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SUNDAY SHOUT OUT: RAKOFF, MOGGACH AND HAMMER

Sunday Shout-Out aims to acknowledge books I’ve been sent by publishers that I am unable to review, due to time constraints arising from my own writing projects.

Sunday Shout Out is a bookish meme hosted by Monique of Write Note Reviews. If you’re a book blogger and you want to join in, just:

  • Share the title, author, blurb and image from a book (or more than one) you want to acknowledge
  • Share the genre, price and link to the publisher so readers can follow up if they like the sound of the book
  • Ping back to Write Note Reviews in your post.

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1. A Fortunate Age by Joanna Rakoff, Bloomsbury, RRP $32.99AU

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A group of young graduates chase their dreams in the rapidly changing Brooklyn of the late 1990s, a compelling, deeply affecting story that captures a generation.

Living in crumbling Brooklyn apartments, holding down jobs as actors and writers and eschewing the middle-class sensibilities of their parents, graduates of the prestigious Oberlin College, Lil, Beth, Sadie, Emily, Dave and Tal believe they can have it all. When the group come together to celebrate Lil’s marriage, it feels as though anything is possible in late 1990s New York, an era defined by excess, where creative jobs are everywhere and youth is golden. But the reality of rent, marriage, children and family will test them all – from Beth, struggling to move on from her first love, Dave, a former piano prodigy who can’t seem to commit to anything; to Emily, a talented actor trapped in a circle of endless auditions desperately waiting for her Broadway break, perpetually in the shadow of Tal, whose career has taken off, propelling him towards Los Angeles, Hollywood and fame; and to Sadie, too, the charismatic centre, coolly observing her friends’ mistakes, but unable to stop making her own. For this fortunate age can’t last forever, and the group must face adulthood, whether they are ready for it or not.

Sprawling and richly drawn, A Fortunate Age traces the lives of the group during some of the most defining years of modern America – from the decadence of the dot com boom through to the sobering events of September 11 and the trailing years that followed – this brilliant, ambitious debut novel perfectly captures the hopes, anxieties and dreams of a generation.

I started this book, but it just didn’t speak to me. Even though the characters would be my age, I was unable to relate to them. It surprised me, because the book is described by the publisher as a “brilliant, ambitious debut novel perfectly captures the hopes, anxieties and dreams of a generation”. I’m sure it does – it’s just that even though that’s my generation, I was in a different space then, so those hopes, anxieties and dreams were not mine. With so many other books to read, I decided to leave this one for now. One for you to decide.

2. Something to Hide by Deborah Moggach, Chatto & Windus, RRP $29.99AU

Something to Hide

“Nobody in the world knows our secret… that I’ve ruined Bev’s life, and she’s ruined mine.”

Petra’s romantic life has always been a car-crash, and even in her sixties she’s still capable of getting it disastrously wrong. But then she falls in love with Jeremy, an old chum, visiting from abroad. The fatal catch? Jeremy is her best friend’s husband.

But just as Petra is beginning to relax into her happy ever after, she finds herself catapulted to West Africa, and to Bev, her best friend who she’s been betraying so spectacularly. Meanwhile, on opposite sides of the world, two other women are also struggling with the weight of betrayal: Texan Lorrie is about embark on the biggest deception of her life, and in China Li-Jing is trying to understand exactly what it is her husband does on his West African business trips…

It turns out that no matter wherever you are in the world, everyone has something to hide. Can Bev – can anyone – be trusted?

I struggled with this book because I just could not warm to the characters, especially Petra. I did finish it, albeit somewhat reluctantly, but felt that Lorrie’s story involved suspending disbelief too far – the entire surrogacy story could have been left out. If you’re a fan, you might want to check it out.

3. The Girl in the Ice by Lotte & Soren Hammer, Bloomsbury, RRP $24.99AU 
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The second in the international bestselling five-part Konrad Simonsen series, a chilling tale from the authors of The Hanging.

Under the heartless vault of the Greenland’s artic sky the body of a girl is discovered. Half-naked and tied up, buried hundreds of miles from any signs of life, she has lain alone, hidden in the ice cap, for twenty-five years. Now an ice melt has revealed her. When Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is flown in to investigate this horrific murder and he sees how she was attacked, it triggers a dark memory and he realises this was not the killer’s only victim. As Simonsen’s team work to discover evidence that has long since been buried, they unearth truths that certain people would rather stayed forgotten, disturbing details about the moral standing of some of Denmark’s political figures are revealed and powerful individuals are suddenly working against them. But the pressure is on as it becomes clear that the killer chooses victims who all look unsettlingly similar, a similarity that may be used to the investigators’ advantage, just so long as they can keep the suspect in their sights.
The blurb is intriguing, but I have found this one hard to get into. The writing style has not grabbed me, so I’ve set it aside for another day. One for fans of Scandinavian fiction.
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Which of these would you read?

Thanks for commenting. I also have an author site and Facebook page - Monique Mulligan Author - if you'd like to check them out.

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