Campari For Breakfast by Sara Crowe

★★★ (3 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1987, Sue Bowl’s world changes for ever. Her mother dies, leaving her feeling like she’s lost a vital part of herself. And then her father shacks up with an awful golddigger called Ivana. But Sue’s mother always told her to make the most of what she’s got – and what she’s got is a love of writing and some interesting relatives. So Sue moves to her Aunt Coral’s crumbling ancestral home, Green Place, along with a growing bunch of oddballs and eccentrics. Not to mention the odd badger or two . . . There she fully intends to write a book, fall in love, and learn to live decadently.

Why did I read this book?
I heard it was told, at least partly, through diary entries and that’s enough to sell a book to me. The “crumbling old country house” setting also appealed.

Favourite thing about the book:
Its setting. The country mansion felt very real to me; and whenever I’ve visited such places that have been opened to the public I’ve always wondered what it was like for the last family members to live there (usually in the 1970s or 80s) and although Sue’s family manage to hold onto the house Campari For Breakfast does answer the question of what life in a stately home in the late twentieth century was like.

Other positives:
+ As a whole, the plot wasn’t too predictable (though the “love story” aspect was rather).
+ Despite the above, I did enjoy following the development of the romantic plotline.
+ Sue’s bereavement was well-handled – realistic but without becoming too bleak as the rest of the novel lightened the atmosphere.

Least favourite thing about the book:
There is something a bit cliched about the “load of eccentrics in big old house” storyline and although it’s a trope because people (including me) like to read about it I got the impression that Campari For Breakfast felt itself to be more original than it was.

Other negatives:
- Sue’s sections have spelling mistakes in which are supposed to reflect her true voice but which I found annoying, especially as they weren’t frequent enough for me to be sure at first if they were intentional or the result of a proof-reading error.
- The extracts of Sue’s creative writing were dull and cringeworthy – I had to force myself to read them and even now can’t remember what they were about. (They reminded me a of a cross between the fanfiction sections in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Adrian Mole’s Lo! The Flat Hills Of My Homeland.)
- Sue’s obsession with “romance” got a little tedious.
- Coral’s diary extracts were initially a bit boring to read but became less so as time went by and the point of their inclusion became clear.

Favourite character:
Sue, though I liked Coral a lot too.

Least favourite:
Icarus.

I recommend this book to:
~ Fans of Dodie Smith’s I Capture The Castle.

Quick Review: Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

★★★ (3 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider. At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn’t know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she’d expect back in her life. She isn’t noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.

I was a little surprised to discover this novel is set in the 1980s as the synopsis fails to mention that (not that it would have put me off reading it, but it seems strange to leave that out). I enjoyed Almost English’s prose style and would consider reading more by Charlotte Mendelson but found the novels’ plot unoriginal and directionless. Protagonist Marina makes a lot of bad decisions/nondecisions which reminded me a little of Lee in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep who I found kind of annoying (Almost English also put me in mind of David Nicholl’s Starter For Ten, with its 1980s setting and educational/class divide theme). Her mother, Laura, was a little more sympathetic (though didn’t help much with my dread of eventually being an empty-nester) but also guilty of making bad decisions/nondecisions. Most of the plot issues would be resolved if people just communicated openly with each other, and having people fail to speak to each other properly is a thin device to hang a whole book on. The Hungarian/Central European (which country their hometown is in now is up for question) aspect of Marina and Laura’s life was interesting but not that well explored and its main focus seemed to be that Marina was ashamed of it. I didn’t enjoy the plotline with Guy’s father either, I saw it coming from a mile away and didn’t think it was resolved in an empowering or positive manner. 

Quick Review: Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May

★★ (2 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Billy’s mother is dead. He knows-because he reads about it in magazines-that people die every day in ways that are more random and tragic and stupid than hers, but for nineteen-year-old Billy and his little brother, Oscar, their mother’s death in a bungled street robbery is the most random and tragic and stupid thing that could possibly have happened to them. Now Billy must be both mother and father to Oscar, and despite what his well-meaning aunt, the PTA mothers, social services, and Oscar’s own prodigal father all think, he feels certain that he is the one for the job. The boys’ new world-where bedtimes are arbitrary, tidiness is optional, and healthy home-cooked meals pile up uneaten in the freezer-is built out of chaos and fierce love, but it’s also a world that teeters perilously on its axis. As Billy’s obsession with his mother’s missing killer grows, he risks losing sight of the one thing that really matters: the only family he has left.

