#WWWWednesday – 25th March 2020

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

Two books for blog tours and a NetGalley ARC.

20200214_125432-1_kindlephoto-138190928On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (hardcover, courtesy of Jonathan Cape and Midas PR)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born  a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam  and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

The Philosophers DaughtersThe Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth (e-book, courtesy of RedDoor Press and Random Things Tours)

London, 1891. Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or devote herself to painting.

When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern Territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life. Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.

A Thousand MoonsA Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry (eARC, courtesy of Faber & Faber and NetGalley)

Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live.

Narrated by Winona, the young Lakota orphan adopted by soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole in Days Without End, A Thousand Moons continues Sebastian Barry’s extraordinary fictional exploration of late nineteenth century America.

Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, educated and loved, Winona is employed by the lawyer Briscoe in the nearby town of Paris, as she tries to forge a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of this shared world, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront let alone understand.

Told in Sebastian Barry’s gorgeous, lyrical prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman’s journey, about her determination to write her own future, and about the enduring human capacity for love.


Recently finished

Links from titles will take you to my review.

The Canary Keeper PBThe Canary Keeper by Clare Carson (paperback, review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

In the grey mist of the early morning a body is dumped on the shore of the Thames by a boatman in a metal canoe. The city is soon alive with talk of the savage Esquimaux stalking Victorian London and an eye witness who claims the killer had an accomplice: a tall woman dressed in widow’s weeds, with the telltale look of the degenerate Irish.

Branna ‘Birdie’ Quinn had no good reason to be by the river that morning, but she did not kill the man. She’d seen him first the day before, desperate to give her a message she refused to hear. And now the Filth will see her hang for his murder, just like her father.

To save her life, Birdie must trace the dead man’s footsteps. Back onto the ship that carried him to his death, back to cold isles of Orkney that sheltered him, and up to the far north, a harsh and lawless land which holds more answers than she looks to find…

The Walls We Build_EbookThe Walls We Build by Jules Hayes  (eARC, review copy courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources)

Three Friends… Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two SecretsShortly after Frank’s death in 2002, Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

​One Hidden LifeHow much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

​Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.


What Cathy (will) Read Next

20200314_134401A Lodge in the Wilderness by John Buchan (hardcover)

An imaginary conference is arranged by a multi-millionaire Francis Carey at Musuru, a lodge located on the East Kenyan Plateau some 9,000 feet above sea level, to discuss Empire. The conference is made up of nine men and nine women, taken from the upper and professional classes.

 

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