Happy midweek everyone! As it is Wednesday, I am going to share a new 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 have just completed Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual and I am about to embark on a new literary journey. My next read is Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle, the copy of which I just received today. Earlier this year, I have encountered several wonderful feedback on the book and I was naturally curious. However, I was still reluctant for Shipstead is a name I have never heard of before. And then I heard that it was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize; I automatically added it to my growing reading list. However, unlike most of the books in the longlist, Great Circle was one of three books I am familiar of in the longlist. Things are looking up for Shipstead as Great Circle was shortlisted for the award. And this is the reason why I find myself reading it next. It is going to be my fifth from the longlist and the third from the shortlist. I have no impressions of the book yet as I have yet to start reading it. Nevertheless, I will be sharing my initial reactions in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

September has shaped up to be a 2021 Booker Prize reading month. I have just finished two novels nominated for the prestigious literary award. The first one is Anuk Arudpragasam’s A Passage North. Set in Sri Lanka, the novel detailed the journey of Krishan from Colombo to his village in the Northern Province after receiving the news about the untimely demise of Rani, his grandmother’s caretaker. He also recently received an email from his former lover, Anjum, an enigmatic character he met while living and working in Delhi. As the train slithers across the Sri Lankan countryside, Krishan slowly reflected on his life, with emphasis on his younger life living with his grandmother and on his captivation of Anjum. What ensued was a narrative brimming with philosophical intersections, further enriched by Sri Lankan’s tumultuous contemporary history. The first facet that made an impression on me was Arudpragasam’s prose; it had what I refer to as Booker quality, reminding me a bit of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea. And who’d have thought that a couple of days after starting the book, it was announced as one of the six shortlisted novels for this year’s edition. What I lamented were the long paragraphs and sentences that were bereft of dialogue. Who says we can have it all?

While searching for books to add to my 2021 Books I Look Forward to List, one of the titles that immediately held my attention was Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual. It made my list and I was beyond stoked to learn it was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize. It missed the shortlist but it didn’t stop me from looking forward to it. Luckily, I received my copy of the book just last week. At its heart, Light Perpetual is a “what if” story that focused on the lives of five children who were victims of the Second World War. As we follow their individual journeys, I was reminded of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight and even Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See as both books explore the impact of the Second World War on children. Light Perpetual was unique on its own way. I did enjoy the writing; it was both accessible and delightful. On the other hand, I am a little conflicted about the premise. The reimagined lives of five children over span of almost seven decades following the end of the War was in itself interesting. However, as the novel progressed, we forget about the first chapter. I do feel that it would have been more powerful had this been underlined later in the novel as it was essential.

What will you read next?

In line for my reading are two more books nominated for the 2021 Booker Prize longlist. The first one is Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men, the copy of which I just received today, along with Great Circle. Another work of historical fiction, it is a novel that piqued my interest when it was announced for as one of the books longlisted for the Booker Prize. Lo and behold, the novel also made it to the shortlist. The second novel I have in line is Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room. I am highly anticipating both books even though I am also a little reticent on the fact that I have never read any of their works before. On the other hand, both are works of historical fiction so they are just right my alley.

That’s it for this week’s WWW Wednesday. I hope you are all doing great. Happy reading and always stay safe! Happy Wednesday again!