Category Archives: Kerstin Ekman

The Dog – Kerstin Ekman

It wasnt my intention to read this so soon, but I did as The Bolter didnt turn up till today and so am now reading that like a demon… plus I wanted to leave the review up of Mr Toppit for a while, well at least until someone commented (violins for sympathy ha). Yesterday though I was just in the mood for a short read and something different and this seemed just right. I was sent The Dog by Kerstin Ekman from the lovely people at NewBooks Magazine to review for their next issue (they have had something different from this one as I couldn’t ramble on as I normally do on here) and I have to admit bar Dovegreyreaders review of the book, which made me interested, I probably wouldn’t have bought such a short novel for £12.99 – well it is the credit crunch. Moving swiftly on can anyone tell me what the difference between a novella and a novel is? This is 144 pages but quite a few are delightful illustrations.

The Dog is about a dog. A young puppy one day follows its mother as she chases their owner mistakenly thinking they are going on a hunt. The mother can barely keep up with the owner let alone the puppy and soon enough he is lost in the wooded lakeside unable to find his mother or owner. From then on he must fight for survival can the natural wild instincts come from a domestic puppy. I won’t say too much to give anything away but for those of you who are worrying and feeling sad I found the outcome incredibly uplifting and positive.

After the opening of the book, which evokes such sadness, the rest of the novel continues to take you on an incredibly emotional journey. You are taken through fear, joy, desperation the whole gambit and I thought that was remarkable. I also loved the way that Ekman really looked at how the instincts of a puppy and dog would work and how scents triggered his brain. I had never thought of ‘the scent of a predator’ and that idea particularly fascinated me and made me really think. The only draw back for me in all honesty

I hadn’t heard of Kerstin Ekman before this novel, but in fact The Dog was actually released in Sweden in 1986 though the book hasn’t aged at all it feels very fresh but then the story could be set at anytime in the past, now or even in the future. She has quite a few novels that are just starting to be published over here and one thing I must say is that she is a wonderful writer. The book is in extremely poetic and I could so imagine the scents and scenery quite vividly. I think it could be slightly shorter but the illustrations along the way are lovely.

This is a 3.5/5 book for me personally. I would recommend it but wait until it comes out in paperback. This is definitely a book for dog lovers though. I think maybe because I am more of a cat person that’s why it didn’t quite work as well for me? Cats verses dogs in the reading world which one wins? I can only think of Gobbolino The Witches Cat as a book solely about a cat. I shall leave you a picture of Charlie and Phoebe in their natural book habitats and you can decide.

Which wins?

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Filed under Kerstin Ekman, Little Brown Publishing, Review

Latest Reading Arrivals…

I thought as I have gone a fair few book reviews in the last two days that I would put up some pictures of the latest arrivals here in Tooting Towers. I have had some lovely parcels (some people call them promotional items – I call them presents) from some of the publishers which I always greet with great excitement. You can see these below…

The First Person & Other Stories – Ali Smith (Penguin)

I had the pleasure of reading Girl Meets Boy earlier in the year and so far its still one of my favourite reads in ages, I also loved The Incidental when I read that a few years ago. A collection of short stories that are “always intellectually playful, funny and moving’ should be a joy to read.

Mr Toppit – Charles Elton (Penguin)
The cover (or covers… more when I review) of this makes it look like a gothic mystery novel and I adore those. I have high hopes for a debut which seems to have a massive marketing campaign going and took fifteen years to write. The line “and out of the Darkwood Mr Toppit comes, and he comes not for you, or for me, but for all of us” sounds deliciously dark. I have to admit I have started this it just looked to good to savour.

Netherland – Joseph O’Neill (Harper Perenial)
Another one of the Richard and Judy Books of 2009 for which I am doing the challenge. This one is the one that in all honesty (and I will always be honest) has the least appeal to me initially as it seems to be about cricket which I am not a fan of. However its also a book about ‘belonging and not belonging’ which sounds unusual plus it was longlisted for the Man Booker and didnt win which is a good sign. I am more of a fan of the longlisted or shortlisted than the winner.

The Devils Paintbrush – Jake Arnott (Sceptre)
I meant to re-read his novel The Long Firm earlier but didnt manage to get round to it (don’t worry though I will) which is part of his trolgy about gangsters. This scandalous tale is set in Paris in 1903 and is Arnotts first foray into ‘historial fiction’.

The Dog – Kerstin Ekman (Sphere)
Dovegreyreader reviewed this recently and I would never have heard of it if not for her… and the people at NewBooks Magazine who have asked me to review it. It sounds a bit sad though, a puppy getting lost in the wild and having to fight for its survival. However this may actually make the dog loving Non Reader pick up a book after I have finished one for once.

The Prophet Murders – Mehmet Murat Somer (Serpents Tail)
A crime which has the wonderful subtitle of ‘a Hop Ciki Yaya Thriller’ – I am already sold.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon (Harper Perennial)
I cannot count the times that people have told me ‘you will love that book’ its huge so I will be saving it for some very long train journeys I have lined up in a few weeks. The fact its a “heart-wrenching story of escape, love and comic-book heroes set in Prague, New York and the Arctic” does sound like quirky brilliance so I may very well love it.

King Kong Theory – Virginie Despentes (Serpents Tail)
This book has caused quite a lot of controversy of late (well in the broadsheets at the weekend anyway) and has made me want to read it and from the chapter titles (oh its short autobiographical stories) which I shant print just yet I can see why. Its also very short and short reads are the way forward after Mr Toppit I think.

I also went second hand shopping yesterday and found…

The Danish Girl – David Ebershoff (Phoenix)
After the thought provoking The 19th Wife it seemed like fate when I saw this for 50p. The story is again based on real people this time the “story of Danish painter Einar Dresden, this is a strange and eerily haunting novel about a very unusual love affair between a man who realizes he is really a woman and his remarkable wife” sounds unusual and is currently being made into a film with Nicole Kidman and Charlie Theron in it!

The Leopard – Giuseppe di Lampedusa (Vintage)
I have seen this book listed in so many ‘books you must read’ lists and the like that again for 50p how could I say no? I had no idea what it was about but apparently its a materpiece “is set amongst an aristocratic family, facing social and political changes in the wake of Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily in 1860” time will tell I sometimes have issues with masterpieces. Love the old Fontana edition I got will feel cultured andretro reading it on the tube.

The Secret River – Kate Grenville (Canongate)
I had been out shopping second hand especially for this. It’s for this reason that charity books are brilliant, money to a good cause and also when your unsure of an author its a good way of trying them before you become addicted and buy everything they do th moment it comes out… or never read them again. I heard Grenville on the Guardian Book Group podcast and despite the fact it pretty much gave everything away (I shant dear readers) I thought I should try it. It is another Man Booker nominee that didnt win so the signs are good I will like it.

As for what I am specifically reading this week after Mr Toppit… mainly short reads including The Dog as mentioned. After a few heavier novels I want some faster fiction plus I had a readers block for a while and short reads are the best medicine for that. I might recah for another Capote maybe. I have also promised Novel Insights (who is on a world tour so wont be blogging till the summer now – selfish) I will read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood for our mammoth Rogue Book Group and shes stared already!

Any short read recommendations out there? What are you all reading?

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Filed under Ali Smith, Book Spree, Charles Elton, David Ebershoff, Jake Arnott, Joseph O'Neill, Kate Grenville, Kerstin Ekman, Virginie Despentes