Monday, September 21, 2020

MEMORIAL by Bryan Washington
Publication: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Riverhead
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / LGBTQ
Rating: ★★★★

A funny and profound story about a family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love.

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black daycare teacher, and they've been together for a few years -- good years -- but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.

But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike's immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together or fracture everything they've ever known. And just maybe they'll all be okay in the end. - Publisher

Reading this reminds me of Hayao Miyazake’s films. Studio Ghibli prides itself by effectively utilizing quiet moments in their films to give certain scenes or scene sequences a louder voice. They do not necessarily overshadow smaller parts, since there is no such thing. Those notable moments of peace in a frame highlights the striking ones. And they don’t necessarily move the plot forward either. Yet, it allows the viewer a window to discern the characters and circumstances more deeply. And to read the same here, in MEMORIAL, is astonishing.

I have to admit I don’t get the point of not using quote or speech marks because I think the conversations here are brilliant and needs to be emphasized (especially those Ahmad moments). However, the premise intrigues me on the outset. Who leaves his mother with the boyfriend for an unforeseeable time while he traipses across the globe looking for his estranged father? Mike did. And I want to know how Benson coped.

This story is multi-layered. At the center of it is a mixed-race couple who are struggling to salvage their relationship. Between the sex, the fights, and the compromises, so much were left unspoken through the years. Are they really in love? Is their affection for each other enough to give up one’s home or family? Around them are their broken families, trying hard to be part of both their lives. The characters are flawed, yet I found myself invested in them. There is an ache here everyone felt before, one way or another. Washington pivots the attention while Benson and Mike were apart to search their present, appreciate their past, and observe those quiet moments in between. 

MEMORIAL is not a representation of an unconventional romance. Instead, it is a convincing exploration of typical love, family, and life struggles. 


About the Author: 
Photo: © David Gracia
Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree, and winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His first book, the story collection Lot, was a finalist for the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Lot was a New York Times Notable Book, one of Dwight Garner’s top ten books of the year, and on best-of-the-year lists from Time, NPR, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, and many more. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, GQ, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston.

*Thanks to Riverhead Books for the uncorrected galley in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Book Review | MEMORIAL by Bryan Washington

Monday, September 14, 2020

JUST LIKE YOU by Nick Hornby
Publication: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Riverhead
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Romance
Rating: ★★★½

This warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first-century love story is about what happens when the person who makes you happiest is someone you never expected.

Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she'd been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes, and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she's a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn't exactly looking for love--she's more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It's not a match anyone one could have predicted. He's of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.

Just Like You is a brilliantly observed, tender, but also a brutally funny new novel that gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person--someone you didn't see coming. -Publisher

I appreciate Nick Hornby's novels because he attempts to capture the typical, yet liberal, affairs ordinary people find themselves in. In his latest, an interracial, intergenerational relationship happens between a 42-year-old white English teacher and a 22-year-old black babysitter, with the Brexit as its backdrop. Lucy, recently divorced from her alcoholic husband, braved dating once again. Joseph gladly took up babysitting Lucy's two young sons while she dines and wines out. The boys hit it off instantly with their love for soccer. The fact is, almost as promptly as Lucy and Joseph fell for each other. Yet, no matter how easy it is to exist in the bubble of their newly found love, outside influences persist –race, age, Brexit.

Society is obsessed and critical with the age gap in relationships. Certain studies found that partners with more than a ten-year gap in age usually experience public censure. With humor, Hornby managed to explore the challenges and difficulties that Lucy and Joseph’s relationship undertook. Although their arguments at times felt mundane or contrived, it is interesting to see how these characters comprehended themselves through their interaction with each other and with the outside world. And as complications occur, Lucy and Joseph’s relationship starts to fizzle out at the edges. So is my interest in the narrative. I find myself seeking more from this romance.

Then again, JUST LIKE YOU may not be simply about the excitement of romance. Maybe, it is more about partners (lovers) with opposing opinions (on love, family, or politics), based on their racial identity, class, and stage of development. If whether people are willing to keep or break a relationship based on those opinions. Also, will people allow (or not) society to dictate their definition of a relationship?

JUST LIKE YOU is coming on September 29. You can preorder your copies now.


