When you run a very small bookshop, you need a precise eye for what your readers will want to read. You just can’t afford too many mistakes, sitting on the shelf, long past their use by date – yes, even books are perishable in their way. That exactly sums up Geneva’s English bookshop, OffTheShelf.
Consequently, when I buy from their bargain shelf – that shelf of books that is perilously close to becoming unsaleable – I expect to get something good. It’s a 5CHF lucky dip where there aren’t any dud prizes.
Winterton Blue is one of several I picked up a few weeks ago on my last visit.
An easy, gripping, nicely written page turner. Once, that is, I got over the idea that one of the main characters was called Manny. The paid critics all focus on the author’s rather poetic style…but if that isn’t your thing, I don’t see why you won’t still like this. Maybe ‘lyric’, ‘haunting’, ‘mysterious beauty’ and so on apply, but so do ‘suspenseful’, ‘uncompromising’, and ‘tease’. Her characters are well-expressed and convincing, interesting in very ordinary ways, set in lives that are anything but what you’d want for your own.
Out of 5 I give it 3, but that isn’t to be damned with faint praise, I am fussy with my stars. Certainly if I come across her work again, I’ll pick it up and expect to get my money’s worth. That’s compliment enough, I think.