#BookReview THE BUS ON THURSDAY by SHIRLEY BARRETT

ABOUT THE BOOK

That’s when I literally had thoughts of becoming a nun, because I thought, Well, I’m never going to have sex again. If I become a nun, I would at least have somewhere to live.


It wasn’t just the bad break-up that caused Eleanor’s life to unravel. It was the cancer. And the demons that came with it.


Freshly single and thoroughly traumatised from the ordeals of breast cancer, Eleanor Mellett starts a new job as a teacher in a remote mountain hamlet. It’s certainly peaceful enough, almost too peaceful. But what’s become of the previous teacher, the saintly Miss Barker, who has disappeared abruptly under mysterious circumstances? And what’s with all those locks on the door? And what the hell is that bus doing idling outside her house late, late at night?


Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in Twin Peaks. Darkly funny, deeply unsettling and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a strange and wild ride for all fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, David Lynch and Stephen King.

PUBLISHED BY ALLEN & UNWIN

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
hive.co.uk
whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you like your books full of dark humour and with a surreal, weird vibe, then I can’t recommend this highly enough! I fell in love with Eleanor right from the off as she faces life being single and being a cancer survivor and her cynical and funny approach to life was a joy to read, especially at the beginning where I found myself laughing at her thoughts and exploits on every page! Her world just turns very dark when she finds herself in a new town as a teacher, to replace Miss Barker who has disappeared without a trace!

Talbingo is the town and has a Twin Peaks kind of vibe! There’s very little going on and often very few people around. The missing teacher was just the sweetest according to those who worked with her and the children who idolized her and her stickers, so living up to that is something that is proving very difficult for Eleanor to deal with. But she has wine!! She seems to be able to cope with anything when she’s had a drink or three!

The more she finds out about some of the children and the old teacher then the darker the story becomes! The weird stuff just keeps getting weirder and this does detract from the story a little but still makes for very entertaining but unsettling reading! In Eleanor you have a character who isn’t in the most stable of places mentally or physically and is very prone to making rash decisions, and the stuff she finds herself involved with isn’t helping keeping her from looking back on things that happened to her or helping her move on emotionally! And the characters around her aren’t what you consider normal anyway!! Wherever you think the story might go, then you’d probably be wrong!! It was one of those books that is difficult to forget once you’ve finished as you can’t believe some of the things that went on within the pages of this book!!


★★★★

#BookReview The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

About the book

A mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection – a meditation on love, art and commitment, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest art events in modern history, Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present.

‘This is a weirdly beautiful book.’ David Walsh founder and curator, MONA

‘Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.’ Stella Adler

‘Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.’ From The Museum of Modern Love

She watched as the final hours of The Artist is Present passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?

If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.

Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.

This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.

Published by Allen & Unwin

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  – audio version

book depository

MY REVIEW

What a special book! I chose this randomly from the BorrowBox library audio app and have been utterly absorbed over the past few days as I couldn’t get enough and just had to keep listening! Special mention for the narrator whose voice just fitted perfectly with this tale of art, love and life.

I have to admit to knowing nothing at all of Marina Abramovic, a performance artist who once sat in the Museum of Modern Art for 75 days straight – 8 – 10 hours a day – and invited members of the general public to sit opposite her and do nothing! Just sit! She didn’t eat, walk around, pee … just sat there staring at the different faces of people who queued up for hours to be part of it all. And this story is set around Levin and Jane, two strangers who are dealing with their own forms of grief and end up at the museum to witness this ‘art’ and find themselves questioning their own lives, the world around them and striking up a comforting relationship.

This is a story that ends up being so profound! It explores the questions of ‘what is life all about’, what makes people so drawn to something so simple and ‘what is art’. Jane and Levin have such different but similar pasts that you can’t help but share their concerns, doubts and worries over how they cope with things that life has thrown their way, and that they find strength in each other and the ritual of going to watch this artist and just observe things around them. 

And at the centre of the story is Marina herself – why she’s drawn to the world of performance art and her relationship with her family. I’ve now read more about her as an artist and watched video clips of ‘The Artist Is Present’ and it just seems so amazing that it affected so many people in such different ways. Even celebrities lined up to sit opposite her and be part of it all! Some smiled, some stared blankly, many cried and that’s how this book makes you feel too! There’s something very special about a book that makes you think, take time to ponder, to observe, to listen, to reflect, to just ‘be’ and I’m very glad I found the time to experience this piece of art and the stories of strangers thanks to an author who has captured the feelings beautifully. Life is art in itself and you get a very strong sense of that throughout. Wonderful!

🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠

#BookReview The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

All about the book

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.

Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprise meeting with an actress, Ursula yearns for the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak

Publisher – Allen & Unwin

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a fabulous new character to welcome into your life, then look no further! Ursula Flight is a delight!! From a inquisitive and imaginative child, to a determined and feisty woman, this book follows Ursula in a sparkling debut set in the 17th century.

Another thing I loved about this book was the way the story was written. It’s all from the pen of Ursula, such as diary entries (think of the historic equivalent to Adrian Mole, or Bridget Jones!), alongside plays she wrote and performed in linked to episodes in her life that she witnessed or imagined, and it just made for such a light and refreshing read that was full of laughs, spirit and had that feelgood factor that just made me want more!

Ursula was born on the night of the comet, and throughout her childhood she always felt different to many others. She is from a well to do family and is educated by her father who she idolises. Her relationship with her mother was a little more difficult and that was also a revealing side to the story as her life progresses.

The historical side to the story is also very well done and you never feel like you’re just looking back, you feel like you’re a fly on the wall as she travels to various places, experiences new things and the expectations placed on her as a female of the time. But Ursula has different ideas and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and this can lead to problems for her when she’s expected to know her place and stay quiet.

With an education behind her she is never happy to just settle for a domestic life, and her dream is to write plays for the theatres of London. And with such a determined character such as Ursula, you never doubt her desire to achieve these ambitions, despite those around her doing their best to thwart them. She has to overcome a number of hurdles put in her way but she even approaches these with a wonderful sense of humour and humility.

I adored this book and especially Ursula, and found it to be a truly unique reading experience. An amazing debut novel and I will be eagerly awaiting more from this author!!

                                        ☄☄☄☄