I do have some conflicting feelings about this book. I loved the start of the book, and the story initially had captivated my attention. I was drawn i...moreI do have some conflicting feelings about this book. I loved the start of the book, and the story initially had captivated my attention. I was drawn into right away. I very much enjoyed learning about Fevvers and pondering over the question as to how genuine she really was, or if she was all a fraud.
But then as the story progressed it shifted and become more about Walser and his experiences within the circus, and less about Fevvers. Though I still found it to be enjoyable to read, and I liked meeting the rather interesting and eccentric cast of characters within the circus. I also found parts of the story to be somewhat incomprehensible and not entirely easy to follow just what was taking place. There where parts of the story I did find quite confusing.
Then by the last part of the book the story really derailed for me. In general I have no problem with strange, bizarre, even nonsensical books. I love surrealism and like to be taken to strange places, but the last part of the story became too scattered for me and verged too far off course and my attention began to flag, I found reading it started to become more tedious.
I was also left with the feeling that there was a great deal of symbolism in the story that I was not fully comprehending. I never was entirely sure how much of the book should be taken seriously/at face value, and how much was just a fantastically, whimsical romp.
Some interesting things I have perceived is that it seems a lot of the story does revolve around the idea of women being caged/oppressed in various different ways, sometimes physically/literally, other times more symbolically.
And many of the men within the story seemed to be incompetent or ineffectual and relied upon the guidance and care of women.
There where also some interesting similarities between the Princess and her tigers and the Countess and her female prisoners.
I feel in a way the last laugh at the end of the book was upon use the readers. Perhaps this book was a fraud masquerading as something else, and by that I don't mean anything agasint the author of her talent as a writer, but the fact that perhaps this book is written in a way that makes the reader start to over analyze and try to read more into it than what is actually there. (less)
A beautiful, chilling, eerie, and heart-breaking story about love, life, and death. This was one of the most gripping, remarkable books I have read in...moreA beautiful, chilling, eerie, and heart-breaking story about love, life, and death. This was one of the most gripping, remarkable books I have read in a long time. The writing was powerful and superb. At times even poetic. Joyce did a fantastic job at truly drawing the reader into the story. At times it felt as if I really was there, I could truly feel the starkness and isolation of being stranded alone within the snow.
There are points within this story that really can give chills, and make the spine-tingle, and I loved they mystery of it, particularly at the beginning, when much like the characters themselves, you really do not know what is going on, and I began to think of a thousand different possibilities, and had no idea what direction the author was going to take.
Then slowly you start to realize what has happened, but even then you are kept guessing, and do not know just where things are going to go, what is going to happen next.
It is a real page-turner of a book. Once I started reading, I just did not want to stop. I just had to know what was going to happen on the next page, and the writing was so fluid and beautiful.
I loved the dynamic between the main characters Zoe and Jake. I though Joyce did a great job in the portrayal of their relationship. While they clearly loved each other, and you could feel their love, and need for each other, at the same time they were not perfect, and their relationship was not flawless. I found it very realistic. (less)
This is my second book, the first being Fight Club, and I am fast becoming a fan of Chuck Palahniuk. This was a fascinating book, the kind of book tha...moreThis is my second book, the first being Fight Club, and I am fast becoming a fan of Chuck Palahniuk. This was a fascinating book, the kind of book that grips the reader by the throat and doesn't not let go to the end. I could not wait to see where it was going next, and what was going to happen.
One of the great things about this book was that it was so many different things at once. It is a little bit horror, a bit of satire, a bit of a mystery, a bit fantasy, and a love story all rolled up into one.
There some very disturbing moments within the book, and moments which are outrageously funny. It is also a poignant look at our modern society the funniest parts of the book are the parts which are also so painfully true.
Reading one of his books is truly unlike reading anything else. He has his own unique voice, and such an original style.
This is also the kind of book that makes the reader question themselves as to what they would do if they were put in the same situation as the characters.
The story revolves around this powerful book of ancient magic which has been discovered, and the cast of eccentric characters who are made of its awareness and each want to use it to reshape the world into their own image, their own ideal of what would make the world a better place, and this both brings them together, and tears them apart. (less)
One of the things which I really like about Saramago is the way in which he produces these unfathomable experiences and then explores the way in which...moreOne of the things which I really like about Saramago is the way in which he produces these unfathomable experiences and then explores the way in which society responds to these events and just what societies reactions say about us as humans and about society itself.
This was a very thought provoking book with a unique concept. I really enjoyed some of the philosophical discussions regarding death and the nature of death which are brought up within the book. I quite liked the prospects of their being more then one type of death, and that each of us dies our own individual death, while at the same time there is one great final Death as well.
