in the quiet English countryside. One is living in the church, intent upon uncovering and restoring an historical wall painting while the other camps in the next field in search of a lost grave. Out of their meeting comes a deeper communion and a catching up of the old primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great War.

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Fiction

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan

Courtesy of Random House Transworld via NetGalley. I’m ashamed to admit that this one has been on my TBR since 2017 – one of the little backlog of review copies that got left behind. I don’t know why – it’s another most people have raved about – but somehow I have a kind of irrational feeling that I’m going to hate it, which is why I’ve kept putting it off. I hope I’m wrong!

The Blurb says: Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. At 33 years-old, she finds herself pregnant with the child of a 17 year-old Traveller boy, Martin Toppy, and not by her husband Pat. Melody was teaching Martin to read, but now he’s gone, and Pat leaves too, full of rage. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming, while the past won’t let her go.

It’s a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a bold young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life. Following the nine months of her pregnancy, All We Shall Know unfolds with emotional immediacy in Melody’s fierce, funny, and unforgettable voice, as she contends with her choices, past and present.

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NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

60 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 248…

    • Oh, that’s good to hear! I don’t know why I’ve developed this belief I’ll hate it – I must have read a negative review or something. Irrational! Still, I can only be pleasantly surprised! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • It should be fun… unless I hate it… but I won’t… will I? 😉 So would I! I heard you were back in lockdown – gah! I hope you’re free again soon. We’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normal now.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, we’re in lockdown again in Melbourne for at least another five weeks, although I never really came out of it. Still working from home, not going anywhere, etc. My work is always busy but at the moment it is frantic.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rose, I knew you were in Oz of course but I hadn’t got you in Melbourne. (No idea where I thought you were!) Anyway, commiserations. Fingers crossed it does the trick and quashes the dreaded virus good and proper 😷

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Sandra. As a homebody I quite like not going out, but otherwise these are anxious times. It is possible that Melbourne’s lockdown will be tightened further over the coming days, but at the moment it is wait and see. The first time around it all felt very distant but this time around everyone seems to actually know someone who has the virus.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yes, I understand that feeling of it appearing to be closer to home. I am only just beginning to realise the implications of living with risk. Just as I think I have it clear, another issue is pointed out to me. Challenging times, Rose. Stay safe 😊

              Liked by 2 people

      • You won’t hate it! Also, Jane is joining in too, from https://justreadingabook.wordpress.com/….. Or is she joining in with Tender is the Night? 🤔🤦‍♀️ Oh gosh, I think it’s the latter! Life is just one social blogging whirl! Don’t know if I’m coming or going. Mostly going (round the bend) I think 😂 Whatever Jane joins us for, she will be an asset!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I look forward to seeing how we all get on with A Month in the Country, I’ve yet to see a negative review of it, so I reckon we’re in for a treat. All we shall Know doesn’t sound like your kind of thing at all, or mine for that matter. At least we will be treated to one of your excellent 1star reviews if you hate or DNF it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m becoming terrified in case I hate A Month in the Country – I think I’d be too frightened to say in case I get attacked by mobs of enraged fans! 😉 Hahaha, yeah, I don’t know why I picked All We Shall Know, but maybe it will surprise me! If I keep giving books 1-star reviews, I’ll have to change my name… 😂

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    • I’m hoping All We Shall Know is better than the blurb makes it sound. A Month in the Country seems to get glowing reviews from everyone who reads it, so I have high hopes for it. And like you, I’ve seen mixed reviews for The Honjin Murders, so we’ll see how I get on with it…

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  2. I love the idea of synchronised reviewing, FictionFan. I hope you’ll really enjoy that read, and I’m looking forward to blog-hopping to get the overall impression of the book. I see you have some Matute in your list; haven’t read her work in a long time, so it was good to be reminded of it. And The Honjin Murders intrigues me; I’ve liked the Japanese crime fiction I’ve read (‘though I haven’t just lately), and this sounds interesting…

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had such fun doing the synchronised review of Serena even though most of us weren’t huge fans of it. This one should get a better response… I hope! 😀 Oh, I’m glad to hear you’ve read Matute – I hadn’t come across her name at all before, but the book seemed to fit the SCW challenge so well. I’ve liked the little contemporary Japanese crime I’ve read, so I’m intrigued to see how I get on with their vintage style…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Honjin Murders and A Month in the Country sound epic!

    So intriguing that 208 seems to be the number you’re stuck with. But I think you can get down to 207. Come on, 207! You can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do both sound good! Hahaha, well, I finished one today so I’m temporarily down to 207, but who knows what will happen between now and next Thursday? Not me, that’s for sure… 😂

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  4. I think my TBR is safe this week…. though the latter two do pique my interest a tiny bit. I’m not up for a read-along at the moment (I’m struggling to read period) and I’d rather wait and learn more about the last book (if you ever read it!!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I seem to finally be coming out of my slump at last, though I’m still getting through books much more slowly than usual. Still struggling to write reviews though. Hahaha, I’m determined to read All We Shall Know this time – it’s been on and off my reading list about a hundred times! Maybe it’ll be great… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think A Month in the Country is one of those very rare books everyone who reads it seems to love – I hope I do too! And I’m glad to hear you enjoyed The Honjin Murders since the reviews I’ve seen of it have been a bit mixed… fingers crossed!

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  5. The Japanese murder mystery intrigues me. I can’t recall hearing of it before, but what’s not to like about eerie music, a scream, and a bloodied sword thrust into the pristine snow?!?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Someone suggested, I should try Japanese crime. Since I love crime fiction and seem to get on extremely well with Japanese authors, at least on paper it should work. Of course we all know that 2+2 doesn’t always equal 5, sometimes it’s 3 (and in some boring cases 4). In any case, I will be watching out for your review of The Honjin Murders. Also, I’m looking forward to the readalong. I won’t join you, but will definitely read the reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I must say I’ve really enjoyed the little contemporary Japanese crime I’ve read – I always find it strange but compelling. So I’m intrigued to see how their vintage crime works for me and if it will have the same effect. Fingers crossed! The readalong should be fun – the four of us who are doing it all have broadly similar tastes, so it will be interesting to see if we all react the same way… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmmm…. Broadly similar tastes…. 🤔 I would just like to mention that I cannot equal FictionFan’s taste in sci-fi westerns which feature cats. I think that’s what Book Sirens assured us was her guilty pleasure 😳 I prefer my cats to feature in fantasy Christmas crime novels ideally set amid the snow-dusted palm trees on a tropical island where the hero gets hit on the head by a coconut …. 🏝 Just saying 😆

        Liked by 2 people

    • Everyone seems to think A Month in the Country is wonderful, so I’m looking forward to finding out if they’re all right! I don’t know why I’m so reluctant about the Donal Ryan, but hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise… 🙂

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  7. Well, having hijacked your thread with comments littering everywhere I’ll just add that the idea of Japanese vintage crime clearly went straight to my head! I can’t get said head around the idea at all so I’ll be watching eagerly for your thoughts 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ohhh I love the sounds of the Japanese crime novel! I’m going through mystery/crime withdrawl right now b/c I’m working on a beach reads segment, but I’m pining after some ‘darker’ reads so this will help me fill the void haha

    Liked by 1 person

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