If you’re familiar with local (and international) bestselling book lists of late, you’ll recognise the title The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. This widespread regard is well-deserved, for the novel handles the balance between the intimacy of the central love story while accounting for the atrocities that were occurring at the same time.
As I was reading, I was also watching the Netflix documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution and I think this background information boosted my understanding of some of the people and places mentioned in the novel – Dr Josef Mengele and the work area ‘Canada’ among them. (Not everybody needs, or ought, to do the same, of course (the documentary is tough viewing); it was more a case of timing on my part.) Weeks later, I’m still thinking about it.
This video not only has an excerpt from the audiobook (read by the wonderful Richard Armitage), but it has captioned footage of the interviews with Lale Sokolov, his story being the basis from which this novel comes.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks manages to distill a lot of what the show is into paper form – something I was very sceptical it could do – by managing to be both illuminating and confounding. You learn fascinating tidbits but want to know more. I loved the history and friendship of the Bookhouse Boys and the tensions between certain members, and the unfortunate life of Margaret “Log Lady” Coulson. While the central question of this book is pretty thin (who is the author of this secret history? I guessed correctly halfway through), most fans would probably guess anyway, and I don’t think it really matters.
The Fortress by S.A. Jones is going to be one of those novels that stays with me long after I’ve finished. It’s intriguing, smart, sexy and deftly handles some very difficult questions about privilege and power. The cover is absolutely perfect – the exaggerated serif font a throwback to some seminal 1970s era texts (I once owned this edition of Fear of Flying, for example), and here doffs its cap to the matriarchial society which lives within The Fortress, the composite of windows making a screen; a sort of confessional.
And last I come to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’ve only just begun so I can’t make much of a comment on it yet, although, as I know so many people who’ve read it and enjoyed it, I’m more than happy to put my trust in the hope that it will be good. We shall see!
What are you reading this month?