Book Thoughts: The Welsh Girl

welsh I just finished this novel by Peter Ho Davies yesterday.  It is a World War II novel from a setting and perspective that I found wholly original.  Most of the story takes place in Wales during the last few months of WWII.  It tells the story of a German POW and a Welsh farm girl — their separate stories intersect in an unusual way.  The novel speaks of nationality, sense of place, and identity from a totally fresh perspective.  It is also about surrender – and on more than one level.   It may not look huge, but it is packed with feeling and meaning.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I recommend it strongly.  The writing is wonderful – economical and lyrical.  It is compelling to read – Esther’s voice in particular spoke to me, but others might enjoy Karsten more.  I had issues with the scenes that included Hess — they felt out of place to me.  I can see why the author included them, but I can’t help but feel that the novel would have been more balanced without them. The New York Times reviewed the novel here.

I’ll personally be on the look out for other works by Davies.


Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

girl who played with fire I totally enjoyed this book. It is an amazing mystery/thriller unlike any other I have read in the genre – as a matter of fact, I don’t normally choose those books.  It is not only a ‘rollicking good read’, but an amazingly well-written book.  It is intelligent and does not rely purely on its action packed story to keep you enthralled.  Lisbeth Salander is a wonderfully likable character.  We meet her at the beginning of the novel lounging in the Caribbean trying to solve mathematical puzzles, and we find out what she has been up to since the conclusion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  The story that unfolds does not at first seem to involve Lisbeth personally, but it becomes very personal indeed. There were parts where my heart was stuck in my throat for her.

I reviewed Stiegg Larsson’s first book in the Millennium series at Strumpet’s Life a long time ago.  I am happy to say that the translation of this second in the series is much much better.  There was nowhere near the level of annoyance that I experienced reading the Dragon Tattoo.  I cannot wait for the third book, and I am filled with a renewed sense of loss – knowing that Stiegg Larsson’s life was cut far too short.

I’ve chosen the UK book cover for my image, because it is just so much sexier than the US cover!