Booklove: Mama Amazonica, Warlight, The Recovering

This site has been left under dust covers for a while. My apologies – here are three recent pieces I did for the Financial Times on new books by Pascale Petit, Michael Ondaatje and Leslie Jamison. (You’ll need a subscription to sign in on the FT’s site – or just go and buy the books, they’re so good.)

Mama Amazonica, Pascale Petit:

“Petit shares her own history fearlessly, but places the family legacy of abuse, betrayal and trauma in a much larger frame. The destruction of the rainforests, the damage inflicted on wild spaces and wild creatures, but also the redeeming power of the natural world, becomes a way to understand a mother’s disappearance into the wilderness of her mind. The highway goes through the Amazon’s brain like an ice-pick through an eye-socket . . .”

Read more: Pascale Petit’s wild bestiary

Listen: Pascale Petit, My Wolverine
https://vimeo.com/164845599

Warlight, Michael Ondaatje:

“But over time — and this is a novel that should be read in long slow sips — Warlight is mesmerising, and powerfully sad. This is not just a novel about war, though Ondaatje is a sure guide to the lives of people damaged and turned in different directions by war’s crushing force. Warlight is also about what lies under the surface of cities, and of sibling lives, family lives, all those powerful subterranean currents, the wreckage and the reclamation.”

Read more: Darkness Rising

The Recovering, Leslie Jamison:

“The Recovering has high ambitions, attempting to dismantle the myths that surround drinking and addiction. Many recovering alcoholics are, like Jamison herself, high-functioning over-achievers who juggled the demands of addictions alongside equally demanding careers, contrary to the belief that addicts are always gutter drunks. She also partly succeeds in challenging the myth of the destructive but creative drinker by suggesting most of them worked better when sober…”

Read more: To Hell, and Back

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