Man who got a psychotic breakdown after his mother's death meets the woman of his life. The relationship is not quite balanced. Generally alright but...moreMan who got a psychotic breakdown after his mother's death meets the woman of his life. The relationship is not quite balanced. Generally alright but the language was a bit too high-flown for me at times.(less)
I liked Fear and Trembling so I borrowed another book from her.
This too was a quick read. 205 pages, took perhaps a bit over an hour. I quite enjoy sh...moreI liked Fear and Trembling so I borrowed another book from her.
This too was a quick read. 205 pages, took perhaps a bit over an hour. I quite enjoy short books, not just because they are easy to approach but if written well, often there is plenty left unsaid which leaves so much room for personal interpretations. I do not like books where the author treats the reader as if they had no ability to think themselves.
The book begins with a man and woman who have just retired and have finally fulfilled their dream of moving to the countryside. Nearby lives only one neighbour, a doctor. Sounds good.
On the second day, the neighbour comes for a visit at 4 pm. Everything seems fine except he hardly speaks at all and only sits in a chair. Finally he leaves two hours later.
Third day, he comes again, at 4 pm and behaves the same way. The following day he is knocking on the door again. And the day after that, again... while his behaviour becomes all the more strange and self-entitled.
The couple begins to get very uncomfortable about his visits but for the fear of being impolite, never tell him (here I sensed slight similarity to Fear and Trembling, some kind of surrealism).
Finally, they decide to simply not open the door. But the neighbour keeps knocking, eventually begins to bang the door until the men and woman become frightened and let him in.
I haven't done any reading on what genre this ought to be but that premise was definitely thrilling for me. It was in fact very creepy, unsettling and I felt strong associations to the films Funny Games and In Their Skin (one of my favourite films from last year!), in terms of the ambience. An uncomfortable sensation of something very sinister.
It really kept me turning the page. I began to think about the experience of reading King's The Road Virus Heads to North. Nothing in common story-wise, but memories instead. I remember truly feeling nervous when I read that. Crying and getting nervous is not what I usually do when reading so it is unique.
This is not entirely a thriller though. With the progress of the story it becomes more of a drama... a ponderance about the purpose of life and other such matters even if the unpleasant psychological aspect holds all the way to the end, including a twist of sorts.
Some minus must be given from the rather pseudophilosophic rambles at the end. I thought that by falling in the trap of giving explanations, the author spoiled the atmosphere she had spent building on the pages before.
By these two books, I have however become very impressed by Nothomb. I actually can't think of anyone that I could compare her to.(less)
It had some enjoyable bits, mainly the last few chapters of the book. Apart from that... it reminded me of Murakami's Norwegian Wood, sex on every dam...moreIt had some enjoyable bits, mainly the last few chapters of the book. Apart from that... it reminded me of Murakami's Norwegian Wood, sex on every damn page. I just don't like reading about it and I can't relate to this kind of life where a man sleeps nearly every day with multiple different women. In order to understand the book's purpose better, I read some reviews and one of them said that the book captures "ordinary life" so well. Is this ordinary life, seriously? I must be so outdated.(less)
My thoughts about this book are very confused. Along the lines of "what is this book?".
The plot, without revealing too much detail concerns a man and...moreMy thoughts about this book are very confused. Along the lines of "what is this book?".
The plot, without revealing too much detail concerns a man and wife. Suddenly the wife goes missing and the book is spent solving this mystery. The back cover hints that the husband could be the culprit, so I was expecting more or less the usual thriller with some type of twist where it's revealed on the last page that the husband didn't kill the wife after all.
Most of the book is used for that... which in my opinion spoiled everything. After I started getting bored around the 100th page, it became a chore to read. Just that predictable super dramatic blown out of proportions American action shit with bold and beautiful and rich superhero characters whose names even sound as made up as they can. It also irritated me that when I finally come across a book where internet is actually mentioned as an important part of people's life, they never actually use it in the story. The characters just magically read all these articles and videos and Facebook walls somehow, even though for the entire duration of the book they're constantly in action somewhere, definitely not on a computer or other device...?
Media was also very central part of this story and felt unrealistic to me... I am kind of shocked if it truly is an accurate portrayal of American media and its viewers; how every detail and movement of people involved is pryed and broadcasted.
After halfway the story began to unfold and get better, but a lot of the juice was sucked out by those useless prior pages.
The core story of the wife in this book made me completely disgusted. Lies about pregnancy, lies about relationship violence... a massive show to destroy the life of the man because his love for this psycho slut was dying. It was very difficult to read and honestly, I began to fear that it is just something that all women are (there was a quote from a review on the back of the book which says "after you have read this you want to remain single").
The woman in the book described how men expect ideal women to be: men want "cool" girls, girls who like football, poker, dirty jokes, burping, video games, cheap beer, group sex, anal sex, hot dogs, hamburgers, while retaining size xs (so she had acted this ideal to get her husband in a hook)... which in part helped me to distance myself from this fictional story because none of those qualities are what I like about a girl... I would say that they are exactly qualities which I would not like, so it allowed me the moment to realise that this is just something written by one person, not representative of reality.
So in that sense it was kind of... not the best thing to read perhaps.
A lot of the times I also had trouble following the trail of thought of the characters. It seemed to have a lot of that "you should know what I mean without me actually saying it" type of stuff. Though it could just have been to reflect the nature of the characters.
The ending was utterly horrible. I don't mean horrible as in badly written, but horrible as in being emotionally very stressful. It too, was all too timely on the matter.
So in general, I could not say that I would have enjoyed this book. Usually I like these kind of horrific portrayals of horrific people, if it is comfortably distant from my own life. This was too personal.(less)
I thought that conveying psychosis through chess is a genius idea. Because it is just like chess. Constant interpretation of the moves that the oppone...moreI thought that conveying psychosis through chess is a genius idea. Because it is just like chess. Constant interpretation of the moves that the opponent makes, strategies to fool them into thinking that you don't know what they're planning and so on.
I don't know why Russians can write so well about psychosis. Or the inner experience of it. Gogol and Dostoevsky did before there were even any clinical books that they could have used as reference.
Now there are thousands of books that describe how it is, but still most authors fail to deliver psychological understanding of it. But then, every book by Russian author that has something to do with madness, that I've read, even if it would not be explicitly pointed out, the description of the thoughts and feelings of the person experiencing it are so devastatingly familiar that I dislocate my jaw out of amazement about how they have come to get it (along with the other details of the minds of their characters).
This book had some passages which were as if they would have been copied directly from my head (or as if I would have copied this book without knowing). I don't know how it's done.
Other than that, possibly it could have been shorter, I had trouble with it because there were many frills and I don't think those were necessary.(less)