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kimbofo
London, UK
Interests: music, travel, exploring london and discovering new pubs., cooking, reading, photography, blogging, cycling, drinking guinness and g&ts (not together, mind)
Recent Activity
It is kind of inspiring, but it's also incredibly sad. The burden that this family endures seems, to me, to be unendurable.
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I honestly don't know how any families in these situations cope, but the power of unconditional love (and hope) shouldn't be underestimated. I guess until you are put in that situation, you just don't know how you would react. In some ways, as an outsider, it feels selfish, as if the family does not want to let go, but I guess if you truly believe your child will get better then why should you do anything else other than keep hoping and waiting?
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I should point out that the book isn't written as if it is someone else's life — it's very much written in first person, almost diary like, form, which makes it all the more powerful and raw IMHO Apparently she wrote a similar book about her dad prior to this one, which I am now itching to read.
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Fiction - hardcover; Bloomsbury; 368 pages; 2014. Review copy courtesy of the publisher. I first discovered Irish author Niall Williams when I read his extraordinarily moving debut novel, Four Letters of Love, when it was released in paperback long before I started this blog. Today, it remains in my affections as one of the best novels I have ever read — indeed, it made my Top 10 favourite Irish novels AND my Top 10 favourite romance novels, both published in 2006. Since then I’ve read a handful of his other books — As it is in Heaven (1999), The Fall of Light (2001) and Only Say the Word (2004) — so I was very much looking forward to his new one, History of the Rain, which hit the bookshops last week. I wasn’t disappointed. While it’s quite unlike any of Williams’ previous work — in both theme and style —... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Reading Matters
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Non-fiction - paperback; Quartet Books; 96 pages; 2014. Translated from the French by Tanya Leslie. Review copy courtesy of the publisher. Annie Ernaux’s A Woman’s Story is a deeply affecting and brutally honest memoir about the author’s mother and the sometimes-strained relationship they shared. It was first published in France, in 1988, where it became a bestseller. It has just been reissued by Quartet Books — which first published it in English more than 20 years ago — in a rather handsome edition, complete with French flaps. Mother-daughter relationship At just 96 pages in length, A Woman’s Story packs quite a lot in. Ernaux not only examines the relationship she had with her mother — often in painstaking, heartbreaking, too-close-for-comfort detail — she also charts her mother’s life from her poor upbringing in a small Normandy town to her marriage and success as a shopkeeper; from her bored (and somewhat... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Reading Matters
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Fiction - hardcover; Faber and Faber; 224 pages; 2014. Review copy courtesy of the publisher. I recently watched a documentary by British journalist Louis Theroux about patients in a Los Angeles hospital fighting for their lives. One young man was in a coma and his prognosis was bleak: doctors said it was highly unlikely he'd ever recover and that he'd spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state. But his family had other ideas: they refused to believe he would not recover. And, lo and behold, against impossible odds, he eventually came around and could walk and talk again. Hope, it seems, can sometimes have the power to work magic. In Akhil Sharma's second novel, Family Life, an immigrant Indian family living in suburban America face a similar situation: their eldest son Birju, a promising young scholar, survives a tragic accident that leaves him brain damaged, blind and... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Reading Matters
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So, remember me? Yes, it's been awhile. Cycling seems to have taken a back seat since my last post in August 2013. Since then I've cycled just a (pathetic) handful of times — a 9.6 mile cycle along the rail... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at London Cycling Diary
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Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers. Today's guest is Kate, one half of Essex-based book bloggers Adventures With Words. Kate is a secondary school teacher who reads almost anything but particularly loves literary fiction, cold crime, good-quality sci-fi and fantasy, and young adult fiction. She is also interested in illustration and picture books. Kate studied English Literature at Durham University, where she wrote her dissertation on girls and women in children’s fiction. When she's not reading, she loves watching sport, such as rugby and athletics, watching TV dramas such as Mad Men, The Killing, Buffy and Smallville, and hoarding stationery. Without further... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Reading Matters
Glad you finally got around to reading it, David, and enjoyed it. It is rather melancholic but there's a nice gentle rhythm to it — it's never bleak.
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You're in for a treat! I'll never forget watching it in my teens... I still think it's hilarious that Adrian Mole's father was played by Roger Daltrey from The Who!
