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.

 

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.

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

The Librarian’s Cellar Book Recommendations: The Jewel by Neil Hegarty

The Jewel is a painting that hangs in a Dublin gallery. A vibrant work of art with a fascinating story, unfolding through a complex narrative that begins with a rather morbid and haunting decision by its creator – a long deceased female artist.

The novel weaves in and out of the lives of three very different, but equally troubled characters. A lonely curator, a disillusioned artist turned forger and thief, and an expert in art theft tasked with recovering the painting. A common thread to each of these lives is their sense of disillusionment. The same emotion that perhaps, drove this victorian artist to act as she did. As this gripping story unwinds, in all its complexity, three lives become intrinsically linked to The Jewel, and fleetingly, to each other. Vivid and original storytelling, beautifully written.

The Jewel by Neil Hegarty | Head of Zeus Ltd | 2019

 

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Caroline Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. Author of the novel, LADY BETH, she is the screenwriter/director of FRAMED (2018). Caroline has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She curates for literature and film events, is a former Librarian and holds a Teaching qualification in Adult and Community Education. 

 

The Librarian’s Cellar Book Recommendations: My Dark Vanessa

Compelling, yet deeply unsettling! Author, Kate Elizabeth Russell has created a riveting page-turner that depicts an unflinching account of the grooming and manipulation of an underaged girl by an adult male in a role of trust and power. And of the consequences for both of them.The psychologies of both characters are fascinating. This one will linger.

My thanks to Netgalley and Publishers (4th Estate) for the opportunity to read this book, which is due for publication in March 2020.

 

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Caroline Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. Author of the novel, LADY BETH, she is the screenwriter/director of FRAMED (2018). Caroline has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She curates for literature and film events, is a former Librarian and holds a Teaching qualification in Adult and Community Education.