Books: Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days

My right hand started in the foothills, white and black notes rolling over each other as the piece climbed. And whilst it climbed, I sang. Sharps and naturals flowing under my fingers and out of my mouth. The need to breathe was frustrating. I had to gulp air even when there was no pause in the music. […] I came to understand Ute’s green notes – when to be steady and which fingers she had used for the most difficult sections. I liked to think they were messages written for me to find, in the middle of a forest on a piano that made no sound.

What I loved about this book was its sense of place: it takes a landscape in South Germany which I felt as if I could easily have hiked through, and explores it in minute detail. This small area of hillside is a whole world for Peggy, the book’s narrator-protagonist, and she is proud to know every inch of it.

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Books: Michel Faber, Under the Skin

He had a thick moustache which was curtailed severely in line with the outer limits of his great red mouth. His eyes were bloodshot and full of stoically endured pain which only tsunamic revenge and the grovelling apologies of world leaders could hope to cure. Hard wrinkles added a sculpturesque emphasis to a frowning forehead, under a symmetrical haircut combed back like a rinsed paintbrush.

I’m pretty sure it’s only possible to write two sentences about this book without spoiling the story.

Michel Faber has a knack for describing human beings in a way that makes you feel simultaneously affectionate and amused. He picks out the tiny, ridiculous details of the way people speak, act, and style their moustaches.

If you don’t want any spoilers, look away now! And preferably order the book; it’s great.

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