I started writing a review about 4 times. It doesn't work. I just loved it. It's perfect. The setting, the plot, the characters, each and every one of...moreI started writing a review about 4 times. It doesn't work. I just loved it. It's perfect. The setting, the plot, the characters, each and every one of them. And Miles, I fell for you. Big time.(less)
I read it with constant lumps in my throat, secretly hoping, wishfully thinking... It's probably the kind of book you want to get back to, every now a...moreI read it with constant lumps in my throat, secretly hoping, wishfully thinking... It's probably the kind of book you want to get back to, every now and then.
--- Let me just add that I've found the book surprisingly global, there's nothing Italian in it except the names; it could be anyone anywhere. Smart move, Paolo! Plus, I did something I'd never tried before: read a foreign book in English translation. (less)
Impressive collection, although I understand Ochs sold his albums after 'writing' the book. It covers about 3 decades and a half, from the 60's to mid...moreImpressive collection, although I understand Ochs sold his albums after 'writing' the book. It covers about 3 decades and a half, from the 60's to mid 90's. Musically speaking, I wish I had seen more of my fav artists, but anyway, being a rock and roll addict (Ochs, obviously), most of them are in there.
The covers are as they are: original, unoriginal, kitschy, artsy, stunning etc.; a little bit of everything. Sometimes artists themselves got involved in creating them (hurray for Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell or John Lennon; bad, bad choice for Fish, although I love Marillion), other times famous photographers got to work on them - Annie Leibovitz or Storm Thorgerson, and let's not forget the famous cover Andy Warhol created for The Velvet Underground. I wish I could share my preferences, but too many links are involved and making choices is pretty difficult anyway.
When I first met Charles Arrowby in Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea, I had this feeling that there's something fascinating about lonely old men. I had the...moreWhen I first met Charles Arrowby in Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea, I had this feeling that there's something fascinating about lonely old men. I had the same feeling with Marquez' nonagenarian today. Beyond the inevitable illnesses and weaknesses of many kinds, there's this sort of halo of serenity, gravity and pedantry that makes them more interesting than any other young person. I might change my mind in the near future, so there's nothing absolute about this feeling. Let me just chew it a bit more.
Compared to some of his other works, the book didn't make such a strong impression on me, however, as previously stated, his writing style makes it worth reading if only for that alone.(less)
It's funny (in a non-funny way) how, without realising it, I read this book at this particular time, when the world's attention is drawn to the raisin...moreIt's funny (in a non-funny way) how, without realising it, I read this book at this particular time, when the world's attention is drawn to the raising of Far-right extremism, Neo Nazism & co. I always had the feeling that humanity learned its lesson after the Auschwitz-Birkenau episode. Did it?(less)
Sabato's testament, written at 86, "at the end of the road". He's 97 now and still hasn't got there.:) I didn't know he was a renowned physicist before...moreSabato's testament, written at 86, "at the end of the road". He's 97 now and still hasn't got there.:) I didn't know he was a renowned physicist before starting his literary career or a famous surrealist painter. I met his surrealist side in El túnel and it gave me quite a headache. This is the kind of book you want to have in you own library and re-read it every now and then. Not only that I recommend it, but I would also include it on the compulsory reading list of every young man.(less)
I never really liked Whitman, but since Cunningham makes him his book’s hero [remember Woolf and The Hours?] he becomes more accessible. Directly or n...moreI never really liked Whitman, but since Cunningham makes him his book’s hero [remember Woolf and The Hours?] he becomes more accessible. Directly or not, he is present in all three parts of the book, being hidden by Cunningham behind the characters that populate a New York from different periods of time [same pattern as The Hours], thus speaking and existing through them. I really liked the first two parts, the third one is S.F. and I’m not quite a fan. In the end, Walt doesn’t seem so impossible.
