REVIEWS: new books from Nova Ren Suma and Patrick Gale!

Baby bookblogger that I am, I recently signed up to Netgalley. Now we’re midway through March, two of the books I’ve amazingly been approved for are coming out very soon, and they’re both cracking. Reviews under the jump!


The Walls Around Us – Nova Ren Suma
Out: 24th March 2015
336 pages, Algonquin Books

Just look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? The dark colours, frenetic font and delicate flowers are an excellent indicator of what the reader is in for. I read this book in January and its atmosphere is still vivid on recollection: think sultry nights, long with shadows you don’t quite trust. We spend our time with two unreliable narrators, living very different but interesting experiences: whether you’re with Violet in the ballet world or Amber in the correctional facility, you’re completely absorbed in the details of their lives.

Neither is telling the whole truth. The Walls Around Us is dreamily unstable in its grasp on reality, and the walls turn out not to be so solid. This is a haunted and haunting story about a girl who touched other people’s lives and made an impression that lasted after her death. The writing is almost elegiac, and the unexpected (by me, at least) ending is delicious. A great, unusual novel about guilt and teenage girlhood.


A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale
Out: 24th March 2015
352 pages, Tinder Press

Notes from an Exhibition is one of my favourite books, but like a complete book-slacker, I’ve yet to read anything else by Patrick Gale. Then came this wonder! Becoming a fan of A Place Called Winter feels a little like joining a cult, albeit the cosiest cult ever. (Just venture into the hashtag on twitter.)

Anyway, I was expecting something warm, lovely and humane and was not disappointed. A Place Called Winter has the honour of being the first book I’ve highlighted lines from on my Kindle. Its geographically epic scope lends it a sprawling feel, and Gale’s thorough research makes itself known in the rich historical detailing. The book takes for its subject the deepest and widest matter possible: a human being’s life. Harry Cane is a likeable hero, and though the places that choice and circumstance take him are often dangerous, the reader is assured of always being in good company. Through a very mixed series of fortunes, Harry is quietly brave and compelling. The whole novel, but especially the end, is deservedly tender. I can’t wait to see A Place Called Winter do well this year!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me be among the first to read these great books.


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