The Librarian’s Cellar Books 2020: Actress by Anne Enright

 

“Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theatre legend. As her daughter Norah retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own.”

The narrator, Norah is a writer. In order to make meaning of her own experiences (the ghost in my blood) she remembers her mother’s life and career. A tumultuous life that culminated in great sadness…

There is pain and grief for Norah, but there is also catharsis, and for the reader, so much more between the lines of Enright’s beautifully constructed sentences… of a generation of women gone, and the truth of their lives…

I loved this book.

The Librarian’s Cellar Books 2020: Sisters by Daisy Johnson

 

An eerie glimpse into the lives of haunted people, SISTERS is compelling and beautiful.

Born just ten months apart, July and September are as close as twins, never needing anyone but each other. When their single mother moves them to Settle House, a palpable unease slowly emerges, as do a series of unsettling revelations that will keep you reading until the very end.

Multi-faceted in theme and style, SISTERS creeps upon you and is completely absorbing.

 

Published July 2020. My thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for the opportunity to read this ARC.

 

Taking time out… and not writing.

Strange days are these, and everywhere I turn, there is advice for writers. How to make the best of all this spare time during social isolation. How to be more productive. How to finish that WIP. And I fell into all of it — putting pressure on myself to produce, to create, though nothing of worth was emerging.

I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t writing — until I copped on!

So I stopped trying. Left it alone. Shut the laptop and stacked the notebooks. I read more books, practiced my amateur knitting, stared out the window, did some housework (only the essential stuff!) and used the time to let the mind wander. To let new thoughts percolate. To be inspired.

And this happened: Not Writing. A Poem (Of Sorts) published by Pendemic, a wonderful site, created to publish new writing in response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Check it out for some insightful writing and writers.

 

Not Writing

Of disquiet

The pang that lingers as reality bites

Mornings open to inspection

What next?

Of the belly ache. Someone forgotten

The distance. Forced and unnatural

Of the worry

The vulnerable

The children not cherished

Of fragile safety nets undone

And inevitable loss

Of love for kin held close

And the hollow of their absence

Of soul friends

The warmth of their knowing

Of energy sent and received

Of being blessed

Of hitting the reset button

For the chance to begin again.

 

The thing is, we all have the belly aches, the worries that churn. We are all filled with self doubt that our art doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to a world in turmoil. A world closing in to protect itself. To protect us. But, we’re a resilient bunch, us humans. We’ll get through this. We will thrive and we will reset.

And the creativity will flow.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Caroline E Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and the Writer/Director of the short film FRAMED. She is also the writer of  the short films IN RIBBONS and ADAM. 

 

The Librarian’s Cellar Books 2020: Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit has written prolifically on feminism, politics and art, and while not a traditionally written memoir, ‘Recollections of my Non-Existence’ is an interesting and relatable insight into her formative years, charting a journey of enlightenment, experiences and friendships that influenced her writing and activism.

More importantly, the book shines a light on the experience of Rebecca, and indeed, for all women, finding their space in the world – a world, that because of our gender, is filled with danger and threat – and how we have negotiated survival while navigating these perils. Has anything changed, really?

 

Published by Viking. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for opportunity to read this ARC.

The Librarian’s Cellar Book Recommendations 2020: You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

 

Fantastical, sinister and disturbing. Unreliable narrator, Cassandra Tipp is an elderly author, and she is missing. However, she has left a manuscript for her niece and nephew to read which details her strange and harrowing life, while also holding a password to accessing the vast fortune she has accumulated from her romance novels.

Cassandra’s story is darkly surreal and woven around her lifelong relationship with ‘Pepper-man’ a vampiric faerie (yes!) and his community of woodland creatures. ‘Pepper-man is perhaps metaphorical – as companion and abuser – or perhaps not. Up to the reader to decide!

An unusual and weirdly compelling debut that layers in the real and the supernatural experiences of a troubled life. One that lingers, though if I have one gripe, it is that I don’t believe that the book title does this story justice.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press for the opportunity to read this ARC. ‘You Let Me In’ is published on March 5th, 2020.

The Librarian’s Cellar Book Recommendations: Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame

Image result for laura cassidy's walk of fame

 

Laura’s movie-obsessed father always told her that she was destined for fame. And Laura will do whatever is necessary to see his, and her own, dream realised.

I loved this book by Alan McMonagle. A journey of grief, desperation and hope. It is funny, poignant and packed with familial tension, drama and yearning. You’ll follow Laura’s walk of fame through the streets of Galway long after you’ve turned the last page.

My thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan / Picador for the opportunity to read this novel. Publication date is March 5th, 2020.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Caroline Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland: carolinefarrellwriter.com

Hello Ma, how’s things?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you there now?

In your place of dreams

Where the others are

and spoil you still

In your place of smiles

Of fancy fit

and flare and

snake charm gold

Of giggles and

girlish things

Is your Ma there too?

Minding

Berating

Chasing you with time when

He left you home late

 

31st January 2020: 4th Anniversary. Rest in Peace, Detta.