Listened to this (as beautifully read by its author) in the car. I frequently found myself wishing I’d was reading the book rather than listening to iListened to this (as beautifully read by its author) in the car. I frequently found myself wishing I’d was reading the book rather than listening to it--I so wanted to underline passages and savor them again. This is my first foray into the fictional world of Colum McCann and I intend to visit his work with more frequency (and with a physical book). ...more
*3.25 stars. This book was given to me by a transgender student. I'm glad I read it as it made me understand the issue a bit more. Each chapter is told*3.25 stars. This book was given to me by a transgender student. I'm glad I read it as it made me understand the issue a bit more. Each chapter is told from a mother's perspective and I would have liked to read from the perspectives and fathers and the children themselves, though I understand that the latter might be difficult to include, especially considering the ages of so many of the children....more
*2.75 stars. The author has an interesting story to tell, but at times the quality of her writing interferes. Below some of her more powerful passages*2.75 stars. The author has an interesting story to tell, but at times the quality of her writing interferes. Below some of her more powerful passages that had me thinking: “We have become commodified in every demeaning way: Our bodies have become political targets in the service of returning America to the imaginary greatness it once enjoyed, which I can only assume was during the days of outright racial comfort and superiority of white people…” (3). “Serein respected culture but not tradition” (32). “If the perp is identified to be white and/or non-Muslim, emotionally prepare yourself for the trauma of having the double standard dangled in your face again that they are just ‘mentally disturbed,’ because, remember, the word terrorism only applies to people that are shades of brown” (103). “When people of other faiths commit horrible acts, we are never told what religion they are because it’s deemed irrelevant, and they get to enjoy the privilege of being held accountable as individuals for their actions rather that having their background be collectively held accountable or blamed on their behalf” (105). “It was as if, through Trump’s outrageously hateful rhetoric, America had woken to the reality that now was time to defend and protect a minority community that needed it. Even though Trump represented the racist underbelly of a nation, light rose to the surface, even through the most negligible of cracks, to resist it” (116)....more
“The calving starts in January and as each new life wobbles into the slatted house your wealth grows a little bit” (7). * “Wobbles.” Perfect. “...in he“The calving starts in January and as each new life wobbles into the slatted house your wealth grows a little bit” (7). * “Wobbles.” Perfect. “...in her clothes that only barely covered what needed covering and, sometimes, clear blue water lapping up around her bum in lucky little waves” (10). “The hoppy one had a nose that no man’s face should have to support” (31). “You could be riddled with bullets if you were in a Western. An old chair could be riddled with woodworm. And you could be riddled with cancer. If you were riddled, you could put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye” (38). “How big is a feeling?” (44). “Father Cotter says He has a plan for us all. Thanks, God, for the great plan” (48). “ Bonesy had always frightened children, not on purpose, but just by being humped and crooked and having arms that were longer than was natural and hands that had thick hair on the backs of them and a kind of a mad smile that made his kindness seem more like a desire to eat you without salt” (73). “They were as excited as wasps around an open bottle of Fanta about this big news…” (89). “He’d wear you out, so he would. If this was the alternative to loneliness, he’d sooner be lonesome forever. People could be quare hard work. He’d never known that before” (93). “It’s easy to be happy in July” (109). “That was as small as Paddy’s talk to” (116). “The days he didn’t call stretched out their legs and took their own sweet, maddening time in passing” (132). “People are better inside your head. When you’re longing for them, they’re perfect” (187). ...more
