Welcome to Booklore, our weekly collection of books worth reading; films and television shows worth watching; art worth feasting your eyes on; and podcasts and albums worth your ear time.
This book owned my heart from the very first chapter. Set in World War II in Nazi occupied France, it tells the often unspoken story of a woman’s role in the war. Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives… This is the story of their strength, endurance, sacrifice and courage. Hannah’s book follows two sisters, Viane and Isabelle, and their response in times of great challenge. Their parallel stories of survival are as different as their personalities but just as courageous and emotional. I beg everyone who enjoys historical fiction to read this book!
Beware the autumn people. At midnight, in a dusty small town, a circus arrives. A malevolent, eerie, soul-consuming carnival enthrals the small-town folk. Two adolescent boys, who were forewarned of this evil presence, endeavour to protect their town and their innocence by defeating the carnival once and for all. Written in lyrical but whimsical prose, this novel includes elements of horror that are not for the faint-hearted. An engrossing read that is perfect to curl up with at the end of a long winter’s day.
Mel, bookseller at Harry Hartog Green Hills, is reading “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice.
Interview with the Vampire” is one of those rare books that I keep revisiting. I knew before I finished it that I would need to come back. Rice creates such a vivid, immersive picture of 18th Century New Orleans and Paris that I can barely quell my desire to pack my bags and head out there!
The nocturnal world of the vampire is one of decadence, tedium, and nightmarish beauty. Quickly after becoming a vampire, Louis begins to question whether he has the stamina for immortality. His maker, Lestat, is something of a maniac, determined to make Louis embrace his violent nature. But Louis refuses to adopt the lifestyle Lestat loves. Louis is lonely and disenchanted with the world, so Lestat decides to make him a companion. This is the event that shapes the story in unpredictable ways. The terrible reality of immortality quickly unfolds as Lestat’s vain attempt at domesticity falls apart. While Rice’s wonderful characters are my favourite thing about this story, I initially fell in love with the rhythm of her writing. The pacing is almost hypnotic. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the oxymoron of a beautiful horror story.
Lizzy, bookseller at Harry Hartog Woden, is reading “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.
Caleb Carr’s 1994 crime novel “The Alienist” has recently resurged thanks to a Netflix series of the same name. Set in 1890’s New York, the novel follows the investigation into the horrific murders of several underage male prostitutes by an unlikely group of allies consisting of a prolific (if controversial) alienist (early psychologist), a crime reporter, two police sergeants specialising in the new and untested field of forensic science and a young woman making a name for herself as one of the first females to be employed by the NYPD, as a secretary to a young Theodore Roosevelt. The writer manages to convey the tragedy of the children’s murders and the increasingly desperate need to catch the killer, as well as capturing the morbid, almost unseemly fascination that surrounds serial killers and their craft. As someone with an interest in psychology I found the discussions and suppositions of the characters about the killer’s motives and development particularly intriguing. The prose transports the reader into the very heart of the investigation, allowing them to experience firsthand the sense of lurking danger posed by the killer, and the frustration with an apathetic and corrupt police force that places a low value on the lives of the victims and their families due to race, profession and economic status. “The Alienist” is an enthralling thriller that explores the darker side of human nature and poses questions that will keep you guessing long after the final page.