There's been a lot more reading than writing going on around here. This is a good thing, since I've read lots of enjoyable books, but bad because I have forgotten what I wanted to say about them. For example, I enjoyed Kate Grenville's The Secret River last month but having never gotten around to doing a proper review, don't have much to say about it now.
Here are a few I remember more clearly.
Fixing Shadows by Susan Barrett had all the makings of a fantastic read for me. A setting in Victorian England/London, the swap of a baby, the upstairs/downstairs issue, a house in the country - what more could I ask for? The story is told by the omniscient narrator in what I cannot fully describe, but would say was a rather quirky and darkly comedic way. This made for an unusual reading experience as I never had the opportunity to feel close to any of the characters. The tale takes place over quite a long period of time and plenty of horrid things happen to all the characters, but I never really felt bad about any - all right, most - of it since I didn't have much of a connection to anyone. I think if you enjoy this sort of setting and the time period you might like this unique and modern take on a Victorian tale.
Next up is Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran, the sequel to Pomegranate Soup which I found delicious earlier this Fall. We join the Iranian Aminpour sisters in the little town in Ireland where they have made a home and a business for themselves. The three sisters grapple with life and love, religion and keeping secrets in this installment of their story. I enjoyed this book, though did not feel the same magic as I did with Pomegranate Soup. I think their story is a compelling one, so I am hoping Mehran is working on another book about them.
Finally, we have Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun. When I requested this from Shelf Awareness I was thinking, based on the subject matter, that it was a memoir, so I was surprised to find that it is a novel, being released later this month according to amazon. Miles from Nowhere is the story of Joon, a Korean-American teenage runaway living on the streets of New York in the 1980s. Miles from Nowhere is not easy reading, as young Joon works for little money at horrific jobs, and winds up living in squalor with people she cannot trust, doing drugs and hoping for more out of life. This hope is present throughout the novel and we begin to see what could be a better life for Joon. I think what is most mystifying from the outside in terms of teen runaways is why they have left home in the first place. I suppose my opinion is that a person would have to be pretty emotionally and/or physically terrorized to decide that living on the streets is a better option. I wish that aspect of Joon's life had been explored in more detail. This is a beautifully written novel, but I found myself comparing it to a memoir about a similar book I read about a teen runaway in New York. I'm sure that's not a fair comparison, but it seems in this case, for this subject matter, a memoir simply resonated more with me as a reader.