GOOD READS 2013 – When I was the TV reviewer for BBC Wildlife magazine, the editor would not let me write a review about a bad programme. It was less than honest and made for duller copy. However, I am taking a leaf out of her book as I’d love you to spend the Christmas period being transported by wonderful books and giving them as gifts to others. Here is my selection of the books I’ve liked best this year.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has to be the perfect winter present with its hauntingly beautiful descriptions – ‘She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting…’ – and its poignant relationship between Jack, Mabel and the child they believe they have created out of grief and longing and snow.
YOU THINK IT’S ABOUT SEX … – Review of The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
I hated The Gathering. I could see why it sold a scant handful before it won the Orange Prize. But The Forgotten Waltz is something else: a wonderfully written, acerbically-witty, literary page-turner. It’s a tale of adultery set against the rise and smash of Ireland’s boom period.
The book is constructed like a thriller:
‘If it hadn’t been for the child then none of this might have happened, but the fact that a child was involved made everything that much harder to forgive…The fact that a child was affected meant we had to…follow through.’
The premise is simple, but like a rough-cut gem, it is polished and polished until the conclusion shines, multi-faceted, so sharp you might bleed. Gina Moynihan thinks she is happily married to Conor Shiels, until she meets Sean Vallely.