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text 2017-12-14 21:58
Dead via lack of momentum.
The Sudden Appearance of Hope - Claire North

Another one where I just... didn't finish it. I left the main character about to die in a fire, and a week later I didn't feel any compelling desire to go back to it.


The premise was interesting: a young woman who no one ever remembers, who's taken up a life of crime to support herself/stay interested in the world. But like much LitFic with an SF/F twist, there wasn't much to support the whys, and the story itself (her attempt to steal jewels from the Saudi royal family, with a background plot about an evil self-improvement app) clearly wasn't riveting.


I'm not sure why I have trouble with non-genre fiction that doesn't explain the genre elements. Why no one remembers the MC or another character she meets is not explained, didn't look like it ever would be explained, and she doesn't ever seem to wonder about it or even think it's that remarkable. If this were an SF book, they'd have waved their hands and said "genetics!" and I'd have walked away happy, ditto with fantasy and magic. But here I was just going BUT WHY!?


I also found the writing style jarring and a little pretentious.

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text 2017-12-03 20:19
Reading progress update: I've read 109 out of 432 pages.
The Sudden Appearance of Hope - Claire North

I'm enjoying the story and the characters, but the prose is starting to get on my gears. There are so many sentence fragments, and random capitalisation, and grammatical oddities that it's distracting.


I get what North is trying to do, I think: Convey forcibly self-contained heroine who spends too much time in her own head, and has no fixed exterior reference points because everyone else is literally incapable of remembering her. And sure, fine, but I hit some random collection of words meant to convey that, and I don't think "wow, I'm inside her head," I think, "wow, precious."


Authors have been playing the stream of consciousness game a long time, and it feels like there're better, if more difficult, ways to get all this across.

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text 2017-12-02 05:11
Newbie Question
The Sudden Appearance of Hope - Claire North

Is there somewhere you can ask a librarian to merge//fix titles? Claire North apparently wrote this book three times, and two of them have a different title on the cover than the book info.

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review 2017-10-04 15:13
complex, confusing and powerful
The End of the Day - Claire North

This I've been reading on-an-off for a while, getting distracted by other books and going back.  It's a messy book, a book with some characters that you meet only for a while and then some that pop up over and over.  Plus there's overheard snippets presented as occasional chapters, like those conversations you half-hear in airports and coffee shops, the ones that distract you from what you're doing.  There are times that the book was a bit of a slog but overall I found it quite powerful.


Charlie works, through an office in Milton Keynes, for Death.  He is given assignments to meet people and give them something, usually a significant token.  Death will come to these people, as it comes to everyone.  Charlie has been in some hair-raising places and had to deal with people to try to negotiate with Death, some more forcefully than others but this books is more a meditation on life and death and how we need to carpe diem as hard as possible because some day we all will die.


Sometimes it got lost into the meditation but this is a book that by the end I was lost in. Not a book to read lightly.  It's a book that will linger for a long time in my head.


No-where do I have a space for it on my bingo card, it would fit into supernatural, Magical realism and Terrifying women.

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review 2017-07-13 15:23
Short Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North


Publisher: Redblock (2014)

Genre(s): Mystery, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction


I really liked this book and YAY for Claire North for making non-linear narrative work! 

However, I didn't really like that the story was so narrow in scope (although it is grandiose, or it seems so): I wanted to know all the secrets of people like Harry, I wanted to know all the whys. I was more like Vincent than like Harry, I guess.

Still, a very good book!

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