Ben in the World by Doris Lessing
Five words from the blurb: troubled, teenager, restless, travels, malevolence
I loved The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing so was looking forward to reading the sequel. Unfortunately the two books were very different and Ben in the World failed to excite me. The Fifth Child perfectly captured the mixed emotions of parenting a difficult child, but Ben in the World focused on what happened to that child in adulthood. This story seemed much more predictable and failed to tug on my heartstrings. There was a tragic inevitability to it all and for much of the book I was bored. I wish I hadn’t read it; preferring to keep my memories of Ben as one of the creepiest characters in literature.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Five words from the blurb: circus, freak, motherhood, gifted, strange
I’d heard nothing but praise for this weird book about a women who deliberately takes toxic substances during pregnancy in order create her own circus freak show. The premise was amazingly original and I loved some of the messages that the book was trying to convey, but I’m afraid I remained emotionally detached from the characters. The imagery was wonderfully vibrant and this book will appeal to fans of Angela Carter, but I struggled to maintain interest in the meandering plot. I persevered for as long as I could, but I finally had to admit defeat after 6 frustrating weeks.
Strange Telescopes by Daniel Kalder
Five words from the blurb: sewers, Moscow, chases, secret, adventure
Daniel Kalder is a travel writer and this book charts his year-long quest to find the secrets that lie hidden in Moscow’s sewers. I found the beginning of this book fascinating and I loved learning about Moscow’s recent history, but as the book progressed it became less engaging. Kalder didn’t seem to care whether or not he completed his quest and this lack of enthusiasm began to permeate through the pages. I found myself losing interest and abandoned it after about 100 pages. It’s a shame because he’s a talented writer and I’d love to read about something he has a real passion for.
The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Five words from the blurb: grief, son, divorce, emotions, decisions
The Possibilities concentrates on a woman who is grieving for her teenage son. It is beautifully written, but unfortunately I felt I’d read similar books many times before. It probably has a beautifully uplifting ending, but I’m afraid it was too depressing for me to reach it. I abandoned it after 80 melancholy pages.
Have you read any of these books?
Did you enjoy them more than I did?