Saturday, 17 April 2010

A couple of books I have read recently

Here is an update on a couple of books I have been reading lately.

‘We need to talk about Kevin,’ by Lionel Shriver

Lionel is a woman and quite often writes in the ‘Guardian’ and other up-market papers. This book won the Orange prize in 2005 (I think) and is one that I have been trying to read for some time. I didn’t find it easy, particularly at the start. Her device of using letters to her husband to describe the events in her story took me a bit of getting into. But is wasn’t just that, there was something about the style of writing that kept grating on me. That being said, I wouldn’t have missed reading this book. In many parts it is captivating and impossible to put down. It describes some awful events that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and it also raises some big questions. Relationship between adults and between adults and children are in sharp focus. What is it to be a good parent? Why do some children slaughter their classmates? Lionel does not try to offer easy answers and her bewilderment at her son’s behaviour comes over strongly.

'A Necessary Evil' by Alex Kava, who is also a woman. This book is one of a series that follows the adventures of Maggie O'Dell, an FBI profiler. It is a fast moving novel on a topical theme - sexual abuse by RC priests. A victim takes revenge by chopping some heads off. Alex uses a computer game as a central device in the plot of the story, so this again attracts a modern audience.
The writing (in my opinion,) left a lot to be desired. There was over elaboration and the author didn't give the reader enough credit for intelligence. There were too many characters in the plot. Having said that, I read it to the end because it was a good page turner.

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