never let me go

Read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go is a classic of the dystopia genre. It’s quiet, soft, heart-wrenching. There’s not a lot going on in there, to the point that the novel, no matter how horrible its premise, feels quite cozy at times. Knowing the main twist may have made it less memorable for me, or maybe it’s…

The Rachel Incident

Read The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

Rachel is a student working at a bookstore when she meets James, and it’s love at first sight. Effervescent and insistently heterosexual, James soon invites Rachel to be his roommate and the two begin a friendship that changes the course of both their lives forever. Together, they run riot through the streets of Cork city, trying to maintain a bohemian existence while the threat of the financial crash looms before them.

When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her devise a reading at their local bookstore, with the goal that she might seduce him afterwards. But Fred has other desires. So begins a series of secrets and compromises that intertwine the fates of James, Rachel, Fred, and Fred’s glamorous, well-connected, bourgeois wife. Aching with unrequited love, shot through with delicious, sparkling humor, The Rachel Incident is a triumph.

Everyone seems to agree that The Rachel Incident is a funny novel. I don’t get it. I couldn’t stop reading The Rachel Incident. It was gripping and relatable and I felt the confusion and despair and hope of our young trio – because, as much as the narrator wants to tell us otherwise, Carey is…

where the dead sleep

Read Where the Dead Sleep by Joshua Moehling

When an early morning call brings Deputy Ben Packard to the scene of a home invasion, he finds Bill Sandersen shot in his bed. Bill was a well-liked local who chased easy money his whole life, leaving bad debts and broken hearts in his wake. Everyone Packard talks to has a story about Bill, but no one has a clear motive for wanting him dead. The business partner. The ex-wife. The current wife. The high-stakes poker buddies. Any of them–or none of them–could be guilty.
As the investigation begins, tragedy strikes the Sheriff’s department, forcing Packard to make a difficult choice about his future: step down as acting Sheriff and pursue the quiet life he came to Sandy Lake in search of, or subject himself to the scrutiny of an election for the full-time role of Sheriff, a job he’s not sure he wants.

I got Where the dead sleep because it was part of the Lambda Literary shortlist, without realizing that it’s book 2 of a series of which I read the first book. I realized that when I saw my own review of Book 1 on The Storygraph from a while ago (when I still said ACAB):…

wild geese

Read Wild Geese by Soula Emmanuel

Wild Geese tells the story of Phoebe Forde, an Irish trans woman living in Scandinavia with her anxious dog, Dolly. Overeducated and underpaid, Phoebe is finally settling into her new life when she unexpectedly reconnects with her first and only girlfriend from before her transition, igniting memories she thought she’d left behind.

Wild Geese is a novel about my ex a trans woman who accidentally rekindles an old flame with the ex she had pre-transition. Together, they walk through Copenhagen, the city where Phoebe, the protagonist, moved from Dublin. Her ex visits for the first time. They spend the weekend together, dissecting their old life and their…