Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
This book first came to my attention when it won the 2010 Bellweather Prize for addressing issues of social injustice. The book is set in Rwanda and follows the lives of one family as tension in the country builds in the run up to the genocide of 1994.
The book was very easy to read. The story flowed quickly, but I failed to engage with it. I can’t quite put my finger on what was wrong, but several factors combined to produce an unconvincing read.
- The book was packed with African details, but they didn’t gel to form an African atmosphere.
- The characters acted in a Western manner and I became increasingly annoyed by the light treatment of the violence.
- I felt as though everything had been toned down for a younger audience instead of revealing the true horrors of the genocide.
I abandoned the book after 100 pages, but skim read to the end. This book is a good way to introduce Rwandan history to a younger audience, but it was too gentle for me.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
This book has been receiving rave reviews and has recently been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott prize, but I’m afraid it didn’t live up to the hype for me. It is a simple story about one man who decides to walk across England to visit an old friend who is dying from cancer.
It was engaging and I zipped through it in a couple of sittings, but I found it overly sentimental. I’m not a fan of charming books and this oozed charm. I know that lots of people will love the readability and the many emotional topics raised along the way, but I found it all a bit contrived.
Recommended to anyone looking for a light, charming read.
Translated from the German by Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch
Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer
I love the German sense of humor and picked this one up in the hope of some light relief from the darker books I’ve been reading recently. It did provide me with a few laughs, but overall this was just an averagely entertaining read.
The entire book is written as a series of emails between two people who have never met, but form a relationship online. It was fast paced and engaged me throughout, but lacked that magical spark I was looking for.
If you enjoy modern romance novels then this will provide you with a few enjoyable hours, but I recommend you try Bad Karma first.
Have you read any of these books?
Did you enjoy them more than I did?