November in Books

Image: The Guardian

A short but sweet one from me this month. I have spent more time selling books than reading them, but nonetheless I still managed to make my way through two.

Broken Harbor, Tana French (2013) Crime Fiction

Set in a coastal Irish town, Broken Harbor follows the unraveling of an attempted triple murder that occurred in a seemingly perfect family home. French frames the murder through the eyes of one prominent suspect, however, it all becomes far more complex as the novel progresses.

Not only is the crime not what is seems, the area itself and all the promised dreams of suburbia it was meant to fulfill to middle-class newly-wed couples, is far from the lived reality. On the surface, the lives of Patrick and Jenny Spain always appeared to be happy, thriving and successful. But behind closed doors there appeared to be something far more sinister lurking.

A group of lifelong friends encompass the parameters of the novel as memories from the past begin to haunt the present. Not all that glitters is gold for the lives of Patrick and Jenny Spain.

I very much enjoyed this novel and was genuinely surprised at the twist. I found myself invested in the lives of the Spain’s and the type of life they appeared to suggest to their friends and family. I will definitely be reading more of French.


Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murkami (2019) Fiction

Murakami’s latest novel follows the life of a Japanese, recently divorced painter who abandons his life in Tokyo, for a secluded house in the mountains of former famous painter, Tomohiko Amada.

In this move, the painter hopes his immersion in rural life and the home of such a former successful painter, will transform his own work to have more meaning. Tired of painting the same souless commissioned portraits, he hopes to create works of art with far more depth and understanding.

He soon makes friends with his neighbor across the hills who lives in a glaringly big mansion – which has parallels to Gatsby’s manor across from Nick Caraway in The Great Gatsby. Murakami has regularly stated that he draws influence from F Scott Fitzgerald; and in many ways this novel does in the discussion of wealth and beauty which is contrasted with moderate simplicity.

A strange series of events involving the discovery of an ancient well, a hidden historical painting in Amanda’s attic and the disappearance of a young girl change the unassuming painter’s life forever.

This new novel from Murakami is arguably one of his best, where he appears to return to his earlier style featuring a single protagonist and an acute eye for detail and synchronous beauty. I loved this book but I am biased towards Murakami as always.