This was originally going to be a two-view book review, but my co-reviewer Janet gave up after one reading session due to its relentless casual racism and classism, which perhaps tells you all you need to know about it. I battled on, and was “rewarded” by a book that was easy enough to read from a stylistic point of view but packed with “state of the nation” style rants in which Billy airs his (generally very unpleasant and judgmental) opinions. I was particularly struck by his nasty stereotyping of social workers (whilst teachers are portrayed as either staid old lady types or hipsters) – would he rather we have no such safety net? Of course it isn’t clear what is the opinion of Stephen May and what is his characters’ (and I’m not opposed to reading books with unlikeable protagonists) but overall this was a bleak, angry read which I was glad to close the final page of. Speaking of the ending, I wasn’t convinced that Billy would do what he set out to, and as a plot-line it seemed incongruous with his previous motives.

Two-View Book Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

My co-reviewer today is Laura, who writes the book blog Little Book Fiend and can be found on Twitter @laurabookfiend.

whr tellthewolves★★★★★ (5 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life — someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

Why did I read this book?
L: This is one of those books where the title drew me to it first. Then I read the blurb and knew I had to read it! Thank you Hannah for introducing me to this heartbreakingly beautiful book.

H: I stumbled across it when browsing goodreads – I think it was a “Readers Also Enjoyed” suggestion and noticed that not only had lots of friends there had read it but they all gave it four or five stars.

Favourite thing about the book:
L: My favourite thing about this book was the complexity of the relationships between the characters. Not just between June and Finn and Toby, but June and her family, and Finn and Danni (June’s mum) too. I loved that it explored friendships that defy age boundaries and also that “grown ups” can be just as petty and foolish as younger folk.

H: I loved so much about this book that it’s hard for me to review it at all (I always find it easier to say why I didn’t like something than why I did, I must be a malcontent) nevermind pick a favourite thing, but I’ll plump for: the relationships between the characters. Particularly between Toby and June (the push-pull of their developing friendship and June’s initial resistance to it), Greta and June (the mystery of why they drifted apart and why Greta finds it hard to let herself be vulnerable, all the love and hate and fun that goes into the relationship between two teenage sisters) and Finn and Greta (okay, he dies at the start of the novel, but he is a still a big presence. Of particular interest were the depth of June’s feelings for Finn and how he handles them).

Other positives:
L: + I really admire the way this book explored the history behind some of the characters’ unpleasant behaviour. They don’t just simply do mean things because they are mean people, but because they are hurt, jealous, damaged and very, very human.
+ This book made me cry. I love a book that makes me feel that deeply.
+ This quote: “I don’t think God would create a disease just to kill people like Finn, and if he did, then there’s no way I ever even consider worshipping him.”

H: + Carol Rifka Brunt’s prose. She is a beautiful writer. Within a few pages I was in love with the novel’s style – it effortlessly swoops you into another world and makes you feel that her characters are whispering their most intimate thoughts to you. I’m not sure if she’s writing a second novel but if/when she does I’ll definitely read it.
+ The handling of the AIDS issue within the story. It reminded me of books I read on the topic when I was a child (especially Morris Gleitzman’s Two Weeks With The Queen, does anyone else remember that?) when HIV was still a death sentence and surrounded in hushed tones (partly because it was linked so closely to the gay community and gay rights still had a long way to go. Well, they still do, but they had even further to travel back then).
+ The novel’s setting – both physical (NYC and the New York suburb of Westchester) and chronological (1987, and it isn’t forced or made a big deal of. It just feels right).
+ Tell the Wolves I’m Home is an excellent study of the impact of loss in a person’s life and how your life can be left with a gaping hole that’s easier to fill at some times than it is others.
+ The book will (gently) make you question (your) life: are you living it as you should, are you taking the opportunities you can?
+ This: “I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn’t like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn’t be a mother and it was likely you wouldn’t become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of ever being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You’d become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you’d have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.”

Least favourite thing about the book:
L: I would love to know more about what happened to June as she grew up. I have this vision of her becoming a nurse or something like that to support people with AIDS. But I guess this is also a good thing about the book. I feel it’s a sign of a great story if it makes you care so much for the characters that you want to know what happens to them after they step of that final page.

H: Dream sequences. There are a few, and everyone who reads this blog knows I hate them.

Other negatives:
L: At times I felt Finn seemed a little perfect. Then again, we were viewing him though June’s rose-tinted recollections…

H: None! I absolutely loved this book.

Favourite character:
L: June. I loved her introspection and insecurity, her boldness and her fears. I loved the way she grew as the book progressed. I also loved her obsession with the past. I found it very poignant that she wanted to live in a “simpler”, romantic time when the world around her is growing more and more complicated and frightening.

