gillyp (gillyp) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
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50bookchallenge

Off to a slow start this year

But here are the books I've read since January 1st


I was waiting… waiting... waiting for something, anything, to happen. For a plot – any plot. By the time I was half-way through, any semblance of a story would have been fine.

The prose is lovely and very smooth but page after page after page of nothing gets depressing after a while. Then the child arrives and I thought, finally the story has arrived! But no, for the child moves on and so does the book - on and on and on, page after page of yet more nothing. Events do happen, but they’re so infrequent and too disconnected to be considered significant in the great inconsequential morass of the whole. Perhaps that was what the author intended, that this novel be exactly like Real Life? In all honesty, if I wanted this much Real Life I’d go and read someone’s blog. In my opinion, a novel requires more.

The Gate at the Stairs is a perfectly readable book, just don’t let the glowing reviews lead you to expect too much. It’s OK, nothing more.


There was a coldness to it somehow, the characters never seemed to come to life. The premise was interesting but the execution was confusing, over-wrought and contrived. I never really got inside the story or believed any of it. Disappointing.



One suicide bomber blows up a bus. Another blows himself up in a café. A sniper attacks a busy road – Eitan Enoch, known to all as the ‘Croc’ survives all three incidents and finds himself an unwilling celebrity, a symbol of Israeli resistance. Meanwhile, a Palestinian would-be terrorist lies in a coma in a Jerusalem hospital, trying to figure out what has happened to him and how his fate fits that of the Croc.

Croc Attack is pitched as a dark comedy – to be honest, it’s not really that funny, but it is a very engaging page turner with a tragi-comic feel and a lot to say about everyday life and attitudes in Israel. Dark, depressing and highly recommended.



It would be hard to find a novel more pertinent to the issues of the day – bullying, in school and the workplace, school league tables, broken relationships, police corruption, guns and child-suicide – which should make it annoyingly contrived but in fact this is a sparse and brilliantly written suspense novel about the worst of crimes committed by an apparently insane man that is far from what it appears on the surface.

The story is told from the view point of Detective Lucia May, other characters tell their sides of the story mostly via the interviews Lucia conducts in her investigation. The style is stark, skeletal and yet each one of the voices is true and individual. A fine piece of storytelling.



bleak, violent and utterly depressing tale of a Ukrainian family in Canada. Tragedy after tragedy rains down on the poor immigrant family who barely get to take a breath before the next murder/drought/rape/robbery/pogrom/disaster hits them.

A finely written book, probably true to life (the author produces documentaries) but too unremittingly austere and depressing for me.
Tags: british, canada, crime fiction, human spirit, humor, police drama, politics, satire
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