The Bed Moved. 2 stars. You can barely call this a collection. There is some decent stuff buried here but most of it feels like writing exercises than actual work.
The Golden State. 3 stars. So many mixed feelings about this. The deliberate run-on stream of consciousness style ultimately didn’t do it for me, but I seem to be in the minority.
Confessions of the Fox. 3 stars. A very rare DNF for me. I wanted to like this one so much, and I kept with it for 250 pages, but this was just so plodding and uninteresting to me. I still feel bad about this one.
The Swing of Things. 4 stars. A generous four stars here, mostly because I had been hating everything, and finally, something I didn’t hate. This is kind of all over the place, almost porny at times, surprisingly insightful at other times. I feel like novels about experimenting with the boundaries of monogamy almost always end up feeling like cautionary tales to some extent; I would love to find one that ended like, hey that was fun, no harm done. Anyway this isn’t especially well written but it was fun.
The Summer Wives. 5 stars. A little melodramatic at the end, but I was totally invested in every storyline. Beatriz Williams always does it for me, if not for my sister. Sorry, Tracey!
Vox. 2 stars. I am still cringing at that sexy line, ‘we’re not cooking in this kitchen, or at least not food.’ HOT. This is a topic I’m usually all in for, but this was badly written and I did not care about the main character at all.
Fight No More. 5 stars. Perfect interconnected stories, which is a favorite genre of mine. One of these stories was so creepy, I’m still kind of shuddering. I’m so glad it was part of the book, and also so glad that that character wasn’t the focus of the whole thing.
Never Let Me Go. 4 stars. No wonder everyone’s been talking about this for years! I feel like I’m the last person to read it, so what is there to say? It’s really good, as you probably already know.
The Sparsholt Affair. 4 stars. This one really took its time, and could have used an edit. It definitely ended up winning me over; I truly loved the characters in this book. I’m not sure how highly I could recommend it, but I’m very glad I read it.
The Italian Teacher. 3 stars. I love this guy’s writing, and this is a perfectly sound plot. But the main/title character is such a dud nobody. Not in an interesting way, and not in what feels like an intentional way. Why am I supposed to care so much about utterly average middle aged white guys again? Someone help me out.
Mr Fox. 3 stars. I loved this meta concept of an author interacting with his own character. But that’s pretty much all I liked. The execution really didn’t do it for me, and I never felt like I really got it.
Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win. 5 stars. Finally, I love something! This hit a lot of buttons for me, and is topical to the point that it feels like it was written yesterday. What happens when a very successful married woman with young kids decides to run for office? Do you think it might be any different from when a married man with young kids runs for office? I think it just might be.
Top picks: Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, Fight No More.