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Minutenwalzer
 
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Richard Mason
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Minutenwalzer

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3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In his much celebrated debut novel, The Drowning People, Richard Mason (“An Oxonian literary sensation” —The New York Times Book Review) wrote with wisdom and mastery well beyond his twenty-one years—about love, betrayal, and revenge, and about the particular ritualized world of the English upper class.

Now in his dazzling new novel Mason writes about mothers and daughters;...more
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Published 2010 by Rowohlt (first published 2008)
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Nicole
What a great book this was- very funny and touching and the references to the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa opened my eyes even more to the suffering in that country. I also loved his book "History of a Pleasure Seeker" and look forward to reading his other books!
Candace
I did not like this book as much as the starred review in Publishers Weekly indicated I might--however, having recently finished Drood, reading another book with a irrational narrator was too much.

Parts of the book work well. Eloise and Joan's visit to South Africa is definitely the highlight of the novel. The bits and pieces of diaries and scraps of information that help Joan reconnect with her South African childhood are interesting enough to help balance how stereotyped the South Africans se...more
Wu Ming
WM4: [...] Con un piccolo esercizio retorico, si potrebbe dire che al fondo è una detective story. L'investigatrice protagonista potrebbe ricordare Miss Marple, solo più attempata, e però, come Sherlock Holmes, si avvale di aiutanti sul campo. Al posto di Watson troviamo Cordelia, un deambulatore geriatrico talmente indispensabile da essere meritevole di un nome proprio; mentre nei panni di Wiggins c'è Paul Dhanzy, un ragazzino di quindici anni dai trascorsi famigliari burrascosi, che preferisce...more
Claudia
Eloise è una consulente d'investimento non più giovane, single senza figli, che si trova a dover gestire un'anziana madre probabilmente affetta da un principio di demenza senile. Non è l'unica figlia di Joan, ma il fratello George è emigrato in Australia incurante degli affetti lasciati in Inghilterra. Eloise è orgogliosa della posizione lavorativa raggiunta, soddisfacente ma impegnativa, e gelosa dei suoi spazi personali, nei quali l'anziana madre non può rientrare. Decide così d'intraprendere...more
Roberta
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.


Philip Larkin

Richard Mason è un autore che mi piace davvero molto, ed è così fin dal primo romanzo che ho letto, Noi. Anime alla deriva mi è piaciuto un pochino di meno, ma comunque molto, e Alla ricerca del piacere mi è piaciuto allo stesso modo, anche se la scelta di non rivelare che si tratta di una prima parte, to be continued, mi ha indotto ad assegnare una stellina di meno. Le stanze illuminate è bellissi...more
Annika Min
Initial thoughts:
Overall a really nice read, but the author could have made more of it.

1) The author should have focused more on either Joan or Eloise. Even though you knew their thoughts, feelings and inner-self I had the feeling something important was missing.
2) It lacks a connection thread between the subplots.
3) The transition from an investigation based on facts to hallucinations was really interesting, the mental illness itself was most of the time finely-wrought.
4) Mason jumped too fas...more
Lois (three-legged-cat)
A few years ago I read a novel called The Drowning People. I fell in love with it (despite one slightly melodramatic moment in the plot) and went in search of more novels by the same author. There weren't any - I was amazed to discover that this was Richard Mason's debut and that he was only 20 years old. (At which point I immediately forgave him for the moment of unnecessary melodrama.)

An article in a weekend supplement alerted me to the fact that he had a new book out - and that another one (U...more
Lauren
How do I describe this book. It sprawled. Loosely, it was about an aging mother and daughter -- mother is 80, daughter is close to 50. The daughter, a high-powered hedge-fund analyst, is wracked with guilt about putting her mother in a retirement home. The book is about their relationship, but also about the events in each of their separate lives around the time that the mother enters the home. Again, I agree with the Amazon reviews that criticize the book for being all over the map and for the...more
Kate Gould
The Lighted Rooms takes on a vast array of human experience – from Boer War concentration camps and townships of modern-day Bloemfontein to commodities trading crises and antiseptic nursing homes in 21st century London.

Before consigning her mother, Joan, to a nursing home in Wandsworth, hedge fund trader, Eloise, takes her to visit her childhood home, now a shopping mall, in Bloemfontein. Called back to London when an investment goes awry, Eloise leaves Joan to investigate her family’s experien...more
Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth
I really enjoyed this book. I really engaged with the story and enjoyed the depths of each character. I read it at double my usual speed because I was enjoying it so much, not in a heart racing 'can't put it down' sort of way but more in a gentle 'it drew me in' way. I particularly liked its portrayal of the ageing mind through the character of Joan.
Sharron
The pieces of this story never fit together properly for me. It was as though a vase had dropped and someone scooped up the pieces into a bag and labelled them a novel. Individual parts were well written but it was so lacking in cohesion as to character as well as time and place that I had to force myself to finish the book.
Madeleine Decker
J'ai aimé le récit que peu connaissent de la guerre des Boers en Afrique du Sud et le sort inhumain que leur a réservé l'Angleterre.

Le reste, je suis mitigée, ne serait-ce que par la vraiment, mais vraiment mauvaise traduction. Il y même des bouts que je n'ai pas compris! Je ne sais pas comment la traductrice travaille, mais des bouts ressemblent à des mauvauses traductions Google.

