Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Polly from Novel Insights.
I know Polly personally, because we belong to the same book group here in London.
Polly reads mainly contemporary fiction and has a self-confessed penchant for dark novels, including crime and thrillers. Some of her favourite authors include Muriel Spark, Wilkie Collins and Harper Lee.
Without further ado, here’s Polly’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
The Magician’s Nephew is the overlooked prequel to the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia and pretty much my favourite childhood book. I used to have an audio tape version as well as the paperback and listened to it repeatedly. It has all the right ingredients for a childhood classic — a secret door in the attic, magic, adventure, a wicked queen and a flying horse, as well as being charmingly written.
As with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it is allegorical. Even though I’m not religious myself, I love the fact that it has layers of hidden meaning, and as a child it was fun to make the connections between the characters and later events in the series. It also helped that the very proper but brave little girl in the book, Polly Plummer, has the same first name as me!
The Fermata is highly entertaining and completely filthy. The premise of the novel is that Arno Strine, who is an unassuming temporary admin worker, discovers that he has the capability to stop time. Instead of trying to change the world or anything grandiose like that, he decides to exploit his new skill by embarking on a sequence of sexual adventures. His voyeuristic behaviour is pretty perverted, but for some reason I never found it exactly offensive because he just seems to completely love/enjoy women and his actions lead them to their own sexual discovery.
I read it when I was in my late teens and it completely opened my eyes to the certain aspects of the male brain. I think this inadvertently gave me an interest in reading books by men, or with masculine perspectives, because at that time I was trying to make sense of the other sex. Approach with caution though, it’s not for the faint-hearted!
Ever wanted to go AWOL on your life? Our Hungarian protagonist Mihaly does exactly that when by a chance misstep he and his wife are parted on their honeymoon in Italy. He goes on a journey of narcissistic self-discovery and nostalgic whim, meeting long lost friends/obsessions in unlikely places and constantly philosophising about the purpose of his life. The quality of Szerb’s writing (beautifully translated by Len Rix) is wonderful and the character of Mihaly is simultaneously pathetic and endearing, which gives the novel a tragi-comic flavour. Published in 1937, I was surprised at how modern it feels in the way that it describes human emotions and entanglements. I discovered this book when I was looking for something to read on a trip to Budapest, and only read it recently when I chose it for my book group. I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as me!
Thanks, Polly, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I read The Magician’s Nephew when I was a kid and remember loving it, although my favourite Narnia book was Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Fermata sounds interesting, if slightly risqué. And having read Journey By Moonlight as part of the same book group I have already made my feelings known on it — my review is here.
What do you think of Polly’s choices? Have you read any of these books?