I'm not doing a good job of writing about what I've been reading so am hoping to slip in a few more reviews over the next few days.
Most recently finished, Camilla Gibbs second novel The Petty Details of So and So's Life.
The novel explores much of the same territory as Mouthing the Words, centering on a dysfuncional family, an abusive father, a withdrawn mother, and the ensuing psychological after-shocks in adulthood.
Twins Emma and Blue are so close that they communicate in an invented language and are almost telepathic. They huddle in the basement from the rages of their unpredictable father, who drops out of paid work to become an inventor - gradually withdrawing from the family to live a reclusive existance in the garage, until one day he disappears, taking with him the family's life savings.
Although Gibb never uses the term, the father is clearly manic-depressive - his moods swing unpredictably, he's full of grandiose schemes and ambitions to change the world (and scorn for those who lack the same vision), yet unable to complete even the simplest of tasks.
The twins react differently to their father's disappearance - Blue becoming obsessed with finding him, while Emma defects to a new family and sees academic success as her ticket out of chaos, while their mother Elaine numbs the pain with alchohol and anti-depressants and becomes increasingly withdraw.
Again, as in Mouthing the Words, Gibb handles painful material (and I must ask her how much is drawn from her own life) but the book never feels heavy, and is tempered with humour and people with characters you care about.
Highly recommended. (I like it even better than Mouthing the Words.)
The book is avalable at 20% off at Kinokuniya (and no, I don't have shares!)
Also available at 20% off is Tan Twan Eng's The Gift of Rain, here at last!
And by the way, since it seems only polite to ask, what are YOU reading?