It’s already the love month! It’s also midweek, which means another WWW Wednesday update. WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme originally hosted by SAM@TAKING ON A WORLD OF WORDS. The mechanics for WWW Wednesday is quite simple, you just have to answer three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What have you finished reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What are you currently reading?

I just completed reading Douglas Stuart’s 2020 Man Booker Prize-winning debut novel, Shuggie Bain. Speaking of Man Booker Prize and debut novel, my I have decided to read Brandon Taylor’s Real Life next. It is just my second novel from the 2020 shortlist and my fourth from the longlist. However, it is one of the books from the list that I have been looking forward to. I am yet to read a page. I know that it is a campus story and the main character is queer. Apart from this, I have no inkling on what the story is about. Nevertheless, I am excited to unravel what it has in store.

What have you finished reading?

In the past week, I managed to complete two novels. The first one that I have completed is Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is A Wound. It is a powerful and magical rendering of modern Indonesian history through the voice a prostitute named Dewi Ayu. Of Dutch and Indonesian heritage, the novel opened up with a curious twist as Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being buried for 21 years. The novel has all elements that kept me at the edge of my seat. I love the first part, as the story of Dewi Ayu and her children unfolded. Kurniawan incorporated local and universal elements while painting a vivid backdrop to the story. Elements of magical realism, history, and folklore were married with graphic details of rape, incest, and violent deaths. Overall, it was an interesting novel although I did enjoy the first two-thirds and wasn’t as keen on the last hundred pages.

Finally, I got to read one of the books that I have been looking forward to for the longest time. Even before it was declared as the winner of the 2020 Man Booker Prize, my curiosity for Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain was already piqued when it was longlisted for the said award. Drawing elements from Stuart’s own life, it is the story of a young boy yearning for the love of his mother, Agnes Bain. Agnes Bain is a single mother who, time and again, was left by her partners because of her addiction to the bottle. I loved Stuart’s prose. However, the story relied too much on repetitions of the same scenes and Shuggie’s voice, which I reckoned was supposed to be the main driver of the story, took a backseat to his mother’s story. I did love how Stuart painted a picture of Glasgow but I lament the lack of a dynamic plot and the passivity of the characters. Still, it was an insightful read.

What will you read next?

February is shaping up to be another Man Booker Prize month. I’ve had one last year and the year before that. With this in mind, I have William Golding’s Rite of Passage and Anne Enright’s The Gathering in line. I am not familiar with both author’s body of work so I am both excited and worried on what they both have in store.

Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!