H: Toby. I was rooting for him and his friendship with June all the way through. There was something gentle and caring about him, and I liked hearing about his skilful hands and the secret basement room Finn made for him. I liked June too though and appreciated that she wasn’t afraid to “own” emotions she found embarrassing or choices that weren’t the best (Toby was the same, in fact), and that she didn’t care too much about fitting in with her peers. She was generally reflective and mature for her age, though seemed to have a blind spot regarding her relationship with Greta (or more specifically what Greta’s feelings about their relationship might be).

Least favourite:
L: This is a tough question to answer. For most of the book I would have instantly screamed: Greta! But as I mention above, for all she is incredibly mean and vindictive, and pretty much a complete bitch to June, her behaviours mask a deep vulnerability and sense of loneliness.

H: Danni (June and Greta’s mother). As the novel progressed and we came to understand her better I did feel more sympathetic, but (without wanting to give away too much of the story) her decision regarding Toby and Finn’s relationship was unforgivable.

I recommend this book to:
L: ~ Readers who enjoy coming of age stories, particularly ones that explore big issues.

H: ~ Pretty much everyone, to be honest. If you enjoy beautifully written literary novels then you will love this.
~ Fans of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. This is a better book – less affected somehow (I loved the book when I read it as a teen but as an adult found it a bit cringey, though I think the film version is excellent) – but encompasses some of the same themes such as loss, GLBTQ issues and is set in a similar time period.

Two-View Book Review: Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Hayley joins me again today for another Two-View Book Review – thanks Hayley! You can follow her on Twitter @playinghearts and/or visit her book blog here. Remember to leave a comment if you’d like to co-review a book with me sometime!

whr keep your

Hayley: ★★★ (3 stars)
Hannah: ★★★ (3 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Natty and Sean Wainwright have a rock-solid marriage— with two daughters, a successful business, and a beautiful house, they are a model family. When their younger daughter falls ill on an overseas school trip, Natty rushes to her side. Luckily, Natty’s best friend from college, Eve Dalladay, is visiting and offers to stay with Sean to lend a hand in the Wainwright household. But Natty returns home to find that Eve has taken to family life a little too well: Sean has fallen in love with her. With no choice but to put on a brave face, Natty attempts to start anew — yet no matter how hard she tries to set herself upright, Eve is there to knock her down again. Then Natty receives a mysterious note that says Eve has done this before — more than once — and the consequences were fatal. On a mission to reveal Eve as a vindictive serial mistress, Natty must navigate through a treacherous maze of secrets and lies that threatens her life and the safety of her loved ones.

Why did I read this book?
Hayley: Hannah mentioned she was planning to read it soon and as I already had a review copy I decided to read it too.

Hannah: I seem to have a “thing” for books exploring the dark side of friendship: see also Precious Thing by Colette McBeth and Julia Crouch’s Cuckoo, the latter of which is quite similar in plot to this. So similar in fact that I had misgivings about whether I wanted to read Keep Your Friends Close so soon afterwards but the two books do have different perspectives on the same issue: in Cuckoo the reader observes the toxic friend’s taking over of the protagonist’s life, whilst in Keep Your Friends Close the taking over happens whilst the protagonist is away from home and the reader observes the aftermath.

Favourite thing about the book:
Hayley: The pace of the book made it really easy to pick up and become engrossed in even if I only had a few minutes to dip in, the ideal book for the journey to work. The book also wastes no time getting straight into the key moments of the plot to keep you gripped. Because of this I also read the book really quickly which is a sign that I’m gripped if nothing else.

Hannah: How evil Eve was! It was fun to read about someone so single-minded, unashamedly manipulative and remorseless.

Other positives:
Hayley: + As discussed in our co-review of Precious Thing I am really drawn to books about female friendships, particularly those of the toxic variety which seem so popular in novels of late. The only thing I found odd here is there isn’t a great sense of Natty and Eve as close friends at any point in the book, even in the sequences of them at university Eve seems like a massive manipulator and it generally seems like Natty kept Eve in her life to try and keep her secrets hidden rather than any feelings of affection towards her.

