Absolutely fantastic! Phenomenal writing, with an interesting and well-paced storyline. NoViolet Bulawayo has a very original, distinct and vibrant voAbsolutely fantastic! Phenomenal writing, with an interesting and well-paced storyline. NoViolet Bulawayo has a very original, distinct and vibrant voice that shines through on every single page. She has a very compelling way of using language to create vivid scenes that make the reader feel as though they are reliving a memory of their own, despite how far removed their own experiences might have been. From Darling's childhood innocence in Zimbabwe to her struggle through adolescence in America, Bulawayo accurately captures the very raw and emotional experiences of her main character with simple and brutal poignancy.
I devoured this book, and I have a feeling this is the kind of book that will stay with me for a while....more
'The Hungry Ghosts' was quite true to the description on the back cover, yet was still surprising in its own way. I thought it was quite well-written,'The Hungry Ghosts' was quite true to the description on the back cover, yet was still surprising in its own way. I thought it was quite well-written, and the story that weaves through the lives of all of the characters was quite interesting on its own. Yet the guts of the story really lie with the relationships between the characters, and the effects of major issues presented throughout the book on their lives. The historical-fiction backdrop that jumps back and forth between Canada and Sri Lanka was essential to the storyline, but it was the well-crafted characters that really brought the story to life.
While the plot was solid and steady, with only a few unexpected twists and turns thrown in, Selvadurai's talent really lies with his ability to write such remarkable characters. Not only were they multi-dimensional, but they were realistic, raw, and well fleshed-out. Each character was flawed in some essential way that was revealed through the narrative, and in some circumstances, those flaws were large and hideous. Yet, they all had points where some part of their essential goodness was able to shine through, and moments where you could feel empathy for them, with their flaws and all. None of the characters were all good, or all bad, which gave them a realism that is sometimes lacking in other books.
I always believe that a writer has to have the ability to write vivid and well-rounded characters in order to truly write a good book. Selvadurai is certainly able to do that, as evidenced in this book. This is the first time I have read anything by Shyam Selvadurai, but I will now be keeping an eye out for his older work and anything he writes in the future....more
When I read 'Still Missing', I thought it was decent read, but I was not blown away or in awe by it. I seemed to be in the minority, as most of the reWhen I read 'Still Missing', I thought it was decent read, but I was not blown away or in awe by it. I seemed to be in the minority, as most of the reviews I read were glowing "OMG!" kind of reviews. I didn't love it or hate it, but there was just nothing about the book or the writing that really impressed me.
With that in mind, I approached 'Always Watching' expecting the same thing-a decent, quick read that would neither disappoint nor greatly impress me. That is, for the most part, what I got, but I have to say I was actually pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed 'Always Watching' more than her first book (I haven't read her second, 'Never Knowing').
Chevy Stevens is not an especially brilliant writer. I don't say that to be mean, because she's not an awful writer by any means either. What I mean is that while some writers have a very vivid and distinct way of writing, which I find true of every brilliant writer, I don't feel that way in regards to Chevy's writing. Those kind of writers are capable or writing a truly horrible book well. Their strength is in the flow of their artistry, and their ability to manipulate words well.
I find Chevy's writing to be very straight-forward and simple, which has it's own benefits. While Chevy might not possess the artistry of a brilliant writer yet, where her strength in her writing lies is really within the storylines she creates, rather than the writing itself. She is really capable of weaving an interesting and suspenseful plot throughout a solid and well-paced storyline. It unravelled at a good pace, and did not feel rushed nor did it drag as so many suspense books do. I feel like her writing in general has improved between her first book and this one as well.
I am usually pretty good at accurately predicting a plot twist well before it occurs, which is sometimes a curse because I just don't seem to enjoy some books as much as other people who are genuinely shocked by the turn of events. While I was able to figure out where the larger part of the story was going, Chevy actually had me surprised a couple of times closer to the end of the book. and I'm not gonna lie - I totally had to blink back some tears when it came to Brew, which I think says a lot about her ability to really capture certain scenes.
Overall, while I wasn't blown away by 'Always Watching', I felt it was a good, solid effort, and I enjoyed it. ...more
I had a hard time both reading and rating this. I feel like I should at least add some sort of comment since I am the first person to add or read thisI had a hard time both reading and rating this. I feel like I should at least add some sort of comment since I am the first person to add or read this on goodreads, despite the fact that the book was published 20 years ago.
Some of the profiles were more interesting than others. A lot of them just dragged on - it took more than three weeks to get through this book, because I just could not sit down and read much of it for very long. It was too tedious, and the profile of one person to the next just started to bleed into each other. It probably didn't help that people with similar jobs were grouped together - you read about three scientists back to back, and it's hard to remember who worked where and on what. Sadly, if one random persons name was picked out of the book, I doubt I could remember exactly who they were.
I found the profiles of the older people to be much more interesting. The profiles seemed less focused on the person's job and career accomplishments, and more on their actual experiences in China and coming to Canada, and what that was like for them. I expected the book to be more focused on that, instead it felt more like reading career profiles for most of the people. I think the idea was interesting, but in the end the book just fell flat.
While I did enjoy the photos and the general presentation of the book, I also felt like the book itself made it hard to read for long periods of time - it was hard covered, and while not thick, the dimensions were larger and the book was really heavy, so it made it awkward to hold and read comfortably....more