Elena Ferrante’s — My brilliant friend *****

Elena Ferrante’s — My brilliant friend *****

From childhood, Elena and Lina are friends. Throughout the 1950s, they know nothing of Naples—the city they live in beyond the impoverished suburb they inhabit. Elena struggles to be first in class, but realizes she will always be second to Lina. When they reach adolescence, their lives take different directions, but will either of them be able to escape into a different life from the reality of their deprived mothers?

This is a compelling step into the Italian mentality of the times, from the limited lives of women to the overbearing macho mentality of the men who frequently react with violence. 

Rachel Kadish’s—The weight of ink*****

Rachel Kadish’s—The weight of ink*****

In the 1600s, Ester’s brother accidently burns down their Amsterdam house killing their parents, and the Jewish community is reluctant to take on the two orphans because of their mother’s criticism of their archaic beliefs. Blind Rabbi HaCoen Mendes offers to take them to London where he is to instruct the Jewish community, and Ester’s brother will be his scribe. But her brother has other plans and disappears once they arrive in London. The rabbi then uses Ester as his scribe, and she begins to hunger for more knowledge.

Continue reading “Rachel Kadish’s—The weight of ink*****”
Kim Echlin’s—Speak, silence*****

Kim Echlin’s—Speak, silence*****

Gota, a journalist, leaves Canada and travels to Bosnia in the hope of reconnecting with Kosmos—the man she had a whirlwind romance with in Paris that resulted in a daughter. After a night of lovemaking in Sarajevo with Kosmos, he introduces her to the love of his life—Edina who still pines for her dead husband. On a visit to Edina’s law office, Gota learns of the thousands of files Edina has collected from women who were raped during the Bosnian War. She’s drawn to Edina and the testimony her mother, herself, and her daughter are about to give in The Hague when a trial against Dragic, an officer who in his village, ordered the capture, rape, and torture of Muslim women.

Speak, silence is not an easy read, but the believable characters and court proceedings are an eye opener for those who have never experienced how many men behave in war and what ethnic cleansing really means.

Richard Flanagan’s — Death of a river guide *****

Richard Flanagan’s — Death of a river guide *****

Alijaz is a river guide on the only remaining Tasmanian River that has not been dammed—the Franklin. In an attempt to save a tourist who’s fallen into the river, Alijaz gets trapped in the rapids. While he is entombed underwater, his dreams take him on an unforgettable journey.

Beautifully written, I didn’t want this story to end while at the same time, hoped Alijaz would survive.