About the Author:

Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh
Nick Hornby is the author of several internationally bestselling novels including High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, as well as several works of nonfiction, including Fever Pitch, Songbook, and Ten Years in the Tub. He has written screenplay adaptions of Lynn Barber’s An Education, which was nominated for an Academy Award, Cheryl Strayed's Wild, and Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. He lives in London.

*Thanks to Riverhead Books for the uncorrected galley in exchange for this unbiased review. *This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Book Review | JUST LIKE YOU by Nick Hornby

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

WRECKED by Louisa Reid
Publication: September 3, 2020
Publisher: Guppy Books

About the Book:

Joe and Imogen seem like the perfect couple — they've been in a relationship for years and are the envy of their friends at school. But after accidentally becoming involved a tragic fatal accident, they become embroiled in a situation out of their control, and Joe and Imogen's relationship becomes slowly unraveled until the truth is out there for all to see ... Structured around a dramatic and tense court case, the reader becomes both judge and jury in a stunning and page-turning novel of uncovering secrets and lies — who can be believed?

More about Wrecked.


About the Author:

Louisa Reid has spent most of her life reading. And when she’s not doing that, she’s writing stories, or imagining writing them at least. An English teacher, her favorite part of the job is sharing her love of reading and writing with her pupils. Louisa lives with her family in the north-west of England and is proud to call a place near Manchester home.

GLOVES OFF is her first novel in verse.

*Content sent by the author for this blog's publication. This is a free ad.

Wednesday Spotlight | WRECKED by Louisa Reid

Monday, September 7, 2020

PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke
Publication: September 14, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

Piranesi lives in the House.
Perhaps he always has.

In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food and waterlilies to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone.

Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and
what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?

Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous.

The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite. -Publisher

It’s been sixteen years since Susanna Clarke’s Hugo award-winning debut, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Readers, of course, want to get their hands on her new book. And I am lucky enough to read an excerpt from Netgalley, just enough to be hooked.

PIRANESI opens with Clarke’s inclination for the strange. A huge House, somewhere, is a residence to thousands of statues divided into halls –halls clashed by tides at certain times of the day. At present, the House has two living residents as well, Piranesi and the Other. Piranesi, our narrator, keeps journals which he labeled in very peculiar ways. He has a critical mind and chronicles everything with meticulousness. He doesn’t seem to mind living alone, but his curiosity about many things is apparent. Piranesi himself is a curiosity. And the Other seems to hold the same opinion.

Compared to JSMN, PIRANESI is hundreds of pages shorter. Still, everybody knows that numbers cannot limit Clarke’s magic. The otherworldliness of the book amplifies the mystery enveloping the whole premise. Who is Piranesi? Where exactly is he? There are clues for the readers.


About the Author:
Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959 and spent her childhood in Northern England and Scotland.

She studied philosophy, politics, and economics at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, and taught in Turin and Bilbao for two years, before becoming an editor at Simon and Schuster in Cambridge, working on their cookery list. She is the author of seven short stories and novellas, published in anthologies in the USA. One of her short stories, ‘The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse’ was published in a limited edition, and her story 'Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower' was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award 2001.

In 2004, her first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, was published. It tells the story of two magicians in early 19th-century London and was shortlisted for the 2004 Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award.

*Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for the uncorrected proof in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Sampler Review | PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

LOVE ORANGE by Natasha Randall
Publication: September 3, 2020
Publisher: Quercus

About the Book:

An extraordinary debut novel by Natasha Randall, exposing the seam of secrets within an American family, from beneath the plastic surfaces of their new 'smart' home. Love Orange charts the gentle absurdities of their lives and the devastating consequences of casual choices.

While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the "marshmallow numbness" of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the darknet and strange geological experiments.

Jenny's bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters...

Love Orange throws open the blinds of American life, showing a family facing up to the modern age, from the ascendancy of technology, the predicaments of masculinity, the pathologizing of children, the epidemic of opioid addiction and the tyranny of the WhatsApp Gods. The first novel by the acclaimed translator is a comic cocktail, an exuberant skewering of contemporary anxieties and prejudices.

More about Love Orange.


