Books that need space

Cover of WildlifeHave you ever read a book that needs space after reading?  You can’t get the book out of your head. You need time and space to mull over the story. Nothing satisfies, and you can’t move on to your next read. I know the signs when this happens to me. I become preoccupied with the story, with the characters, and with the insights gained. I am not ready to let go of all that I have read. This can go on for days. I can’t settle to any new read. I have just finished a book that has stimulated this state of mind.

Wildlife is a young adult novel, by Australian writer Fiona Wood that was initially recommended to me by two colleagues who are both avid and passionate readers. I listen when they make suggestions. Luckily for me they didn’t say too much about it. On the cover was another recommendation. This was from Melina Marchetta, a favourite author of mine. She describes it as a beautifully crafted novel that she couldn’t get out of her head.

I anticipated a good book. I didn’t expect a gem.

The opening lines immediately set the scene and quickly capture the mood of the story …

In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi.

I was hooked.

I’m not going to write a review of Wildlife as I don’t want to spoil the magic. Suffice to say, this story is about friendship, love, betrayal, and not fitting in. It is centred around learning to be true to yourself. It is well-crafted, insightful, captivating, dark, and at times very funny. The underlying tensions between the characters enhance the story and engage me as a reader. Look out for the interaction between Lou and her camp counsellor and the “say /don’t say” conversation.  This is a clever and astute piece of writing.

Even though I have finished Wildlife, I can’t get it out of my head. It has been a thought provoking read. I haven’t been able to pick up another book for days. I keep thinking about the depth to the story, the characters and their quirky traits, and parts of the book still roll around in my head. I am not ready to let go. This is a book that just needs space.

What book have you read that needs space?

8 thoughts on “Books that need space

  1. purplerulz 26 July 2013 / 2:37 pm

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy would the worst ‘lingerer’ for me, but it is always great when they linger!

    • knit1purl1 26 July 2013 / 3:17 pm

      Know what you mean. I came back to thinking about “The Road” when I read “Wool” earlier in the year. Definitely a lingerer.

  2. Ali 27 July 2013 / 3:36 pm

    I’ve heard this phenomenon described as a book hangover!

    There’s a few YA books by Margo Lanagan that were difficult to get over. Touching Earth Lightly, which is about the friendship of two girls, one who has the most horrible life and the other who has to decide how much of herself to give to the friendship, is so painful. But hopeful too. It’s one of those books that I needed a really good cry afterwards. I still have many of its sentences in my head, and it’s been at least a year since I last read it.

    Then there’s Tender Morsels. That was a real struggle. It’s also by Margo Lanagan, and she does write amazingly well but she also doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to dealing with some serious issues. It’s all in a fantasy setting, based on a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red, and it’s immensely clever, fantastic character and world building and some gorgeous mythology, but also, it’s not light reading. The suffering of the characters is very real. I was a bit shell-shocked afterwards.

    And Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta. It lingers in a similar way to Wildlife, I think. Both set in the Aussie bush, both about teenagers and growing up and getting over grief, though Jellicoe Road focuses more about finding your place in a family than Wildlife does. I can see why she recommended it!

    I have yet to find a cure for a really bad book hangover… I suspect the best way to deal with one is switching to a completely different genre for your next read. Further testing is required.

    • knit1purl1 27 July 2013 / 5:11 pm

      Book hangover, I definitely have one of those. Touching Earth Lightly is certainly a powerful and unsettling read. I would agree with trying a different genre, haven’t decided what yet.

  3. Ali 27 July 2013 / 3:54 pm

    OH and anything by Sonya Hartnett. I haven’t read them all, but all the ones I have read have left me feeling rough. She’s an amazing writer though. She and Margo Lanagan are definitely some of the darkest YA books I’ve ever read.

  4. knit1purl1 27 July 2013 / 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation, haven’t read any Sonya Harnett yet. I will put her on my “to read” list now.

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