Armadillos is the first novel by P. K. Lynch who originally trained as an actor and starred as Lizzie in Trainspotting. It starts off in a remote house in Texas where a teenage girl has spent her life being abused by her father. After she runs away, the book deals with how she manages to survive alongside her guilt at having left behind her older sister. The writing is detached and doesn’t go into details, mirroring how Aggie lives her life by keeping people at an arms length. I did feel that it started to drag a bit in the middle but it picked up again towards to the end. Don’t read this expecting a cheery story but it’s worth a read.
Following the suspicious death of journalist Alice Salmon, Jeremy Cooke who is a professor at Southampton University sets about collating everything he can find about her online. This includes newspaper articles written after and about her death, articles Alice wrote while she was alive, Tweets, emails and anything else he can find, in some cases with the help of her friends, family and colleagues. The book is written as a series of these snippets, interspersed with letters from Jeremy to a friend explaining what he is doing. It was an interesting idea to think about how much information is available online nowadays and it was a bit different to reading a traditional novel. I found it a bit difficult to like many of the characters but would recommend this as it’s a unique idea and easy read.
What a brilliant book! Set during the Second World War, it tells the story of Marie-Laure, a blind girl living with her father in Paris and Werner, an bright orphaned boy from Zollverein in Germany. Marie-Laure’s father makes her a scale model of her Paris neighbourhood so that she can learn the streets and never get lost, but her whole world is turned upside-down when they have to evacuate to the coastal town of Saint Malo. Werner develops an interest in radio and finds he has a special skill which leads to him being offered a place at a prestigious school which also turns out to be a training ground for the Hitler Youth. Both Marie-Laure and Werner’s stories are really powerful and brought home how horrific the war must have been for everyone involved. Out of the three books on this list, All The Light We Cannot See was definitely my favourite and the one that I think will stay with me.