Ok, ok, Autumn isn’t technically over yet but here are some books that I‘ve enjoyed over the past few months.
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweere
This is an inter-generational, transnational, multiethnic story about Sri Lanka during their civil war. It is a sensitive and beautifully written story that shows the horrors of war and the beauty of Sri Lanka.
I couldn't put it down and was originally going to ration myself to a few pages a day so that it would last longer but I couldn't. STARS *****
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Kline
You’ve got to love economics and, while being a little disturbing, Kline’s book is very interesting.
She describes an approach to economic called the ‘Chicago School’ which, in uber simple terms, exploits large scale economic, political, social and natural disasters to bring in extreme economic change. The logic is that after the earthquake, for example, the citizens are usually too shocked and preoccupied with survival to worry about the government is doing. She uses several South American examples as well as Russian, Poland, South Africa, US and Iraq.
I am no expert on economics but I learnt a lot and it made me angry how governments are pressured by international institutions to implement such harsh economic reforms. STARS ****
Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
Joseph Anton is Salman Rushdie’s long awaited autobiography. Don’t get confused, Joseph Anton was his code name while he was in protection.
It was pretty dark reading about his life under the Fatwa (issued by Ayatollah Khomeini) following the publication of the ‘Satanic Verses’. It describes to toll that living in hiding on his psyche and his relationships but it was inspiring the lengths he went to for his art.
Don't let his name dropping bother you.
I always to read Rushdie but I always found him too dense but after reading Joseph Anton I am ready to attack his other work. STARS ****
The Client by John Grisham
The Client is a tale of a kid and his younger brother who sees an underworld related suicide. If knowledge is power then Grisham’s young protagonist missed out. He gets hounded by the underworld crime bosses as he struggles to protect his traumatised brother and his single mum.
This is a gritty story with tough characters who aren’t afraid to fight for justice. STARS ***
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
I always thought cities had personality and in many ways were a bit like people. This is why I loved Five Star Billionaire so much because of the story revolves around the city of Shanghai and how alluring it is for so many people. This story follows the lives of several people and tells of how they came to Shanghai with dreams of making it and how they were high up in her favour one minute and next minute in the depth of despair because she had thrown them out. STARS *****
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
Ahhhh, I love historical fiction and An Officer and a Spy is right up there with the best.
It is based on the 'Dreyfus Affair' that occurred in the 1890s. It is written from the prospective of Picquart who is a career Army Officer and who ends up uncovering discrepancies in the trial of Alfred Dreyfus. We follow him as he becomes a 'whistle blower'.
It was great to read a spy novel that occurred without any sophisticated technological gadgets. STARS ***