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Transition by Iain Banks

Transition is only the second book by Iain Banks that I have read, the first being The Wasp Factory (one of my favourite reads) back when I was a teenager. As Bank’s final book before his death last year, Transition received a lot of media attention and was described as a cross between Banks and Iain M. Banks (the name he used for his Sci-Fi works). As The Wasp Factory was my first introduction to Banks – as well the first book Banks published – I thought it would be fitting and rather poetic to read Transition as well. The story is narrated through a handful of mysterious characters, who’s identities are slowly revealed as the story develops. I don’t mind this style of writing – but I think it has to be done with cleverness and precision. For me, Banks does well to attract initial attention and pull you in…

The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot, his Wonderful Love and Terrible Hatred by Carl-Johan Vallgren

Apart from having a ridiculously long title, this book is a one-of-a-kind that you will either love or hate. Set in a fictional Victorian-inspired era of Europe, our hero Hercules Barefoot is born deaf, dumb and horribly disfigured. However, Hercules Barefoot also has the power to read people’s minds, and it’s this power which is both a gift and a curse in his long and miserable life. Described as a love story, the majority of the book follows Hercules Barefoot searching for his one true love, Henriette, who he was dramatically parted from when she was ‘sold’ to a man in their youth. Along the way the reader bears witness to the extreme prejudice, bullying and torture that Hercules Barefoot suffers as he struggles to be treated as an equal among his peers. But Hercules Barefoot is not equal, and it is is the curse that he must endure that…