Harvest by Georgina Harding
But she doesn’t realise that the gathering storm clouds threaten not only the harvest, but the security of the secret that has maintained that family’s equilibrium since the father’s tragic death. How can she know, when the seed of destruction was planted decades ago?
Having loved the author’s last two novels, I was keen to read this one, and pleasantly surprised to find it links the two. But you don’t need to have read either to appreciate this powerfully poignant novel about the repercussions of a trauma too devastating for words.
Thanks to publishers Bloomsbury for my proof copy. It’s now on the list of my favourite reads of 2021.
For more of Georgina Harding’s writing, see my reviews of The Gun Room and Land of the Living.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
While her mother turns to God for answers, or sinks into depression, Gifty devotes herself to her laboratory mice. She’s exploring the use of optogenetics to identify the neural mechanisms in balancing reward-seeking and restraint. The human implications would be a long time coming, but her personal motivation is transparent (p40):
Could it get a brother to set down a needle? Could it get a mother out of bed?
This is a beautiful novel about a young woman bearing her family’s burdens, and the contrast between religion and science in making sense of our human flaws. It’s very different to the author’s debut, Homegoing, demonstrating a startlingly impressive range. Thanks to British publishers Viking Penguin for my review copy.
As we mark the first anniversary of lockdown in the US and UK, I’ve answered the call for 99-word stories on the theme “a year later”. I did consider dovetailing mine with these reviews to write a story about bereavement, but the muse had other ideas. This piece is based on my WIP, the sequel to my soon-to-be-published novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home.
Sky-grey stallions clip-clopped a Cinderella coach past ranks of men in pillar-box red jackets and beehive furry hats. Militiamen drilled like clockwork soldiers, clacking their weapons in unison from shoulder to shoulder and down to the ground. Waves of Union Jacks as people cheered the Queen. Last year.
This year should’ve been Matty’s turn for pomp and spectacle. For fireworks and champagne. A grande dame‘s centenary is no trifling affair. Matty hates depriving her devotees. Yet here she is, confined to bed, without even the stomach for trifle. Without the breath to blow out the candles on her cake.