The hypnotist is a very well written Danish crime-noir novel. Good twists and turns. Love the science and research bits of it. The character you consi...moreThe hypnotist is a very well written Danish crime-noir novel. Good twists and turns. Love the science and research bits of it. The character you consider to be dangerous is a red herring who has hidden the real criminal. A bit like Agatha Christie, you have the info on the real killer but the presentation is clever and you are led away in the twists of the story skillfully.
Only problem I have is: Same old flawed and slightly neurotic hero (why are all Scandinavian novels populated by a main character who has so many issues but somehow despite their severe dysfunctions are so triumphantly successful?). Joona Linna has severe headaches that can completely immobilize him unpredictably but he is still able to fight the bad guys and move at lightning speed. I know the Scandinavians are trying to build more realistic heroes but do human beings with serious handicaps affecting their particular abilities as police/journalists... thrive as opposed to their more well-adjusted colleagues in the northern climes? Or are these just the kinds of heroes more popular in those cultures? At least Joona is being slowly revealed in layers within the two books I have read (Hypnotist and Nightmare) but I wish they would us more reasons for why he is that way sooner.
Loved the character of the hypnotist who is a much more realistic portrayal of a flawed hero than Joona Linna because he had a different personality once and tough life circumstances have led him to be different (which I am sure is the case for Joona as well). Dear Lars Kepler(s), Follow this "reveal" pattern for Joona Linna who is likeable enough but more defined by his "mysterious" neuroses currently which make him hard to relate to.(less)
The first time I read Nesbø, it was great. As I read the next book and the next, my pleasure in the books was mixed with a little bit of exasperation...moreThe first time I read Nesbø, it was great. As I read the next book and the next, my pleasure in the books was mixed with a little bit of exasperation and then eventually with some boredom with Harry Hole. His issues get tiresome to the point that his continuing success despite his severe interpersonal problems and alcohol issues seems forced. It doesn't bode well when you like a story line despite the slog of your main protagonist and not "because of". So I have to downgrade these books as they get tiresome after a while as every new story has very cool things happening except for the sameness of Harry Hole. (less)
I was beginning to get a little bit tired of Nesbø's protagonist Harry Hole's self-inflicted tortures. And then in this book, he was actually going to...moreI was beginning to get a little bit tired of Nesbø's protagonist Harry Hole's self-inflicted tortures. And then in this book, he was actually going to get his act together with the love of his life by recognizing how happy he was with her and promising to work at being together. This book was not so bad because there was also another very interesting character- a Siberian gangster called Dubai/Cato (he he gave it away). The story revolves around a new super drug invented in Oslo and fanning out of there. I liked the parts about the drug trade and the Siberian gang culture and the descriptions of the drug effects. This was an interesting book. (less)
Loved it. Here is an author I would love to emulate. He writes an interesting mystery novel- set centuries before. Specifically in a time that many ot...moreLoved it. Here is an author I would love to emulate. He writes an interesting mystery novel- set centuries before. Specifically in a time that many others have written about- most recently the Man Booker winner Hillary Mantel. Yet, Sansom captures something of the essence of the time more effortlessly. You get a sense of chaos and terror and how it might have affected those not even at court. This is historical fiction at its best!(less)
Madhavaiah was a civil servant and one of the formost writers of late 19th and early 20th century Tamil literature. He is among the first to have writ...moreMadhavaiah was a civil servant and one of the formost writers of late 19th and early 20th century Tamil literature. He is among the first to have written novels in Tamil. He grappled with many issues of his time, including India's colonization, the search for an Indian identity, ills of Hindusim, problems of Christian proselytization and conversions and Indian custom of child brides and widows. As a Brahman himself, he got to see many of the social problems created by the Indian caste system and the Brahminical rituals first-hand and railed against it in his writings. In the first half of this book, Sita Anantharaman presents a biography drawn from his correspondence and by talking to his surviving children and grandchildren. The second half contains the novel Muthumeenakshi which Madhavaiah wrote about a Brahman child bride and her subsequent widowhood and life.(less)
I liked this book. It is very tongue-in-cheek. It is an unforgiving look at the cruelties that being poor in India can reward you with. The protagonis...moreI liked this book. It is very tongue-in-cheek. It is an unforgiving look at the cruelties that being poor in India can reward you with. The protagonist mentions how he has never once voted in his life and yet a ballot has always been cast in his name in all elections since he came of age. I had to laugh at this. I remember chasing the voter registration guy who came to my house when I was 18. My name was not on the list and he would not add me. He had only come to confirm whoever he already had on the list. India's democracy survives despite how its government functions. It is instilled in the people in terms of their indomitable spirits, their will to be free and to self-determine. Aravind Adiga does that tradition of speaking to power and holding up a mirror to the emperor proud with this book. Just by having smart people who care and a system that generally allows them the freedom to speak out, I feel the Indian story, despite its false starts, might still have a better ending than the Chinese.(less)
Unlike most books which precede the movie, this one followed the PBS documentary made by Spencer Wells for National Geographic. That was a FABULOUS do...moreUnlike most books which precede the movie, this one followed the PBS documentary made by Spencer Wells for National Geographic. That was a FABULOUS documentary. I expected the book to follow the documentary closely but provide more scientific details. The book is quite independent and it took me a while to figure this out and resulted in some disappointment. The book doesn't contain too much of the science of the Y-chrom genetics and it tends to jump around chronologically making following the story a bit difficult. It does have the most beautiful photographs however. I told this to the friend who lent me the book and they have now given me Deep Ancestry to read. This is Spencer Wells' second book and it is supposed to delve more into the science.(less)