Sunday, 2 December 2012

Labrador Otto is Two

Official photograph of Otto after his second birthday.

A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb.  A great read, original too. Luckily this author is young so we can expect many more good books.
1937. In a remote village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing - until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey, his exotic mistress and their daughters, changes everything. Over three summers, Mitzy sees a future she had never thought possible, and a powerful love is kindled in her. A love that grows from innocence to obsession; from childish infatuation to something far more complex and even dangerous.
Years later, a young man in an art gallery looks at a hastily-drawn portrait and wonders at the intensity of it. The questions he asks lead him to a Dorset village and to the truth about those fevered summers in the 1930s ...

The Glass House by Simon Mawer (Booker shortlist, 2009)
Built high on a Czech hill, the Landauer House, commissioned by rich newlyweds Viktor and Liesel, is one of the wonders of modernist architecture in concrete and glass. But the idealism of  the 1930s that the house seems to engender quickly tarnishes as the storm clouds of World War Two gather. Viktor is a Jew and so, as Nazi troops enter the country, the family must flee.
Yet the family’s exile does not signify the end of this spectacular building. It slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet and finally back to the Czech state.

Based on the story of a real house, the Villa Tugendhat, this is a fascinating novel. Not suitable for a Christmas book for maiden aunts, probably.

At Sea by Laurie Graham.   Loved this one, an amusing witty writer.
Does any woman really know her husband? Enid has been married to the handsome, charismatic lecturer Bernard Finch for over twenty years. But after one fateful supper on board a cruise ship she starts to wonder, is Bernard quite what he seems? He always says life began when he met Enid. But Bernard has a past, and it’s threatening to catch up with him.

Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss  If you have ever lived abroad, particularly with young children, you will empathise with this non-fiction account of the author’s year teaching at an Icelandic university.  I found it very interesting to learn something about Iceland, though began to tire of elves at one point.


callmemadam said...

Happy birthday Otto, you look splendid!

A book set in Dorset? I've put it on my list. I enjoyed At Sea. Isn't Bernard awful?

Faye said...

Otto at two is a splendid sleek chap. Hope you're enjoying him.

I'm remembering the Christmas wreaths that you made from your garden cuttings in years past, Susie. Will you be doing that again this year? So simple and beautiful.

The Glass House sounds like a great read for the not so faint at heart.

Jenny Haddon said...

That is one seriously handsome chap;. Happy birthday, Otto.

I loved The Glass House when I first read it, not so gripped second time around. (I got it on my new Kindle, having had my print copy 'borrowed'.) Maybe I need to let it mature a bit before I go back to it.

The others sound interesting. Will put them on list to try. Thank you.

Susie Vereker said...

Thanks for kind comments about Otto.
Yes, am sure I'll make a Christmas wreath. Thanks for reminding me, Faye. I probably need a new base this year. Must get in the mood:)

Karen said...

He looks so proud, bless him!

I'm about to start reading the Katherine Webb book, after enjoying a previous one.

Susie Vereker said...

Have bought your book, Karen! Look forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

He's a gorgeous boy, you must be so proud of him.xx Thanks for the book reviews. Will check them out later.