The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

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La famiglia di Tom Mackee si è disgregata: dopo la morte dello zio in un attentato su un treno londinese, il padre si è rifugiato nell’alcolismo, allontanando da sè moglie e figlia e abbandonando a sua volta Tom. L’altra sorella del padre, Georgie, deve ancora accettare la gravidanza dovuta al rapporto indefinito con l’ex compagno.

Tom da parte sua ha affrontato la situazione abbandonando la scuola e rifugiandosi nelle droghe, allontanando gli amici storici.

The Piper’s Son racconta quello che succede dopo: il ricomporre i cocci, l’affrontare le paure e il ricostruire una famiglia che sembrava persa così come le amicizie di un tempo. Il romanzo alterna i punti di vista di Tom e Georgie e risulta in una storia emozionante in cui la caratterizzazione dei personaggi e la loro evoluzione è ottimamente resa.

Mi è piaciuto molto e l’ho trovato molto ben scritto, l’unica difficoltà è, nella prima parte, capire relazioni tra i personaggi e ricostruire alcuni avvenimenti passati essenziali alla storia.

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Tom Mackee‘s family is broken: after his uncle died in an explosion on a London train, Tom’s father found comfort in booze, pushing away his wife and his daughter, and soon he abandoned Tom. The other sister of his father, Georgie, has instead to elaborate his brother’s death and her pregnancy due to her undefined relation with her ex.

On his side, Tom has faced the whole situation leaving school and making himself lost in drugs, and leaving behind his old friends.

The Piper’s Son tells what happens later: putting together everything, facing fears and reconstructing a family that seemed lost, as well as old friendships. The novel is told by the POV of Tom and Georgie, and is an emotional story where characters and their evolution is wonderfully described.

I liked reading it and I think it’s beautifully written, the only difficulty is, in the first part, understanding the relations between characters and reconstructing past events that are crucial to the story.

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta ★★★☆½

[ARC] Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

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La notte prima del matrimonio della figlia Lolly, la casa di June Reid va in fiamme e nell’incendio muoiono Lolly, il suo futuro marito Will, l’ex marito di June e l’attuale compagno Luke. E’ un evento drammatico che segna la vita di diverse persone, e in particolare quella di June, unica sopravvissuta che ha perso tutte le persone che amava.

La narrazione fornisce diversi punti di vista, alcuni dei quali ricorrenti, che contribuiscono a dare tridimensionalità alle persone coinvolte e a ricostruire gli eventi precedenti e successivi all’incendio.

Did You Ever Have a Family è un bellissimo romanzo in cui i personaggi prendono lentamente vita agli occhi del lettore, e che parla del dolore e del rimpianto e di come cercare di sopravviverne.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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The night before June Reid daughter’s wedding, her house goes on fire and in the event June loses her daughter Lolly, her future son-in-law Will, her former husband and her current companion, Luke. It’s a dramatic event that affects the life of various people, but mainly June’s, who lost everyone she cared and loved.

The narration provides different points of view, some recurrent like June’s or Lydia’s, Luke mother, that help giving form to the characters involved and reconstructing the events before and after the fire.

Did You Ever Have a Family it’s a beautiful novel where characters slowly become alive in the eyes of the readers, and it talks about loss and regrets and how to survive them.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg ★★★★

Si dà il caso che by Fumio Obata

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Yumiko vive a Londa, città in cui lavora e dove ha conosciuto il fidanzato Mark, è soddisfatta della sua carriera e di vivere in un contesto multiculturale e in movimento.

Una chiamata dal fratello la riporterà in Giappone, suo paese d’origine; il padre è morto durante una passeggiata in montagna e la famiglia si riunirà per le cerimonie funebri.

Yumiko inizia così un viaggio che la porterà indietro nei ricordi e alla riscoperta di quella parte di sè che appartiene alla sua cultura d’origine, momentaneamente accantonata con il trasferimento in Inghilterra.

E’ una storia sulla scoperta di se stessi – e per noi occidentali uno sguardo su una cultura profondamente diversa – ben realizzato anche dal punto di vista grafico.

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Yumiko lives in London, where she works and where she met her future husband Mark, and she is satisfied of her career and of living in a multicultural, always active environment.

A call by her brother will bring her back to Japan, her country of origin, because her father died during a hike in mountain and her family have to manage the death rituals.

