My book "Tales of mystery and magic" will be on a free promotion on Amazon from 15th - 19th August 2013
After that time it will revert to the former price....
This is not a genre that I normally read but I finished and enjoyed this book.
This book in diary form describes the pressures of life for a middle class family where two incomes are needed to support a menagerie of animals and dependent children.
It is written by the frazzled wife who takes responsibility for everything. The husband is a shadowy figure who takes little part in parenting or family life – perhaps he is just needed to provide the dosh to keep the whole show on the road!
In parts it was a very funny book and there were several places where I laughed out loud.
Other parts were alien to my experience: I never tweet, I text rarely and couldn't imaging why anyone would want alpacas, sheep, pigs cats, dogs and horses as pets! I am sure I would have been frazzled too if I had taken on looking after this zoo whilst holding down a full time job and having responsibility for an elderly parent suffering from dementia as well as a teen with issues at school.
A few of the numerous incidents portrayed may have been extremely funny for those there at the time as they dissolved in fits of giggles however they aren't necessarily as amusing in a written account. The author uses acronyms for all the protagonists, such as SIL for sister in law, but there were so many of these that I found this literary device overused. The awful sister in law is so dreadful that she becomes an unbelievable figure of fun and I was cheering on the teens as they found ways to humiliate her.
It is a good example of its genre and there are many incidents that working parents who juggle many responsibilities will recognise.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
This is an amazing book, very well written and poignant, that tells of a young man from Pakistan who wins a scholarship to Princeton and then gets a prestigious job in New York. Set against the backdrop of “9/11” his career as an analyst, discovering the fundamentals about companies, makes him reflect more widely on America, the new world he has entered and the old world he left behind. It leads him to a crisis and the rejection of the new world that he had initially embraced.
It is a subtle and insightful critique of the USA and the post 9/11 foreign policy viewed from a sympathetic observer from another culture.
The story is also about boundaries and relationships as there is a parallel personal narrative of his friendship and love of a beautiful, but troubled young American woman.
It is a very short book and I found the unusual style of telling the story a little annoying at first but I was impressed by the ambiguity of the ending.
One of my favourite quotations from the book is - "Such journeys have convinced me that it is not always possible to restore one's boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be. Something of us is now outside, and something of the outside is now within us."