Category Archives: W&N

Read 9 of 2023. Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov. Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel.

Time Shelter

Time Shelter is a sublime take on how we live, on how we have been living, and perhaps also about how we will live in the time to come. It is a book that most elegantly blends the past, the now, and the future, in its large-hearted vision of what it means to be human, of what we choose to live in a certain moment of time, and why we make the choices we do.

This book is everything I expected from it – nostalgia with a dash of contemporary, of what it means to live in the past, of dementia, of memory and the role it plays in our small lives – of what it means to be alive in a world that expects you to remember, when all you want to maybe do is forget. Of wanting to jump time and been given the opportunity to do that. Gaspodinov’s writing is sublime – it is. It is everything and everywhere indeed all at once. I cannot put my finger on it but I love it so much – just spectacularly written and translated beautifully by Angela Rodel.

For me the characters don’t matter, as much as what is going on – how years jump – decades whiz by, the joy of not wanting to keep track as a reader – of all the cultural references as years roll by – music, art, literature, movies, the works. Not to forget the role history will still play even if time is recreated and you are technically still in the present which is soon going to be the past. Absolutely spectacular! I hope it makes it to the shortlist.

Her by Harriet Lane

Her by Harriet Lane Title: Her
Author: Harriet Lane
Publisher: W & N
ISBN: 978-1780220024
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

I had heard a lot about this book on various online forums and sites. I was quite excited as well to read it. I finally read and finished it today. The book is very well-written, that’s for sure, and it’s just that I was a bit disappointed by the twist in the tale. Having said that, I give it four stars only because of the writing and the atmosphere Harriet Lane has managed to conjure in her book “Her”.

“Her” is a story of two women – Nina and Emma. Both are almost of the same age and living in London. They come from two different worlds and lead two very different lives. While Nina is a successful artist, Emma is a housewife who feels mostly stifled being at home and taking care of her children. And yet when they meet, there is something that draws them to each other, something almost unexplainable. Till the reader understands that Nina is up to something while meeting Emma (well sort of understand, rather, the reader can only guess). Why is Nina interested in Emma? Why does she have this obsession which is so subtle and yet there?

The book is chilling. It is also quite an intriguing read. Lane’s writing is sharp and has a lot of detailing that only helps build the suspense. I loved how Emma’s housewife ennui is explained throughout and how Nina’s perspectives are portrayed. Both women’s stories unravel through their views of similar situations, told in alternating chapters.

My only grouse was the build-up to the end in the penultimate chapter. I just had a problem with that part. The ending however is so brilliant that it will leave you with your jaw dropping. This thriller is interwoven with the past and the present and explores human psychology with great casualty. It is quite shocking to see Nina’s character build and do the things that she does with such calm.

You must read this book for the plot, for the characterization, for the way the women are depicted, for the details and above all for a good chill running through your spine.