Last month we introduced a new service: the Reading Doctor. Read more about Dr Louise here. And do feel free to request further prescriptions, as needed!
Prescription #8: something for fans of engaging novel series
I loved reading the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels so much so that I read them twice over. Can you recommend another series I might like as much?
A good series of books is a delight that lasts and lasts, the pleasure matched only by the anticipation of yet more to come. Unfortunately, few extend to Ferrante’s length, or at least without becoming off-putting (the 7 volumes In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust spring to mind). I hope one of these tempts you to the full immersion in a writer’s imagination which a series invites.
The Shadow of the Wind was the first book published in the book cycle (which can be read in any order) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón about a family of booksellers, writers, and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Like Ferrante’s novels, they are rooted very strongly in a place – Barcelona – and follow a set of complex relationships through time and tribulation.
The story of Thomas Cromwell is the subject for Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, satisfyingly thick books which set the machinations of the court of Henry XIII against the humanity of the players.
Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy follows a British writer named Faye as she goes about her daily life and encounters a series of friends and strangers.
Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life and its sequel, A God in Ruins, loops back and forward in time in a family saga which also imagines the alternate possible lives of its main character.
The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson became an international sensation when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was published in English in 2015: dark Swedish crime novels with a gruesome edge.
In New Zealand literature, Maurice Gee’s Plumb trilogy is a wonderful family saga which begins with the story of the rather prickly clergyman, George Plumb; subsequent books tell the stories of his daughter and grandson.
Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series of 20 books is set on board a naval ship during the Napoleonic Wars, and is driven by the unlikely friendship between the captain and the naval surgeon.
The four-part series by Richard Ford which begins with The Sportswriter features Frank Bascombe, a failed novelist who faces existential crisis.
Both strange and interesting is the trilogy from Nobel laureate J M Coetzee which begins with The Childhood of Jesus and describes the experience of immigrants to a new land.