Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Book Reviews

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Book Reviews

Article excerpt

House Of Earth by Woody Guthrie is published in hardback by Fourth Estate, PS14.99. Available now.

The plot centres around simple farming couple Tike and Ella May Hamlin, and their struggle to build a "fireproof, windproof, rainproof, sweatproof, bugproof, foolproof, everything proof" abode on land they don't own.

Co-editors Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley claim House Of Earth is the literary companion to Guthrie's most famous song, This Land Is Your Land.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa is published in Book Reviews Guthrie uses the story to rail against the big banks and business conglomerates that bought up huge swathes of the Texas Panhandle in the post-Depression years.

Guthrie completed the book in 1947, but it is only now being published. It would have created a stir in 1940s/1950s America, although a post-50 Shades audience will probably find it quite tame. Gritty, vulgar and aspirational, House Of Earth tells a fascinating story of life in 1930s Dust Bowl America.

paperback by Harvill Secker, priced PS10.99. Available now.

Revenge provides snapshots of the lives of several characters and their unsettling tales, woven together. These stories include that of a woman who returns ritualistically to the same bakery to buy her son's favourite cake; although he died in an accident some time ago, and an inventor who becomes the curator of a museum of implements of torture.

There are no perfect endings and no heroes, just a series of interconnected lives in the city, as strange and as morbid as each other but absorbing and beautiful in equal measure.

Ogawa's novel is refreshing, plunging through the day-to-day life into a core that is cold.

Given the quality of the writing, it can perhaps be assumed that not much has been lost in Stephen Snyder's translation from the original.

Survive by Alex Morel is published in paperback by Egmont, PS6.99. Available now.

Teen Jane Solis is suicidal and has planned for six months how she will kill herself. …

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