Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Double Life of Cora Parry by Angela McAllister: Feminist Oliver Twist with an Absinthe Finish

Pity Cora Parry, her adopted-mother is struck by lightning and turned to ash (Really? I mean I'll suspend my disbelief and kept reading but, really? Has this ever happened?). Cora ends up in London and is adopted as a thief's apprentice.
Cora is torn between what is right and surviving. unable to tell her new friends, a boy and his monkey, who work in a pawnshop the truth about her life Cora invents Carrie, an alter ego who is responsible for all the bad things she does.
The invention of Carrie puts a strain on Cora's mental state culminating in a rather strange final six chapters which makes me wonder if I drank some absinthe before reading them. It is weird.
But if I ignore the lightning strike of doom and weird ending  'The Double Life of Cora Parry" is lively and well paced with some really well drawn characters. The feeling of desperation and collapsing mental state the author develops in Cora are done very well. Maybe this is why the ending is so strange, Cora was just too deep into her problems to escape them in a happy ever after way that wasn't odd.

The double life of Corra Parry is out now for about a fiver.


Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Grudge: Scotland vs. England by Tom English: A Story About Scotland Winning

Doesn't Will Carling look smug?
I like rugby. I like watching little men running around big men and making them look silly. I like watching big men running over the top of little men in revenge. I like wondering about all the unseen cheating and nasty things that are said in the scrum. Rugby is good. This book is all about rugby, in particular the 1990 5 Nations match between Scotland and England. And a bit about poll tax and Margaret Thatcher (horrible woman).

It is a very good book, Tom English has spent a lot of time with all the players and coaches involved and covers their history and what made them the people they are. It then establishes the scene the match is played against, with a Tory government (booooooo!) using Scotland as a testing ground for  the Poll Tax. You even get a little bit about the ref. It's all very interesting especially if you are like me and old enough to remember the match but didn't realise the importance it gained in the media at the time.

The Grudge is for sale now for about £7.