Friday, March 04, 2011

Six of the Best contd.

The Shack by William Paul Young

This is a Christian novel which was originally self- published and later became a best seller. Many people who have suffered a tragic loss have found comfort in the book and our own Sausage Fingers says ‘I read The Shack after my brother in law passed away, it helped with the grief.’

The author says: The Shack is a metaphor for the house you build out of your pain.’

When Mack, the hero, takes three of his children on a camping trip his small daughter Missy is abducted and murdered. Some time later Mack gets a mysterious note asking him to meet Papa at the Shack where the murder took place. His wife has always used the name Papa for God.

God appears to him in kitchen of the Shack as three people: God the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The novel is a page turner with twists and turns that keep you riveted. I found it absorbing and wanted to tell everybody about it. It is a powerful novel and tackles the age old question - ‘How can there be a God who allows such awful things to happen in the world’

Mack gets the answers.

This is one of the few books that I never want to let out of the house.

True North by Kimberley Kafka recommended by Nea (side bar)

Another winner from Nea. I enjoyed being transported to a different land with different customs and a native people – the Ingaliks. The heroine – Bailey Lockhart is the only white woman. She settled in Alaska six years earlier having left Maine after a tragedy. She supports herself as a bush pilot and is drawn to Kash, also a bush pilot and a native activist. There are so many taboos that it is almost impossible for them to behave naturally with each other and their independent natures makes an alliance highly unlikely, so there is lots of romantic tension

Two young Easterners, Zack and Alpha (all the names are unusual) hire Bailey to pilot them. Secretly they are looking for gold and their behaviour eventually causes violence and mayhem. This shatters Bailey’s peaceful life style and she is forced to face her unresolved, tragic past. There is a lecherous drunk, Match to add to the hazards she had to face, to say nothing of the life threatening bears
It is a great adventure and love story.

Kimberley Kafka is a direct descendant of Franz Kafka.

Old Filth by Jane Gardam

This was recommended by our man in New York: Unbearable Banishment (side bar)

Let’s get one thing clear. Old Filth is the nickname of the hero Edward Feathers, a Raj orphan and Filth stands for ‘Failed In London Try Hong Kong.’

In those days children didn’t survive out East so were sent ‘Home’ to be educated in England. The book covers his life from birth to the final curtain and perfectly captures the period when our Empire was illustrated by masses of pink on a map of the world. Every era she covers is written with such assurance and skill I felt she had to be there. So it was no surprise to discover she was born in 1928 and even older than me (Sorry Jane.)

Although Eddie becomes a famous Judge and is reasonably happily married there is a deep sadness in his life starting from his mother dying at his birth and the inability of his father to show any love. He is taken to a foster home in Wales with three other children and we know something unspeakable happens there, from which all the children suffer for the rest of their lives and Edward develops a stammer.

Thankfully then there is a blissful period when he meets his saviour ’Sir’and tastes happiness. The book constantly shifts to and fro between different periods but the writer is so skilful this doesn’t in any way detract from the story. The characters are so real it’s like hearing what happened to old friends and the story is absorbing throughout. Near the end we learn exactly what happened in Wales and three of the quartet of children compare their memories of that awful time.

I wouldn’t want to give the impression that this is a depressing book. The writer is very gifted and there is the satisfaction of recognising real people with genuine behaviour of the period and there is lots of humour especially when he is befriended by HM Queen Mary and when he is told by his CO that in addition to the deathly illness he developed from eating 39 bananas out East, he also had a dose of VD.

When The Guardian called this ‘a masterpiece’ just for once I agreed with them.

Do read it!


Guyana-Gyal said...

I'm afraid to suggest these books to my mother, the book-holic that she is. She has a pile on her bed, brand new books, which she wants to read.

I read so slowly, it's shameful. Like you, Pat, I go back and re-read passages.

Sausage Fingers said...

Thanks Pat, I do recommend the book to anyone suffering from a loss whether a believer or not it will help with the pain.
Hope you have a great weekend.
Cheers, Sasuage...
ps. I wrote this for my brother in law

Pat said...

GG: it's always useful to have a list for Christmas and Birthday presents.

Sausage: I found the post and hope you and your wife can just remember the happy memories. He certainly was a special person and the photo of the beach, although beautiful, illustrates the emptiness one feels when a loved one goes.

Sausage Fingers said...

Thank you much for you kind words.

Queenie said...

I loved 'Old Filth' and the 'Guernsey Literary Society' has been on my 'to read' list for ages. Very interesting to read about the others, thanks Pat.

angryparsnip said...

I tried to read several books after the death of my daughter so many years ago. And a day does not go by that I don't still think of her and my Mother who died a few years later. I still miss my Mum everyday.
I must check out that book.

Thank you for the book review. I enjoy seeing what others are reading.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Sausage: :)

Queenie: I thought you must have read 'Old Filth.' What about 'The Man in the Wooden Hat' about his wife. I'm reading a John Gresham non fiction at present and have been asked to review a book self published in the US and now taken up by a publisher over here, and THEN that's next on my list.

Parsnip: talking about it makes me want to read it again. I hope it gives you some solace, as it has in some cases.

Maggie said...

Oh, goodness. That last one piques my interest.

R. Sherman said...

My wife has been demanding I read The Help. From what my wife says, I think you'd like it, too.


Pat said...

Randall: thanks Randall. I'll have a look and add it to the list. I can't remember if it were you or Charlie who got me to read John Grisham's 'The Innocent Man' which I'm just starting.
I always like to have at least three in hand.

Pat said...

Randall: sounds like my kind of book - have ordered it. You'd better get reading:)

Nea said...

I've now got The Shack reserved for me at the local library, I'll have to read it in translation, but that way I get to practise my Swedish:) They didn't have Old Filth, so I've ordered it off the internet, two good reads to look forward to, thank you!

Pat said...

Nea: I'll be so pleased if I actually find a book for you for a change. I look forward to hearing your opinion.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Thanks for the recommendations, Pat. I have the Shack on my to read pile - will move it to the top!

Pat said...

Kate: I hope you aren't disappointed.

Mary Witzl said...

I've heard about Old Filth and thought it sounded like a book I'd like to read. I've got a reading list the length of my arm right now -- and my arms are long. But what a wonderful thing -- having a long list of books I just HAVE to read.

Pat said...

Mary: I've always been a book worm until a year or so ago - for some reason I stopped reading and was miserable about it. Thank goodness I'm back to normal, always have a book to hand and at least a couple ready to read.
I find Amazon a godsend.