Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall

 

 

“We are, all of us, sudden travelers in the world, blind, passing each other, reaching out, missing, sometimes taking hold.”

Reviewing a collection of short stories isn’t an easy task. With a few exceptions, short story collections tend to feel like they need to be read over a longer time than it takes to read a book. For example, read one story, take a break and go read something else. Then come back to another story after that breather.

And in a collection such as this slim volume by Sarah Hall, a lot of breaks are needed, as the stories take on such varied settings, some weird and otherworldly and a bit experimental, some more rooted in the every day. Is that why the title is such? That as we read the stories, we are, too, “sudden travelers”, having to switch our perspectives completely?

For these stories are set in Turkish forests, Cumbrian villages, some that seem more like dreamscapes with weird transformations.

There is no doubt that Hall is a great writer. The stories are full of beautiful writing. For myself, as I am not much of a reader of more experimental turns, I was more drawn to her more ‘real’ stories like Orton and, especially the penultimate story, Sudden Traveler. And her writing pulled me in deep to those stories, tears falling, even, for one of them.

So while I stumbled during a couple of stories, unsure of where these pieces were leading me, the end result was worth it.

 

 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and

publisher Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book.

Check out the rest of the tour stops here

Grab a copy of this book: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Find out more about Sarah Hall: Website and Facebook

 

 

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Library Loot (October 16 to 22)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Happy Wednesday you guys!

And yes I did manage to make it to the library this week! Hooray!

 

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters – Balli K Jaswal

The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking “good” sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life.

On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time.

Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again.

I’ve read several of Nakamura’s other works like The Thief, Evil and The Mask, and was happy to see something of his that I’ve not read. I do wish the title were less bland though but it looks like that’s a direct translation of his Japanese title, 王国” (Ōkoku)

The Kingdom – Fuminori Nakamura

Yurika is a freelancer in the Tokyo underworld. She poses as a prostitute, carefully targeting potential johns, selecting powerful and high-profile men. When she is alone with them, she drugs them and takes incriminating photos to sell for blackmail purposes. She knows very little about the organization she’s working for, and is perfectly satisfied with the arrangement, as long as it means she doesn’t have to reveal anything about her identity, either. She operates alone and lives a private, solitary life, doing her best to lock away painful memories.

But when a figure from Yurika’s past resurfaces, she realizes there is someone out there who knows all her secrets: her losses, her motivations, her every move. There are whispers of a crime lord named Kizaki—“a monster,” she is told—and Yurika finds herself trapped in a game of cat and mouse. Is she wily enough to escape one of the most sadistic men in Tokyo?

(Interestingly when I was looking up the synopsis for this book on Goodreads, I learnt that the book’s British title is Marilyn and Me)

The Starlet and the Spy – Ji-min Lee, translated by Chi Young Kim

Historical fiction, based on true events, about two women who seem the most unlikely to ever meet: Alice, a Korean war survivor and translator for the American forces in Seoul, and Marilyn Monroe, who is visiting Korea on a four-day USO tour.

February 1954. Although the Korean War armistice was signed a year ago, most citizens of Seoul still battle to return to some semblance of normalcy. Conditions are dismal. Children beg for food, and orphanages are teeming. Alice J. Kim, a Korean translator and typist for the American forces still sanctioned in the city, yearns for the life she used to live before her country was torn apart.

Then Alice’s boss makes an announcement—the American movie star Marilyn Monroe will be visiting Korea on a four-day USO tour, and Alice has been chosen as her translator. Though intrigued, Alice has few expectations of the job—what could she and a beautiful actress at the peak of her fame possibly have to talk about? Yet the Marilyn she meets, while just as dazzling and sensual as Alice expected, is also surprisingly approachable.

As Marilyn’s visit unfolds, Alice is forced into a reckoning with her own painful past. The Starlet and the Spy is a portrayal of unexpected kinship between two very different women, and of the connections that can change, or even save, a life.

A Clue to the Exit – Edward St Aubyn

Charlie Fairburn, successful screenwriter, ex-husband, and absent father, has been given six months to live. He resolves to stake half his fortune on a couple of turns of the roulette wheel and, to his agent’s disgust, to write a novel-about death. In the casino he meets his muse. Charlie grows as addicted to writing fiction as she is to gambling.

