The Bankers by Shane Ross

The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees by Shane Ross is an  interesting read for anyone curious about the reasons behind Ireland’s economic crash. It provides a lot of background and insight to the stories that dominated the Irish media and is one of a number of books published in 2009 that explore the reasons for the collapse of the Irish economy. Shane Ross lays the blame with the bankers and also has harsh words for the regulators. The Bankers is a well-written, fast-paced read, liberally peppered with names that will be familiar to anyone who has read the Irish business pages over the last decade. At just under 300 pages, it covers a lot of ground, is eye-opening at times and will certainly leave you wiser.

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony by Anita Shreve is a psychological thriller. There are authors you come to rely on to deliver consistency. For me,  Massachusetts-born Anita Shreve is one such author. I don’t think I have yet been disappointed by any of her novels.

Pack an Anita Shreve novel in your bag when you are heading off on on holiday and you are guaranteed a couple of hours entertainment.

Difficult themes

Shreve’s themes are often difficult and she will make you question your values and judgments so although the novels are easy to read, they do not always make for comfortable reading.

That said, the stories are compelling and well told.

I particularly like her earlier books like The Weight of Water and Fortune’s Rocks.

Published more recently, Testimony, is about a sex scandal in a New England school. At its heart is a shocking incident that takes place in the school. The story unfolds from the way in which the incident is discovered and handled by the school authorities and others. It is told from the perspective of the various characters caught up in and affected by the fallout. Interesting and challenging, Testimony will make you think.

If you like the sound of Testimony, you might also like The Lives of Stella Bain.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri knows how to spin a good yarn. And don’t you love it when you open a book and it holds you from the very first paragraph? Lahiri achieves this effortlessly in The Namesake, a novel about a family of immigrants living in the United States.

Lahiri has a tremendous gift – exploring sensitively the tensions between family loyalty and individuality. The Namesake is a human story that will resonate with everyone who has grown up in a family. But more than that, it is an exploration of cultural identity. The characters seem effortlessly sketched, are utterly believable, and wonderfully sympathetic.

This is very engaging and warm novel. Recommended.