So, this was the book that I decided to pick for my first read of 2017! There was no particular reason that I chose it, otherActual Rating: 3.5 Stars
So, this was the book that I decided to pick for my first read of 2017! There was no particular reason that I chose it, other than that I felt in the mood for a Murakami read. It was late at night so I decided to pick ‘After Dark’; the title just seemed to resonate with my midnight reading. I also plunged into this having read no synopsis whatsoever on it. So, here’s my best version of summing it up:
The reader takes the role, along with the narrator, as an unseeable observer to the interactions and plots of the characters. The text focuses primarily on two sisters—Eri Asai, the fashionable elder sister who has mysteriously ‘went to sleep’ and rarely wakes, and Mari Asai, the younger and more hardy sister, who spends her nights haunting local Denny’s while she reads her book. It is clear there is something not quite right about the slumber of Eri, and even Mari seems to sense it to an extent. Mari, meanwhile, is pulled into the world of the people who are awake long after dark. She meets a handful of very colorful characters including a trombonist from her past, the manager of a love hotel and a Chinese prostitute.
The book was very short and I could have finished it in a day if I had sat down with the time. It was a good story and had some typical Murakami tropes that I’ve begun to spot along (mysterious woman, cats, jazz and classical music). It was a good book and it definitely had the feeling of ‘nightfall’, if that’s understandable! I thought the story was enhanced by my decision to read it only after dark. I was left with some unanswered questions, but I found the ending to be very sweet and over all satisfying. A good, solid story to keep you companion at night as you’re falling asleep. ...more
I have read and studied a great deal of Alison Weir’s historical accounts and biographies regarding the EWow. Forgive me, but I’m a little overwhelmed.
I have read and studied a great deal of Alison Weir’s historical accounts and biographies regarding the English monarchy, ranging from the War of the Roses to Katherine Parr. I love how she does her best to show all sides of the story and to remain as true to the facts as absolutely possible. While in her other historical works she does wander into the realm of speculation on occasion, she allows her readers to know just when she does and provides them with multiple view points so the reader can make their own informed opinions. However, it was Weir’s absolute concern with the facts that made me unsure whether or not she would be able to write a good historical fiction novel. While I knew it would be close to the truth as any fiction book could be, I did not know how Weir’s style would translate into the realm of fiction.
She definitely assured me, with this book, that there was nothing to worry about at all. I was right when I thought Weir would stick to the facts, but she wrote beautifully and elegantly, carefully incorporating actual dialogue and written letters to craft an engaging tale of the first, and true, wife of King Henry VIII. Told in third person limited, readers only see the story and facts as from Katherine’s point of view. We see her arrival to England as the Infanta and her transition from Princess of Wales to Queen of England to the discarded wife of a King enthralled with another. All the facts are there, but set forth in such a manner that makes the reader absolutely sympathetic towards Katherine’s cause. Though Anne Boleyn is present, she is not seen much more than a lurking, angry figure in the distant reaches of London. This makes me so much more eager to read the next volume in which Anne Boleyn’s story will be encapsulated.
The book was quite hard to read in places; not because it was dull or that it was hard, but because there is just such raw emotion. By the end of the book I had finally cried. Katherine’s story is not a happy one, though it does have many happy moments. Her story is one of hardship and unwavering conviction. I could not help but be moved by the strength of this woman in her beliefs and the kindness that overflowed her heart. If you read this book, bring a box of tissues along with you. By the end, you’ll need it. ...more