The Collini Case is a fascinating book and its author, Ferdinand von Schirach is an equally fascinating person. He is a qualified lawyer who is one of Germany’s most prominent defence counsel. As a second string to his bow he started writing and has been at least as successful doing this. His novel concerns a young, newly-qualified defence lawyer whose first brief is the legal aid defence of a man who not only admits murder but sat waiting for the police to come for him. An open-and-shut case? Well, not if you want to write an interesting crime novel.
It’s that time of year again when Man Booker judges will pick one from six and award the prize, which I think should go to Richard Flanagan for his moving and gripping novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
When I was reading Penelope Lively’s novel Moon Tiger recently, I enjoyed the delightfully bitchy voice of the narrator, beautiful-but-dying, famous writer, Claudia Hampton and noted her passing reference to ‘ammonites and leaping fish’. Then, reading about real author Penelope Lively; not nearly as bitchy but equally witty and thought-provoking; I discovered she had recently written this memoir which she calls Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time. I simply had to read it and I was not disappointed.
Just to show how efficient I can be when I want to, here is a table of the baker’s dozen best reads of 2013 with links through to the reviews. I have taken time to marginally adjust the scores out of 100. I see that one publisher, Sandstone Press up in the north of Scotland, has two runners. Well done Bob! My top three, and six out of thirteen are American writers. Let’s see how my massive reading programme for 2014 works out.
This is a video adaptation of my recent text blog, reviewing the latest Victorian-style mystery novel by Charles Palliser.