Gone through your summer reading list too fast? Or maybe you want to invest yourself in a book as the winter season rolls around. Fear not, as the book worms of GALWAYnow have read and reviewed some of the books that you need on your autumn reading list. From thought-provoking fiction, harrowing insights to inspiring true stories, here are the books we love and recommend.
By John Cameron with Kathryn Rogers
Hachette – €15
This is the true story of a 3 year old boy fostered out as a child labourer who then at the age of 8 was incarcerated at Artane Industrial School, where he became known as number 11963. Throughout his life John Cameron was haunted by his unknown past. In his mid-eighties John now tells the story of how he uncovered the truth about his parentage which had been hidden in a maze of lies and deceit. The first few chapters made uncomfortable reading as John battled against the cruelty, sexual abuse and heartless adversity of the church and the Irish State but I was captivated by the way he concluded each chapter with notes that offered an insight into the background of the culture, politics and social issues of the 1930’s and 1940’s. This is an inspiring story by a man who survived against all odds and became a loving father and respected teacher.
Corpsing My Body and Other Horror Stories
By Sophie White
Tramp Press €16
Like the cover of the novel Sophie White’s account of her battle with mental illness is a collage of truths and emotions that are honest, funny and sometimes shocking. As a free spirited 23 year old Sophie takes a mind altering drug that changes her life forever. Corpsing is the story of how she then battled with the sudden onset of mental illness from this which in her words left her as “a high functioning corpse.” Parallels with giving birth and the pain and long drawn out death of her father from early-onset Alzeimers are one of the many she draws on as she brings us on her horror story of grief and alcohol addiction. This book is so well written and is personal, raw, truthful and shocking that I veered between being unable to put it down and needing a breather. I’m intrigued to see what Sophie White has in store next.
Diving for Pearls
By Jamie O’Connell
This story touches the lives of 6 people including Trevor, an Irish man and his sister Siobhan who are all striving for a better future in Dubai. This is the first novel by Jamie O’Connell who manages to weave a web of mystery and devastating truth throughout this story. The depiction of Siobhan’s life waiting for her philandering and high flying husbands calls, her lunch dates and endless shopping in glitzy malls with fellow expat wives, where the guest workers who built them are denied entry, makes for thought provoking reading. Gete, Siobhan’s Ethiopian maid is forced to leave her passport with the agency as is Tahir, a Pakistani taxi driver, working to support his wife and children back home. These characters along with Lydia, a Russian migrant working in Dubai’s sex trade all feature in this story showing Dubai as an unforgiving place full of excesses and contradictions and a transient place to take your chances.
by Niall Bourke
Tramp Press €15
Following the story of Willard, his mother and his girlfriend Nyla who spend their days in an endless queue – “the line”, this stunning piece of speculative fiction was hard to put down. As they wait patiently for the line to move, they must adhere to strict rules or risk losing their place or their life. On the day that Willard’s mother dies, a secret discovery changes everything he thought he knew about the line and his existence. What follows is a fascinating, dark journey of survival for Willard as he seeks to learn the truth about the world he thought he knew. Using a simple concept of a line, Kilkenny born Niall Bourke manages to create a deep commentary on everything from migration and the refugee crisis to climate change, conformity and the erosion of democracy in a truly immersive work of fiction.