A couple of books from earlier in the year that I haven’t blogged about so far.

Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

In her sixth novel, Cynthia Ozick retells the story of Henry James’s The Ambassadors as a photographic negative, retaining the plot but reversing the meaning.

I have read a fair amount of Henry James but not for ages, and I’m pretty sure that I haven’t read The Ambassadors, so can’t really comment on the whether the plot works as described above, but I do know that this was an enjoyable and absorbing novel set in the post-war period, where Bea is commanded by her (rather awful) brother to travel to Paris to bring her nephew home. Of course it doesn’t work out the way she intended, as her nephew has married an older woman, a Romanian refugee. Throughout the novel Bea keeps a lot of information to herself and drip feeds to her brother & sister-in-law (who is in a private clinic) with real and sometimes devastating consequences. Recommended.

Final Girls by Mira Grant

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

So Dr Jennifer Webb has developed a therapy technique which involves patients entering a virtual reality world where they are subjected to scenarios from horror films or nightmares as a means of working through their issues; in particular it’s used to mend broken relationships where both people go through the same ordeal. The effects carry on into the real world (otherwise what’s the point). Esther Hoffman is a journalist who hates this sort of thing (she has personal experience to back it up) and is intending to write a piece rubbishing the process. She and Jennifer enter the programme, but of course things go pear-shaped as external forces seek to interfere. This is really good stuff, and of course being Mira Grant there are zombies which would personally feature in my nightmares so I felt for Esther. Short enough to read in a single sitting, this is really good fun.

 

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