This should be some kind of cautionary tale for LJ folks with lots of writer friends. After a number of marginally successful novels, one of the mainThis should be some kind of cautionary tale for LJ folks with lots of writer friends. After a number of marginally successful novels, one of the main characters manages a best seller and her friends can't wait to celebrate over their weekly sushi date…until they read the novel and see just how much of what's been shared over rolls has made it into the book. This was a fantastic read with great characters, beautifully done prose about the journeys we all take on our way to our best selves, and with a dash of magical realism that's central to Yorke's style. Lovely! I adore this writer. ...more
*blinks* I wrote a book review of this one for my company newsletter and now I find I have little to say. Hoffman really likes her triptych structures*blinks* I wrote a book review of this one for my company newsletter and now I find I have little to say. Hoffman really likes her triptych structures and this one moves through three time periods. Sadly the first time period (and the contemporary one) is the least compelling. The lead character is rather unlikable, but her story is needed as the two older stories show the twisting paths that lead to the start of the book. There are some interesting ideas in here – the three angels all humans can hope to see (one at birth, one at death, and for a lucky few – the third angel) – but there are actually too many things going on (ghosts and love and muses and philosophy and…). It was a decent read for me as a Hoffman devotee but I worry that it's a poor place for a new reader to start. She's not at her best here....more
This one is Hoffman back in top form. Again with the multi-part structure (she likes changing times and narrators), but this is an AMAZING modern mythThis one is Hoffman back in top form. Again with the multi-part structure (she likes changing times and narrators), but this is an AMAZING modern myth sort of story. Starting with a young woman who once believed in destiny when it came to love, this story follows her, her two children, the young woman who cares for her children and eventually a grandchild. There is so much truth and complexity in here about human relationships and families…It was just stunning – start to finish. And with all the true-to-life darkness I expect from Hoffman. She writes stories that make me swoon with how rich and complex and magical they are – but she never has it get too sweet. Life has plenty of bitter and sharp edges and she writes those with great insight and honesty. I can't recommend this book highly enough. This one is a GREAT first Hoffman book. ...more
This is hard book for me to review as the first, Chocolat is very mixed up with the movie in my mind. I remember the first book as being much darker tThis is hard book for me to review as the first, Chocolat is very mixed up with the movie in my mind. I remember the first book as being much darker than the film, but I wasn't really prepared for how very dark this book is. There is a lot going on in here – about good and evil, about knowledge and coming out of childhood, about magic and the everyday – and it gets a bit muddled at times. The magic that produced some of the wonder of the first book seemed more menacing and unpredictable here. Overall, good read – but not at all what I was expecting. ...more
Oh, Palimpsest. I still don’t think I can pronounce you correctly and this book left me exhausted, a bit confused and more than a little disturbed. AnOh, Palimpsest. I still don’t think I can pronounce you correctly and this book left me exhausted, a bit confused and more than a little disturbed. Another review described Palimpsest as “clockpunk” which I misread as “cockpunk”. Honestly, I think cockpunk is fitting for this book. A dream city that haunts the days of its visitors, sexually transmitted tattoos of a maze of city streets that grant access only to what’s pictured, leading those addicted to the dark mysteries to seek out others to see more of the city. This book is sort of one long drug-trip combined with lots of completely unsexy sex and a seductive narrative that leads you in fruitless circles without you realizing or really caring that the whole thing is sort of disturbing and nonsensical. I begin to understand the appeal of Lovecraft as far as completely enveloping worlds that may never be easily explainable or even comprehensible.
Beautifully written book with vivid imagery, a lush mysterious world, and realistically flawed characters floundering about trying to navigate this dream world. This book has sex upon sex upon sex and it is by in large the most uncomfortable collection of sad, lonely, and need-driven coupling you will ever read. Even within the dream city, things are luridly oversexual, but in a way that is more ominous than titillating.
All of that – and this book makes almost no sense. I loved so much of it for how aggressively bizarre and sometimes compellingly uncomfortable it is – but I also spent much of the book feeling like I wasn’t nearly drunk enough to really enjoy it but also like I was slightly word-drunk and drifting. The world here is compelling and really interesting. Enchanting but with an undertone of menace that reminded me of Labyrinth or Neverending Story. But in the end – I just couldn’t finish this one. Perhaps I’ll have to try again another time. ...more
I really wanted to like this book as it seemed like an interesting idea and I really dig mood-heavy spooky little tales and magical realism. But it neI really wanted to like this book as it seemed like an interesting idea and I really dig mood-heavy spooky little tales and magical realism. But it never seemed to go anywhere. The pacing was fantastic and I devoured the book wanting to know what was going on. By the last words, I still have almost no idea what is going on and I don't really like any of the characters anymore. Suma's writing style has a beautiful, stream-of-consciousness style that works well to establish a dreamy quality and an eerie mood, but it is a bit terrible on making details clear or explaining things well. I actually had checked out a second book by this author and read a few pages, but after slogging through this one. I think I will pass. Even in the most fantastical magical realism, we normally get some idea what's going on but not here. I can't say I really enjoyed reading this one. It was more like getting sucked into a bad Lifetime movie but watching the whole thing because the annoyance at the waste of time will be less than the annoyance of not knowing how it ends....more
*sigh* I really, really wanted to like this book. I like magical realism and “modern” fairy tales. I even love “Like Water for Chocolate” which reads*sigh* I really, really wanted to like this book. I like magical realism and “modern” fairy tales. I even love “Like Water for Chocolate” which reads more like a mood or feeling than a straightforward narrative. In this case, it just didn’t come together for me. Perhaps I biased myself in that I had seen the movie prior to reading the book. In both presentations, I really love Tilo’s insight into individual’s lives and her remedies, but I was very taken aback that in the book First Mother specifically prohibits Spice Mistresses from using their abilities to help anyone who is not Indian. Part of what I loved in the movie was the way everyone, regardless of culture, wants to believe there is a way to fix things or make things right again.
I really like Raven's story line but I wanted more out of the book. I thought there was some interesting material to be explored about how their mystical traditions overlapped or didn't. The romance really fell short for me as well. I feel like it was left to the reader to figure out why these two were attracted to each other. There was that cliché instant connection and from then on they were drawn to each other because they were. Overall, worth reading but I think I prefer the movie on this one. Had I not been reading it for a book club, I might not finish it. ...more
*disappointed sigh* I love Hoffman – usually. I just could not get into this book at all. While I see elements of what makes some of her other books g*disappointed sigh* I love Hoffman – usually. I just could not get into this book at all. While I see elements of what makes some of her other books great, I never felt a connection to any of the characters. The plot elements, sparse as they were, made me like the characters even less. More than anything, I really couldn't get past the on-again, off-again incest that drifted in and out of the book. ...more