The Dept of Speculation is a slightly unusual novel. On one hand it is almost poetic with some beautiful language and imagery (and laugh out loud sections). However on the other, the lack of a more traditional narrative structure means whilst I found it endlessly quotable it probably isn’t one for me.
In Ruby Fruit Jungle Rita Mae Brown never shies away from tough topics. Poverty, systemic homophobia and sexism are all covered. It is lifted from a potentially depressing story by the wit and humour of the sometimes frustrating but nearly always hilarious protagonist Molly.
The Roanoke Girls is difficult to review. It’s well written and whilst I don’t really buy it as a mystery I do think it was well paced and exceedingly compelling. That said it really was too dark for me and it felt strangely lacking in the kind of resolution I was hoping for.
Fever City is an interesting multi generational conspiracy / mystery thriller slowed down by an over complicated cast of players and some interesting language choices. The story pulled me in but it was hard, hard work.
What Girls are Made of is not an easy book to read. It is not happy or uplifting. It is full of the kind of subject matters that come with trigger warnings; abortion, emotionally abusive relationships, highly sexual content and animal cruelty. It is however much more than a set of issues put together in a timely novel. It is messy and honest and along with the powerful authors note
The Underground Railroad is a book I am sure will deservedly become known as a classic. Whilst not without flaws I found the exceptional writing, careful characterisation, and interesting take on the Railroad along with the condensing of historical narrative to be a chilling and enlightening read.