Kerry’s Fiction Picks

The books selected this week all have children, parenting and families as their theme.  Despite that they are all quite a diverse bunch, with the complexities of fatherhood and motherhood, difficult childhoods and fantastic, historical settings just some of the subjects explored.

Syndetics book coverHonours
This is the debut novel for Tim Clare, who is famous as a stand up poet in England.  Its protagonist is 13 year old Delphine and her story is set in 1935 Norfolk at Alderberen Hall, where she lives with her parents. She’s intrigued by the mysterious hall, it’s elite society and the hold it has over her parents. So Delphine sets out to uncover it’s secrets, but finds something more dark and dangerous than she could have ever imagined. “The Honours is a dark, glittering and dangerously unputdownable novel which invites you to enter a thrilling and fantastical world unlike any other” (Amazon UK).

Syndetics book coverAfter birth / Elisa Albert.
After birth is a very modern examination of motherhood and the impacts on an intellectual, professional woman.  The story is about Ari, who has given birth to her son Walker a year ago, and how she befriends another woman in her town.  The book tackles Ari’s new friendships, something she’s always struggled with, as well as her navigation of new-motherhood.  Says Amazon  “with piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives”.

Syndetics book coverLast night in earth
This one is about Jay, who struggles with his relationships and his abilities as a father.  He adores his little daughter Bonnie, but after he and her mother separate he is parted from her.  He remains committed to having a good relationship with her despite the troubles that come his way throughout the novel.  And he even sets out to repair the damaged relationship with his own mother.  Kevin Maher is an Irish writer who lives in London and also writes for The Times.

Syndetics book coverJakob’s colours
This is recommended to fans of The Book Thief and it does share some similarities.  It’s about Jakob, an eight year old gypsy boy who lives in Austria in 1942.  He is escaping Nazi persecution and the coming war, but running away is a way is life for Jakob.  The story switches between Jakob, evading WW2 and his parents during WW1, looking at their interlinked stories and family legacies.  “A haunting book, dealing with a little-known part of history, told in luminous and poetic prose” (Amazon).