#BOOKREVIEW LITTLE EYES by SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN

ABOUT THE BOOK

A spine-tingling portrait of our obsession with technology, from the Man Booker International-shortlisted literary star


They look harmless enough: you could even call them cute. Not quite a phone, not quite a toy, not quite a robot, these are Kentukis. And it doesn’t take long for these apparently innocent devices to fall prey to our dark obsession with technology.
Little Eyes is a chilling portrait of our compulsively interconnected society. Schweblin irresistibly pulls the reader into an unsettling world of voyeurism, narcissism and the sinister reality that lies beneath the most seductive of masks.


PUBLISHED BY ONEWORLD


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


hive.co.uk

waterstones (signed edition)

MY REVIEW


This was a brilliantly sinister little book! Don’t let the cute cover fool you! And that’s the case with the ‘pets’ that are in the homes of people, as is akin to the technology we all have in our homes nowadays, and the role they play in our daily lives and the dependence and impact they have on those people who have them, or who are the dwellers controlling the toys from their computers far away. It makes you want to switch off all devices in your home pronto!!

The story follows a number of different characters, each with a link to these toys, whose popularity is sweeping the world. You can choose to be a ‘keeper’, somebody who buys a ‘kentuki’, which comes in many guises, and you log on, charge them up and wait for a ‘dweller’ to connect with you and then you’re being watched! You have a virtual pet! If you choose to be a dweller, then you get to watch through the eyes of your kentuki and see how someone else lives, many thousands of miles away – notice their routines, be there to comfort them…..

What I loved about this was the variety of characters used and how they each interacted with their toys, both in front of the camera and behind it. It showed how easily we can connect with people around the world – it shows the loneliness behind so many people that they crave a connection with someone or something, that they’re willing to use technology in this way. There’s that initial excitement of having this new piece of tech, followed by the fear it can impose on the user.

It is used by the young and old and it was fascinating to see how different generations dealt with the role of the Kentuki. And how that also changed whether they were an owner or a dweller. Not sure I’d want to choose either role, but if I had to then I’d probably be a dweller! Watching over the life of someone else, rather than them seeing all I do!!

I found it to be such a fabulously, intriguing read, and definitely of the times. It will make you look at those smart devices we surround ourselves with in a completely different way, just knowing that they could be watching you! Aarrggghh!! Be afraid!! Highly recommended!!


★★★★

#BookReview Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin #PublicationDay

About the book

Jen Beagin’s brilliant, off-beat and deeply moving novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona – almost twenty-four, emotionally adrift and cleaning houses to get by. Volunteering for a needle-exchange programme, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways.

In search of healing, Mona decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her – the pyjama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself, and the crushing legacy of the past she left behind.

The story of Mona’s journey to find her place in the world is at once fearless and wonderfully strange, true to life and boldly human, and introduces a stunning, one-of-a-kind new voice in American fiction.

Published by OneWorld Publications

Publication Date – 5th July 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   £12.99

Hive.co.uk  £9.95

Book Depository  £10.38

My Review

I found this to be a unique and cleverly written book about a young woman who is clearly struggling with finding meaning in her life, and begins to learn lots about herself and the world around her from the weirdly wonderful characters she meets along the way!

Mona is 24 and works as a cleaner. She is a dreamer, and will happily spend the time cleaning fantasizing about the lives of the people whose homes she is in, along with occasionally taking a sneaky peek at their belongings! She also volunteers at a needle exchange so meets a wide variety of people there – and ‘Mr Disgusting’ as she calls him is one such person she feels a connection to although she doesn’t know why. He is a very powerful character and Mona finds herself becoming willingly trapped in his world despite knowing the things she was doing wasn’t good for her.

When things don’t work out with him – thankfully – she finds herself in a new town with very different people around her and they take her under her wing and try and show her there is more to life than the ‘existing’ path she finds herself on. It’s a chance for a new start but isn’t sure how to let go of past behaviours!

Mona is such a fascinating character. She is awkward and emotionally adrift but isn’t backward in coming forward and given the start she had in life, you do understand why she has gone through life not connecting or feeling part of things. This is her discovery and it also gives you as a reader a way of looking at things from different perspectives. And how can you not love a character whose favourite pastime is vacuuming and has a collection of favourite vacuum cleaners that she even names!

I loved the quirky humour throughout – often crude but very funny! It was one of those books that I wasn’t expecting too much from but it surprised me with how much I wanted Mona to find her happy ending – whatever that may be – and how the new experiences she went on helped her grow and move on.

My thanks to the publisher for the copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

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