A few weeks ago I spent the weekend in Dublin. It was my first time there and I loved the city, and as I was there on my own I had plenty of time to read whilst eating my way round some great restaurants and on the flight home.
First up was Head of State by Andrew Marr. This felt like required reading for me, as my job working close to UK government means my colleagues and I are all waiting with baited breath to see how the EU referendum campaign will play out. It certainly won’t play out like this! Head of State is a fantastic fast-paced thriller with a brilliant plot. There will be no spoilers here, but suffice to say it’s a breathtakingly bold take on the critical vote, it’s brilliantly executed and it left me looking in a slightly different way at the back of Downing Street as I walk past on my way to meetings.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie really couldn’t have been more different. I read and loved my first book by the author last year (see my blog on Americanah), so immediately put the others she has written on my reading list. The father of the protagonist is a fighter for truth and justice through the newspaper he runs in Nigeria, is well respected and is admired by both his church community and those trying to fight back against corruption. But he is also a violent perpetrator of domestic violence.
The tension in the family scenes is awful, with everyone tiptoeing around him to avoid an outburst of vicious violence, and you are willing his children and wife to somehow break free. As others step in to try and help it’s lovely to see the children coming our of their shells and shaking off some of the perpetual fear. So, it’s not an easy book to read subject-wise, but it is an important one and one I would recommend.