Hannah: + The novel was gripping and the last third in particular was very hard to put down.
+ I liked the way Natty’s character developed. At the book’s opening she was a bit of a fun sponge but she proved herself to be brave and intelligent.
+ I liked the ending – another bit of evil!
+ Although some aspects of the plot were predictable I did, in general, enjoy the way it unfolded and following Natty’s sleuthing into Eve’s past

Least favourite thing about the book:
Hayley: The gender roles and the very old-fashioned way Natty views them. The scene where she is met by a female solicitor and is left thinking she won’t do her job as well because her kids might need her had me shouting out with annoyance. I also disliked how easily that Sean, a supposedly devoted husband and Father becomes besotted by Eve. Are we really supposed to assume she’s just that good at performing sexually? It really sits at odds with later revelations about Sean’s dedication to his family. There also seems to be the suggestion that Natty is partially to blame for ‘neglecting’ her husband, I can’t stand this lame attempt at ‘justifying’ an affair. While these could be views held by the character alone there isn’t any real sense of Natty as an overtly traditional person and either way this kind of blanket portrayal of gender roles is massively disappointing.

Hannah: I couldn’t understand Why natty liked Eve or what the basis of their friendship was besides Eve knowing things about Natty that she wanted to keep secret. Yet Natty calls Eve her best friend but apart from saying she is a good listener and has “been there for her” it’s hard to see why they are drawn to each other. They have little in common and Natty seems to feel intimidated by Eve even before Eve embarks on her affair with Sean. The flashbacks we get to Eve when younger show she wasn’t a very nice person (or good friend) even then, though I suppose it’s always easier to make judgements about people/relationships when you’re observing from a distance.

Other negatives:
Hayley: – The characters are pretty dull and because the catalyst events at the beginning of the book happen so quickly there isn’t really the opportunity to empathise with anyone very much, so I felt I was watching events unfold as a spectator rather than being more invested in the story.
- The sudden ending. Books in this genre often seem to end in a let down but this one was incredibly frustrating and blunt, I was also hoping/expecting a final twist when there wasn’t really one.

Hannah: – The plot was, in many ways, predictable. The “twist” regarding someone being related (or not) to someone else I spotted a mile away.
- Although I enjoyed Paula Daly’s writing in general (enough that I think I’d like to read her other novel) it did include reasonably frequent references to brands which cheapened the style.
- The blowjob scene.
- Keep Your Friends Close has a very cynical view on relationships between men and women, in which men are passive victims of women who want to “ensnare” them for their own purposes and there is little respect and honesty between them (and women only have sex to trap men, never for their own enjoyment). Happily this isn’t my experience of male/female relationships at all and it was a bit depressing to read about such dynamics as if they were universal. Here’s a quote by way of example:
[Natty is speaking to Sean] ‘You want kooky and interesting?’ I ask nastily. ‘We can do that. You want intelligent and slutty? We can do that, too. You want sex outdoors? That’s what we do to snare you, Sean. That’s what women do!‘ [Original emphasis.]
- Why does Jackie have to be called “Mad Jackie”? Even aside from the negative stigmatizing of mental health problems that throwing around words like “mad” perpetuates I felt Jackie was a mocking stereotype of working class women. Class divide (and a feeling that middle class people are “better”) is rife in Keep Your Friends Close despite (because of?) Natty moving from a working class childhood to an upper middle class one.
- Some of the characters were shaped around one or two traits (e.g. we know little about Jackie other than that she is always dieting); and Sean didn’t have much personality at all.
- Sean’s mum’s influence over him at university wasn’t particularly believable. I don’t know anyone who would have done as she asked.

Favourite character:
Hayley: I liked the down to earth nature of both Jackie and Kenneth, although I really objected to the casual references to ‘mad’ Jackie, unless I missed it there wasn’t even an explanation for this horribly offensive nickname.

Hannah: Natty’s dad, the ageing stoner.

Least favourite:
Hayley: Eve, obviously. She has no redeeming features whatsoever and doesn’t even have a horribly distressing incident in her past as motive for her actions, in fact the more I found out about her past the more objectionable she became.
As mentioned above I wasn’t a fan of Sean’s either, he is weak and spineless and behaves selfishly and far too spontaneously for a supposedly devoted Father.

Hannah: Sean, for being so boring.

I recommend this book to:
Hayley: Anyone wanting an easy read to dip in and out of, it’s something that could serve well as a holiday read, if you’re looking for something with more substance on a similar subject though I’d recommend Nearest thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes.

Hannah: ~ People who like the work of Emily Barr, Elizabeth Haynes, SJ Watson and maybe Gillian Flynn (though this isn’t as twisted as her books).
~ People who want to read something plot-driven and gripping without caring too much about pernickity details.

