A lovely read told in a unique voice. I fell hard for Jade immediately and loved following her adventures in London. My one complaint (if I can call iA lovely read told in a unique voice. I fell hard for Jade immediately and loved following her adventures in London. My one complaint (if I can call it that) is that it is so short - I would have loved to stay immersed in her world for a longer stretch. But every storyline is sufficiently fleshed out and resolved, so don't let the length alone steer you away.
Recommended to fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries....more
Have I ever rated a short story collection five stars before? Most collections have five star stories but also include a few works that are not quiteHave I ever rated a short story collection five stars before? Most collections have five star stories but also include a few works that are not quite that. This collection? Solid home runs. Some are humorous, some serious, some dance the fine line in between. A beautiful book that found me at exactly the right time.
Phenomenal worldbuilding (of a world constantly being destroyed and remade). A dominant culture built on the idea that anything that promotes survivalPhenomenal worldbuilding (of a world constantly being destroyed and remade). A dominant culture built on the idea that anything that promotes survival must be right. A main character who will grab hold of you and not let go.
I read this monster in a breathless week, and I cannot WAIT for the second book in the trilogy to come out. (If you are bad at waiting, you might want to hold off - this is not one of those trilogies where the arcing storyline is only loosely woven into the first book so that a reader can stop there and feel satisfied. This is not a stand alone novel!)...more
First read of the new year! And it was oh so lovely. Bodies in Motion is a multi-generational novel told through short stories - or perhaps I should cFirst read of the new year! And it was oh so lovely. Bodies in Motion is a multi-generational novel told through short stories - or perhaps I should call it a collection of short stories woven into a novel. Each chapter focuses on a different member of one of two interconnected Sri Lankan/Sri Lankan American families. Most of the stories deal in love - marital love and forbidden love and familial love; loves that grow over time or that curdle over decades. And balanced alongside love is the tension between the needs and expectations of family and of one's own self. That tension is most acutely experienced by the women, but it touches everyone.
As each chapter unfolds, the perspective of the point of view character sheds more light back on earlier pieces of the greater story. This is definitely a book that will benefit from re-reading - but each story still feels complete unto itself, often featuring a sucker-punch to the emotions.
I wanted to like this book! I just never quite did. I've read a few books in recent years set in turn-of-the-(previous)-century New York, and I find tI wanted to like this book! I just never quite did. I've read a few books in recent years set in turn-of-the-(previous)-century New York, and I find the era fascinating. And I've read The Ghost Map, which is a surprisingly page-turning tale of tracking down the source of a cholera epidemic in London fifty years earlier. But I don't think it was too much prior knowledge that distanced me from the book.
No, I think it was the choice of narration. The story is told in the form of a journal kept by a Jewish teen named Prudence. Prudence's entries range from slightly overwrought ponderings on the nature of death to extremely prosaic "I went here and did this" dictation of events. I honestly preferred the overwrought natural philosophy entries, because they captured some actual emotion. (Also, I may have been a slightly overwrought teen writer myself.) And while I do love a cleverly constructed sentence, I've certainly also enjoyed books where the language is strictly a vehicle to move the plot forward. But Prudence's tempered emotional connection to the events and the people around her - with one notable exception - makes it hard for me to connect in turn with her. The world-building is also somewhat hampered by the choice to tell the story entirely via a journal - the world Prudence moves through is painted in the broadest strokes, often just briefly at the start of a scene. Character-wise, this makes sense, as it is largely a world she's been familiar with all her life and she has a very inward orientation. Reader-wise, I was sometimes left with a rather stark stage for the characters to act upon.
The aforementioned notable exception to Prudence's emotional distance is not 'the science fellow' who has a crush on (or at least takes an inappropriate interest in) her, nor the female doctor who offers a role model, nor her direct boss, (view spoiler)[though she does announce a crush of her own on him (hide spoiler)]. It's Mary Mallon herself. Her interactions with Mary - her fear and her sympathy both - and her imaginings of what Mary's life had been and how Mary might feel about the accusations subsequent quarantine are some of the best moments of the book.
The ending is satisfying, and the book is a quick read, one that actual teens may enjoy more than I did. But I don't expect to pick it up a second time.
(Also, and this is a complete quibble, I found the description of an uncle "who ran an oyster bar that wasn't very kosher" odd, given that oysters are by definition not kosher - the presumably figurative use of the word in that time period knocked me for a loop, even though I don't know if it's actually as anachronistic as it felt.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more