Category Archives: sexuality

[Review] Dublin In The Rain – Andrew Critchley

Book Title:                    Dublin In The Rain (Unnamed Trilogy #01)
Author:                           Andrew Critchley
Number of pages:
   372Andrew Critchley - Dublin in the Rain (Cover)

Synopsis:

On a rainy day in Dublin, during the spring of 1947, a tragic accident brought devastation to those involved. As the subsequent years pass, unable to come to terms with the accident, the survivors set the path for a deeply troubled future for each generation that followed.

Jonathan Melton had a traumatic childhood in which he ended up in foster care, but when he meets the wild, willful, sexually experienced and free spirited Sophia at university, everything changes. At first inept with women, Jonathan’s complex relationship with Sophia evolves from a one-way obsession into a genuine love and shared passion, as the relationship brings happiness, romance and joy to both their lives that neither thought was ever possible. The two marry, and Sophia gives birth to their first child; a beautiful baby daughter. Everything is seemingly perfect, until the evening that their tiny baby is found dead in her cot.

As his world falls apart around him, Jonathan slips into a dark depression and, increasingly haunted by his past, becomes distant and dysfunctional as he struggles to cope with the loss of his daughter. His marriage to Sophia disintegrates, and Jonathan along with it as he descends further into darkness after leaving Sophia. Although his close friend David succeeds to some extent in saving him from his demons, Jonathan remains a lost and lonely soul, until his apparent chance meeting with the enigmatic Maolíosa in a Dublin bar. Maolíosa and Jonathan form a unique bond, and she challenges his vision of life and the world around him. Fate intervenes, but it ultimately leads Jonathan to redemption, and a final resolution to the aftermath and consequences of the 1947 tragedy.

(re: Goodreads @ Dublin In The Rain by Andrew Critchley)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

-Dynamic and compelling characters with a dialogue-driven narrative.
-Seamlessly integrates issues like: divorce, alternative family, sexuality, substance abuse, and death.
-The power in this story comes from self-reflection and redemption; for the characters and as a reader.
-Multiple scenes with sexual context that may deter readers.
-I’d argue this book can be suited for mature young-adults as it’s a true contemporary fiction at its core.

Initial Thoughts

Full disclosure: I received a copy of Dublin in the Rain through Goodreads First Reads. — So thanks to Andrew and Goodreads for arranging this.

Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect from reading this novel. The synopsis and prologue are both striking in setting the tone of the quintessential shit hitting the fan of what is otherwise known as life. There’s so many angles to this book that I guess I have to let my review speak for my inability to detail initial thoughts.

Disclaimer: There may be spoilers inherent to this review from this point onward.

Continue reading [Review] Dublin In The Rain – Andrew Critchley

[Review] Barracuda – Christos Tsiolkas

Book Title:                         Barracuda (Standalone)
Author:
                               Christos Tsiolkas
Number of pages:         528

Synopsis:christos tsiolkas - barracuda (cover)

“He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.”

His whole life Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done – every thought, every dream, every action – takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys – he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.

“He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.”

(an excerpt re: Goodreads @ Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:
  • A coming of age story with converging perspectives to recount the then and now of Daniel Kelly’s life.
  • Prose is expertly versed, imaginative and evocative, even if long-winded.
  • Characters are brutally honest, real, and provoke both negative/positive emotions.
  • The plotting is seemingly basic but manages to capture a variety of genres.
Initial Thoughts:

I am perplexed.

But what I am sure of is that I’m a bit disappointed that the book cover (and its title by proxy) could have made me believe that this kid had some pseudo-merman powers or the like. Seriously.

However, the synopsis is certainly poignant. And if the blurb is of indication of the writing in this book then you’re certainly a winner for picking this book up because everything is meticulously described. To expand upon this point: you just didn’t somehow load up this blog (although that is cool beans as well)—no, that would be too easy… through the reflection of the backlit screen your eyes graze a query into the deepest desires for knowledge. A white manifestation of your soul skeptically hovers, looming, unsure, and you begin to wonder what the heck I’m talking about now…) Yeah, that’s my take on how overbearing and fluffy some descriptions tended to be. But I guess there’s substance in that so I can’t complain that much.

I will admit: I don’t usually gravitate towards novels fixated on a cultural-contemporary nature. Actually, I don’t remember how I came across Barracuda in the first place. But with Sochi (and Olympic feels) rapidly approaching, I felt this to be a great fit to explore the battle of an athlete’s mentality; and all of the inherent struggles and fix-ins that came with it.

Let’s dive right in.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review have been minimized with exceptions to quotes.

 

Continue reading [Review] Barracuda – Christos Tsiolkas