Ever since I read Brooklyn I've been completely in love with Colm Toibin's writing, not to mention the fact that he is absolutely adorable. I went back in time and read his novel based on the later life of Henry James, The Master. I lent it to my Mum afterwards and we both agree that it is an almost perfect book. I'm serious when I say reading his prose is a bit like listening to The Beatles White Album or gazing at one of Van Gogh's later paintings; the beauty of it warms your soul. I also read Toibin's latest collection of short stories The Empty Family (Picador), which had me weeping on a plane. I can't gush enough about how much I love Toibin's writing. The Pleasure Seekers (Bloomsbury) is a gorgeous first novel about a blended British/Indian family. In the late 60s Babo heads to London to study and work, and his family are initially horrified when he declares that he is determined to marry his Welsh girlfriend Sian. The book then follows Babo and Sian and their families over the next thirty years or so and the cast of assembled characters are delightful and funny and richly drawn and were very hard to leave when the book finished. I love, love, loved this.
At the moment I'm thoroughly engrossed in Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge (Penguin) which is a historical romantic saga that reminds me a bit of Doctor Zhivago. For a first time novel from a young American writer it is pretty darn impressive, and its a real page-turner as well. In fact I might get back to it right now, but meanwhile I'm happy to take recommendations for other books. I find personal recommendations are still the best way to discover new books and authors, particularly as I await patiently for Jeffrey Eugendies new book The Marriage Plot (Fourth Estate) to hit shelves later this year. Squeal, squeal! I've already been promised an early proof.