This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt disc...moreFull Review at Booklikes.
This collection presents a couple new tales with previously published work. The stories are geared, as you have no doubt discovered, to the more adult reader. They range from the absolutely hilarious to the political (a tale dedicated to Rushdie) to the most wrenching version of Rumplestilken you will ever read (“Granny Rumple”). Three of the stories are interconnected and concern the trials of a fairy family who finds itself sucked into Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and a bottle of bad wine. There is a harsh because of its truth version of Thousand Furs and a rather delightful version of Snow White. If you don’t like one story, odds are the following one will leave breathless from laughter or a darker emotion.(less)
I have to say that I was surprised I liked this. The writing is good, even if there is a little more telling than showing. The end is well done. The m...moreI have to say that I was surprised I liked this. The writing is good, even if there is a little more telling than showing. The end is well done. The mystery interesting, if slightly predictable. Some of the secondary characters could use more development.
Yet the character of Julia is well done and wins the reader over. Additionally, it is nice to read a story where the sisters are different but care for and support each other.(less)
Honestly, I can't think of what else to say at this point, except the above statement because it is the simple truth.
In one book, Butler deals with slavery, the impact of slavery, relationships, family, life, love, writing. If Butler had only written this book, it alone would have assured her a place among the stars and poets.(less)
This book punches you in the stomach even though you know its coming.
I first read Cynthia Ozick when I was prepareing to teach Anne Frank: The Diary o...moreThis book punches you in the stomach even though you know its coming.
I first read Cynthia Ozick when I was prepareing to teach Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Ozick had written an essay, "Who Owns Anne Frank?" for The New Yorker. Then I picked this book up a couple weeks ago.
There is a debate that exist over any literature, be it fiction or non-fiction, that deals with genoicide, war, rape, or anything that is bad, evil, to a group of people at once. The question is whether or not the suffering of one can be used to symbolize or drive home the suffering of many.
Ozick actually sidesteps the debate with this book. What happens to Rosa is horribly. When you read that short story out loud, listen to the pacing as the events change. It's magnificent writing. Ozick, however, makes sure that the reader feels more than pity for Rosa. I'm not even sure pity is the right word. Feel sorry for, feel for, but not extactly pity. This is especially true in the novella for the reader is shown more than just Rosa's prespective on what has happened, on who people (in particular Stella) really are. It is an exanamation of suriving and how some groups, with perhaps good intentions, want to pick the scab open (and make money and fame while doing so).(less)
I almost didn't buy this book. I got my copy at the used book stall at the local Spring Fair. I was little torn about it. The phrase "New York Times B...moreI almost didn't buy this book. I got my copy at the used book stall at the local Spring Fair. I was little torn about it. The phrase "New York Times Bestseller" usually means I won't like it (take, for instance, my reaction to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane). Then I read the back and looked at the inside cover. Anything that uses Arthur Rackham (Illustrator) pictures deserves a shot, and it was only two dollars.
I'm glad I give this book a chance because it is good.
The Forgotten Garden is very like Possession by A.S. Byatt. It isn't as multi-layered and Morton's prose isn't as good as Byatt's, but the book is a second, not a close second but a well placed one. If you enjoyed Possession, odds are you'll like this.
Like Byatt, Morton makes use of fairy tale themes, even relating some the stories within the narrative of the novel. Morton also makes good use of the The Secret Garden and gives Frances Hodgson Burnett a well placed cameo.
Morton's tale is told primarly though three viewpoint; those of Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra. It is a mystery that might appeal more to women than to men.
While the mystery that lies at the heart of the novel can be guessed at by the reader before the end, Morton seems to have intended this by making the reader privy to infromation that the knowledge seekers don't have. This unfolding is well done, usually at the end of a wrong conclusion made by the seekers, but not by the reader. It is what the seekers think happened followed by what really happened. Don't worry, some key questions aren't answered until the very end. But, this device seems to height the mystery instead of bringing to a too low point.
Morton does a good job of presenting concurring stories as well as making supporting characters real. Morton illstrates and captures the complexity of the relationships between mothers, daughters, cousin, lovers, and friends. The two stories balance each other, so while we are given a story where the women are in conflict, we are also given a story where the women support, help, and befriend each other. This is always a nice change from books and movies where if there is more than one female character they hate each and/or are in competition for the male lead.
While I said this book is more of a woman's book, it should be noted that while the women are the movers and shakers, the men are not displayed as the cartoon villians and abusers they usually are in women's stories (at least on Lifetime, where you have the abusive husband and then the guy who saves the girl. How is this the channel for women?). The back lacks insight from the prespective of the male characters in general (though there is some at the beginning). For instance, Nate Walker's thoughts on a certain event are never made clear. This does not harm the story, but it's inclusion would have changed the female focus on women's thoughts, emotions, and relationships.
