This book is good but the series is just too long for its depth; excellent popcorn sf for a while, then from book 4 on tedious. Stopped at 3 or 4, it...more This book is good but the series is just too long for its depth; excellent popcorn sf for a while, then from book 4 on tedious. Stopped at 3 or 4, it would have been a great series(less)
This one need a reread to be fully distilled by me; it's absorbing and follows two linked stories about a Spanish writer and a US Vietnam veteran. R...more This one need a reread to be fully distilled by me; it's absorbing and follows two linked stories about a Spanish writer and a US Vietnam veteran. Read it very fast since it was a page turner, but somehow it did not fully gel together for me- or maybe I read it too fast and on the reread I will get it better.(less)
another book I read in drips and finished a while ago but never had the time to write about it; while the history is not necessarily the most authorit...moreanother book I read in drips and finished a while ago but never had the time to write about it; while the history is not necessarily the most authoritative and the book is an old style saga of "great men" (mostly murderous nobles whose ambitions stopped at nothing) with the occasional "great woman" (said except that usually the power had to be exerted through sons/husbands or more rarely married daughters) sprinkled in - so not unlike modern fantasy after all - but a compelling tale which makes for gripping and fascinating reading nonetheless(less)
another winner from H. Kunzru at least in the first 50 or so pages; should finish it this year; read more and now around page 200 and the book is inde...moreanother winner from H. Kunzru at least in the first 50 or so pages; should finish it this year; read more and now around page 200 and the book is indeed funny, sad, dark, ironic... the picaresque adventures of Pran aka Clive aka Chandra aka Robert; a magisterial skewering of the Raj, the scenes at the Nawab court are a must read for anyone still believing in the Kipling fairy tales
(it is 1914-15 and the childless/impotent but very traditional Nawab wants to adopt a young cousin rather than leave the state to his Westernized, porn and party loving brother - who just has as guest a famed City of Angels porn producer in addition to other decadence - but the local English biggie whose approval is needed for that tends to favor the brother who promised to allow factories and all the new Western stuff in the province; on the other hand despite his self-loathing love for young boys, the English officer is very traditionalist himself and kind of detests the younger prince for his decadence so both the Nawab and the prince try to get compromising film of the Major with a young boy, the Nawab candidate being Pran renamed Clive by the Major who actually starts taking a shine to him more like a son and start educating him as white, while the prince's candidate is a dubious knife wielding Portuguese who sees Pran/Clive as a threat to be removed by force; and then the bigger English boss comes to visit and a tiger hunt is "prepared"...)
Finished the novel and indeed it was another very high quality book - 3rd in a row recent for me and also 3rd read from the author; after the part described above there are two more parts in which our hero changes his name and his station in life as well as living in quite different cultures with quite different expectations.
Cannot emphasize both how good this book is and what a great refreshing change it makes to see the world and events from a very different perspective.
After this I have to say that I will follow whatever Harry Kunzru writes with the greatest interest(less)
I had high hopes for this novel and I was pretty disappointed since it's more of a historical recreation in chronicle style than a true work of fictio...moreI had high hopes for this novel and I was pretty disappointed since it's more of a historical recreation in chronicle style than a true work of fiction; the author alternates novelistic style with something you would find in a popular book on history and it does not work that well with a very dry and dispassionate style; I read popular history books written ten times more engaging than this one which is supposed to be a novel.
There are moments here and there that show the potential but overall the story of the samurai that leaves Japan to Korea and later China to return a Manchurian "princess" shipwrecked on his lord's domain, only to run into upheaval on the mainland and later into the return ban the Tokugawa imposed on everyone outside Japan at some point, just bogs down in style and chronicle-like exposition.
The ending is good, while the overall shape of the story presents an interesting moment in the history of eastern Asia, but i really wish the book could have been more fiction-like and with at least some narrative flow; Wikipedia reads better and more entertaining than this so-called novel...(less)