Egads and finally finished. Not that I disliked Melmoth. It just took forever for me to catch something that got my attention to keep me hooked. I'm g...moreEgads and finally finished. Not that I disliked Melmoth. It just took forever for me to catch something that got my attention to keep me hooked. I'm going to go with the idea of early 19th century writing. I could easily see, later on, where Poe and Wilde were influenced by Maturin. Poe in particular with the images: the dark cramped places, the long twisting ways of escape, so on and so forth. Wilde, surely, wit the manipulation Melmoth works into his bargains with the various characters through the novel. And those, I always found particularly interesting. I don't know if I thought I would like this or not as I've forgotten why I picked it up. If it was some Goth lit jag (possible) or something to do with supernatural things (also possible). But it definitely fit both categories and, I'm pretty sure, is going to have a bit of influence on what I'm writing now.(less)
Absolutely brilliant. Initially I was drawn because of Zipes and Tatar. I haven't read Bernheimer's sister/companion book, though it's on the vast lis...moreAbsolutely brilliant. Initially I was drawn because of Zipes and Tatar. I haven't read Bernheimer's sister/companion book, though it's on the vast list. Each essay was marvelously interesting. I'm not going to bother going through one by one and pointing out why or why not, it would take far too long. But, overall, I think the theme that comes through is that fairytales catch children on a deep level and there they remain to do what the stories (and most stories in my opinion) are meant to do. To sooth, to give hope, to share a lesson, to provide an outlet, to give us magic back and that fantastic moment of seeing a thing purely, without really asking why. An easy read. And while it might get slated to as something as a "gender study" as all the essays are by men, I'm not sure that is. I think it's just the princes and the shepherds and the lost boys telling the other side.(less)
For anyone that wishes to see how well stark language works, Haruf does a rather marveouls job in his novel. There's not too much. There's not too lit...moreFor anyone that wishes to see how well stark language works, Haruf does a rather marveouls job in his novel. There's not too much. There's not too little. A few characters I found lacking, their actions and reasons stretched and I would've liked to have a deeper understanding of why this happened, but the rest to come together, I think, like the title of his book. In some ways I was brought to mind of Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and Bradbury's Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Not particularly because of the stories (though all four books center in small rural towns with children as the main narrators or the strong narrators as in Dandelion Wine) but the way each author builds the life in these places. I found some aspects to be cliche, but the cliche ended up working well in the end and I was able to overlook it. Definitely better than I imagined it would be.(less)
A really interesting look at the future and what might happen should protein sources run low. It made me think of Neil Gaiman's short story Baby Cakes...moreA really interesting look at the future and what might happen should protein sources run low. It made me think of Neil Gaiman's short story Baby Cakes and takes somewhat the same view. How desperate would people become to eat meat, and what kind of meat in particular. It also address the idea of what makes humans human, where is the line drawn. In many ways it's disturbing. A thing better read than my trying to explain what I got from it without giving too much away.
The thing that bothered me, though, was the "non-fiction" commentary, complete with insanely long footnotes. It wasn't that the commentary was uninteresting. It just felt rather random, almost like LePan couldn't decide if he which story he wanted to write so they merged a bit oddly. Basically, it disrupted the narrative for me, but at the same time highlighted what civilization was like.
I'm rather torn as to what I thought of the novel. The research certainly shows and Brennert's descriptions are really lovely. I didn't have an issue...moreI'm rather torn as to what I thought of the novel. The research certainly shows and Brennert's descriptions are really lovely. I didn't have an issue with the characters, but I think, over all, this would sit more at two and one half rather than three for me.
As I said, I did like Rachel. I found Catherine endearing. I was happy about Kenji, Ruth, and others. But it felt like there should've been more. That great gaps of time were leapt when things like driving, while perhaps not particularly important, would've been interesting to know. How would people with such hand deformities drive in the 1930s or 40s? So on, so forth. I realize that Moloka'i was a very isolated place and given to a very profound sense of segregation, but the small details that would've made the story totally come alive for me just weren't there. I'm not sure if it's because Brennert was trying to capture so much in such a particular timeline that parts that might've been there were parred down or cut completely. Or if he simply didn't write them.
It's not a terrible novel by any means. It might not be one that I wouldn't read again, though. I truly wanted to like it more than I did. Parts of it made me think of Memoirs of a Geisha and others The Poisonwood Bible, but without catching me up completely, not like it should've, or I wanted it to, I guess.
