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Brief Thoughts: Salvation of a Saint, My Husband’s Secret, Underworld, The Summer of the Ubume

Salvation of a Saint

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Five words from the blurb: husband, dead, poisoning, suspect, deceit

This wasn’t in the same league as The Devotion of Suspect X. The writing was simpler and it didn’t contain any of the same clever twists. I read to the end in the hope of being surprised, but unfortunately I wasn’t. Disappointing.


The Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Five words from the blurb: letter, secret, opens, truth, family

This book was so gripping I found myself trying to read it whilst doing other things. It was a real page-turner, with a fantastic cast of characters. Unfortunately it is one of those books that falls apart under scrutiny and my opinion of it lowers every time I think about it. It created a fantastic discussion at my book group, but I think we’ll all have forgotten what happened by the next meeting.

(because I enjoyed the experience of reading it so much)


Underworld by Don Delillio

Five words from the blurb: baseball, Russian, bomb, global, Bronx

I really wanted to read this modern classic, but I’m afraid the baseball bored me rigid. The writing was fantastic, but I failed to connect to any of the characters and felt an increasing sense of dread every time I picked up this massive chunkster. Life is too short to battle through a book this long that does nothing for you, so I abandoned it after about 150 pages.


Summer Of The Ubume, The

The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku

Five words: folklore, ghost, real, explanations, mystery

I was worried that this book might be too scary (it is described as horror on the cover) but that isn’t the case. The Summer of the Ubume is a rich discussion of the Japanese spirit world, concentrating on Ubume, the beings created when a pregnant woman dies. Unfortunately the book is dominated by a debate about what is real and what isn’t and I was already familiar with all the quantum physics and most of the philosophical arguments. If you’re new to this sort of discussion then you’ll love it, but I’m afraid I’d heard 90% of it before.

Despite the problems, it is probably still worth reading for all the information about the Japanese spirit world. 


Have you read any of these books?

What did you think of them?

12 replies on “Brief Thoughts: Salvation of a Saint, My Husband’s Secret, Underworld, The Summer of the Ubume”

I really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret. She comes across as a chick-lit writer but always goes a little deeper than you would expect. Our book club read that one too. Lots to discuss!

Sandy, Yes, The Husband’s Secret makes a great book club discussion. I was quite shocked by how many people would open the envelope – people are a lot less trusting than I thought!

Lindsay, Yes, I’m not normally a fan of chick-lit so agree that ‘The Husband’s Secret’ has more substance than other books in the genre. I recommend not going back to think about it too much 😉

I have heard good things about Liane Moriarty. I am going to have to check her out one of these days. (I am glad I purged Underworld at some point. I don’t think I would have much success with it.)

It’s a shame that the Keigo Higashino book didn’t live up to expectations – I have had my eye on that as I loved The Devotion Of Suspect X. That Liane Moriarty book has been on my radar for a while but I put off buying a copy as I thought it might be a bit chick-litty for my tastes. Judging by the comments on here, though, it has been well received. Might have to give it a go!

Marie, ‘Husband’s Secret’ has many of the same themes as a chick-lit book, but is raises some interesting moral dilemmas and is a bit more complex than others in the genre. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to give it a try.

Apart from Murakami and Yukio Mishima, I’ve actually never had tons of luck with Japanese authors, but I know they’re a favorite area for you to explore so I love reading your thoughts on the books you encounter. I suspect I have an issue with translations, but also maybe the style of Japanese writing has a cadence or rhythm that just doesn’t really click with me as a reader. I did try The Devotion of Suspect X last year, but I only made it a few chapters in before setting it aside… it just wasn’t grabbing me, although the premise really sounded interesting. I think I’d be more likely to try that again rather than Salvation of a Saint, though!

Steph, Murakami has a lot of Western influence to his writing and so has an easier time gaining popularity outside Japan. I’ve only read one Mishima and it had lots of Japanese themes, but the writing didn’t have that Japanese style you mention. It could be down to the translator, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find other Japanese books to enjoy. Have you tried ‘Out’ by Natsuo Kirino? It’s my favourite thriller!

I have Salvation of a Saint in my TBR stack, but I was thinking about just giving it to the Friends of the Library. Now I will. The Summer of Ubume sounds very promising. The subject is not something I know anything about.

I’m at a new blog, by the way, Ready When You Are, C.B. basically disappeared from the web for some reason, so I decided to start over on WordPress under my real name.

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