Books in Brief: Unravelling Oliver, When the Floods Came and Meatspace

Source: Library

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Five words from the blurb: attacks, wife, secrets, stories, past

Unravelling Oliver is a fast-paced whydunit revolving around Oliver, a man who attacked his wife so severally she ended up in a coma. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different person who knew Oliver, so the reader can slowly piece together the facts about his life.

I was initially detached from the story, struggling to remember who everyone was. I kept putting the book down and leaving it for several weeks, only picking it up again because I had to finish it for my book club. At the half-way point everything changed. I worked out how the numerous plot threads interconnected and this created a strong narrative drive. I read the last half of the book in a single day – picking it up whenever I had a free minute. It turned out to be incredibly well-plotted. The ending was especially satisfying and I recommend this to anyone looking for a an intelligent thriller.

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 Source: Free review copy received from publisher

When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall

Five words from the blurb: survivors, lonely, hope, future, children 

Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall is one of my favourite books, so I’m always keen to read her latest publication. Unfortunately, I think this is her weakest so far. The writing quality was excellent, as usual, but it was lacking the passion of her previous work. There were a few interesting insights into what might happen if our world was ravaged by a deadly virus, but the flooding aspects weren’t convincing. The plot also had several large holes and failed to grip me. Disappointing.

 Source: Personal Copy

Five words from the blurb: Twitter, online, persona, friends, real

Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla

Meatspace is the first book I’ve read that really gets to the heart of Twitter. This amusing book is about Kitab, a young man who spends his entire time perfecting his online persona. His obsession comes at the expense of his real life, from which he becomes increasingly isolated.

This book makes a lot of great observations about society’s increasing reliance on the Internet. The jokes were occasionally too “blokey” for me and I found myself cringing at some of the scenes I’m sure were meant to be funny. But, overall I found it sadly relevant to some aspects of my life. Recommended to anyone who spends too much time on social media.

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9 Comments

  1. Kailana says:

    Meatspace sounds worth checking out. I will have to look for a copy!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kailana, I look forward to seeing what you make of it!

  2. Charlie says:

    ‘Kitab’ means ‘book’ in Hindi so that’s quite ironic, definitely lines up with the jokey aspect. Sorry to hear the Morrall wasn’t as good as expected; here’s to next time? The structure of the Nugent sounds really good, the sort that could be written to keep attention, so it’s nice to know it does get there at some point.

    1. Jackie says:

      Charlie, I didn’t realise that ‘Kitab’ means book – shows there is a lot of humour running under the surface that I didn’t get!

  3. Athira says:

    I had the same thought as Charlie did about the meaning of Kitab and its relevance in this book. Meatspace sounds interesting – I should check it out.

    1. Jackie says:

      Athira, Yes, I’d be interested to see what you think of it. It sounds as though I didn’t pick up on a few things :-)

  4. Annabel says:

    I enjoyed the Nugent too.

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes, I’m very pleased my book group influenced me to keep reading!

  5. Jerri Kindig says:

    All 3 of these need to be on my tbr list, I am shocked, shocked I said that they are not!! But I have been in a historical fiction place lately, so that could explain it! Had some great reads lately, right now it’s Soul of Toledo by Edward Webster, edwardwebster.com is his site. But I think I need to finish this one, go out on top and read these 3!!

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