Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Summer House with Swimming Pool – Herman Koch

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

To avoid spoiling this book for anyone who hasn’t read I am unable to tell you very much about the plot at all as this is one of those books which needs to be discovered page by page.

Dr. Marc Schlosser, a GP is the narrator, our main protagonist and at the very beginning of the book we find out that he is about to face the Board of Medical Examiners. We know this is connected to the death of Ralph Meier, a famous actor and his wife is accusing the doctor of murder. The only thing we know what connects these two men is that the root of this death went back to a consultation by the doctor eighteen months previously.

The structure of the book takes us back from the present and builds up to a vacation taken at a Summer House with Swimming Pool then moves up the arc the other side back to the present. This works incredibly well, giving a feeling that Herman Koch is inviting the reader to make a judgment on the characters. The characters in this book are not as inherently as dislikeable as those in The Dinner but their actions are just as questionable, not least, our narrator Dr. Marc Shlosser whose thoughts on his patients alone made me wince (and make me wonder about my own doctor). However when we see Marc in a domestic setting, a different side of him shines through.

Herman Koch is exceptionally good at managing the pace in this book. I really needed to keep reading, I had to know what had happened to lead Marc to the Board of Medical Examiners and I desperately wanted to know what the outcome would be; but ultimately, this is a book about morality. What you as a reader find sympathy with and what you find abhorrent will potentially be different to my views. In my opinion this is one of the reasons why I liked reading this book, despite the feeling that this was almost a train crash in slow motion. I love the darkness to the writing, Marc’s views are imposed on the reader and these range from his patients, the arts, certain types of people and virtually anything that makes his life uncomfortable are astute if at times almost intolerably objectionable.

Like The Dinner it is hard for me to state I enjoyed this book, for the same types of reasons at times I had to squint at the page because as much I needed to know what happened next, I almost didn’t want to get drawn any further into the murky depths of horror, so much more repulsive for what wasn’t said.

I found myself thinking about Marc at odd times long after I’d left the book. If that isn’t the sign of a book that makes you think, question where you stand on the line of morality, I don’t know what is.

I’d like to thank the publishers Crown Publishing for a copy of this book prior to the publication date of 3 June 2014 in return for this honest review.

My review of The Dinner

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (May 21)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing
Blurb

How do you solve a crime when you can’t remember the clues?
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable – just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.
Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.
Everyone, except Maud. NetGalley

I have just finished reading Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

My review will follow shortly.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can’t keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

Next I will be reading The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

On a wet, gray night in early November, Charlo Torp, a former gambler who’s only recently kicked the habit, makes his way through the slush to Harriet Krohn’s apartment, flowers in hand. Certain that paying off his debt is the only path to starting a new life and winning his daughter’s forgiveness, Charlo plans to rob the wealthy old woman’s antique silver collection. What he doesn’t expect is for her to put up a fight.
The following morning Harriet is found dead, her antique silver missing, and the only clue Inspector Sejer and his team find in the apartment is an abandoned bouquet. Charlo should feel relieved, but he’s heard of Sejer’s amazing record — the detective has solved every case he’s ever been assigned to.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterward? Goodreads

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (May 20)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch, the author who wrote one of the most uncomfortable yet astute novels I’ve ever read in The Dinner.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. NetGalley

My Teaser

“Murderer!” she screamed
I glanced over at my patients in the waiting space; I knew all three of them by sight. A film director with hemorrhoids, a gallery owner with erectile dysfunction, and a no-longer-so-very-fresh-faced actress who was expecting her first chid – albeit not from the blond, hulking, and permanently unshaven actor she had married seven months earlier in a Tuscan castle, all paid for by the society program on the commercial TV channel that had been granted exclusive broadcast rights to the entire ceremony and after-party.

Share your thoughts with me as well as a link to your Tuesday Teaser.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 24)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

First up this week is a new novel by Herman Koch, Summer House With Swimming Pool due to be published by Crown Publishing on 3 June 2014 I have a copy from NetGalley! I’m especially pleased with this find as I was one of those people who appreciated (enjoyed is the wrong word) The Dinner.

Summer House With Swimming Pool

Blurb

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.
It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. NetGalley

This is billed as another controversial book that will be talked about so watch this space….

I also have secured a copy of Daughter by Jane Shemilt from Penguin books, to be published on 14 August 2014.

Daughter

Blurb

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other’s problems and don’t keep secrets from each other.
But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.
Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.
How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she’ll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything. NetGalley

and finally a copy of After The Silence by Jake Woodhouse due to be published on 24 April 2014 by Penguin Books. It’ll be my first crime novel set in Amsterdam, a city I love so I’m looking forward to this read.

After The Silence

Blurb

A murdered policeman, a dead businessman hanging from a hook, a building burnt to the ground in an arson attack and a missing girl – identity unknown.
It’s up to damaged, world-weary Inspector Jaap Rykel of Amsterdam’s finest to piece it all together. Alongside him he’s got an inexperienced female detective wrestling with the ghosts of her past, and a Sergeant with a drugs habit. And then there’s the internal affairs investigation . . .NetGalley

I found Where Petals Fall by Melissa Foster on My Reading Corner

Where Petals Fall

Blurb

On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unraveled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage. When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself. As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.

Read the review here

My last addition to the TBR was prompted by a brilliant review of a Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson by Diary Of An Eccentric  led this one to be added to my TBR

somewhere-in-france

This novel set around the Great War will go nicely with the others I have from this time period. To ring the changes this book looks at the role of women ambulance drivers in France. Read the full review here