I wanted to like this novel; I wanted it to completely enchant me. Instead, I was underwhelmed by the majority of the story. Marina Singh is an intere...moreI wanted to like this novel; I wanted it to completely enchant me. Instead, I was underwhelmed by the majority of the story. Marina Singh is an interesting character and her relationship with her former teacher Dr. Swenson is fascinating. The theme of the continuing relationship between teacher and student resonates with me. There are a lot of opportunities for Patchett to explore the intersection of science, ethics, Western excesses and gender. The problem is that the "jungle research" part of the story is pure genre fiction--the plot is basically Michael Crichton's Congo with women. The last 10 pages or so alone made me want to beat my head against a wall. I think I'll have to try some of Patchett's works at a later date.(less)
Mina by Marie Kiraly bends genre in fun & curious ways. Not quite historical fiction, not quite erotica, not quite a feminist reinterpretation of...moreMina by Marie Kiraly bends genre in fun & curious ways. Not quite historical fiction, not quite erotica, not quite a feminist reinterpretation of high literature, Kiraly instead takes the most interesting aspects of all three genres & gives readers a story about coming back to "normal life" after having brushed up against something strange. I've read many of the other comments on GoodReads about this book & many people seem disappointed that the novel isn't easily categorized. Honestly, I think Mina falls into a certain type of storytelling that gives authors space to play & reinterpret their favorite types of literature.
The scale I used to compare Mina included books like Mistress of the Art of Death & The Poe Shadow on the poor side of the scale, The Diary of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Dragonwyck in the middle, and Passion & The Mists of Avalon at the top. Mina would come in above average on this scale. All of these books rely on a specific literary touchstone or author to give them life & try to create a fantasy that other fascinated readers can relate to. I totally picked up Mina because I had always dreamed up interesting futures for Mina Harker after the story of Dracula ended. (One included her running off with a Russian violinist & seeing the Revolution in action.)
Kiraly is a writer who not only knows the Dracula text inside & out, but has clearly done some serious research on Victorian society & the parts of Eastern Europe her characters travel through. Her prose is natural, approachable & competently structured. My only quibble is that the details of the England landscape were often overlooked in favor of the wilds of Carpathia, but who can blame the author wanting to hang out there? Kiraly also has fun integrating or hinting at other influences. One of the main characters is an exercise in Byronic excess. Russia romantically beckons from just off-stage. The social novels of the era are also alluded to as Mina volunteers at or is confined to various hospitals. In short, Mina was a great book for an English major like me because it mixed both critical thought & pure fantasy in equally pleasing measures.(less)
One day I am going to go to New Orleans & see if the city truly is the witchy, pansexual, decadent place that everyone makes it out to be. But unt...moreOne day I am going to go to New Orleans & see if the city truly is the witchy, pansexual, decadent place that everyone makes it out to be. But until then, here is another book under my belt by a NOLA writer. I appreciate Brite's unique voice & the love she has for her characters. This collection was a great way to kill an afternoon, but by the time I got to the last half of the book, I was already familiar with the characters & plot twists she had set up in the first half of the book. If I were younger & more impressionable, I would have been under the sway of this book. But I'm not, so I appreciate her contribution to the genre & I'm ready to move on.(less)
I enjoyed _Lost In A Good Book_ more than _The Eyre Affair_. Fforde's writing has developed from the awkward, screenplay-ish rendering in the first bo...moreI enjoyed _Lost In A Good Book_ more than _The Eyre Affair_. Fforde's writing has developed from the awkward, screenplay-ish rendering in the first book to a style & tone better suited to a novel. There are still some awkward passages, like one where Thursday is watching a news story on TV. It's something that passes more quickly visually, not textually & I found myself skimming the paragraphs, going, "Really? Why is this here? Is it important?" Some of his tricks make me smile, like the test of unattributed dialogue but the punned names got old. Real. Fast. Looking forward to _The Well of Lost Plots_.(less)
2.5 instead of 2. I wanted to really like this book. The idea of having literature detectives & a place where the written word is venerated sounde...more2.5 instead of 2. I wanted to really like this book. The idea of having literature detectives & a place where the written word is venerated sounded really cool. It sets up a premise that one could have a lot of fun with. The problem is that Fforde's writing style gets in the way of true enjoyment. The book is set up to be told from Thursday's POV, which is why whenever Fforde steps out of that to present events where Thursday isn't present is weird. Unless he's playing with the idea of stepping outside of time which is present throughout. If this is so, he doesn't set up the transition at all. Also, there are parts where the jokes fall so flat it's painful. Someone mentions the Order of the Wombats. One character says something "funny" & Fforde writes afterward: "There was a pause.", instead of letting it naturally sink in. It's like he's underlining the joke & saying: LOOK, THIS IS FUNNY! I think I will try other other books, in order to see if he gets any better, because there is something to the plot.
Also, as a side note, every time a dodo is mentioned in the book, I imagine it looking something like Edward Gorey's character Mr. Earbrass: wide goggling eyes, a rectangular head & an expression that can read as anything.(less)