The Red House - Mark Haddon
I have read two previous titles by this author 'A spot of bother' and 'The curious incident of the dog in the night'. Both I loved although neither is happy or joyous but rather realistic and deep. 'The red house' is also not a joyous romp through a family holiday, rather it is a snapshot of a family gathered on holiday on the Welsh border after the death of the mother of Richard and Angela. Both families come to the holiday house with their own issues and problems. We have a step daughter a lost baby and some other day to day ordinary family things. Mark Haddon is a really good writer and this book, although heavy going in places and dense in words, is a good read. My friend Alex couldn't get into it and I can see why. It takes a certain mindset to wade through the early bits and you are not always in the mood for that. I was lucky to be in the mood but I could have put it down at some points. So, it is more my dedication to the writing of Mark Haddon that I finished it rather than an absolute love of the book. In saying that, I would read any more of his books in a heartbeat. It is a dark tale but not horrible and it really is a slice of life so ends with a farewell as you do when leaving a holiday to go back to ordinary life.
Sweet tooth - Ian McEwan
I love Ian McEwan's books. Similarly to Mark H above, they are not cheery light little novels to read on holiday. Although extremely readable they often deal with odd situations and characters and a happy ending is not always on the cards. In saying that I loved 'Sweet tooth'. It was very readable but all the way through, knowing McEwan's writing, you are waiting for something bad to happen. The bad things are always of the personal nature, not guts and gore but dilemma's lies and treachery. Set in the late 1970's in London this is the story of Serena Frome and her tale of time in the British Secret Service which was short but eventful. She had one mission which ended badly. This book is not of the James Bond ilk but has enough twists and turns to keep you very engaged. I loved it! That's it, loved it. Enjoy