Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Publisher: Viking – Pamela Doorman Books

Publication Date: May 09, 2017

Genre: Adult Fiction, Mental Illness

Rating: 5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, and a fine one at that. The title speaks for the novel: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She has her very basic needs met she has food,, water, a job, a roof over her head; many people out in that cold world have it a lot worse. For her, this is all just dandy and it’s how most people lead their lives. However, from an outsider looking in, Eleanor Oliphant is completely not fine. I personally felt an overwhelming sense of empathy for the poor soul.  Continue reading “Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”

Review: The Perfect Nanny

Title: The Perfect Nanny

Author: Leila Slimani; Translated by Sam Taylor

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: January 09, 2018 (first published in French on August 18, 2019)

Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Murder

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Named one of the best ten books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Leïla Slimani’s instant national bestseller, The Perfect Nanny is a chilling, unusual story that kept me up for 3 evenings with the creepy, unsettling knowledge that something bad was on its way. It is one of those subtle, quiet stories that psychologically gets under your skin and racks your brain in a way that leaves you at the same time deeply disturbed and intensely vulnerable.  Continue reading “Review: The Perfect Nanny”

Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Adult Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a story that will leave readers smitten. It is filled with several scenarios that bury deep into the intricacies of life, and bring about several questions such as what it means to be a mother, where the line should be divided between neighbor and friend, and how far one should be willing to go to pursue their dreams. The novel explores definitions of love and family, and what it means to sacrifice it all on a whim. It confronts the brutal realities of life and leaves cracks on the surface of the layers we often choose to protect ourselves with, for the sake of avoiding questions about who we are , and who we are to those around us.  Continue reading “Review: Little Fires Everywhere”

Review: Sharp Objects

Title: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Broadway Books

Publication Date: July 31, 2007

Genre: Adult Fiction, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Rating: 4.5 Stars

A dark, disturbing, internal-demon-producing novel by the infamous Gillian Flynn. Sharp Objects is the Gone Girl author’s debut monster of a title and is, in every possibly imaginable way, a creepy, cold, and cloying work in and of itself. It took me about two weeks of self-reflection to really muster up the courage to sit down and write an actual review of the thriller.
Continue reading “Review: Sharp Objects”

ARC Review: Watching You

Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: December 26, 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction, Murder Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 5 Stars

I was sent Watching You by the publicists over at Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks goes to Atria Books as well as the author, Lisa Jewell for this advanced reader copy that is to be published tomorrow, December 26thContinue reading “ARC Review: Watching You”

ARC Review | The Age of Light

Title: The Age of Light

Author: Whitney Scharer

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Expected Publication Date: February 05, 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars

I was recently sent an ARC of The Age of Light by the publicists at Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This work of historical fiction by Whitney Scharer is expected to be published on February 05, 2019.

The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, one of the most influential figures of the Dada and Surrealists movements ensuing Paris in the 1930s.  Continue reading “ARC Review | The Age of Light”

Novelist Chloe Aridjis on Losing Adolescence and Retaining Imagination

A subtly crafted novel about disenchantment and the innocent sense of wanderlust that incite our rashest decisions, Chloe Aridjis has poetically recreated the world of the estranged and the isolated in her new novel, Sea Monsters, set to be released on February 05, 2019 by Catapult. Author of Asunder and Book of Clouds, Aridjis carries readers into magical landscapes of suppressed fears. Sea Monsters is a hypnotic exploration of an overcast youth entrapped in the dusty and nostalgic traces of the past. Mexican history and childish imagination come together to following a young girl’s quest for the unknown, and for herself.

Arranged by the publicity team at Catapult, I spoke to Chloe about the effects of history on identity in the novel, the decadence of youth, and the intoxicating curiosity that surrounds art. Characterized as a narrative “out of a central episode of my adolescence,” ahead, Aridijis brings readers into the poetically mysterious, romantically transcendent world of Sea MonstersContinue reading “Novelist Chloe Aridjis on Losing Adolescence and Retaining Imagination”

Review: The Vegetarian

Title: The Vegetarian

Author: Han Kang

Publisher: Hogarth Press

Publication Date: February 02, 2016

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a “kafkaesque”story of one woman’s ordinary life and how the onset of her mental illness leads to her becoming a societal outcast. It is a cerebral work of literary fiction that explores one woman’s suffering from the perspective of those that watch her suffer, sympathize with her, but who fail to understand her.

Yeong-hye and her husband were a very basic, middle class couple who expected nothing of the world but the bare necessities. Neither had hopes, nor dreams of achieving the unreachable. This was all before the nightmare: the bizarre, twisted dream that would change Yeong-hye’s life. The nightmare is dark, but splitting; mysterious, yet intriguing. We, nor the characters ever find out what the dream actually is. All we know is that it  leads to Yeong-hye cutting animal products from her diet. What follows is a horrific chain of events that manifests itself into a plague driven by eroticism, emotional and physical abuse, and self-starvation.

Yeong-hyes new way of life shocks her husband, her family, and all those who come across her decaying body. Desperate for her to snap out of this bizarre new fetish, Yeong-hye’s husband attempts multiple methods to get his wife to eat meat and even goes as far as literally raping her. Her father’s disaproval comes in the form of force feeding meat down her throat, to which Yeong-hye resists by getting a hold a knife and slitting her own wrist. This is the turning point of the novel away from Yeon-hye’s lifestyle being simply a concept of food. It has now grown into an obsessive disorder that damages and kills her inside out as the nightmare continues to invade and feed upon every aspect of her life.

The story is told from the perspective of Yeong-Hye’s husband, up to the point that he divorces her, to which the perspective changes to her sister, In-Hye’s husband. He is a deeply disturbed artist whose strange obsession with Yeong-Hye and her “Mongolian mark” leads to his own form of self-destruction. His artistic vision for Yeong-Hye recreates Yeong-Hye’s body into a work of art, and temporarily becomes a reprieve for Yeong-Hye from her nightmares. With a series of flowers painted over her naked body, she feels protected and stronger. The artwork’s pornographic turn is drastic and compelling. In-Hye’s husband’s part of the novel left me feeling deeply unsettled and conscious, more than ever of my own body, its limits, and the control that I have over it.

I found the last third of the novel to be the most bitter and hearbreaking. It is told in In-Hye’s voice, who, despite the utmost care she has for her sister, still fails to understand and soothe her. In-Hye desperately tries to hold onto Yeong-Hye’s life. She begins having her own form of nightmares, and often finds herself carried years back to her childhood with her sister. She is reminded of all of Yeong-Hye’s quirks and strange tendencies, only then coming to the realization that all of these little things Yeong-Hye had did or said, if they could have been addressed, or prevented, Yeong-Hye may have been saved.

The readers nor the three major characters are ever able to get inside of Yeong-Hye’s mind. All that is certain is that there was a dream and this dream grew into a monster having a life of it’s own, infecting each and every aspect of the lives of Yeong-Hye and those around her. The Vegetarian is doubtlessly an alienating novel that managed to leave a lasting impression on me.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)