Barbara De Garcia

Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction

Unsettled Ground – Claire Fuller

5 July 2021
Unsettled Ground Book Cover Unsettled Ground
Claire Fuller
Fig Tree
25 March 2021

"Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance. But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother's secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake."--Publisher.

This novel based on the story of an impoverished rural family kept me reading. The writer’s skill at character development is masterful. The stories of each member of this…

Contemporary Fiction

How Beautiful We Were – Imbolo Mbue

7 June 2021
How Beautiful We Were Book Cover How Beautiful We Were
Imbolo Mbue
Random House
9 March 2021

"'We should have known the end was near.' So begins Imbolo Mbue's exquisite and devastating novel How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by a large and powerful American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean up and financial reparations to the villagers are made--and ignored. The country's government, led by a corrupt, brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight the American corporation. Doing so will come at a steep price. Told through multiple perspectives and centered around a fierce young girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, Joy of the Oppressed is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghosts of colonialism, comes up against one village's quest for justice--and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom"--

This exceptional novel brings to life the impact of exploitation of natural resources in developing countries. It begins in the final decades of the 20th century and moves into…


Connemara: Listening to the Wind – Tim Robinson

7 April 2021
Connemara: Listening to the Wind Book Cover Connemara: Listening to the Wind
Connemara Trilogy
Tim Robinson
Connemara (Ireland)

In 1999, Tim Robinson established himself as one of Irelandas most brilliant nonfiction writers with the two-volume "Stones of Aran," a tribute to the unspoiled wild of Irelandas Aran Islands. With "Connemara," he creates an indelible portrait of a small corner of the world. From the unmarked graves of unbaptized infants to the shimmering peaks of the Twelve Pins, Robinson brings his close attention and dazzling prose to describe the mountains, bogs, shorelines, and landscape of his home and, at the same time, make a great statement about the world at large.

Tim Robinson died in spring 2020. He and his wife had relocated from Connemara to London after Tim developed Parkinson’s Disease. He died of COVID, following the death of…

Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction Womens Fiction

The Weight of Love – Hilary Fannin

3 July 2020
The Weight of Love Book Cover The Weight of Love
Hilary Fannin
Womens Fiction
Doubleday UK
5 March 2020

'Delicate, powerful, hypnotic.' DONAL RYAN 'An exquisitely written, deeply moving novel about the agonies of love, intimacy, and the harm we inflict upon one another in the name of romance.' LOUISE O'NEILL London, 1996. Robin and Ruth meet in the staff room of an East London school. Robin, desperate for a real connection, instantly falls in love. Ruth, recently bereaved and fragile, is tentative. When Robin introduces Ruth to his childhood friend, Joseph, a tortured and talented artist, their attraction is instant. Powerless, Robin watches on as the girl he loves and his best friend begin a passionate and turbulent affair. Dublin 2017. Robin and Ruth are married and have a son, Sid, who is about to emigrate to Berlin. Theirs is a marriage haunted by the ghost of Joseph and as the distance between them grows, Robin makes a choice that could have potentially devastating consequences. The Weight of Love is a beautiful exploration of how we manage life when the notes and beats of our existence, so carefully arranged, begin to slip off the stave. An intimate and moving account of the intricacies of marriage and the myriad ways in which we can love and be loved. 'An absorbing, cleverly structured, yet very human novel. It is hard to accept that it is Hilary Fannin's first' RODDY DOYLE

This is a first novel that doesn’t read like a first novel. The author is clearly an accomplished writer, a journalist and playwright in Ireland, and now a novelist….

Historical Fiction Literary Fiction

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

23 May 2020
Hamnet Book Cover Hamnet
Maggie O'Farrell
Historical Fiction
Tinder Press
March 31, 2020

A stunning new departure for Maggie O'Farrell's fiction, HAMNET is the heart-stopping story behind Shakespeare's most famous play. On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

I came to reading this book as someone who is not a Shakespeare aficionado. I have over the years seen various productions of Shakespeare plays, some wonderful, and some…