The first 100 pages took me time. But the writing is meaty and rich and poetic and just like Shakespeare, takes a minute to translate and enchant youThe first 100 pages took me time. But the writing is meaty and rich and poetic and just like Shakespeare, takes a minute to translate and enchant you and then starts to wash over you with ease.
Werner and Marie-Laure are captivating subjects (though I think Werner gets more deeply explored, his personality and pulls more illuminated) and their separate journeys are rich and intense and scary.
I read a lot of books about WWII and the holocaust as a child. I mean a lot. And sometimes, reading this book, I felt my 11 year old self again. Wrangling with the gravitas, the despair, the very human evil that was Germany's choices. And my heart breaks with it all.
An aside --- the minor characters here are brilliant. Frederick, Etienne, Volkheimer in particular are beautiful and beautifully written. ...more
I knew I would like - even love - this book. But I did not expect to devour it. I don't even know thDon't judge me for never having read this before.
I knew I would like - even love - this book. But I did not expect to devour it. I don't even know that I expected a new complexity and depth to my understanding of the story - which I've known through plays and movies. Which was dumb of me. I know what books can do.
And this book. Is. Amazing. Lovely. Transporting. Full of lively detail and thoughtful characterizations. And I loved it.
This is an excellent wonderful book full of everything - lyricism, love, torture, philosophy, even adventure and mystery and war. It was also a five sThis is an excellent wonderful book full of everything - lyricism, love, torture, philosophy, even adventure and mystery and war. It was also a five star book until the last chapter which was gratuitous and unnecessary and did nothing to add to the story. Everything that chapter had to say had been so beautifully hinted at throughout the book that to write it out was to be indulgent. It was the opposite of CoCo Chanel's great advice put in a literary setting - instead of taking one accessory off before leaving the house, it was like Dorn added 100 tacky bangles to her beautifully sophisticated outfit.
But that shouldn't be the whole story. I slowly digested this book, savoring it's language and plot. I knew I would recommend it to every great reader I know. It is full of characters to love. It is rich with language and art, mysticism and folklore. But it feels modern and real. Heartfelt but not sappy (last chapter excluded, as I've made clear). One of the best books I've read in a longtime. ...more
I think this was a perfect book. Not that you can't find flaws or that I tried to. But it did for me what only the very best books do.
It was captivatI think this was a perfect book. Not that you can't find flaws or that I tried to. But it did for me what only the very best books do.
It was captivating and well written. It was informative and detailed. It was human and lovely. It captured the heart of its story as well as the truth. It didn't romanticize but it humanized a significant and complex movement of peoples. It made me want to learn more.
By capturing the three parallel and distinct lives of Ida Mae, George Starling, and Robert Foster, all of the work and fear and explosiveness of migration can be felt --- in a way that speaking to hundreds alone briefly or to statistics broadly could never do.
Wilkerson describes her book as 3 books in one -- and the content in its breadth and focus can be described that way. But it doesn't feel like three books. It reads quickly and transitions effortlessly (which of course indicates just how much effort must have gone into it).
It doesn't leave out the broader landscape of black lives, segregation, Jim Crow, and all of the national dynamics that occurred between the 1920s and the 1970s. But it tells a story so untold and weaves it in in such an essential way - in the way that it transformed a country - that it is amazing that we can talk about any of these broader landscapes without including the transformative nature of the Great Migration. Truly, it is an essential piece of the depression, of the labor rights movement, of WWI and WWII on the homefront, of urbanization and the transformation of the North, on the development of labor and mechanization in the South. Not to mention all of the ways it shaped and transformed race relations, helped spawn the civil rights movement, and built a more diverse America.
What a huge story so well told. It is all you can ask of from a book. ...more
I found Steward compelling, human, startling, and a fascinating link between many great thinkers, writers, and charactersI enjoyed this book so much.
I found Steward compelling, human, startling, and a fascinating link between many great thinkers, writers, and characters. I knew so little about the world in which I entered with this book, and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction than Spring gave through the fascinating and long life of Sam Steward. Just an incredible journey filled with heartache and achievement, dreaming and failing. And sex! Wow. Just wow.
I seriously recommend this - both as an education, but even more so as a read. Just truly page-turning. Voracious readers, queers, and biography junkies will all find something to love here - and through that learn to love the other. As all three, I was in heaven. Beautifully researched, well written. I can't rave enough. ...more
It is a rare book of non-fiction that I read quickly and an even rarer one that makes me cry. I devoured this, and shed tears. I can't help but be draIt is a rare book of non-fiction that I read quickly and an even rarer one that makes me cry. I devoured this, and shed tears. I can't help but be drawn to the cast of characters --- "Little Women" is probably the most worn copy of my library. I'm sure to have read it more than 20 times and I can't think of a book more important in my development as a person.
I came to the book with no knowledge of Bronson Alcott and limited biographical information of Louisa. I am sure it helped make the story more compelling and more of an adventure -- their lives jump off the page. Every anecdote that corresponds to my knowledge of her fiction becomes more exciting, every piece of new information is more dramatic and surprising. I know little of transcendentalism and have never enjoyed Thoreau nor attempted Emerson. The people and the ideas of B. Alcott's life remain slightly uninteresting to me -- unless it is the family he raised, the style of his teaching, the connection to "Pilgrim's Progress" --- the pieces that fit in and don't fit in with my love for "Little Women." Yet it is Louisa's life that made me cry over and over again - her illnesses, her family's poverty and disintegration, and her relationships (and sometimes lack thereof --- i hate that she was ever lonely).
An interesting comparison hits me now, because I recently read Agassi's memoir which explains a relationship to tennis that is at once antagonistic and painful while remaining essential and self-driven. L. Alcott's relationship to writing -- though almost always self-imposed in a way Agassi's was not -- is similar. There is something that makes me sad that two people who brought me so much pleasure in their craft derived little enjoyment in it themselves. My heart aches for them even as it is a little angry that their work (and to me, it seems, their heart) was so deceiving.
The book itself is beautifully written and well-edited. I wish for a little less Bronson at the beginning and a little more Lulu at the end. The intro lasts too long, the conclusion comes too soon --- but in that, it is like every great book. Over too quickly. ...more