THE INNOCENTS by Michael Crummey.
An astonishingly good book. I can see why it was nominated for every prize, although I can’t see why it hasn’t won them all.
Crummey is a poet as well as a prose writer, and his meticulous attention to language is obvious in every beautiful sentence. The cadence and idiom of his native Newfoundland is a musical and sensory pleasure.
What I’ve always loved about Crummey’s writing, apart from the language, is the depth of insight he displays into the human heart and soul. Never has it been more in evidence than here.
Parts of the book are harsh and difficult to read, but how could it be otherwise seen through the eyes of isolated, impoverished orphans, barely surviving on the isolated coast of Newfoundland in the early 1800s. Parts of it may be considered controversial, and they certainly are unsettling, but Crummey handles these ‘bits’ with such understanding and compassion that I hope any reader of empathy will withhold judgment.
For more insight into this wonderful book, I recommend this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/…
THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell.
I thoroughly enjoyed this twisted family tale. The structure was fun as well. Lovely book for a cold winter afternoon of escape.
From the back cover…
“Be careful who you let in.
Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.
She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.
Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.
In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.
FOXFIRE, WOLFSKIN AND OTHER STORIES OF SHAPESHIFTING WOMEN by Sharon Blackie
Well, that’s it for this year.
And another year’s just begun. I’ve challenged myself to read 100 books this year, as I did last year. I know they’ll be some humdingers in there.
Hope you find something on these lists to delight you. Let me know!