BOOK BITES | Frances Liardet, Lina Bengstdotter, Eben Venter

A moving wartime story, a page-turning Scandi noir and Eben Venter's new novel - here's what we read this week

26 March 2019 - 12:04 By
Here's what Michele Magwood, Chrizelda Kekana and Kendall Behr read this week.
Three novels to busy yourself with this week: Here's what Michele Magwood, Chrizelda Kekana and Kendall Behr read this week.
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Published in the Sunday Times (24/03/2019)

We Must Be Brave ****
Frances Liardet, 4th Estate, R305

Tug out the tissues for this moving wartime story. After the bombing of Southampton in 1940, a newly-married woman finds a child abandoned on a bus. Despite not wanting children themselves, she and her husband take the girl in and raise her, and inevitably come to love her, knowing that one day she might be taken away. At times a little too sentimental, Liardet nevertheless does a fine job of bringing to life the everyday grind of the war and the tangled relationships of a close country community. Michele Magwood @michelemagwood

For the Missing ***
Lina Bengtsdotter, Orion, R315

A lot happens in this complicated thriller with quite a few characters to keep track of. We meet detective Charlie Lager, who has to go back to her hometown (the forested village of Gullspang in Sweden) as she is assigned to investigate the case of Annabell, a missing teenage girl. The troubled detective, who fled from home at the age of 14, is now forced to deal with her horrific past. For her tale and that of Annabell to make sense, multiple stories are explored including that of Charlie's alcoholic mother, suicidal stepfather and other mysteries of the town. There are many dots to connect and a not-so-typical ending, that keeps you turning the pages. Chrizelda Kekana @Chrizelda_kay

Green as the Sky is Blue ***
Eben Venter, Penguin, R260

Simon is forever running from his past as the son of an Eastern Cape farmer. Now living in Australia, he avoids meaningful connections with friends or love interests, either leaving them, or mentally distancing himself. With romance, Simon acts as if he isn't interested in anything beyond carnal attraction, but it becomes obvious that he's desperate for love and acceptance. Then circumstances push him to come back to SA. An enjoyable book but Venter falls into the cliché of the white man plagued with guilt and yet at the same time selfishly leaving the country and not investing in SA at all. Kendall Behr @kendallbehr