My current novel is Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse, which is this month’s choice for the Japanese Literature book club. It tells of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and its effect on the survivors.
I finished listening to The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. Set in the Caribbean, it tells the story of David, a fisherman who rescues and falls in love with Aycayia, the mermaid of the title. The mythic quality of the novel particularly lends itself to the audio version, which is beautifully narrated and transports the reader to the town of Black Conch. I love the fact that Roffey has created a mermaid far removed from the blond-haired beauty stereotype, and hers and David’s story is painfully touching to witness. This is an unusual and hypnotic novel.
I also finished reading/listening to The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. This is one of those novels that seems incredibly popular, appearing everywhere, so I had high hopes. A group of friends spend the New Year in the Scottish wilderness but things go horribly wrong when one of the party is found dead. This is not just a story about identifying the killer, who is one of the group, but the identity of the suspect is also withheld. Potential motives abound, which made me question why these people wanted to spend time together at all. I guessed the victim early on but had no idea as to the perpetrator, and by the end of the novel I honestly didn’t care. I found the characters irritating and paradoxically although the novel centred around their back stories, it felt very much plot-driven. I can understand its popularity but as I prefer a character-driven novel, it wasn’t for me.
My next choice is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, which I’m going to read and listen to. It’s part of my exploration into magical realism and is also one of the set texts on a two week literature course next month.
I’ve chosen this week’s quotation as I’m always fascinated by the ways people use journals. It comes from Black Rain.
Her way of keeping a diary was to deal with the day’s events in a brief five or six lines for four or five days, then, on the fifth or sixth day, to devote one entry to describing the past few days in greater detail.Masuji Ibuse