It was the best of reads, it was the worst of reads.

In November I might have read my favourite and least favourite books of 2017. According to critic Rebecca Adams, Helen Oyeyemi’s What is Not Yours in Not Yours ( a collection of supposedly linked short stories ) is ‘ambitious’ ‘exuberant’ and readers will have their expectations ‘continually thwarted’ by its dazzling virtuosity. I couldn’t make head or tail of it, but I’m particularly impatient at this time of the year so maybe I should have given it more time. Or maybe not.

On the other hand, I found Fiona Mozley’s Elmet unputdownable. Any attempt to summarise the story will inevitably not do it justice but it’s about property, identity and family. The fascinating thing is that, although it has a contemporary setting, the feel is of something primitive and visceral: a cross between Wuthering Heights and an Old Testament story. The fact that 29 year old Mozley apparently wrote it on her phone while commuting between London and York is simultaneously depressing ( as Gore Vidal said ‘Writers are always filled with envy at others’ good fortune’ ) and uplifting. Some critics were sniffy about this debut novel making the Booker shortlist which for me only adds to it appeal!

This is a short blog for a short month which has seen mixed fortunes and weather as well as mixed reading matter! ‘Speak’ to you again after Christmas ( and have a good one! )

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