A Vermont thriller and a camera floating in the ocean


Welcome back, bookworm friends. Based on my research – and if entomologists read, please correct in the comments – “worm” might be a less apt term for a paper-eating creature than silverfish, beetle, or even cockroach. From now on, I will personally identify myself as a cockroach. Let’s chew.


Winter is the perfect season to cringe in snow powder as you journey through a menacing thriller set in the Vermont countryside. Kay is a former war correspondent who retires to a small town with her children to relax. The house she rents is bordered by maple trees and extends over hectares of forest; there is poor mobile phone service (warning sign # 1) and a hidden crawl space in one of the bathrooms (warning sign # 2).

Gradually, it becomes clear that an unspeakable act of violence has taken place inside the house – and Kay, as a reporter, annoys everyone in the small town trying to solve the mystery. This leads him to cross paths with the novel’s second protagonist, Ben, a recovering junkie trying to regain moral agency in a world that seems precisely designed to deprive him of it. Other topics covered include drug trafficking, adultery and logging. The prose is so dark it is practically burnt!

To read if you like: Stephen King’s “Misery”, booths, 7-11 hot dogs, Patricia Highsmith

Available from: Two dollar radio

Translated by Daniel Hahn. Fiction, 2020

When I received the copy of this book that I had purchased on eBay, I noticed that it smelled strongly of stale cigarettes. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it smelled like fresh cigarettes, which is a smell I enjoy, but stale cigarettes are a separate category – they remind me of the Hot Sprite, doors that almost close but don’t slide. not close completely and other disturbing things. I persisted because I loved one of the author’s previous novels so much that the idea of ​​skipping this one, stinky as it was, was inconceivable.

Here we have the story of a 55 year old Angolan journalist who goes for a swim in the ocean and finds a camera floating in the water. When he had the film developed, he discovered that the camera belonged to a Mozambican artist who stages and photographs her own dreams. He tracks her down. They discuss orchids and death. The plot follows. Agualusa’s prose, as translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn, is ironic, lucid and strange. I can’t think of any specific analogues, but if you like Roberto Bolaño I’m 75 percent sure you’ll like Agualusa.

The author was born in Angola and studied agronomy and forestry in Portugal; the last time i checked he was living on the island of mozambique. I first got to his work by repeatedly hitting the “Random Article” button on Wikipedia and it’s no joke, only to land on his page. (By the way, the “Random Article” button is a great way to pass the time.) “With a bio like this, what could possibly go wrong? I thought to myself and the answer turned out to be: nothing.

To read if you like: Roberto Bolaño, the films of Yorgos Lanthimos, Phil Klay, traveling alone, the simulation hypothesis

Available from: Archipelago books

  • Dive into “The Bookshop” if you like British humor then practically dry it off Requires lotion?

  • Take a break from reading (just for two hours) and catch up with “The Last of Sheila” – a movie Stephen Sondheim co-wrote with Anthony Perkins? It’s a DIABOLIC MYSTERY from 1973 which took place a YACHT and stars James Mason. Here are some tasty movie ingredients. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to celebrate Sondheim’s recent passing – may his memory be a blessing!

  • Thrill in front of the true story of a French anthropologist who ATTACKED BY A BEAR on the ICE SLOPES of a Siberian volcano?

  • Wrap yourself in a chair with a suspenseful story set in the CATSKILLS?

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