This book is almost a five. Perhaps in a year or so, if thoughts of this book set off that longing in my head, then I will know it is a five. This boo...moreThis book is almost a five. Perhaps in a year or so, if thoughts of this book set off that longing in my head, then I will know it is a five. This book started out reading like an American myth. Slowly it became less myth in its feel and more... something else.
The point of view was interesting to follow. It is a very fluid point of view. Steinbeck claims his handicap of not knowing the perspective of his characters and then barrels right through into their minds.
His characters are almost too perfectly profound. Which sort of fits with the more myth feel of the story. They are all immensely compelling and interesting, but they are able to unravel and distribute truth with such uncanny skill. Of course that seems to be the key purpose of having Samuel Hamilton in the story. He's like the truth-father. And all who come in contact with him are struck with truth. Some run away and some decide to pursue it.
Anyways, a great read. It definitely will affect my writing (or lack thereof). It should be noted that there is some content that may be offensive to some.
*This copy of the book had very little smell. The little it did have brought some images of some of the large hardback Arthur storybooks. Kinda disappointing for how good the book looked visually.(less)
Going into this book I had pretty high expectations. It was a favorite of a professor I had in college, and it sounded intriguing.
The book is about t...moreGoing into this book I had pretty high expectations. It was a favorite of a professor I had in college, and it sounded intriguing.
The book is about the last priest in an area of Mexico that has outlawed Catholicism, and killed any of the priests that would not marry. However, this last priest is not the man you'd expect to be the last man to be a priest to his people. Greene coins the phrase whiskey priest to name his main character's paradox.
I don't want to get into it too much because it is best left to be read. But the book was an immediate 5 stars for me, whereas normally I would let the book sit for a while and then reread it for it to become a favorite. But the writing and the characters so impressed me it would be disingenuous to not give it a 5. (less)
As with Dostoevsky where you have to endure his manic characters, with Tolstoy you have to wade through a bit of soap opera But in the case of both wr...moreAs with Dostoevsky where you have to endure his manic characters, with Tolstoy you have to wade through a bit of soap opera But in the case of both writers you feel like you are sitting down and discussing humanity with them. I enjoyed Anna Karenina more than War and Peace. It felt better focused and defined. If you have trouble keeping track of Russian names you won't have much better luck with this one, (though I like the Russian names). Anna is still the easier read however, it just doesn't have the same name recognition to it. War and Peace also has that whole Napoleonic War to give it a historical kick.
Both of Tolstoy's epics definitely had their similarities and parallels in both characters and themes. And you can really see Tolstoy's later religious movement stirring in these two books. It seemed even stronger in Anna, but that might be more due to recency, I can't say for sure.
So after reading what I'd call the big 5 of Russian literature (my name for them, and only because they are just the works that I hear of the most), Dostoevsky is by far my favorite but I thoroughly enjoyed Tolstoy, minus the last 50 pages of War and Peace...
Tolstoy is very tied to the upper class of Russia, whereas Dostoevsky doesn't have the same boundaries. Though at the same time, Tolstoy is constantly at war with the hypocrisy and facade of the ruling class, and is constantly praising the simpleness of the peasant/serf. It is interesting to watch Tolstoy struggle with his position in the Russian world.
Konstantin Levin will go down as one of my favorite literary characters. (less)
It's funny, I read a number of reviews where the reader enjoyed the first half of this book but not the second. Yet I felt the second half is what mad...moreIt's funny, I read a number of reviews where the reader enjoyed the first half of this book but not the second. Yet I felt the second half is what made this book great. It would otherwise just be your standard children's fantasy adventure. The second half breaks this all down and actually makes something of it, however. The two portions may at first feel disparate and in need of a book break, but the second half really does complete the book. As a child I may have had a similar reaction; liking the first half better. Which is especially humorous given my reaction to the first two movies when I was younger, but that is a story for another time. (less)