About the Author:

Natasha Randall’s novel Love Orange (riverrun) will be published on 3 September. She is a literary translator of the works of Dostoyevsky, Zamyatin, Gogol, and others, for publishers such as Penguin Classics and the Modern Library. Her writing and critical work has appeared in theTimes Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Moscow Times, BookForum, The New York Times, Strad magazine, The Yale Review, Jubilat, and on National Public Radio. She is a contributing editor to the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space. Follow her on Twitter@natasharandall.

*Content sent by the author for this blog's publication. This is a free ad.

Wednesday Spotlight | LOVE ORANGE by Natasha Randall

Monday, August 31, 2020

ANXIOUS PEOPLE by Fredrik Backman
Publication: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster CA
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery/Humor
Rating: ★★★★★
This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Ostensibly, ANXIOUS PEOPLE revolves around the investigation of a failed bank robbery, which led to an unplanned hostage-taking episode, during a scheduled apartment viewing a day before New Year’s Eve. However, the unraveling of this case also unravels the seemingly idiotic people involved.

Ever since A Man Called Ove, I try to read every Backman book. And so far, everyone surprised and engaged me like it was the first time. I cannot help falling in love with them. Backman has this uncanny ability to uncover our unspoken truths and give them words for all to read. And somehow, that is more than okay.

Equally poignant and witty, ANXIOUS PEOPLE, fleshes out people’s inner turmoil. Through these characters, Backman carries us into a narrative that allows us to see human vulnerability, including ours. It allows us to see our need for a connection and how a little compassion provides access, maybe, even in more ways than one. And with his humor, Backman cleverly sways us to look at the dreariest of circumstances in a different light and challenges us to pick the moral choice all the time. I sincerely want to thank him for that.

I also want to thank Neil Smith for translating and flawlessly conveying all this wisdom through. Marin Ireland read the book for Simon & Schuster Audio.

I can't wait for you, guys, to read this too.


About the Author:
Photo by
Linnéa Jonasson Bernholm
Appendix fotografi
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime, and the nonfiction collection Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. His next novel, Anxious People, will be published in September in the US and Canada. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @BackmanSK.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the uncorrected proof in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Book Review | ANXIOUS PEOPLE by Fredrik Backman

Thursday, August 27, 2020

TARA FREJAS is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

I have a complicated relationship with Pinoy rom-coms. Or at least the romance-adjacent films of the last few years. Sure, the aesthetic is pleasing. The acting is, more often than not, believable. Even the soundtrack is nice. But more often than not, they are rife with so much (m)angst it snatches away my overall enjoyment of the film.

Gone were the days when I can watch a Pinoy rom-com and be assured of a good time. You know, the ones with a giggle-inducing meet-cute, nakakakilig falling-in-love montages, and most importantly, hard-earned and well deserved happy endings.

It has led me to think: Are Pinoys now afraid of happy endings?

The prevalence of "hugot culture" seems to have affected how Pinoy audiences consume content. Nowadays, I feel like the more painful the story is, the more people gravitate toward it. Some people say they prefer this because it's a more realistic approach to storytelling, that this is how things pan out in real life. Others simply turn their noses up at rom-coms because they're baduy or too cheesy for their taste. Creators will say this is the story they want/need to tell, and a happy ending would not be true to their vision.

To which, I say: Okay, I respect your opinion...but can we please have an honest-to-goodness rom-com, stat!?

I mean, at this point in this extremely challenging and exhausting year, I believe we deserve something lighthearted and hopeful. It doesn't have to veer away from reality (not too much, at least), but what it could do is remind us of the innate goodness of people. Of good people finding other good people and making the world a better place (however they could) together.

That was what we hoped to do when #romanceclass started on a web series called Hello, Ever After in May. I think it's safe to say the series was conceived out of a collective frustration we authors felt toward not only the country's current state of affairs but also the kind of content being made accessible to the public. I mean, we're already in the middle of a global pandemic—it would be nice if the things we turn to for entertainment don't trigger any more negative emotions.

The concept for Hello, Ever After is simple: In the middle of Metro Manila lockdown, couples (who have been introduced in previously published #romanceclass books) check in on each other through a video call. There's a bit of social commentary here and there, and some episodes can be a rollercoaster of emotions, but kilig is always guaranteed.

