You know how some mornings you wake up with what you think is a brilliant idea?. Some weeks ago I thought it would be interesting to get a sense of what all my blogging friends are reading on day 1 of the New Year. Opening my computer later that day however it was to discover that the idea was such a good one, it had already been taken. Sheila at Book Journey beat me to it with her First Book of the Year 2015 feature. What else could I do but join in graciously?
The book I chose to take across the threshold from 2014 to 2015 combines my interest in writers from outside the British/American literary canon and a determination to keep the ethos of the public library alive.
In the Light of What We Know by the Bangladesh-born author Zia Haider Rahmen is a story of a bond between two men who met as students and remained close until one of them, Zafar, disappeared in mysterious circumstances. One September morning in 2008 Zafar turns up unannounced and dishevelled, at the doorstep of his former friend and begins to reveal just what’s happened to him in the intervening years.
Rahmen has been gathering much critical acclaim since his novel was published early in 2014. Some reviewers likened it to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, others to Grahame Greene’s novels of dislocation. The Guardian newspaper reviewer called it “epic and intensely moving”; the New Yorker described it as “a dazzling, astonishment achievement” and the Daily Telegraph picked it as one of the best books of the year, shortly after the judges of the Folio Prize long listed the novel for the 2015 award. The more I read about this book, the more I wanted to get to read it myself.
Fortunately my reserve in the library came through just in time. Having spent much of the last five months campaigning to keep our small local library open (the battle is still ongoing) I am trying to use the service as much as I can. It therefore seemed highly appropriate to make my first book of the year one that I acquired via the library service.
What’s your first book of 2015?