His novel is set on a train and involves a group of characters (familiar to readers of St. Aubyn’s earlier work) who are locked in a debate about the nature of consciousness. As this train gets stuck at Didcot, and Charlie gets more passionately entangled with the dangerous Angelique, A Clue to the Exit comes to its startling climax. Exquisitely crafted, witty, and thoughtful, Edward St. Aubyn’s dazzling novel probes the very heart of being.

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

Library Loot (October 9 to 15)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Happy Wednesday!

Argh I haven’t managed to make it to the library since my last Library Loot post! So I just have a couple of things this week. And no kids’ haul. I’ll do a better job next week!

Meanwhile, Claire has the link-up this week!

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.

I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O’Farrell’s astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter–for whom this book was written–from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers.

Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O’Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.

 

 

I first read this in 2015 when it was published but didn’t continue with the series. (Not sure why!). So I am making up for it and starting over again.

The Fifth Season – NK Jemisin

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

It’s not Monday anymore!

 

 

 

I walk around the lake 2-3 times a week (it’s a nice 2 mile loop) but haven’t seen pelicans here before! They were constantly clustered together and even dipping their heads down for food (fish I guess?) at the same time. Synchronized feeding!

Back in San Jose for ramen and Japanese groceries including sashimi. And we always make our own California rolls but with spam!

 

One of my current works-in-progress – this is a pattern called Wonderful Shells Wrap and this is Ombré Life yarn in lovely hues of grays and pinks

 

Our first ever taco night at home! And more to come

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler  – Kelly Harms

 

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus

Watching:

Terrace House Tokyo

Eating:

A slice of marble cake that the kids and I made over the weekend

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

 

Last week:

I read:

 

Bone Crossed – Patricia Briggs
I Wish You All the Best – Mason Deaver
All-New Wolverine Vol 1 – Tom Taylor, David Lopez
All-New Wolverine Vol 2 – Tom Taylor
All-New Wolverine Vol 3 – Tom Taylor
All-New Wolverine Vol 4 – Tom Taylor
Mera: Tidebreaker – Danielle Paige

I posted:

 

Library Loot (October 2 to 8)

 

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

Library Loot (October 2 to 8)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Happy Wednesday!

To help you get over the rest of the week, here’s a lovely rainbow display of books that I found at my local library!

Don’t you just love it?

 

Meanwhile here’s what I got. Not very much this week as I’m still working through the pile of books from the last two weeks. I feel like my reading has been slowing down this past month….!

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4) – Patricia Briggs

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won’t be Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after.

It’ll be her friends’

One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

(he wanted to make sure he was in the photo!)

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

It’s Monday!

 

 

 

It’s the last few days of September! And we finally had some autumnal weather this weekend. It’s amazing how the temperature can change in just a few days. It was shorts and slippers out for the first few days of the week but when it came to Friday afternoon, I was wishing I had my jacket as I shivered in the blasting wind at the playground after school.

 

 

And with the weather cool enough I finally felt like doing some baking again. The result was two walnut loaves, a cheesy garlicky tear and share, and some pesto cheese rolls.

 

Some new books that came in over the past couple of weeks!

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

The Hunger – Alma Katsu

 

 

The Farm – Joanne Ramos

 

 

Watching:

Terrace House Tokyo

Listening:

No audiobook at the moment

 

Eating:

For breakfast I had the homemade walnut bread with butter.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

I picked up a pork tenderloin from Costco and may turn it into a sort of charsiew.

Last week:

I read:
Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation – Bill Nye
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) – Patricia Briggs
The Betel Nut Mystery – Ovidia Yu
Tongues of Serpents – Naomi Novik

I posted:

 

Library Loot (September 25 to October 1)

X-23 and Abbott – 2 comics for #ripxiv

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

Library Loot (September 25 to October 1)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Hey it’s Wednesday. The last Wednesday of the month to be exact!

This week’s books aren’t all RIP-related like the past couple of weeks. I was browsing the library’s new arrivals (virtual) shelves and these all just screamed ‘request me’ so here they are!

I Wish You All The Best – Mason Deaver

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

 

Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Bryne

Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other not-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown….

When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control over her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry—the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?

An astonishing graphic novel that explores duty, love, heroism and freedom, all through the eyes of readers’ favorite undersea royalty.

From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera and Aquaman origin story that explores Mera’s first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).