Posted in Literature

Read: When We Cease to Understand the World & The Turn of the Key

When We Cease to Understand the WorldWhen We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When We Cease to Understand the World features an exploration of major scientific advances in the 20th century alongside the idea that genius is often beset by madness. It is important to note, however, that there are increasing fictionalised elements as the book goes on and it becomes hard to determine what is truth and what is fiction. I was unsure how to rate this book because of this. On the one hand, I enjoyed the scientific content whereas on the other hand I would’ve appreciated more a genuine account of genius vs madness, to see what the real correlation is (if, indeed, there is one).

In order to separate facts from fiction, the onus is placed on the reader to go and do further research to determine what is true and I have two issues with this:
1) I don’t read a book in order to be left with the prospect of extensive research to unravel it, and;
2) There is a risk others will not read the Author’s Note (noticeably at the end of the book) to see that parts have been fictionalised and continue believing everything within it’s pages as truth and fact. In an age of ‘Post-Truth’ this is a bit of a risk to take and I felt like the scientific discoveries detailed are diminished because of this.

Otherwise, the book is well written and interesting. It’s not too heavy to read and seems to have been translated well.


The Turn of the KeyThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw I was sceptical at first as I didn’t enjoy the original. I saw a lot of positive reviews for Ware’s interpretation and ended up receiving this via a giveaway on bookstagram.

I enjoyed this much more than ‘…of the Screw’! The modernised elements (such as the smart house) gave more avenues to explore strange goings-on at Heatherbrae and had me guessing. It is a clever use of technology in a ghost(-ish) story, proving that not all spooky things have to be in ancient mansions purely by candlelight.

I would have liked to have known what happened to the characters after the end of the main story – written as a letter from the protagonist as she waits in jail for trial – but I’m content enough to draw my own conclusions.

A good thriller, cleverly written and enjoyable (so much so I finished it all in one day).


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