Picking up where I left off last week, here’s another batch of reading ideas, delivered to you from the student assistants of Gleeson Library.
Room, reviewed by Jenner Wells
Room by Emma Donoghue is told entirely through the eyes of 5-year old Jack, who views his world with the curiosity and innocence common to young children. However, it is apparent through his interactions with his mother that their lives are anything but ordinary. Locked up in a tiny room where a fearful old man continuously monitors them, the reader can piece together that Jack’s young mother is a victim of kidnap and assault—with Jack himself being an outcome of these events. The novel chronicles Ma’s decided escape from their situation, but excitedly unravels as she and Jack are faced with unanticipated obstacles on their way to freedom.
I’m glad to have finally crossed this imaginative novel off my reading bucket list! I most appreciated Donoghue’s craft in delivering the story through Jack’s perspective, as it provided some entertainment while eliciting even more sympathy towards their circumstances. Room is a dark yet heartfelt story that explores the delicacy of the young mind while depicting the strength of a mother’s love.
The Author and Me, reviewed by Kelsey Weise
Eric Chevillard’s The Author and Me, translated by Jordan Stump and recently appearing on the short list as a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award, is French experimentalism at its core. It is witty, dramatic, confusing, and overall unlike anything you’ve ever read before—guaranteed. That being said, it’s hard to say what it’s actually about; the plot ranges from a casual chat at a French cafe, to a denunciation of cauliflower gratin, to the story of an ant’s journey, and beyond.
The most interesting part of this novel is its structure: because he believes that “authors are always getting in the way of their stories,” Chevillard divides the opinions of the characters and his own opinions as the author by writing his perspective in the form of footnotes. For example, when a character mentions that he does not get along with his father, Chevillard writes an anecdote in the page’s footnote about his own great relationship with his father (so don’t get his identity conflated with the character’s!).
Overall, if you’re looking for something to read that is unique, fun, intellectual, and has one heck of a surprise ending, The Author and Me comes highly recommended.