Le débit est bon, certaines expression très bonnes et imagées comme, en parlant d'une personne âgée: elle avait le...more
Louise
This book was one of my pickups at the library, the cover drew my interest initially and the blurb implied it was going to be the sort of thing I liked. I didn't like it however; I loved it. Joan is the star of the book, through her the reader discovers the horrors her mother and grandmother faced in a concentration camp during the Boer War. It can be heavy reading in parts but so are the topics it deals with and it would be wrong to make something on this topic light reading.

This is my first b...more
Anita
This is a pretty good book. My rating is probably closer to a 3.5 but I like to round up :). I thought the author did a good job with developing charatcters, the plot is somewhat complex, as it involves recent past, the Boer War in the past, the present: and the three time frames often coincide. I also think the author did a great job of handling the fine line between magical realism and dementia--at times, I wasn't convinced.
I, too, have a complex mother-daughter relationship so I had moments...more
Pamela
This book has so many different qualities. On one hand, it's this thrilling tale about a commodities broker and her risky bet on an ex-lover's promises to deliver some kinda transition metal. On the other hand, it's a heart-breaking and sometimes bewildering tale about a mother's efforts to reconcile her past while suffering from Alzheimer's in a terrible retirement home. That probably makes no sense, but I couldn't put this book down. Richard Mason's supposed to be a hot-shot young author, and...more
Barbara
An elderly woman and her daughter visit South Africa where the woman's grandparents made their home. The Boar War - with it's concentration camps for the Dutch settlers, present day London, the smarmyness of even posh nursing homes, multigenerational friendships, the ups and downs of finance, and the tricks our minds can play are the major themes. Minor themes are medical experimentation, child/spousal abuse, and parent/child relationships. Way too many themes for one book, but -still- the story...more
Pat
This book is set mostly in London in the present time, but a lot of memories & research come into it, too. It is built mainly around Joan, the mother, being placed in assisted living & Eloise, the daughter, experiencing a multi-faceted life crisis at the same time. This author, especially at his age, has written an amazing book & I am now interested in others from him. The characters, situations, places, & events are all well-done & have added to my knowledge & awareness....more
Marcy
I loved reading this book. Some of the reviews criticize it for being all over the place--but to me, that was part of its beauty. I learned about the Anglo-Boer War (which I knew absolutely nothing about), metallurgy, hedge funds, South Africa, and more. There were several plot lines, involving parent-child relationships, lovers, aging parents, and each one was carefully and credibly developed. I loved the characters and wound up caring for, and about, them. Even though there were flaws ... a 5...more
Jenny
I enjoy the way this author writes. This book was VERY different from his first 2 books. Really about a lady with a high powered job and her aging mother who she puts in a home. Kind of sad, but also some very interesting details of the SA ango-boer war and a British concentration camp in Bloemfontein. A bit disturbing and a bit confusing - but very good! Well worth reading. If you want lighter reading try his other 2 books "The Drowning People" and "Us".
Micmacmilcomcast.net
I enjoyed the interplay of relationships in the book. The accounts of
the human suffering during the Boer War that Joan's family endured were graphically linked with suffering in her own family life. The mother/daughter relationship of Joan and Eloise is a very contemporay subject . An aging mother and a daughter trying to "kick ass" and also play the role of the dutiful daughter. A very interresting multi-tiered book
Tony
I enjoyed this book for its very strong characterization admidst a rather traditional narrative. Much like a Woody Allen script, real characters live in a world populated by two-dimensional side characters who seemingly exist only to support the plot and lead actors.
But the main characters are so fasinating - with a unique history - that it moves along in thought and spirit.
I plan on reading more Mason soon.
carelessdestiny
This saga of Dickensian proportions has so many twists, flashbacks, historical shifts that i felt it was risking plot burnout towards the end. No matter, it's very entertaining and intelligently written which makes it all very readable. I just wish whoever puts all these women with their back turned to the viewer on the covers would stop doing it and actually come up with a cover that's relevant to the story.
Sarah
Here in the UK this book is called "The Lighted Rooms"
Trish Hobson
I've read very few books involving the elderly. I found the world of dementia from the character's stand point fascinationg. I found myself thinking about the characters when I was not reading and wanting to get back to the book. Some of the text was a little to graphic for my liking. Overall, I found the story and characters very engaging.
Keith
An interesting book bought by a friend after she read that I likes a previous book - The History of a Pleasure Seaker - a wonderful book. I found this a more difficult book. The two women, a mother and daughter, who are the focus engage the reader, but the mother's dementia becomes lost in the story and I must admit lost me at times.
Kat
This is a really good writer and a pretty good book. The characters are well-developed, the plot is somewhat complex, as it involves recent past (around the last 30 years), further past (the Boer War), the present, and the three time frames often co-mingle. Fine line between magical realism and dementia.
Greg Wolfson
This book is so painful, as the secrets and diseases that are being withheld and experienced and rich and shameful and inflict harm. There is no coming together or happy ending or cleared up misunderstanding in this book and it seems to reflect the state of many parent/child relationships
Mary Kay
Interesting look at a mother & daughter who have to select a nursing home for the older woman, who has been hiding some pretty bizarre symptoms from her daughter. She can't hide in the home, though. I had no sympathy for the 48-year-old daughter, a high-flying hedge fund manager.
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More about Richard Mason...
History of a Pleasure Seeker The Drowning People Us

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