Whichbook Blog

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One family, three women of different ages with different personalities doesn't lead to a very conducive home life for daughter, Dot - but she muddles through. A sad but strangely enchanting story with each chapter moving through life and time. The chapters help us to understand why the family, their lovers and friends behave, react and adapt to the circumstances they face. Really nice read with a heart-stopping conclusion.

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The Round House

You will carry Joe around with you for a long time. His world changes suddenly when his mother is raped on their reservation. Although overwhelming at times, the story is lifted by warm humour, brilliant characters and strong friendships. I learnt a lot about the plight of contemporary Native Americans.

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Young Blood

Sifiso Mzobe is South Africa's answer to Irvine Welsh or Alan Bissett. He takes the lives of young men in Umlozi, one of Durban's roughest townships and, in beautiful, sympathetic prose, he makes us understand what it is that drives young men like Sipho, Vusi and Musa into a life of crime. And he makes us understand the dreadful consequences if they are not able to break free and take their lives into their own hands.

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What struck me most about this story set in present day Buenos Aires was the passivity of its young female narrator whose life appears to be a series of interactions with characters from the fringes of society. Yet this is not a depressing read; I was drawn to a woman who, though lacking any moral compass, could make me smile with her wryly humorous observations.

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The Lemon Grove

This one packs one punch after another - intense, bruising and teetering on the edge. It's impossible to remain impartial - but whom can you trust? Expect oscillating sympathies, a tortured twist of emotion and expectation - and lots of sex. What's more, I didn't see that final fatal blow coming at all.

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