Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Really Mini-Reviews! - Swing Time by Zadie Smith and The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware








What have I got for you today?

Some more awesome-sauce Really Mini-Reviews!







girl writing while sitting on a flying book with a happy sun in the background









So, here are my reviews of Swing Time by Zadie Smith, and The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware:













Swing Time title image - white writing against a black background with geometric shapes in the background











Title: Swing Time

Author: Zadie Smith

Genre: Contemporary(-ish)

Amazon: UK - USA











Verdict:



Oh this book is so good!

It's hard to explain what it's about because it's more character-driven than anything - so if you're a fan of plot over character, this one might not be for you.







Our unnamed narrator embarks on a journey of growing up and trying to make her way in the world.

Her life runs parallel to her old friend, Tracey, the only other biracial, Jamaican-British, girl, in her kiddy dance-class.

Tracey has the talent, but not the opportunities, and a life of poverty and abuse begin to take their toll.






Nothing about this novel is simple.

It's a weaving, spiralling, web, of social issues, representation, and perception.

Smith's #OwnVoices perspective really comes to the fore when it comes to the perception of the narrator's race by other people: most white people see her as black, an Iranian businessman mistakes her for Persian, and in Gambia, she's seen as white.

There was a definite authenticity to the way these scenes played out, a definite feeling that the author herself has been in similar situations which are unique to multi-racial people.






Racism is a strong theme here, as is poverty, sexism, abuse (mental, physical, sexual, child abuse,) and the complexities of the interplay of privilege and oppression.

It gets heavy in places - and so many tough topics are touched upon that I would advise ANYONE who has any topic or topics that they find difficult to read about, to tread lightly.

Be careful my nerdlets, and take care of yourselves!








At times, the structure annoyed me - we flit back-and-forth through different times of the narrator's life with no indication of which part of her life we're talking about.

I'm pretty sure this was an intentional stylistic choice (to fit in with the 'Swing Time' title) but I personally found it disorientating.

This book may be a challenge for some - it's not a light read - but it's a challenge that's well worth it!







Buy Now UK - Buy Now USA - Goodreads - Author's Site




















dividing line






The Woman In Cabin 10 title image with the words over an image of a person wearing a hoodie looking out at the sea












Title: The Woman In Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Crime, Contemporary

Amazon: UK - USA

















Verdict:




When Laura 'Lo' Blacklock heads off on a posh cruise, she's hoping to leave traumatic recent events firmly behind on shore.

But she hears something, her first night, from the cabin next to hers. A woman screams... and then there's a splash.

But when Lo raises the alarm, it turns out that no-one is missing, and no-one was supposed to be in cabin 10 at all...






Ruth Ware has a definite Agatha Christie vibe.

It's been said again and again, but there's def. some truth in the comparison. If Christie wrote today, this is the kind of stuff she'd be writing.






There were twists - some I saw coming, and some that I didn't - and Ware seems to have a lot of fun playing with the Closed Circle trope.

To be honest, Ware plays with a butt-load of tropes here - but she's in charge of them, rather than them being in charge of her.

It's actually quite refreshing.







Also refreshing is that Lo has mental health problems - and they're handled really well.

The Anxiety representation here is pretty spot on as far as yours truly is concerned - though I can't speak for the claustrophobia and PTSD symptoms.

What's also great is Lo fighting the stigma of people doubting her account of events due to her mental health problems.

Crime thrillers fighting ableism is awesome-sauce as far as I'm concerned!







Be careful though my nerdlets.


The rep. is good, but that might in itself cause problems - especially the descriptions of panic and panic attacks.





There's also the following to be aware of: domestic violence, cancer, home invasion, sexual assault, murder, drowning or possibility of drowning, and sexism. 

The sexual assault (groping of Lo's breast,) is not handled well by the author - it's kind of brushed over, and the perpetrator is immediately forgiven with v. little fuss.

And that's not OK.




But if you're looking for a crime novel with twists, atmosphere, good mental health rep., and complex characters, give this a shot!






























