Re: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by overcaffeinated
31 May, 2015 14:09
Hi all - list for this month's book. Sorry it's a bit late! We've just back from a week in Hay-on-Wye in Wales so I've chosen books shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2015. The first three are fiction, the second here are creative fiction.
See you on Tuesday!
The redemption of Galen Pike - Carys Davies
In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-aged alderman opens his heart to Queen Victoria. A teenage daughter leaves home in search of adventure. High in the Cumbrian fells a woman seeks help from her father's enemy. Spare, precise, charged with a prickly wit, the stories in Carys Davies's sparkling second collection remind us how little we know of the lives of others.
The dig - Cynan Jones
This is a searing short novel, built of the interlocking fates of a badger-baiter and a disconsolate farmer, unfolding in a stark rural setting where man, animal, land and weather are at loggerheads. Their two paths converge with tragic inevitability. Jones writes of the physiology of grief and the isolation of loss with brilliance, and about the simple rawness of animal existence with a naturalist's unblinking eye. His is a pared-down prose of resonant simplicity and occasional lushness. His writing about ducks and dogs and cows is axe-sharp. There is not a whiff of the bucolic pastoral or the romanticized sod here. This is a real rural ride. It is short, but crackles with latent compressed energy that makes it swell to fill more space than at first glance it occupies.
Burrard Inlet - Tyler Keevil
Burrard Inlet is the body of water that divides Vancouver's North Shore from the rest of the Lower Mainland. In this collection of award-winning stories, Tyler Keevil uses that rugged landscape as a backdrop for characters who are struggling against the elements, each other, and themselves. A search-and-rescue volunteer looks for a missing snowboarder on Christmas Eve; two brothers retreat to the woods to shoot a film in memory of their dead friend; a reclusive forestry worker picks up a hitcher on his way down Mount Seymour; a young man finds a temporary haven on the ice barge where he works. Written in a lean, muscular style, these are stories awash in blood and brine, and steeped in images of freedom and confinement. Within that narrative framework, Burrard Inlet becomes more than a geographical location: it is a liminal space, a boundary and a barrier, a threshold to be crossed.
Other people's countries: a journey into memory - Patrick McGuinness
Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize Disarming, eloquent and illuminating, this meditation on place, time and memory, could only have been written by a poet, or a novelist, or a professor. Happily, Patrick McGuinness is all three, and Other People's Countries is a marvel: a stunning piece of lyrical writing, rich in narrative and character - full of fresh ways of looking at how we grow up, how we start to make sense of the world. This book evolved out of stories the author told his children: stories about the Belgian border town of Bouillon, where his mother came from, and where he has been going three times a year since he was a child - first with his parents and now with his son and daughter. This town of eccentrics, of charm, menace and wonder, is re-created beautifully - 'Most of my childhood,' he says, 'feels more real to me now than it did then'. For all its sharp specifics, though, this is a book about the common, universal concerns of childhood and the slowly developing deep sense of place that is the bedrock for our memories. Alert and affectionate, full of great curiosity and humour, Other People's Countries has all the depth and complexity of its own subject - memory - and is an unfashionably distilled, resonant book: unusual and exquisite.
Down to the sea in ships - Horatio Clare
For millennia, the seaways have carried our goods, cultures and ideas, the terrors of war and the bounties of peace - and they have never been busier than they are today. But though our normality depends on shipping, it is a world which passes largely unconsidered, unseen and unrecorded. Out of sight, in every lonely corner of every sea, through every night, every day, and every imaginable weather, tiny crews of seafarers work the giant ships which keep landed life afloat. These ordinary men (and they are mostly men) live extraordinary lives, subject to pressures we know - families, relationships, dreams and fears - and to dangers and difficulties we can only imagine, from hurricanes and pirates to years of confinement in hazardous, if not hellish, environments. Horatio Clare joins two container ships, travelling in the company of their crews and captains. Together they experience unforgettable journeys: the first, from East to West (Felixstowe to Los Angeles, via Suez) is rich with Mediterranean history, torn with typhoon nights and gilded with an unearthly Pacific peace; the second northerly passage, from Antwerp to Montreal, reeks of diesel, wuthers with gales and goes to frozen regions of the North Atlantic, in deep winter, where the sea itself seems haunted. In Clare's vibrant prose a modern industry does battle with implacable forces, as the ships cross seas of history and incident, while seafarers unfold the stories of their lives, telling their tales and yarns. A beautiful and terrifying portrait of the oceans and their human subjects, and a fascinating study of big business afloat, Down to the Sea in Ships is a moving tribute to those who live and work on the great waters, far from land.
American Interior - Gruff Rhys
In 1792, John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was indeed, as widely believed, a tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans still walking the great plains. In 2012, Gruff Rhys set out on an 'investigative concert tour' in the footsteps of John Evans, with concerts in New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St Louis, North Dakota and more. American Interior is the story of these journeys. It is also an exploration of how wild fantasies interact with hard history and how myth-making can inspire humans to partake in crazy, vain pursuits of glory, including exploration, war and the creative arts.