The summer holidays of my imagination presented one long opportunity to lounge lazily in the sun, sipping on mojitos and smiling to the soundtrack of my children’s tinkling laughter as they gambolled around the garden and skipped through the sprinkler. Of course, the reality was more of an infinite abys that stretched before us, only to be partially filled with endless squabbling in damp macs and a slim chance of holding on to my sanity.
But I did manage to read a few books while the kids were otherwise engaged, the two best of which were actual bona fide page turners.
The first was ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce.
Such a wonderful book. Rachel Joyce has a beautiful turn of phrase, really quite poetic in places. Harold Fry, a seemingly settled retiree, receives an unexpected letter from an old friend that sparks are journey across the country, but more importantly, through his memories and the unresolved issues of his past. It’s a story about family, loyalty and evolving love that really touched my heart. The characters he meets along the way jostle memories to the fore and his days spent in travelling solitude allow him to reflect and reach understandings not know to him before.
In our media saturated world it’s hard to take time out and really be alone with your thoughts. Harold’s journey brings him peace and a new perspective.
The second was ‘The Memory of Water’ by J T Lawrence.
What a quirky and intriguing read. I’ve had this book knocking about on my Kindle for a while and although I’d obviously downloaded it, there was something about the cover that put me off actually reading it. Anyway, holiday time is reading time and I’m so glad that I did. The central character, Slade Harris, is a once successful, but now floundering writer who pushes his real life experiences to the extreme in hope of inspiration and, oh boy, does it get him into trouble.
Slade’s experiences are so viscerally told that you’re right there with him as he gets implicated in a murder and his own life is put in perilous danger. The truth of it all really does allude you until the very end. There are some pretty explicit sex scenes, which are mentioned on the cover (and maybe I was thinking that it was a different kind of book and that’s why I didn’t open it), but they aren’t gratuitous and are an important part of Slade’s messed up psyche.
Really an awesome read and a leading man that couldn’t be more different to Harold Fry. One extreme to another and both five star reads.