Whichbook Blog

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You Would Have Missed Me

An unusual and gripping story of a little girl uprooted from her life in East Germany to a supposedly better life in West Germany in the 60s. Told through her eyes, she reveals details of an unhappy life from which she escapes into an imaginary world inspired by her snow globe and reading 'The Time Machine'. A haunting picture of an unhappy childhood but totally compulsive.

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The Pine Islands

Imagine you are on a road trip around Japan in the company of Victor Meldrew, except Victor has morphed into Gilbert Silvester, a German academic with an interest in beards. Gilbert's withering observations of Japanese culture had me snorting with laughter, but I was also brought up short by the sheer pathos of the story. An ambiguous ending will not be to every reader's taste, though the poetic beauty of the writing more than compensates.

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Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile

Imbecile definition: a person who behaves in an extremely stupid way. By no means can Mary Ann be described as such. She is a strong child and a level-headed, caring and self-educated young woman. With no punctuation and an open verse, it is, initially, a difficult read. Do persevere. The more I read, the more fluid it became and I kind of 'found my feet'. Challenging read - yes. Interesting story - yes. A different time, a different life - yes.

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Number One Chinese Restaurant

There is plenty to savour in this captivating family saga. Insurance scams, arson, a menacing fixer ‘uncle', sibling rivalry and star-crossed lovers are just some of the plot ingredients simmering behind the scenes of a Chinese restaurant, with all the usual kitchen histrionics and melodramas. The sensual imagery is so vivid that you can smell the spicy aromas and taste the food being prepared – especially if you love Chinese cuisine, as I do!

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