Following Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAdam, I decided to try another dystopian future book by Margaret Atwood. I picked A Handmaid’s tale from the bookshelf and I can’t put it down. Despair is interwoven with a strong desire to die. The handmaid is a captive, with no other purpose as to produce children for the barren Wives, a walking womb.
There are thousands, if not millions, of writers in the world whose names will never be known and whose novelist careers will never earn them enough to make a living. And then there are the lucky few who receive the critical or market acclaim that elevates them to an entirely different level. John Ajvide Lindqvist has reached that level, at least momentarily.
His debut novel Let the Right One In was a bestseller in Sweden, and the movie adaptation by director Tomas Alfredsson was one of the best movies of 2008. It’s not too often your first book is both a bestseller and adapted into a worldwide hit.
Lindqvist’s second novel, Handling the Undead, hits bookstores today (conveniently on the eve of the October 1 release of the American adaptation Let Me In). Like Let the Right One In was a reinvention of the vampire genre, Handling the Undead is an attempt to revise zombies.
Something very peculiar is happening in Stockholm. There’s a heatwave on and people cannot turn their lights out or switch their appliances off. Then the terrible news breaks. In the city morgue, the dead are waking up…
“But Eva was not dead, he was not allowed to grieve. And she was not alive, so he could not hope. Nothing.”
After the dreary “Host” from Stephanie Meyer, I felt like laughing again so I picked up a book from 1993 written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I read (or mostly listened to it being read by Anna Fields in my car) the previous novels called “Hot Shot” with the troubles of a woman in a start-up business with electronics and another one from the post-civil war era of a mismatched romance between a Yankee and a Confederate called “Just Imagine“.
I knew what I was in for – a thrill ride, well written and full of humour and I was not disappointed.
Honey Jane Moon is only 16 but has been her family’s commanding force for years when she decides to drive her pretty cousin Chantal Booker from South Carolina to California to audition for TV’s Dash Coogan Show. Dash, “the last of America’s movie cowboy heroes” is indeed impressed–but by Honey, whom he picks to play his daughter. Although suddenly tossed into life’s fast lane, Honey still wants just what she always wanted: a close-knit family and some affection. Her South Carolina kin live with her, but their closeness resembles the adhesion of leeches. Dash, who learned about relationships from his ex-wives, turns a cold shoulder to Honey, who desperately needs him to be a real-life father figure, while Eric Dillon, Honey’s “dark, sullen, and gorgeous” co-star, stomps on the puppy love she has to offer. Yet it is only through their complicated relationships that Honey, Dash and Eric can finally exorcise their personal demons.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Were you ever so charmed by a story that you would not put the book down? I was surprised to find this book to be a fantasy tale in a land where supernatural beings still existed and civilization was still in its infancy – where Romans had barely left and Britons and Saxons were living in peace after the war undertaken by king Arthur and Merlin.
Much of the story has twists and turns but it is good enough for a child to read it and enjoy it and also for an adult to read it and find hidden gems and pearls of wisdom.
Never in my life have I been so enchanted. Enthralled. Besotted. Fully and utterly in love with a book.
I feel like I know Iris Chase Griffin, the storyteller, the old grandma retelling her life story to her young and estranged granddaughter. From the marriage of her grandparents at the turn of the century, to the bone button factory which had made them rich, to the place she grew up with her younger sister Laura, to the death of her mother, new love of his father, the two world wars, the ruin and the despair, the tragic death of her sister, the loveless marriage and the secret.
“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
This book has all the ingredients of a perfect noir comedy – well formed characters, international locations, a fast moving plot with no brakes, and of course zombies. Revenge is a dish best served cold – and as a betrayed wife, master chef and cookery instructor, Candace cooks up the perfect recipe for the ultimate gazpacho
Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away. And in the end, there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.