Have you read anything by Zadie Smith or Ruth Ware? Do you like it when an author experiments, or do you prefer tried-and-tested? Talk to me! 😊💬








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24 comments:

  1. Great reviews. Very helpful and honest.

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  2. I just saw someone else mention The Woman in Cabin 10, and your review definitely has me more curious! I NEED to know what the heck happened, and I'm very interested in the mental health representation here. :)

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. Ooh, I hope you give it a shot, and I hope you enjoy it! XD <3

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  3. Swing Time looks very good! Definitely something that is up my alley. The cover reminds me of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which is a book that I absolutely loved.

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    1. I haven't read Homegoing but it's on my TBR! Swing Time is a slow-ish read, but I thought it was awesome! XD

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  4. These are both authors on my TBR list, but I haven't read any of their works yet!

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    1. I hope you like them when you get around to them! :) (My TBR is currently mahoosive!)

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  5. Awesome you enjoyed both of these books. I have swing time but haven't managed to read it yet. Woman in Cabin 10 has me really interested especially because of the good mental health rep.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. I hope you enjoy Swing Time - and give The Woman in Cabin 10 a shot! It's pretty damn good :)

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  6. I liked Cabin 10, and agree with your thoughts! I loved the mystery at sea angle, and would love to read more cruise ship type mysteries? Also the later parts on shore were kinda tense, I thought? I've liked most of her books now, although I haven't tackled the latest one yet.

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    1. Ha, I'm not over-fond of water so that was my least favourite aspect I think! I think I would've liked it to be a train a la Orient Express or whatever XD

      I've read In A Dark Dark Wood by her, and there were parts I liked and parts that really irritated me! Lol.

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  7. I really enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10. I loved that I was rooting for Lo and I liked all the twists.
    Haven't managed to get around to Swing Time although it's on my TBR.

    Great mini reviews!

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

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    Replies
    1. Ooh, glad you liked it! :) And I hope you enjoy Swing Time when you get around to it! XD

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  8. oh I was surprised to see a mystery book here! :) Good mental health rep?? I'm in!
    I'm so in too with Swing Time! I'm usually more for plot driven BUT that is mostly n the case of speculative fiction. A theme like this book's HAS to be character driven! :) Nothing like an ownvoices that tackles racism for MOI. I AM SO READING IT! Thank you for the awesome review xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Well I hope you enjoy them! XD

      Swing Time is definitely not a plot-driven thing, but hopefully you'll enjoy it! XD

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  9. These both sound like really interesting books. I've never read anything by either of the authors but I've heard that Zadie Smith's books are amazing. I like books that deal with difficult issues, and it's great there is good mental health representation in Ruth Ware's book.

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    1. This was the first of Zadie Smith's books which I'd read - and I was impressed :) Ruth Ware's book is awesome-sauce too! XD

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  10. Ooh, is this your first Zadie Smith experience? I read this and NW by her, and I've got On Beauty on my shelf, but historically, I've had more success with her nonfiction than her fiction. I loved her first book of essays and I'm looking forward to the second one, which came out I think last year?

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    1. Yeah, this is the first of her books I've read - I'll consider picking up others in the future though! XD

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  11. I was really curious about your opinions on Swing Time because I haven't read a Zadie Smith book and I want to because I have heard so much about her work! It sounds like she really knows what she is doing and that she knows how to delve into a lot of topics in depth in a single book. I think the structure will bug me a bit but I'm willing to bear it. The Woman in Cabin 10 sounds pretty great too. Agatha Christie-like? Hmm...

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    Replies
    1. Swing Time might take a little effort... but I think it's worth it!

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  12. You always find such diverse books with such important topics. I can see why the structure of the first one bothered you, that would bother me too, but it sounds like it was great overall. And ooh that second book does sound mysterious, but that's great it's also get mental illness rep!

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    Replies
    1. Why thank you ;)

      And yeah, Swing Time was worth it over all! The structure did bother me a little though.

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Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!