There were many things I really found quite fascinating at the start of this book and I like some of the cultural questions which were raised, though towards the middle I felt the story started to drag a bit. Near the end my interest picked up again, but it also felt as if it had in fact turned into a completely different story, but I did finding the ending quite beautiful. (less)
I have to say that I felt a bit disappointed in this book. I was on the fence about weather or not I wanted to read it, but there were some aspects wh...moreI have to say that I felt a bit disappointed in this book. I was on the fence about weather or not I wanted to read it, but there were some aspects which intrigued me about it, and I saw it was considered Magic Realism which I generally quite enjoy.
But reading the story I felt that it was a bit mediocre. The magical part of it did not go quite far enough, and came off as being very muted, and the story itself was not strong enough on its own accord. I feel as if in a way the book did not push the envelop far enough, and that nether the realistic elements of the story nor more fantastical parts were strong enough. It felt like the author did not really fully commit to the story but held back.
I enjoyed the parts of the story which dealt with the Tiger and the Tiger's wife the most, and I loved the character of Darisa. In a way I feel as if the book would have been stronger if it focused more upon telling the story of the village where her grandfather grew up, instead of revealing it through flashbacks.
Part of the problem I have is that I feel as if the narrator did not really do anything for the story. Her own little story didn't seem to go anywhere and it seemed that her purpose was only to tell her grandfather's story. Though parts about the Deathless man were interesting.
I had trouble with the narrative voice, as at times it seemed a bit awkward, and the way the flashbacks were presented it was difficult to keep track as to what events were happening when. (less)
While I would not say that I did not enjoy reading this book and there were parts of it which I did find interesting. I always enjoy the way in which...moreWhile I would not say that I did not enjoy reading this book and there were parts of it which I did find interesting. I always enjoy the way in which Murakami questions reality and our perceptions of the world and ourselves, in comparison by some of his other works I have read I have to say I did find this one a bit disappointing and do not consider it among his best works. The story did not quite captivate me in the same way that his other works have done, and while I did not dislike the characters, thee was something aloof about them. I did not find them as engaging as usual and did not really connect or relate to them.
After having recently read "Kafka on the Shore" I have to say in retrospect that 1Q84 did not feel very original. The ideas presented within the book had many similarities to "Kafta On the Shore" and I found several parallels between the two stories. While at first it seemed interesting after a while it had the feeling as if 1Q84 was just a more drawn out version of "Kafka On the Shore" and the author just wanted to see what would happen if he took that same basic story and tweaked it a bit or presented it in a different way.
The heavy use of repetition within the book became quite maddening at times for it seemed as if Murakami was writing the book with the presumption that the majority of his audience suffered from short term memory loss. There were several facts that were repeated and things which were elaborated on which did not seem to be truly necessary to the enjoyment of understanding of the book. It also felt as if it was made a lot longer than was truly needed. Particularly in Book 3 there seems to be a lot of details added in that just feel like "filler" and do not serve any greater purpose.
One of the things which I found most interesting about the book was how the idea of the two different moons, at various different points throughout the story seemed to represent and symbolize a variety of different things. I liked the ideas of duality that were presented within the story. (less)
The book starts out with a very intriguing concept in the portrayal of a young girl telling the tale of her own murder, and watching those she left be...moreThe book starts out with a very intriguing concept in the portrayal of a young girl telling the tale of her own murder, and watching those she left behind deal with her death on earth. Sebold handles the real life elements of grief rather well in the way each individual handles the death of Susie Salmon in their own way. The way in which people are both pulled apart and brought together by the tragedy.
As a person with a fascination with alternative realities the construct of heaven within the book is also quite an interesting feature of the story. There were some original and provocative ideas relating to the after life which unfold within the book and some rather beautiful visual scenes.
The book should also be given credit for the beautiful poetic prose work which it caries throughout. Some of the lines are quite stunning and captivating and when I first began to read I found myself engaged within the story and pleasantly surprised.
But for all that, somewhere within the middle the book begins to falter and does not live up to the full potential which it presents within the beginning of the story. After a while the story takes on the feeling of starting to drag on and leaves the reader forever waiting with the feeling that something is going to "happen" something big or unexpected is just waiting around the corner, and yet it never comes.
As the story progresses it begins to flat line at a point, in which after a while it becomes wearisome moving back and forth between Susie and her watching her family carry on through their daily lives. It gives the impression that the author is making a promise which she cannot deliver. It ultimately ends in an anticlimactic fizzle.
The end of the story leaves something to be desired and I think was quite ruined by that tacking on of a rather unnecessary epilogue which did not enhance the reading, but rather left the reader with a feeling of confusion.
While the ideas relating to the afterlife, and the construct of heaven are initially interesting, the last pages of the book seems almost to be almost contradictory and leaves the impression that Sebold had not completely flushed her ideas in relation to heaven, and was not completely sure herself exactly what sort of vision of the after life she wanted to give.
The last chapter of the book ends in a way that could have been very powerful and perhaps helped salvage some of the earlier portions of the book, but the addition of the epilogue feels insecure as if like Susie, Sebold herself is not ready to completely "let go"
In an odd way, this last effort at what seems like an attempt to bring closure ends up having the very opposite effect. (less)