Author Archive > koshkha

The World is a Wedding

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The World is a Wedding, Wendy Jones, book reviewThe World is a Wedding by Wendy Jones is the follow-up to her first novel, ‘The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals’ and picks up where that first book ends. I’ve not read the first book but I didn’t feel I was missing out or failing to follow the plot by not having previously ‘met’ Wifred and his ex-wife Grace.

The book is set in Narberth, Wales and in central London and the year is 1925. When the book begins, Wilfred is thinking about what an extraordinarily lucky fellow he is to have a good business, to have just married his sweetheart Flora Myfanwy and to have had a second chance after divorcing Grace. It will be some time before readers will get the full low-down on what went wrong with their marriage, and I’m not sure how much of Grace’s trials were revealed in the first book.


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I am Max Lamm

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I am Max Lamm, Raphael Brous, book reviewI am Max Lamm by Raphael Brous is a strange book and even when I got to the end of it I was still not entirely sure what I’d just read. The basic story is fairly simple and the moral of the story somewhat muddled. The characters are deeply damaged but in some cases oddly endearing although the sporadic appearances of a cast of ghosts from Max’s past was a step too far on the overall weirdness scale for my liking. Cut the ghosts and I’d have been more enthusiastic about the book. I fully expected to get to the end and discover Max was himself dead, so eager was I to have an explanation for the presence of quite so many spirits.


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The Elimination

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The Elimination by Rithy Panh, book reviewWhen my copy of The Elimination by Rithy Panh came through the letter box I took it out of its wrapper and thought “Oh boy, what have I done?”

The subtitle will maybe give you an idea why a sense of trepidation came over me. The Elimination – A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts his Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields.

I was pretty scared of what I might find. Even though I’d asked for this book, even though I’d told myself that I should be thoroughly ashamed to know almost nothing about something that took place during my own lifetime, I was still struck by a fear of what I might find inside the covers.


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Motorcycle Diaries Across India

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Motorcycle Diaries Across India by Jay S Babu, book reviewMotorcycle Diaries Across India by Jay S Babu was my latest temporary acquisition from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library which offers free e-book ‘loans’ to members of their Amazon Prime scheme. Unlike the other downloads which I’ve tended to race through, leaving myself kicking my heels waiting for the end of the month so I could pick the next one, I had to sit myself down, give myself a good talking to and then force myself to finish it. Having challenged myself to download a freebie, read and review it each month, I was struggling for sufficient enthusiasm to get through this one.

The author is Indian and the trip he describes was taken back in 1966. It’s not clear to me whether it was written up and published at that time or whether he’s written it several decades later and then published it.


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Yellow Star

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Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, book reviewYellow Star by Jennifer Roy is the true story of Sylvia Perlmutter Rozines, a child survivor of the Lodz Ghetto. Most of us think we know the horrors perpetuated by the Nazis on the Jews of Europe, but the treatment of Polish Jews in the ghettos is less well documented in popular literature than that of people in the refugee camps. The term ‘ghetto’ tends to be used these days for any area of a city where people of similar ethnic background tend to gravitate and live together. In the Second World War the Nazis established ghettos as a way to keep all their ‘undesirables’ together to make them easier to control, to abuse or to exploit as a labour force.


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Frida Kahlo, Pain and Passion

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Frida Kahlo, Pain and Passion Andrea Kettenmann, book reviewA few years ago whilst visiting a friend in Lisbon, we were lucky enough to see an exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s work at the city’s Centro Cultural de Belem. At the time my husband was really excited because he’d bought a load of Taschen artist profile books and had just been reading up about Frida. He knew her paintings from the pages of a book and not from actually standing in front of them.

Last summer whilst visiting a big museum in the North East, I saw a book which contained photos of Frida, Diego and their friends, gulped at the price, returned home and put it on my Amazon wish list. For Christmas I picked up a second hand copy for my husband and when I finally got round to looking at it, I realised very quickly that the photographs would mean a lot more to me if I knew more about Frida. I went to the bookshelf with all our art books and pulled down Andrea Kettenmann’s book, Frida Kahlo, Pain and Passion.


