Whichbook Blog

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You will Be Safe Here

An exploration of the Afrikaner psyche, from the Second Boer War to the present, including their deeply ingrained racism. The characters are generally not pleasant, but they are sympathetic. It is important to remember their humanity, as Damian Barr explores the fear and hatred that created them. A difficult but essential book - and so beautifully written.

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Euna, a young woman, escapes her cramped life in a Celtic religion based- women's community in the Hebrides after falling in love with an outsider. Muireall, head of the community, I found especially frightening because of her strange, erratic behaviour. Aram, the love-interest, also has a strange life but his motives for living the way he did I could understand. Feeling very satisfied after finishing this weird and intriguing tale.

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Tirzah and the Prince of Crows

This story of Tirzah, a teenager on the cusp of adulthood in a 1970's Welsh valley community, is so richly detailed that it reads as though the words have been embroidered directly onto the page. The book tells of Tirzah's struggles with chapel conservatism in a male dominated community and her ensuing rebellion with all that surrounds her. It is a story vividly told, reflecting its roots in Welsh folklore.

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As Norma looks into the apparent suicide of her mother she begins to realise that she cannot trust anyone close to her - for Norma has gifts that she must keep hidden. This is not an easy read as it mixes magical realism with Nordic noir and is told from several viewpoints - but I found it thought provoking and well worth the effort

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