On paper, it might not be much, but writing the episodes has been a huge help for us authors to sort through our emotions during this pandemic. Eventually, it became a source of joy for our community too, and it was exciting to see everyone on social media get ready to watch the weekly episodes. It became a Friday night habit that people baked things for, prepped episode-related snacks for, finished work early for. One of our community members even made Hello, Ever After cup sleeves, and a #romanceclass lightstick (AKA kilig bong) we can wave while watching the series...just like KPop fans do during concerts! Fun!

One of my favorite things about Hello, Ever After (aside from the episodes, of course!) is catching up with everyone in the chatroom whenever a new episode is streamed. #RomanceClass events are often very loud and swoony, and it’s so amusing to see that energy being replicated, even if it’s just through a string of messages on screen. It’s obvious we all miss each other, and I’m happy we could have a way to get the community together on a regular basis.

As of this writing, there have been nine Hello, Ever After episodes produced, eight of them already available on our YouTube channel. Are we doing more of this? You bet we are. Three more episodes are in the pipeline, and we’re anticipating more scripts to come in soon. So yeah—maybe check out this little quarantine project of ours, plus the related books? After all, everyone could use more kilig and hope in their lives.

Author's Friday | Hello, Ever After: Kilig Guaranteed Tara Frejas

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

CHARLOTTE by Helen Moffett
Publication: September 3, 2020
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK

About the Book:

This beautifully told story of marriage, duty and friendship follows Charlotte's story from where Pride and Prejudice ends. Nobody believes that Charlotte Lucas has any prospects. She is unmarried, plain, poor and reaching a dangerous age. But when she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her fortunes change. Her best friend Lizzy Bennet is appalled by her decision, yet Charlotte knows this is the only way to provide for her future. What she doesn't know is that married life will propel her into a new world: not only of duty and longed-for children, but secrets, grief, unexpected love and friendship, and a kind of freedom.

Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.

More about Charlotte.


About the Author:

Helen Moffett is an author, editor, academic, and activist. Her publications include university textbooks, a treasury of landscape writings (Lovely Beyond Any Singing), a cricket book (with the late Bob Woolmer and Tim Noakes), an animal charity anthology (Stray, with Diane Awerbuck) and the Girl Walks In erotica series (with Sarah Lotz and Paige Nick). She has also published two poetry collections – Strange Fruit (Modjaji Books) and Prunings (uHlanga Press), with the latter winning the 2017 SALA prize for poetry. She has edited the last three Short Story Day Africa anthologies, Migrations, ID, and Hotel Africa. She has written a memoir of Rape Crisis in South Africa, and two green handbooks: 101 Water-wise Ways and Wise About Waste: 150+ ways to help the planet. Her first novel, Charlotte (a Pride & Prejudice sequel), was published by Bonnier in the UK in 2020. She lives in Noordhoek, near Cape Town, blogs at, and can be found on Twitter @heckitty.

*Content sent by the author for this blog's publication. This is a free ad.

Wednesday Spotlight | CHARLOTTE by Helen Moffett

Monday, August 24, 2020

THE VANISHED QUEEN by Lisbeth Campbell
Publication: August 18, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Saga Press)
Genre: Fantasy

When a country is held in thrall to a vicious, despotic king, it’s up to one woman to take him down.

Long ago, Queen Mirantha vanished. King Karolje claimed it was an assassination by a neighboring king, but everyone knew it was a lie. He had Disappeared her himself.

But after finding the missing queen’s diary, Anza—impassioned by her father’s unjust execution and inspired by Mirantha’s words—joins the resistance group to overthrow the king. When an encounter with Prince Esvar thrusts her into a dangerous game of court politics, one misstep could lead to a fate worse than death.

Esvar is the second son of an evil king. Trapped under his thumb and desperate for a way out, a chance meeting with Anza gives him the opportunity to join the resistance. Together, they might have the leverage to move against the king—but if they fail, their deaths could mean a total loss of freedom for generations to follow.

Set in a world where resistance is as dangerous as it is important, The Vanished Queen is a tale of the courage and sacrifice it requires to take on a tyrant. -Publisher

The book cover is gorgeous and paired with a strong summary. I knew I have to request a copy from the publisher. However, I had a hard time immersing myself in it.

The tyrant King Karolje rules the Kingdom of Vetia, and his power relies on secrets, lies, and manipulations. He has no qualms killing anyone who opposes him, even his wife, Queen Mirantha. His sons, Tevin and Esvar, grew up learning and exerting their schemes against their evil father. Meanwhile, amidst the impoverished populaces, hides the resisters. Among them is Anza, the harpy.