All in all, The Forgotten Garden is a good second to Possession as well as a good read for those interested in mystery and fairy tales.
Like a fellow reviewer, I'm not sure why this book won a Hugo. It's not a bad book; I'm just not sure I would classify it as SF.
The Yiddish Policeman...moreLike a fellow reviewer, I'm not sure why this book won a Hugo. It's not a bad book; I'm just not sure I would classify it as SF.
The Yiddish Policeman's Union is the first book by Chabon that I have read. I resisted reading it because everyone was raving about Chabon, so of course, it couldn't be that good.
It might not be that good, but it's not bad. Chabon's style is like a rich, dark, chocolate pie. You know, the type of chocolate pie that demands whip cream or vanilla ice cream. You need it to blend the chocolate. Eating such a pie without the vanilla is too decadent. That is Chabon's writing. He has wonderful phrases and descriptions. It can leave you breathless.
Chabon makes good use of a little known fact of the idea of settling Jewish refugees in part of Alaska. This makes the book an alternate history. I feel, however, that parts of the book could have, and should have, been expanded more. There should have been more depth to certain aspects. While I don't truly mind the ending; it does leave many things unresolved. (But so does life, and since, good literature is suppose to make us think about life, perhaps I shouldn't complain.)
I do wish, however, that Chabon had dealt more with the shocking inicident that occurs to the end of the book. Considering the impact that such an event could have, to deal with it only a few sentences felt wrong. It didn't quite fit. It almost felt like Chabon chickened out a little there. The ending too feels that way.
What Chabon does a good job with, outside of his language, are the characters. The characters are memorable and well crafted. There is a sense of love for the characters, and a sense of examination that perhaps should have gone a bit deeper. Still, Chabon examines questions of guilt, race, forgiveness, and self in most of the characters in the book. Quite nice to see that actually.(less)
Shanghai is not a bad book, but it is a book that is too long. If you are going to write a long book, you have to characters that justify the length....moreShanghai is not a bad book, but it is a book that is too long. If you are going to write a long book, you have to characters that justify the length. Shanghai lacks this. Many of the characters are interchangable and lack real depth. Rutherford, who does something similar, does not make this mistake. Shanghai is good book in terms of place, but not character.(less)
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed the first half of the book (actually the first 159 pages). I found the story of the Crown Princess being told by her own g...more**spoiler alert** I enjoyed the first half of the book (actually the first 159 pages). I found the story of the Crown Princess being told by her own ghost to be interesting, and I liked the story of the ghost being more educated in death than her physical self was in life. I haven't seen that in a ghost story before. The first half also made me want to read the actual memoirs. However, I hated the second half of the book. In general, I do not like it when authors introduce themselves into their own work. I felt no connection to Babs and for some reason wanted to either slap her or kick her out of the book. The book would have worked better as a novella for it seems the sole purpose of the novel is so that Drabble can share her interst in the Crown Princess with the reader. This is clear in the first part where it works, but in the second part it seems to fall away, and the book becomes self indulgent. (less)
Don't read this book if you really like the Brontes. If you want to know about thier private lives, go pick up a biography. This is book is just insul...moreDon't read this book if you really like the Brontes. If you want to know about thier private lives, go pick up a biography. This is book is just insulting. If Charlotte Bronte were still alive, she would be sueing for defamnation.(less)
I like this book though it seems a bit bi-polar in the sense that it seems to start off as a YA book, about a girl, but then changes to a book about h...moreI like this book though it seems a bit bi-polar in the sense that it seems to start off as a YA book, about a girl, but then changes to a book about her father. Strangely enough, it actually works. In some ways, this is better than the Pern novels for all the characters seem fully developed, even the horses.(less)
This edition presents stories about horses that are related to Black Beauty while capturing the tone and ideas being the original. One stand out story...moreThis edition presents stories about horses that are related to Black Beauty while capturing the tone and ideas being the original. One stand out story takes place during WW I. (less)
For me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste bea...moreFor me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste beauty in this book, and it seems to lie in the details. How all the characters still in character, the resolution to both romances at the end, all the touches about criticism - all these ring true.
Over the years I have read this book, my favorite character has gone from Maud to Leonora then to both. Leonora, it seems to me, is so much larger than life, and I have to wonder if the character got away from Byatt, if perhaps, she had been intended to be more of "bad" critic than she is.
One of the best and greatest books ever written. Without a doubt, a canon book. Something I re-read every year to year and a half.(less)