Margot takes the Bitter Road

I also chose ‘western’ as my next book bingo challenge genre. The only western I have ever read is ‘Lonesome Dove’ by Larry McMurtry and it is an excellent read with depth and wonderful characterisation. So I have been spoilt.

And perhaps I should also have heeded Nicole’s dad and picked a ‘real western’ because the one I chose – ‘The Bitter Road’ by Steven Law was disappointing. The plot revolves around a rodeo team roper, Colt Ballard. His life is falling to pieces and he has lost his confidence. His journey to regaining equilibrium and resolving his personal issues begins at a summer camp for disadvantaged children. Along the way he is assisted by the camp owner, an indian sage and a colleague with whom he falls in love. There is also the requisite bad guy, a rejected ranch hand, who tries to set him up with the help of a crooked marshall.

It’s a rather pedestrian read full of cliches and the writing is very simplistic and felt like it was written by a child.

Not my cup of tea at all.


Maybe Westerns are your cup of tea – check out the Westerns page on our online catalogue.


Man Booker with Margot

My next foray into the world of genre and book bingo was ‘suspense’ and I chose The Many by Wyl Menmuir.

I didn’t realise it when I picked it but it was longlisted for the Man Booker prize. It’s a well written and unsettling story of an outsider in a fishing village who buys the house of a fisherman who has recently died. His presence and enquiries about the dead man upset the villagers who have not come to terms with their loss. And they know nothing about the outsider who is also coping with his own loss. It was compelling reading with an overriding feeling of unease and supressed grief.