“...dining by the pound from the hot buffet” (1). "The panes of the window before him are groved in fern frost" (52). “Bob wishes he had the will to lif“...dining by the pound from the hot buffet” (1). "The panes of the window before him are groved in fern frost" (52). “Bob wishes he had the will to lift a hand and make a fist and punch this face. Not the will. He probably has that. The strength” (69) “...and it is a man clad in shadow…” (73). “Her eyes are full of tears and she steps to Robert and now the two of them hug with no bend at the waist, with quiet hands upon each other’s back, with no artifice or mulled memories or sense of family failures. They hold each other quietly, mother and son…” (89). “His political opinion does not change because of her reasoning, for he did not reason himself into the opinion…” (102). “Their passion was for the dead. And being dead, those men could never disappoint” (104). “A toddler son was easy to sling around. Easy to give a damn about when you could overpower him absolutely” (247). ...more
*3.75 stars. I love Sherman Alexie, but found this collection rather uneven. Some quotations I enjoyed: “I was conceived during one of those drunken ni*3.75 stars. I love Sherman Alexie, but found this collection rather uneven. Some quotations I enjoyed: “I was conceived during one of those drunken nights, half of me formed by my father’s whiskey sperm, the other half formed by my mother’s vodka egg. I was born a goofy reservations mixed drink…” (27) “My father smiled, turned the volume up, and we rode down the highway while Jimi [Hendrix] led the way like a snowplow” (28). “‘They can all go to hell, and you two can drive the buses that get them there’” (80). “...and Rosemary MorningDove named him ------------- which is unpronounceable in Indian and English but it means: He Who Crawls Silently Through the Grass with a Small Bow and One Bad Arrow Hunting for Enough Deer to Feed the Whole Tribe. “We just call him James” (110-111) “...he found himself walking to the Midway Tavern, where all the Indians drank in eight-hour shifts” (133). “Samuel felt like the horse must have felt when Henry Ford came along” (135). “Be still, be still, she would say between her teeth, but Arnold loved his body too much to remain still” (142). “In the long silence after Victor finished his piece, after the beautiful dissonance and implied survival, the Spokane Indians wept, stunned by this strange and familiar music. “‘Well,’ Lester FallsApart said, ‘It ain’t Hank Williams but I know what it means.’ “Then Nadine said, ‘You can tell so much about a family by whether their piano is in or out of tune’” (146). “He came with scissors to cut hair and a locked box to hide all the amputated braids” (194). “I lost more of my blood to glucose tests than I ever did to childhood accidents” (221).
*4.5 stars. “...and while he made coffee he heard the whisper of two newspapers sliding halfway under the door…” (28). “...time wasted in a hard and hos*4.5 stars. “...and while he made coffee he heard the whisper of two newspapers sliding halfway under the door…” (28). “...time wasted in a hard and hostile plastic chair…” (34). “...her intentions were as laudable as her ignorance was vast…” (40). “...the microscope, which suddenly looked like a fly’s compound eye” (44). “‘In these forty years, it occurs to me now, there are at least two things that haven’t changed: first, what worries us; second, what makes us laugh’” (44). “...the way we keep feeling, after stepping barefoot on a stone, the shape of the stone in the arch of our foot” (51). “...and a white blouse as smooth as a Malevich canvas, its only adornment the change of tone where her bra began” (54). “...stirring up the sand with the drumroll of his hoofs” (123). “The mountain rose up on their left, always menacing, always on the verge of collapsing on top of people, that mountain that seemed to pass underneath the gray ribbon of road, fall away to the right in a rough, steep slope, and crash, in the distance, miraculously converted into the blurry design of the scattered city” (133). “...the newspaper--that vulgar flatterer of the present moment--and its announcements of parties and acts and speeches and more speeches and skies covered in balloons, big colored balloons…” (138-139). “I take this decision after long and intense consultations with my pillow and other authorities…” (186).
*2.75 stars. Far inferior to the other Rebus novels. I won’t quit the series, hopeful that they’ll return to the excellence to which I’m accustomed. *So*2.75 stars. Far inferior to the other Rebus novels. I won’t quit the series, hopeful that they’ll return to the excellence to which I’m accustomed. *Some quotations I appreciated: “‘Rumours, Bill. Like the Fleetwood Mac album, best left unplayed’” (25). “New chairs had appeared from the darkened corner of the budget” (25). “Then he took his glasses off and started polishing them again, as if the world could never reveal itself too vividly for him” (131). *And here’s one that bothers me: “...but stood in front of his monument while she attacked her carton of juice” (326). I doubt the accuracy of this verb. Attacked? Really?