This is not a perfect book, but it is a brilliant one. That earns it the fifth star. :)
Philip K. Dick apparently utilized the I Ching himself; it's aThis is not a perfect book, but it is a brilliant one. That earns it the fifth star. :)
Philip K. Dick apparently utilized the I Ching himself; it's a well-done conceit, as the novel itself details a cast of characters dependent on the Book of Changes for their every decision. In short, it's the early 1960's, the United States stayed neutral in WWII, and subsequently suffered massive defeat and partition at the hands of both Hitler's Reich and the Japanese Empire.
Dick's work takes place in a Japanese occupied San Francisco. He takes care to describe the life and patterns of occupied, cowed Americans under a Japanese administration and a new global order in which they are simply not a part. The resentment and anger beneath eh surface is well-written, as well as the overwhelming that something is just wrong. Overall, it's a clever, deep read that touches on human loneliness and long-lasting hope.
The end of the novel grows a bit rambling, but it's a clever, well done work well worth a read. Certainly in my Top Ten of books....more
This is totally historical porn--and not just because of the totally awkward cover which got me the most horrified looks on buses or in coffee shops wThis is totally historical porn--and not just because of the totally awkward cover which got me the most horrified looks on buses or in coffee shops when I'd read it.
Said is on to something. This theorizing of sites and locations as interpreted through the lens of British colonialism is farking brilliant, and I love it. A lot. Like more than a friend.
Said manages to take Eurocentric colonialism and turn it on its head in a fascinatingly deft and erudite manner. However, sometimes his prose is inscrutable and ostentatious, and I have a deep and abiding loathing for any fool so pretentious he cant' be bothered to translate out his lengthy French or German quotes. (My French is subpar, my German non-existent).
That said, he's onto something with his criticism of the West and 'Orientalist' thought, that is particularly relevant in the new "West" versus "Islam" pseudo-intellectual debates cropping up today.
It's fascinating, I care for the protagonist, and engaging in its own inane way. Yet, rather like Jane Eyre I find myself scI love and hate this book.
It's fascinating, I care for the protagonist, and engaging in its own inane way. Yet, rather like Jane Eyre I find myself screaming, "What is the damn point! I've deeper things to ponder than if some formerly rich white girl's gonna turn out okay!"
Then I take a deep breath, have some tea, attune myself to the colonialist deep inside, and read again.
Jane Austen totally understands the dilemmas faced by the declining gentry as the Industrial Revolution displaced the center of authority and the meaning of wealth in early nineteenth century England. Still, I found myself silently mouthing, "Trick, get on with it!" If you can endure the stilted double-talk of the struggling elite and care about their situation, Pride and Prejudice will grab you. It took me awhile to do so, but I'm glad I did....more
Jane Eyre is one of those books that I will be forever unable to separate from my high school reading memories. Unlike my friend Melissa, who worshipsJane Eyre is one of those books that I will be forever unable to separate from my high school reading memories. Unlike my friend Melissa, who worships at the altar of Bronte, I'm not nearly so taken with the Gothic novel, although I must admit it holds a lot of appeal for me. Jane is sympathetic if annoyingly perfect, and you find yourself rooting for her in her many, many travails. I remain a fan of the book from its Dickens-like Victorian misery at the beginning to its improbable romantic endings.
And I must say, "Well reader, I married him," stands as one of my favourite silly literary quotes in the history of ever.
And kudos to Jean Rhys for having the literary cojones to dissect the novel in her post-colonial reading of the piece in her 1966 Wide Sargasso Sea, further proof that Jane and her dramatic wandering is still relevant for a new generation of readers....more
Dear God, what an audacious and inconsistent book. It takes some bold spirit to write a prequel to [[author:Charlotte Bronte]'s Jane Eyre, but DominicDear God, what an audacious and inconsistent book. It takes some bold spirit to write a prequel to [[author:Charlotte Bronte]'s Jane Eyre, but Dominican author Jean Rhys takes a strike at it. What you end up with is a novel that definitely bears the imprint of the post-colonialism that was wildly popular in 1966, but still has striking relevance in parts to today. WSS is a haunting novel that tells the story of Bertha Mason nee Antoinette Cosway, and invents her as a British Creole woman in the crumbling ruins of post-emancipation Jamaica. Her impoverished, despised family is threatened and attacked by the newly-liberated black islanders and despised by the aloof planters and the distantly cold English born in the motherland. The novel very very skillfully describes the issues of femininity, colonial racism, and nineteenth century Caribbean life, but overall, it's uneven, rambling at points, and a bit repulsive--much like Bertha herself.
I've never been madly in love with the protagonist in Jane Eyre--I found her a bit infuriating as a bloodless "Mary Sue" type--but her novel is still the superior one to Rhys' Caribbean Gothic construct. However, kudos to Jean Rhys for dissecting the distant racism and colonial bondage in Jane Eyre and seeing fit to make a haunting, broken novel out of it....more