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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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review 2017-04-08 10:09
The End of the Day. Magic.
The End of the Day - Claire North

I loved The End of the Day. I took my time with it, a novel to be savoured for its utterly beautiful writing, gorgeous descriptive nuances and Charlie, the character at the heart of it, one I will never forget.


The world Claire North has built here is one of many levels, Charlie, who takes on a new role as the harbinger of death whilst learning about life, is so wonderfully normal that you just sink into his world feeling like it is all entirely possible. The End of the Day is melancholy, intense, a book that has something to say in the underneath of it all if you listen to its small quiet voice. The places Charlie visits, the people he meets, some of them in their last moments, just ingrain themselves into your senses, this is a book with that thing called “all the feels”


I actually find it quite difficult to describe with any actually useful thoughts at all, it just IS – Claire North writes with a peaceful complexity, she drew me  into her story without me hardly noticing until I was just living it all right alongside Charlie and the rest of the eclectic, memorable characters I met along the way. Some of the scenes are heart stopping, most of them gently contemplative but ultimately utterly gripping, a book to sink into and leave the world behind.


Overall just total total magic. Magic on the page.

Highly Recommended.

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review 2017-04-03 01:08
The End of the Day, by Claire North
The End of the Day - Claire North

On first impression, Claire North’s stunning and strange novel, The End of Days, is about death. Charlie is the most recent Harbinger of Death. As he explains it, he goes before as a courtesy or a warning. Through his eyes, we see good deaths and bad—and the longer you read, the more you realize that this is not a book about death so much as it is a book about empathy. I read The End of Days in chunks over two days. I would inhale the short chapters until I could take no more of its emotional honesty and have to take a break. The breaks didn’t last too long because I just had to have more...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.

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review 2016-11-04 22:48
The Serpent by Claire North - My Thoughts
The Serpent: Gameshouse Novella 1 - Claire North

This was one of the oddest things I've read in a long time.  Deliciously odd.  Fantastically odd.  Gorgeously odd.  


I'm sure there's a term for the way in which this novella was written.  Second person POV?  Not really.  Actually, what it felt like was a storyteller escorting me, the reader, around the story chatting with me while telling the story.  It was so very different and a little off-putting for the first ten or twenty pages.  The chapters too - the shortest one was a single line, I think and the longest 25+ pages.  But it all worked!  


And the prose was so beautiful!  


I'll tell you what.  I am not into audiobooks at all.  I lose concentration and just don't enjoy the process, but this book... OMG, THIS BOOK, in the hands of a voice like, ohh....Patrick Stewart?  Ooh... Eoin Macken (you remember him, he played Gwaine in the TV show Merlin), he has a lovely storytelling voice.  Anyway, in the hands of someone like them, this book would SHINE!  Absolutely shine!  I don't know who actually DID the audiobook, but it is out there.


It's a fantasy novella?  Author KJ Charles called it spec fic.  It's set in Venice during the 17th century and while there is no actual magic, there's a very mysterious place called The Gameshouse.  


In the end, this was a beautiful, delicious, coudln't-put-it-down read that I enjoyed a whole helluva lot and I will be reading the other two, for sure!  

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