Set on Morecambe Bay, this novel evokes brilliantly the sense of mystery and compulsion that encapsulates the sands which stretch out across the vastness of the bay; you can gaze out across the bay, knowing that countless lives have been lost – in many cases those of local people caught out despite their knowledge of the tides and quicksand – and still feel an unexplained desire to stride out on to the sands where the light dazzles and disorientates. ‘Unmappable and treacherous’ writes Ashworth of the bay – or is it of the volatile stranger who appears in the lives of the Clifford family at their most desperate hour, to whom they are drawn despite the increasingly obvious dangers? Raising so many more questions than it answers, as a truly great novel should, Fell is thought-provoking, unsettling, haunting – but ultimately hopeful. A stunning novel.
Do these posts represent an eclectic list? A strange mixture of fiction and non-fiction, older books and current ones, literary fiction and genre fiction? Good; that’s exactly what it should look like.
Why? Because as an editor I try to read a wide range of books, including some to which I don’t feel naturally drawn (and it’s so interesting how many of those I enjoy!).
I read for pleasure, of course; I was a reader long before I became an editor. But I also choose my books with this in mind: I am a better editor for a wider range of clients if I have a wider reading spectrum.
So, I’d like to share my thoughts on what I’m reading, but in brief. Hence short & sweet book reviews. There are lots of good-quality, lengthier book reviews out there (The Guardian reviews are especially good), but it’s not always easy to find the time to plough through them all. I hope my lightly annotated reading list will give you some ideas for your own list!