But, for all of that, it was a nice easy read and topically interesting.(less)
While this is the 25th anniversary edition and no doubt many things have changed since 1975 (published 1983), Liza Dalby remains a marvel. A truly int...moreWhile this is the 25th anniversary edition and no doubt many things have changed since 1975 (published 1983), Liza Dalby remains a marvel. A truly interesting look into a culture that is, no doubt, so often misunderstood and created to be something other than what it actually is. Her personal experience is nothing short of amazing. An easy read in a very conversational tone. Just truly enjoyable. Her respect and desire to understand geisha comes through.(less)
Still enjoyable, but not nearly on the same level that struck me in 2011.
---- I think what I liked best about the entire novel wa...morereread 4 february 2014
Still enjoyable, but not nearly on the same level that struck me in 2011.
---- I think what I liked best about the entire novel was Brooks's use of language. Rather like Greer Gilman's use of period language in her novellas. It didn't detract for me, but I get a bit geeky over words, so it certainly fit the bill for that. The topic of the plague is an interesting one and the questions she poses through Anna and other characters felt very real to me. Whatever idea of god or nature, one would, I'd think, still ask why. Why this person and not that person. The grief, which I can only imagine, through the novel is tension of its own along with the various plots worked throughout. I didn't read it as a pro-feminist sort of novel, but as one that addresses how human we remain in the face of disaster and how that disaster breaks some down into their weakest parts while causing others to find they're made of stronger stuff. That the narrator happened to be female, for me, was just happenstance. Brooks could've told the story from a man's perspective if she'd wanted to, I'd imagine. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read and if there were any holes or lapses they were small and I missed them.(less)
It took a few days to think about this book and decide how much I liked it or didn't like it. I scored it high for a pretty simple reason, while I did...moreIt took a few days to think about this book and decide how much I liked it or didn't like it. I scored it high for a pretty simple reason, while I didn't like most of the narrators, to create that sort of dislike but balance it with interest to keep reading--well, that was marvelously well done.
Are any of the Prices likable? That was my question as I turned the pages. Most often my thought was: No, not really. Adah, on the whole, was the one I found the most interesting in regard to her silence and the way her mind worked. While it made some of her sections almost surreal, there was also the strong feeling (for me, anyhow) that she was a secular balance to Leah's spirituality. Of course, with that said, how much of Leah's worship and desire was turned on the sly with religion being the one sure way to reach her father and her father taking the role of the god that turns a blind eye to most things save when it's indecent or unsavory to his thinking. Rachel reminded me of people that I've known where the material is the only thing important, different societies are low ranking and horrid. Ruth Mae has the innocence of a child but also some of the uncanny insights children see. Some of what Ruth Mae says, her thoughts, are disturbing because they sound racist (or they did to me). But I think it's a good example of how children mimic parents and older children. I have, I realized, met Nathan Price more than once in person. Both with the characteristics of the distant older man that wants nothing to do with anyone save on his terms, but also the the religious zealot. Orleanna, I admit, I felt some sort of contempt toward. It really took weaving her history and story through that finally made her very redeemable at the end.
I guess, the other thing that struck me as strange while I was reading, was being aware that I've known people that travel to Africa with the idea of mission work. It's a strange thing to read and then relate to in such a way. Not as personal as my going myself, but in a way, I suppose. But that wasn't my point, to skim about like that.
Though, it says something very strongly about Kingsolver and my connecting with her through the characters. Basically that I connected. I read a lot of things, or read into might be better, that resounded strongly. What do people do in the name of faith? At what point does my god become your god and is that the only way? And perhaps as a daughter, the idea of wanting to please the father, to be accepted and, well, just liked. I thought she showed religion in all its fantastic facets from the descriptive prose describe places to the audacity that people won't be "saved" without a conversion that doesn't make sense to those being preached to.
I don't know much at all about the Congo or what life was like for those that lived there or live there now. I think, though. I think she handled the political and racial tensions with a delicate touch. Maybe in another book by another person something else would work better, but this was really aptly done.
Perhaps what I disliked about the book goes back to the people I've known, the ones that could fit in to the Rachels, Leahs and Nathans. It makes a very distinct discomfort, but then it's all the more real, I suppose, in the end.(less)