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It is an interesting list though, isn't it? I mean, all those translated works suggests that maybe the tide is shifting? So many publishers/booksellers say people don't read translated fiction and yet if this shortlist is any kind of reflection of the kinds of books people around the world are borrowing from the library then it kind of puts paid to that argument. Or maybe it's an anglo-centric thing? In any case, the books I've read on this list — apart from the Ryan, see my comment to Flo above — I've greatly enjoyed. And I have all but the Argentinean novel in my TBR, so will no doubt get around to reading all of them eventually...
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Knausgaard is on E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G, isn't he? I have had it sitting here for so long it's embarrassing not to have read it yet... will get around to it eventually.
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Actually, I'm in the northern hemisphere, so it's a long summer for me too. Fingers crossed. ;-)
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I bought 'The Sound of Things Falling' after I saw it discussed on the First Tuesday book club, but alas I still haven't read it, so good to hear you liked it. I read Donal Ryan's book last year and just couldn't get past the fact every single voice (it's told in multiple voices) sounded exactly the same. I never bothered to review it. I will, however, give it another go because it's just been shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year and I'm trying to read all of them before the winner is announced.
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Way back in November — which seems an awful long time ago now — I wrote a post about the longlist for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world's richest literary award. The extraordinarily long longlist, which featured dozens and dozens of titles nominated by libraries across the world, has now been whittled away to just 10 books. The shortlist announced earlier in the week looks like this (hyperlinks take you to my reviews): The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker (Dutch) Questions of Travel by Michelle De Kretser (Sri Lankan/Australian) Absolution by Patrick Flanery (American) A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Norwegian) Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye (French) Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman (Argentinian) The Light of Amsterdam by David Park (Northern Irish) The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Irish) The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Malaysian) The Sound of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2014 at Reading Matters
Late last night, Twitter was alive with rumours of Sue Townsend's death, but it wasn't confirmed until I saw this morning's story on BBC News. I loved her Adrian Mole books and have very fond memories of the 1980 TV series. Click to see Channel 4 News' lovely tribute to her. UPDATE — Saturday, April 12 Here's another tribute to Townsend that went to air on BBC Newsnight last night: Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Reading Matters
The Bone People is a great book! And it'd be great if you could read either Tsiolkas or Carey next month, too ;-)
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2014 on Get your antipodean novels ready! at Reading Matters
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You're welcome, Jackie. I'd love to see The Mussel Feast win it, too. Fingers crossed x
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No problem, Philip. This might just be the nudge I need to read Knausgaard's novel!
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Does this mean you are coming to the festival? Maybe I will see you there ;-) Oooo, have fun in Brisbane, I've not been since 1996. I lived in the city for two years — it's where I did my Masters degree.
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I like the sound of all your proposed reads. I'm hoping to read The Narrow Road to the Deep North as well. I ordered a copy from Oz before Christmas and it's been sitting here waiting ever since. Like you, I want to read it before the Miles Franklin shortlist comes out.
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Just a quick reminder that Australia & New Zealand Literature Month is fast approaching. I've had a minor panic attack about the looming date and finally squeezed in some time to design a logo. Now I just have to sort out which books I'm reading! I'll post more details closer to the date outlining how you can become involved. In the meantime, you might like to check out the schedule for the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts, which is being held in London on 29 May to 1 June. The full programme was revealed last week and it features some lovely treats, including Tim Winton on the opening night and one of my favourite Australian writers, Helen Garner, in conversation with Helen Simpson on the final day. Tickets can be purchased online — and there are early bird rates if you buy a full-day ticket... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Reading Matters
I haven't read any Paul Auster in a long while, but here's the ones I've reviewed: http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/authors-paul-auster/ I loved New York Trilogy, too. In fact, that one kind of blew my mind — it's an intriguing read. I chose it for the first book when I ran an online book club on this site. http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/2005/09/book_group_sess_1.html
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Ah, thats interesting about the change in title... is it still in print in Australia I wonder. One piece of trivia for you re: Hustvedt ... She is Paul Austers wife.
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Yesterday the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) was announced. I'm a little surprised to see I've read and reviewed three of them. The list is comprised as follows (hyperlinks take you to my reviews): The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim (translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright) A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett) A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli (translated from the French by Sam Taylor) The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke (translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch) Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder) Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell) For reviews of all the shortlisted titles, do visit Jackie's rundown at Farm Lane Books or check out Tony's Reading List. The winner will be announced on May 22. Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Reading Matters