The books I read in February were a positive surprise overall. I had mixed feelings going in, but in the end I was glad I gave them a chance.
Click through the post carousel to see my other book reviews for 2023:
5. Schlafen werden wir später – Zsuzsa Bànks
I read this book right after reading, and loving, another book of hers in January, and maybe that was a mistake. It’s always difficult for a successor to achieve the same level of enthusiasm. “Schlafen werden wir später” follows the email exchange between childhood friends Johanna and Martá. Both in their forties, they struggle with family life, money trouble, career aspirations, health scares, and broken dreams. Inbetween they try to not lose their love for language, literature and art. To be honest, I spent half of the novel feeling exhausted by their trials and tribulations (it’s a lot), but in the end the book won me over. I just can’t resist a portrayal of deep, long-lasting and loyal female friendship.
6. Charisma – James Salter
This is a collection of short stories by an American author that was previously unknown to me. It was a mixed bag. The dude (of course) writing the foreword raved about Salter’s ability to write young women, and. Uh. Well. I don’t necessarily agree. Then again maybe I just questioned why every portrayal of a young women must include an affair with a much older man, a trope I’ll be happy to never see in my reading again. Some of the other stories I found very moving though. Salter excels in carving out the sadness and misfortune behind everyday scenes.
7. Offene See (The Offing) – Benjamin Myers
After finishing school, 16 year old Robert decides to go on a trip to see the sea before going to work in the mines as expected by his family. On the coast he meets Dulcie, an unconventional older woman who lives alone in a rundown cottage. He ends up staying with her in exchange for help around the house. Dulcie introduces him to the world of art and literature, but when Robert finds a manuscript of poems dedicated to her she refuses to even look at it. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this coming-of-age story set in the post-war years in Great Britain. The plot had the potential to be twee and corny, but I can happily report I found the book to be very lovely and almost tender!