Whichbook Blog

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The impoverished landscape of a rural Welsh quarry town forms the backdrop to this gritty and uncompromising coming-of-age story, littered with broken homes, domestic violence, child neglect and delinquency, where finding redemption through the power of words is the only way to escape your present and your past. The novel is elevated from bleakness by a rich atmosphere of Welsh language and culture, which sings off the page.

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The Return

This young adult's view of a Civil War and its consequences to everything he has ever known is an interesting read. Whatever your personal political feelings about this subject matter, no one can escape the hardship endured by those fleeing their homes with nothing but the bags they're holding and the clothes on their backs. Touching, innocent, incredibly down-to-earth and extremely relevant to the current plight of the Syrian refugees crisis.

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The Natural Way of Things

Disturbing and extraordinary, this story provokes more questions than it answers. Dealing with misogyny, sex scandals and punishment, nobody is particularly likeable and yet the book is incredibly readable. The writing is poetic, even in the most unsettling situations, & it makes you think about feminism and the position of women in society. The lack of a satisfying resolution left me angry, which I felt was exactly the author’s intention.

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The Empress and the Cake

What a bizarre & disturbing read - but increasing addictive and impossible to look away. A seemingly innocent act of hospitality by an elderly lady towards a young woman she meets in a bakery slowly reveals itself to be something much more sinister. This tiny novel packs a powerful punch of sickening excess, freakish horror & uncomfortable laughter. The dual narrative bounces the reader between centuries - cranking up the surreal to full pitch.

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The Sympathizer

If you are of mixed race, you may feel you sit between two worlds. And if your country is torn apart by war, which side do you choose? This dilemma is at the heart of a story of impossibly tested friendships. Told with wry humour, it is nevertheless gut-wrenching and disturbing.

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