*** problema cu whitman e ca nu mi-a placut niciodata. in afara de o poezioara pe care o retinusem pe la 19 ani, nu i-am suferit niciodata poemele lungi, firele de iarba & co. problema cu cunningham e ca il ia pe whitman si il face erou de roman, la fel cum a procedat cu virginia woolf in "orele". doar ca partea aia i-a iesit mult mai bine. aici whitman e si nu e, adica apare in toate cele trei parti ale romanului, ciudat de direct si totusi indirect, cunningham ascunzindu-l in spatele personajelor care populeaza un new york din trei perioade diferite [recunoastem patternul din orele], vorbind si existind astfel prin ele. romanul e ok, primele doua parti mi-au placut chiar mult, dar ultima se intimpla undeva in viitor si e populata si cu ceva SF, ceea ce stomacul meu digera mai greut, asa ca am trecut mai in viteza peste ea. in rest, numai de bine. parca walt nu mai e chiar asa imposibil.(less)
I love New York stories, I love the '80s. The plot is captivating, and for someone coming from Eastern Europe, such a story taking place while they gr...moreI love New York stories, I love the '80s. The plot is captivating, and for someone coming from Eastern Europe, such a story taking place while they grew up, - in a different part of the world, of course - seems pretty unbelievable. (less)
- I fail to see the book's obscenity (reason for trial when it was first published), still, we are some 150 years later; - Emma is...moreSome random thoughts:
- I fail to see the book's obscenity (reason for trial when it was first published), still, we are some 150 years later; - Emma is bland and a little stupid. Here, I said it. I didn't like anything about her as a woman. You don't want to get me started. I wondered, throughout the book, why she is so many people's favourite female character. Still beats me. Of course anyone can relate (I've put myself in her shoes as an exercise, it's not comfortable) - humanity / morals haven't changed that much all these years. - I also failed to see Flaubert's perfection in writing; I blame the translation, the 150 years and my incapacity of perceiving it. Just for fun, I tried reading a paragraph in French. It works pretty well but it would have taken me ages to finish it. - Charles. Oh, Charles, damn you for not knowing when to be stylish and worldly. I feel for you. - Leon, Rodolphe. You bastards! - Justin, you melted my heart. - Monsieur Homais, you made my day! I loved to hate you, I loved every clichéd sentence you uttered and I hereby declare you my favourite character. Cheers! (less)
delicious reading. i must admit i'm scared of long books and long films. that's one reason i haven't tried mann's magic mountain yet, and i really don'...moredelicious reading. i must admit i'm scared of long books and long films. that's one reason i haven't tried mann's magic mountain yet, and i really don't know if i'll have the courage to do so. when the reading implies a computer, i'm even more tempted to give it up. yet, here i am, overcoming my fears and enjoying middlesex. i love family sagas, that's probably one reason for choosing to read this book, but with regards to middlesex i must admit that it was the last part of the book that kept me attached to the computer. the first two parts [grandparents'& parents' stories] were also juicy and interesting, but callie/cal's coming of age and discovering his true self assured me i made the right choice. callie is the girl i would have liked to be, minus the sex problems, of course. she's smart, witty, well-read and she's not afraid to ride her bike at night :)
i must be completely out of my mind trying to read this on the computer. somebody stop me.
Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness,” “joy,” or “regret.” Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train car constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster.” Or: “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.” I’d like to show how “intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members” connects with “the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.” I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.” I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever. I can’t just sit back and watch from a distance anymore. From here on in, everything I’ll tell you is colored by the subjective experience of being part of events.
“Can I tell you something, though?” she asked. “About your part?” “Sure.” “You know how you’re supposed to be blind and everything? Well, where we go in Bermuda there’s this man who runs a hotel. And he’s blind. And the thing about him is, it’s like his ears are his eyes. Like if someone comes into the room, he turns one ear that way. The way you do it–“ She stopped suddenly and seized my hand. “You’re not getting mad at me, are you?” “No.” “You’ve got the worst expression on your face, Callie!” “I do?” She had my hand. She wasn’t letting go. “You sure you’re not mad?” “I’m not mad.” “Well, the way you pretend to be blind is you just, sort of, stumble around a lot. But the thing is, this blind man down in Bermuda, he never stumbles. He stands up really straight and he knows where everything is. And his ears are always focusing in on stuff.” I turned my face away. “See, you’re mad!” “I’m not.” “You are .” “I’m being blind,” I said. “I’m looking at you with my ear.”
