A balanced diet: fiction and poetry

Start making some space on that book shelf because my March book reviews are in! (Have you read these? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!)

Like Waves: Poetry by Amanda Linsmeier

Breathtaking Amanda writes beautifully about seeing her motherhood status and scars as stunning for what they are and what they have created. My heart broke for her when she lay her heart on the line after the loss of babies she desperately wanted to meet. There are no words for that kind of loss and yet Amanda gives a voice to all the women who have ever experienced such awful pain. I think the beauty industry has a lot to answer for if it ever prevents strong and intelligent women like Amanda from feeling desirable. My favourite imagery was the final poem which sums up the title of the anthology perfectly: our loves and lives are like waves. Everything will come and go and that is natural.

Winter by Ali Smith

I have always been a fan of Ali Smith's experimental style with form and with character. This book reads like a dream and did not disappoint! Sisters Sophia and Iris, although opposites, are shown to share the same character traits at different stages in their life - Iris is never forgets to lose sight of her passion and dreams, but never quite finds peace with reality, and Sophia is both the dreamer, later the romantic, and then 'falls back to earth'. A telling trait I found to be that Sophia reads the daily mail at this point! My favourite character had to be Lux, a girl picked up at a bus stop by the son of Sophia, Art, in an attempt to take a 'girlfriend' home for Christmas. Ali wants to drip feed us parts of Lux's personality - in some parts, Smith only allows us to read half of the conversation, from the mind of one person, rather than gauging Lux's full reactions first hand. We initially are invited to see Lux as very young and pierced, perhaps rebellious, but later we learn that she has a love of Shakespeare, she is from Croatia, and she understands human nature much more than anyone else in the book. Ali blurs the lines between normality and insanity - somehow, I felt no judgement as a reader that Sophia sees a human head floating. At times Sophia is the strongest character in the book! Certainly, this is a novel in which the female character lead the plot - and stand out as multifaceted individuals.


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