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A Lovesong for India

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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, A Lovesong for India, book reviewThis article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series.

I love books about India and whenever I go there on holiday, I take a list of all the books I’ve heard about during the year that I might be able to find more easily in India. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s A Lovesong for India was one of my purchases in 2011. Whilst I generally prefer Indian writers, I also enjoy Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s semi-outsider view of Indian life. Although she was born German to Polish parents, she moved to England and then married an Indian – architect CSH Jhabvala – and together they spent many years living in India. She now splits her days between New York, London and Delhi and A Lovesong for India reflects that complexity in her own life.

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Growing Old Outrageously

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Growing Old Outrageously by Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies, book reviewThis article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series. You can find out more about Hilary’s and Liz’s favourite reads here.

Growing Old Outrageously by Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies is a travel book that will either delight you with the scope of their retirement adventures and their willingness to have a go at anything or will fill you with fear that you might one day find yourself on holiday with these two eccentric old girls. Liz and Hilary met at school at Cheltenham Ladies College and then found each other again after retirement, despite Hilary being in Australia and Liz in the UK. They were reintroduced by a mutual friend, took their first trip together to Morocco and were soon bouncing around all over the world egging each other on to increasingly outrageous acts of self-embarrassment. Flirting with waiters, accidentally wetting themselves, getting locked in cupboards, offending fellow travellers and having a wild time soon became the norm.

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Indian Nocturne

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Indian Nocturne, Antonio Tabucchi, book review The back cover of my copy of Antonio Tabucchi’s Indian Nocturne proclaims it to be a “prizewinning modern masterpiece” and the front cover carries a quotation from Salman Rushdie with just the one word “Beautiful”. I have to agree that Indian Nocturne is a fascinating and intriguing little book though I might perhaps draw the line at the adjective chosen from Mr Rushdie. If Indian Nocturne has one quality that’s seldom found in Rushdie’s work it would be brevity rather than beauty.

Indian Nocturne follows a man in search of an old friend who has disappeared. The protagonist is not fully identified, referring to himself by various aliases including the name Roux, short for an old Portuguese nickname based on the word for nightingale.


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In Falling Snow

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In Falling Snow, Mary-Rose MacColl, book reviewIris is old and frail. Her body and her mind challenge her every day. She’s increasingly forgetful, she can’t remember the names of the grandchildren or things around her and her heart is a cause of concern for her doctors. Her life is ebbing away and she fills her days with little things – caring for an orphaned possum, chatting to the postman, and watching out for the visits from her long dead brother who keeps appearing before her as a young boy. The possum should be ample clue that Iris lives in Australia.

Grace is Iris’s granddaughter but she was brought up by her grandmother after her mother died in childbirth. Grace is a successful woman – an obstetrician or a gynaecologist, I’ll admit I’m not sure about the difference – but she’s got a lot on her plate.


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Questions of Travel

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Questions of Travel, Michelle de Kretser, book reviewQuestions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser was one of my favourite books of 2012 although technically it was only released in 2013. I read a lot of books. Even with a well stocked Kindle, piles of the things build up around my home threatening to topple over and attack my cats. Often at the end of a week I can’t even remember what I’ve read because I get through so many books. But only relatively rarely – perhaps half a dozen times a year – does a book take over my life, forces me to put all the non-essential things on hold and focus all my attention on it. When I received Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser as an uncorrected proof back in October or November last year, it took over my life.

Unfortunately since my life involves a lot of travel – you might start to see why it was so clearly the book for me – I was restricted in how much time I could give it because it was just such an enormous book.


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Daddy Love

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Daddy Love, Joyce Carol Oates,  book reviewDinah Whitcomb is out shopping at the mall with her five year old son Robbie when she realises she can’t find the family car. In a bit of a panic, she hunts for the car only for something far worse to happen. She is attacked by a man with a hammer who hits her over the head. Her son is abducted and when she chases the van in which his captor is driving she is run over, her body and face badly mutilated. The physical pain of her injuries is nothing compared to the horrifying loss of her son.

Chester Cash is a charismatic and attractive man, with long flowing hair and a well toned, muscular body. Ladies like Chester and Chester knows how to use that to his advantage.


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