Reading the latest from your favourite authors

Reading the latest from your favourite authors

I really like Kate Atkinson (see my previous blog) and always get her latest book when a new one comes out, and so I settled down to read Life after Life a couple of months ago. Weirdly I can now barely remember anything about it, except that I enjoyed it, though not as much of some of her others. I do remember finding it quite confusing, and probably didn’t stop long enough to work out what was going on. If I had have done I would probably have enjoyed it more.

Flicking back through it to remind myself, what I liked was the great writing about life in second world war Britain, a subject I always enjoy reading about. The main character is born in a snowstorm and both dies and lives and the book follows through what very different courses a life can take and it’s intellectually interesting to see all of these played out. But there were bits involving Nazi Germany which just seemed too implausible to me and it didn’t draw me in or leave me with a sense of loss when it was over as her books normally do.

I then read Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver. I only finished this a couple of weeks ago and so remember it clearly, but it was another one I didn’t enjoy as much as I was expecting too. The premise is great – a novel about climate change and how it affects people, centred around beautiful butterflies that turn up unexpectedly off course from their usual migratory patterns, with their whole future as a species hanging in the balance when the snow arrives. I normally love the people that Kingsolver brings to life through her many excellent books, but I just couldn’t feel much emotional attachment to this cast of characters, despite being inherently interested in books that surface what it is like to be poor in America, which this one does very well. I ploughed on but this just isn’t as good as the wonderful Prodigal Summer and The Lacuna.

So, not sure I would recommend either of these. Still, I’m glad I gave them a try and it won’t stop me looking out for the next new book from my favourite authors.