Namedropper by Emma Forrest

whr namedropper★★★ (3 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Meet Viva Cohen: her bedroom walls are plastered with posters of silver-screen legends, and underneath her school uniform she wears vintage thigh-high stockings. Her best friends are a drugged-out beauty queen and an aging rock star. She lives in London with her gay uncle Manny. Namedropper takes you on a rowdy romp from London to Los Angeles, where Viva and her two best friends search for love, experience, and Jack Nicholson. It’s a wild ride as she uncovers the icon in every person she meets.

I’m just going to do a quick review for this, as I don’t have enough thoughts on it to fill my usual review format. It does what it says on the tin – follows a teenager through a few months of her life in which she is surrounded by achingly “cool” characters (one of her best friends is a pop star, she spends a night with a guy who is quite clearly meant to be Richey Edwards; she has no parents but an indulgent and stereotypically camp uncle who seems to let her do as she pleases) and gets to do things most teenagers can only dream of (all expenses paid luxury trips to the USA, anyone?). The fantasy-type nature of this glamorous world and how matter-of-fact it all seems to Viva does get annoying at times, but it feels unfair to complain about that (or how shallow the novel is) as that’s pretty much the point of it all.

It was written in the 90s by a woman who was a teenager in the 90s, and that shows. I enjoyed it as a little nostalgia trip (even though the closest I got to Viva’s world was reading Smash Hits in my provincial bedroom).

One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie #2) by Kate Atkinson

whr one good turn ★★★★ (4 stars)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Two years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam – the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage – a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson’s orbit. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.

Why did I read this book?
I’m a big fan of Kate Atkinson and had read all her novels besides this and the later books in the same series. I wanted something I knew I’d enjoy to take to Finland with me so it seemed like a good time to tick another of her books off my metaphorical list, though sadly I didn’t enjoy One Good Turn as much as I have her other work (it’d be 3.5 if I did half stars and originally was only 3, but I’ve revised it up as it’s better than other 3 star books I’ve read recently).

Favourite thing about the book:
Kate Atkinson’s style. It’s thoughtful, readable, funny, intelligent and gets you right inside the minds of her characters. I love that she follows their trains of thought and can start a page with one topic and end it with something entirely different yet somehow connected along the way. Her style was enough to get me through this novel when its plot and characters failed to hook me.

Other positives:
+ One Good Turn is told from the perspective of several different characters in the third person, all of whom have distinct characters and “voices”; and though I didn’t like their personalities they are complex and believable.
+ The final twist was clever and unexpected.
+ Louise’s relationship with Archie was well-drawn, though it was saddening too and whilst it made me dread my son’s teenage years a bit it also made me appreciate his toddlerhood even more.
+ Its Edinburgh setting.
+ The novel’s title is clever and could refer to several events within it – as I was reading I was trying to work out the link/s.
+ I liked the Russian doll symbolism that runs throughout the novel.

Least favourite thing about the book:
I didn’t care about the mystery at the heart of the book. Usually when reading crime I can’t wait to find out what’s going on but it seemed like the solving of the case was a mere aside amongst the characters’ thoughts. I also felt that it wasn’t all tied up properly at the end – and that the end arrived suddenly after a lot of faffing about. (Weren’t there security cameras throughout Gloria’s home that would have made certain decisions made by Jackson towards the end impossible?) Although I enjoy Kate Atkinson’s writing style the story just wasn’t present enough and overall the book was too much of a character study (though maybe I wouldn’t have minded this had I liked the characters more).

Other negatives:
- I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, and I really don’t like Jackson which is a bit of an issue as I get the impression the reader is supposed to think he is fascinating and awesome and maybe even sexy. He’s not. He is pervy and sexist and moany and admits to raping Julia (yes that’s what it’s called when you have sex with someone who is ASLEEP and hasn’t given consent).
- Overall it was a bit of a drag to get through and I had to tell myself to read this rather than something else when reading time presented itself to me.

Favourite character:
Initially, Martin, and I still feel ambivalent about him. He’s a bit “off”, but so am I, and he likes to write, as do I, and thought people think he’s a wimp, he isn’t. But he has a dodgy attitude towards women that ultimately put me off him. Louise I suppose was the most likeable person though for the most part I couldn’t relate to her.

Least favourite:
Jackson, though I’ll still read the other two Jackson Brodie novels, after all I loved Case Histories (and I don’t remember him being such a misogynist in that).

I recommend this book to:
~ Kate Atkinson fans, though if you’re new to her work I’d recommend reading Case Histories first (this novel contains some minor spoilers for it) or one of her excellent standalone novels like Emotionally Weird or Behind The Scenes At The Museum.
~ People who are fond of Edinburgh.