Good satire makes you laugh while simultaneously reflecting on the subject matters. Rooted in reality, it makes you wonder how serious these characters are (very) but then on second thought you realise that they’re world views are so black and white, they couldn’t be for real. With that in mind, Borowitz used satire very effectively in Family and Other Catastrophes. Emily was so neurotic but with the kind of mother she had, it kind of made sense. Her sister Lauren, was fully committed to feminist social activism, in stark contrast to their brother, Jason, who was a desperate divorcé and quite the sexist.
If you could live for hundreds of years, if not, forever, would you want to? In Suicide Club, those who deserve it are given immortality. In exchange, they have to take good care of their health — eat well, exercise and all that jazz. What I liked about this premise was that it plays on our contemporary obsession with health and wellness. Food diet movements abound from “clean eating” to keto to paleo, claiming to detox, strengthen the immune system, etc. Rachel Heng pushed these ideal to the extreme in her futuristic science fiction novel set in New York City.
As much as I enjoy summer reads, predictability tends to be one strike against them. The Honey Farm on the Hill was no exception. I saw nearly every twist coming chapters ahead of them — from Nell’s discoveries about her long lost love to the mystery of disappearing bees to the resolution. Not much about the plot surprised me. Yet, I quite liked this book for the setting, the characters and the relationships.
Food writer travels through Tuscany on a bulldozer — such a bizarre and hilarious image this premise painted. It sounded so ludicrous and I have to admit, it made me think of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. That set the bar of absurd humour unfairly high but I couldn’t help it. Perhaps it’s a good thing then, that My Italian Bulldozer wasn’t filled with tall tales, even if that slightly disappointed me.