For me, it seems that two different people wrote this book. I can easily dismiss the grammatical errors since I read an uncorrected proof. Still, there are parts comprised of disjointed sentences and flat narratives. [Maybe], this is one reason why this book also felt winding at times. Meanwhile, other parts emerge with strength and sureness that capture the reader’s interest. Or, this book went through a gradual progression, years maybe, and the writer’s evolution becomes evident as the story unfolds. Either, I hope editing catches on that, and none of these appears on the final cut because this book has great potential.

The very intricate weave of intrigue and passion is juicy. Campbell’s command of political and economic scheming is fascinating. And it’s the most exciting theme for me. Mirantha’s chapters help bring that out, and probably the best-written parts. And although I prefer King Karolje and Tevin to be fleshed out further, I am content with the rest of the characters.

Filled with drama, romance, and pursuit of justice, fantasy readers will enjoy THE VANISHED QUEEN. There are some dark topics ahead, so be forewarned.

Alan Dingman designed the beautiful book cover. While Lisa Flanagan, Tristan Morris, and Vanessa Moyen read the audio version.


About the Author:
Lisbeth Campbell grew up in Illinois and western Pennsylvania. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her jobs have run the gamut from housecleaner to teacher. When she is not writing, reading, or spending time with her husband and daughter, she is probably attending to one of her cats.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the uncorrected proof in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Book Review | THE VANISHED QUEEN by Lisbeth Campbell

Monday, August 17, 2020

THE FINDER by Will Ferguson
Publication: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

From the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist of 419 comes a spellbinding literary adventure novel about precious objects lost and found.

The world is filled with wonders, lost objects—all real—all still out there, waiting to be found:

· the missing Fabergé eggs of the Romanov dynasty, worth millions
· the last reel of Alfred Hitchcock’s first film
· Buddy Holly’s iconic glasses
· Muhammad Ali’s Olympic gold medal

How can such cherished objects simply vanish? Where are they hiding? And who on earth might be compelled to uncover them?

Will Ferguson takes readers on a heroic, imaginative journey across continents, from the seas of southern Japan to the arid Australian Outback, to the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, after the earthquake. Prepare to meet Gaddy Rhodes, a brittle Interpol agent obsessed with tracking “The Finder”—a shadowy figure she believes is collecting lost objects; Thomas Rafferty, a burnt-out travel writer whose path crosses that of The Finder, to devastating effect; and Tamsin Greene, a swaggering war photographer who is hiding secrets of her own.

The Finder is a beguiling and wildly original tale about the people, places, and things that are lost and found in our world. Both an epic literary adventure and an escape into a darkly thrilling world of deceit and its rewards, this novel asks: How far would you be willing to go to recover the things you’ve left behind? -Publisher

THE FINDER is an ode to travel and a good hunt, filled with compelling people, witty dialogues, and vivid settings. The book starts in Okinawa, to Australia, and ends in Loch Lomond. The premise centers on a Finder, a small man with a forgettable face, who has the gift of finding forgotten things -things valued high because they were once lost and now found. He takes advantage of the chaos and leaves more behind after him. Finding the Finder, however, is Interpol Agent Gaddy Rhodes's obsession. And caught between their game of cat and mouse is an array of characters -distinct and flawed, but sincerely fleshed out and evenly scattered.

Ferguson’s words are delectable. His wit and humor emerge thru them naturally, knowing they are from experience. He has a knack for transporting his readers exactly where he imagines them to be. His keen eye highlights rich cultures and vibrant landscapes. All the while that the characters' history unravels, the mystery thickens. And although this reader doesn’t want the book to end, I want to know how the story will come together.

This book came at a much needed time, a gift, while wanderlust is at its peak during a pandemic. 


About the Author:
Photograph by
Kevin Hanson
Will Ferguson is the author of four novels, including 419, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, he has been nominated for both a Commonwealth Prize and an International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent novel, The Shoe on the Roof, was an instant national bestseller. Will Ferguson lives in Calgary.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending the advance uncorrected proofs for free in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

Book Review | THE FINDER by Will Ferguson