Two late contenders for books & choons in 2004

I recently detailed some books I’ve enjoyed over the course of 2004. Whilst I ruminated on these, I thought of a couple more. John Head’s post today regarding Peter Jackson’s future plans prompted me to write about one of these books in particular.

This first novel goes by the title of The Lovely Bones (by Alice Sebold) and it’s one of the most extraordinary pieces of writing I’ve encountered. The book is brutal, yet beautiful, and is written from the point of view of Susie, a dead fourteen year old. Susie tells her story from heaven, looking down on her friends and family as they deal with the aftermath of her rape and murder. She also observes the life and actions of her killer. You can, I’m sure, now get an idea of what a strange — yet compelling — book this is. I am intrigued as to how Jackson and Bowens are going to film it!

The other book — which kind of counts for 2004 (I started it then) — is The Painter by Will Davenport. This is historical fiction at its best, with some nifty twists. Davenport switches between the years 1662 and 2001 with ease, describing events that “might have been” in Hull, northern England. For 1662, the painter in the novel is none other than Rembrandt, and the poet Andrew Marvell also makes an appearance in the book. Davenport then switches to events unfolding during a modern-day renovation of a fictional stately home in which he has Rembrandt briefly work.

The premise of the novel is a good one, and the author mixes history, supposition and a good thrilling modern tale to great effect. Davenport’s depiction of what it is to be a portrait artist, combined with Rembrandt’s appreciation for a fine female figure is masterly. I recommend it!

OK, book club done for now. ;-)


  1. I really enjoyed "The Lovely Bones" too. Good pick.
    If you liked that one you'll love "The Time Travellers Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. I highly recommend it.

    I'm currently reading 'Quicksilver' by Neal Stephenson who is an absolute genius of a writer.Andrew Tetlaw#
  2. Thanks Andrew, I shall add that to the list!Ben Poole#

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