Lauren Moyneux curls up with a good book to review some of the latest best sellers
Three Things About Elsie
TOP TIP: Three Things About Elsie is not just a great story which lays down twists and turns that readers are not meant to expect, it’s a novel which encourages a reflection on life – on the past, on the present, on choices made and decisions that may lay ahead of us.
Florence has a fall in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits for someone to find her, her mind wanders to the consideration of the new resident – the one who looks uncannily like a man she knew when she was younger, a man believed to be dead. Although she now suffers with dementia the arrival of this familiar stranger forces her to consider the past, including the tangled web of secrets that it holds.
Told with perfect charm and heart-warming humour, Three Things About Elsie is another irresistible read from the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. The story maps out a mystery which is ultimately rooted in the past, and has readers clutching at straws and searching for leads as much as their challenged protagonist. Featuring light-hearted anecdotes which guarantee to make you crack a smile, the novel houses the powerful theme of time throughout, which is addressed neatly and philosophically right up until the novel’s close.
Cannon expertly weaves Florence’s narrative with some of the secondary characters that surround her. The beauty of these interlocking stories is only realised when the novel is finished and seeks to highlight the fact that even minimal encounters can have such a profound impact on our lives. It places friendship and kindness at the heart, addresses questions surrounding spirituality and mortality, and ultimately is an absolute joy to read.
I Am, I Am, I Am
TOP TIP: This insightful novel about near-death has a powerful and surprising effect – it is magical in its ability to make you feel fiercely alive.
Novelist Maggie O’Farrell writes a memoir with a difference. I Am, I Am, I Am is the story of an incredible life told in recollections of near-death experiences – 17 to be precise – and it’s a rollercoaster of a read.
From a terrifying encounter with a mysterious man on a mountain track, to almost drowning, to a three-day labour resulting in emergency surgery at an understaffed hospital, O’Farrell’s life experiences have been far from straightforward. Her memoir depicts a life that has always faced complication, even from a young age having predictions thrust upon her that she would not make it through a childhood illness.
With moments that are both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, sentences that evoke deep emotion, stories that shine with messages of human kindness and are sure to make readers marvel at the sheer tenacity of the maternal drive, I Am, I Am, I Am should be prescribed to those who need help in remembering how powerful we humans can be. It is ultimately eye-opening and utterly inspiring, and will encourage you to value every breath you take and every beat of your heart from the moment you stop reading.