Yumiko starts a travel that will bring her back her memories will make her discover the part of her that belongs to the Japanese culture, the one that Yumiko put aside during her life in England.

It’s a story about discovering oneself – and for us in the west a way to look at a different culture – well done also from the graphical point of view.

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Si dà il caso che by Fumio Obata ★★★★☆

In una lontana città by Jirō Taniguchi

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Hiroshi Nakahara sta tornando a casa da un viaggio di lavoro, prende un treno sbagliato e si ritrova diretto al suo paese d’origine. Coglie così l’occasione di visitare la tomba della madre, morta 23 anni prima; mentre è al cimitero succede qualcosa di incredibile e Hiroshi si risveglia nel corpo del quattordicenne che era stato.

Non riuscendo a tornare nel presente Hiroshi rivive i suoi quattordici anni con la consapevolezza di quello che è già accaduto: è proprio nell’estate di quell’anno che il padre ha abbandonato la famiglia lasciando la madre a prendersi cura dei due figli.

Il protagonista si divide così tra il desiderio di tornare a casa dalla moglie e dalle figlie e quello di impedire la fuga del padre.

Jirō Taniguchi utilizza il meccanismo del ritorno all’adolescenza per indagare sulle scelte passate e sui segreti mantenuti dalle persone care, per Hiroshi il viaggio sarà un mezzo per acquisire consapevolezza sul passato e diventare un uomo migliore nel presente.

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In una lontana città by Jirō Taniguchi ★★★★☆½

The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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Ava is born with a pair of beautiful wings, attached to her body and impossible to be removed surgically; Ava has also a twin brother, Henry, who prefers not to talk and not to be touched. They are a couple of peculiar child, and their weirdness comes from back in time, from their French great-grandmother, before her immigration to the USA.

Ava’s voice bring the reader into the story of her family, from her silent great-grandmother, to Emilienne, Ava’s grandmother, who brings the sorrow of her brother and sisters who left her, and Ava’s mother, Viviane, suffering for a unrequitted love; all of them have something strange skills, and it’s like this weirdness, this magic, accumulated till the born of Ava.

The novel is not all about the past (the structure in this sense reminds me of Middlesex), Ava tells also the story of the present time – her childhood lived at home, her mother being protective for Ava strangeness, her few friends – and of a specific and dramatic period of her life.

The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender is an intense novel, mainly in the ending part, and it’s so easy to like the main characters, so strange but so different from the brutal normality of common people around them.


* The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

Too Cool to Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson

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Andy is willing to try everything to stop smoking, even the hypnosis, despite his being skeptical.

After the treatment he wakes up in his fifteen year old body during a day in high school, conscious of the memories piled up during his life.

This trip to the past – at first believed by Andy useful to avoid to smoke his first cigarette – becomes more deep and emotional: Andy is able to see his family by a different perspective (with a mixture of love and regret) due to him being grown up, and in the end this will sort out as the key experience.

In this context the theme of the man who is again young is useful to show the change of point of view in the most situations (for example when he wants to go to a party) and the change in his behavior.

The graphic novel tells about growing up and about family and relationships – being able to tell both the past and the future of the characters; this way to look at past events as from above is useful to tell apart the meaningful experiences, people and events.

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* Too Cool to Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

How to say goodbye in robot by Natalie Standifod

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Beatrice, due to her father work, him being a researcher and a professor, has moved to a new town. The change brought some side effects: Bea’s mother is more strange, emotional and unhappy.

Bea instead integrate herself well in the new school where she meets Jonah, or ghost boy for his detachment to everything that interests his peers. Bea and Jonah become friends and good listeners of a night radio show that reunites some peculiar loners.

The novel cover the whole last year of high school before college, during this time Bea understands the reason of Jonah’s strangeness and her own’s mother too.

I found difficult to empathize for the main characters, first of all because the emotions they feel are written but quite unbelievable taking in consideration time and situations: Bea’s struggle for her friendship with Jonah aren’t supported by the few meetings the reader actually see described and the lack of confidence from Jonah; Jonah seems mostly emotionally unstable for his behaviour, instead he ends up being a practical and rational character. Bea, thinking about herself, appears to be a totally egotistical character, this supported by her being uninterest in understanding her mother’s situation and issues..

In the end a nice read but not very deep.

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* How to say goodbye in robot by Natalie Standifod ★★★

*I read this book in English