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BOOK BITES | Jo Nesbo, Chinenye Emezie, Dr Jennifer Gunter

01 November 2021 - 18:11 By William Saunderson-Meyer, Tiah Beautement and JENNIFER PLATT

The Jealousy Man *****
Jo Nesbo
Harvill Secker, R330

It was with a heavy heart that I picked up Jo Nesbo’s latest offering. When a writer abandons an acclaimed series — in Nesbo’s case, featuring the brilliant but mentally fragile Norwegian cop, Harry Hole — in favour of a debut short story collection, it’s rarely good news. Too often it's a quick fix to an over-demanding publishing schedule or writer’s block on how to maintain series’ momentum. But I was wrong. This is some of the best short story writing (although, strictly speaking, a couple of the contributions to this generous 510-pager amount to novelettes) I’ve encountered in years. Nesbo shows great versatility. There's a dystopian futuristic tale; an account of a parallel universe that is classic science fiction; stories flecked with the malevolent humour characteristic of the late, great Roald Dahl; and the dark, psychological explorations that have always been Nesbo’s forte. If you want to lose an entire weekend to a riveting read, The Jealousy Man is your companion. — William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye

Glass House ****
Chinenye Emezie
Penguin, R290

“Let me tell you a story. It’s about a war. This war is not the type fought with guns and machetes. It is a family type,” begins Emezie’s latest novel set in Nigeria. Udonwa is the youngest of the family, the apple of her father’s eye. But he is a cruel father and husband to all others. As she grows, the hidden family history begins to bloom in terrifying colours. The revelations change Udonwa forever. This is a story of survival and sexual awakenings;  and is also a gentle love story. A complicated read, much like reality. — Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism *****
Dr Jennifer Gunter
Little Brown, R335

A few years ago I would never have picked this up, but through conversations I am having now with my women friends, we have realised that menopause is one thing we have no clue about even though it is inevitable for all of us. According to Dr Jen Gunter this information vacuum is largely due to medical misogyny. This book is all about changing that. Creating the conversations we need to have. Not dismissing. Not feeling ashamed or embarrassed by something half the world's population will go through in life. In this manifesto, there's vital information on what can be expected, medications and how to be prepared without it coming across as a biology lesson. A much-needed book for all women. — Jennifer Platt @ Jenniferdplatt