“The only way we know it’s true is that we both dreamed it. That’s what reality is. It’s a dream everyone has together.”
People were falling in love, getting married, going to drug rehab, learning how to ice skate, getting bifocals, studying for exams, trying on clothes, getting their hair cut, and getting born. And in some houses people were getting old and sick and were dying, leaving others to grieve. It was happening all the time, unnoticed, and it was the thing that really mattered. What really mattered in life, what gave it weight, was death.
There's a fine line between I liked it and I really liked it, isn't it? Please agree with me, because I can't decide between 3 and 4 stars. Not import...moreThere's a fine line between I liked it and I really liked it, isn't it? Please agree with me, because I can't decide between 3 and 4 stars. Not important, anyway. I did like it, despite the length, despite all those details referring to names of shahs, miniaturists and all kind of Persian and Turkish art references I wasn't familiar with. Speaking of that, the (excellent) Romanian edition has a very useful glossary at the end of the book, plus the footnotes (did I ever mention I'm a sucker for footnotes?). The story is quite captivating and it has a little bit of everything - romance, murder, mystery, good VS evil, old/traditional VS new and a huge amount of info about Ottoman culture, art and lifestyle. And, another interesting thing, each chapter is told from a different perspective, whether it's one of the characters or a detail from the miniatures (a tree, a dog or a colour). Entertaining by all means. Go get it! (And yes, I guessed right about the murderer. Boy, I'm good!)(less)
I don't know if it has to do with my vacation days or the fact that I really, but really enjoyed reading this novel, but is was almost impossible to p...moreI don't know if it has to do with my vacation days or the fact that I really, but really enjoyed reading this novel, but is was almost impossible to put it down, even though I'm not a big fan of historical fiction and I've watched the film 2 times already. Speaking of it, I'm sure there were many details left out, it's hard now to tell which, but it was definitely an advantage to put a face on the characters.
My interest in art over the years was quite inconsistent and I started by liking the modernists and surrealists, and by the time I met Vermeer I considered the Dutch masters (and many others for that matter) to be too old and classical for my taste. It was only in the last decade that I acknowledged them and still cannot put my finger on when I began to like Vermeer. Truth be told, Girl with a pearl earring is not a painting I particularly like, I tend to favour those that are sunlit, usually set in front of a window, like this, this or this, which later led me to love in the most absolute way the Danish trio, Ilsted, Holsoe and Hammershøi and their "Sunshine and silent rooms".
But back to the book. I don't remember if the Protestants VS Catholics issue was much focused on in the film version, but it was quite interesting to follow it throughout the book, and from what I've read, Chevalier's first novel went even deeper into it. I terribly liked how Vermeer was always he, him or his for Griet and the Master and Servant relationship was very much to my taste! And I'm back to the film: having Colin's face and voice in mind really helped, sometimes my imagination needs help with faces but mostly voices. And now I must choose something as gripping as this or else I will end up struggling to finish Fry's memoir. (less)
Most of it is funny. And it’s frustrating when, compared to Twain, I’m leading an incredibly dull life. Everything that is interesting, funny, outrage...moreMost of it is funny. And it’s frustrating when, compared to Twain, I’m leading an incredibly dull life. Everything that is interesting, funny, outrageous, supernatural & all seems to happen to him. And oh, the envy on his wittiness! In some parts, it’s touchy. Not only the episodes about his mother and brother (characters in his books – Sid and Aunt Polly, for those who remember), but especially the memories about his wife and daughters. Susy’s biography, written when she was about 14 (have no idea if it ever got to be published) is at the same time, funny, objective and delicate. In some smaller parts it’s boring – consider the episodes about his troubles with business partners, copyrights a.s.o. But then again, family comes into sight, with focus on his wife, Olivia, an extremely determined woman, who always found a way to get out of financial problems. (less)