Moving to the South of France- Swimming Home

Unfortunately not me, just my next Booker Buddies book.
I read “Swimming Home” by Deborah Levy.
It’s transported me to the south of France.
Rather nice backdrop, but I was a bit ambivalent about the book itself.

Swimming Pool at Chateau Marmont (yes, I know that’s not actually in France)
by Tyler Shields

I must say, for the first few chapters I was pretty ambivalent about this book. Insert crazy cat (Kiity Ket to be precise) into the set piece of two middle class couple staying at a home in France with the blossoming teenage daughter of one of the couples.
Tensions within the relationships are sharpened by the intruder’s presence etc etc.
But after a couple of chapters, the book really grew on me and an almost thriller like tension took over as I wondered how the twists and turns would impact everyone in the story.

A compact stealthy unsettling novel, I ended up not being able to put this one down.

For some other points of view, here are a couple of other reviews:
Hooked Bookworms review on Booker Marks
Reading the 2012 Bookers review
Penny’s Review on Booker Marks

Hotel Negresco in Nice

Leaving the smoky opium dens of Bombay. Reluctantly.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
“Narcopolis”, set in the opium dens of Bombay has a languorous and dreamy quality appropriate to it’s narcotic theme. Essentially the story of Dimple, a beautiful eunuch who prepares pipes in Rashid’s opium den, the story slides in and out of the following characters whose paths cross hers. From the Hollywood adventures of the angry man, Rumi, to the poignant tale of Mr Lee’s upbringing and flight from Maoist China, these are essentially stories of lives beyond control. As one of the characters puts it: “This is our reality. Anything can happen to anyone at any time.”
These are experiences that can only be subdued with the pipe. But it is the introduction of heroin that begins to destroy their dreamy world. The unravelling of Rashid and Dimple’s world is written with enormous dignity, grace and empathy. And a new India emerges, shiny and bright, but full of the old melancholy.

For all it’s dreaminess and langour, the storytelling in the book has a strong sense of momentum. At the heart of this book are stories love, affection and longing.

I loved this book, I was completely enthralled in it’s world and missed them all once I was done. This is a book I will return to again and again.

How I picture Dimple

Nb. There are some fairly confronting sex scenes in the book- perhaps not for the fainthearted. I wouldn’t give this book to my mum for example.

Booker Buddies

ImageWelcome to what my bedside table will be looking like for the next month and a bit.  I have given myself the task to read as many of the shortlist as I can between now and October 16 (when the winner is announced).  

I will most likely fail miserably!  

Though to bolster self esteem, I’m thinking to start with some of the smaller books on offer!

I’d love to have some Booker Buddies, other crazies who want to have a crack too.

Then we can truly decide, which is the best novel, in the judges opinion (the surprisingly simple criteria of the competition)

Anyone care to join me?


If enough people are interested, I’ll set up one of those linky thingies.
Leave a comment if you dare.