This was my first Michael Chabon and I have to say he is a brilliant writer. My problem with this book is that as beautifully written as it is, it isThis was my first Michael Chabon and I have to say he is a brilliant writer. My problem with this book is that as beautifully written as it is, it is difficult for me to read this white man's writing from multiple black characters' points of view. I constantly questioned whether this is even a valid question to consider. Should it even matter? I'm still not sure, but either way, it was just an amazing book. I loved it and can't wait to read more from this writer....more
With everyone reading this, this one was a little harder to get my hands on. All is well, however, as I think it was worth the wait.
I was really takeWith everyone reading this, this one was a little harder to get my hands on. All is well, however, as I think it was worth the wait.
I was really taken by the non-linear narration of the story from shifting perspectives. Very modern, very common, and to me, so hard to figure out how to do well! Authors like Heidi Durrow make a non-linear telling of a story seem effortless and highly self-conscious at the same time. I'm so envious! I'm reminded of something Neil Gamon said about a short story, "Orange" he contributed (each author wrote a little blurb to accompany his or her piece)to another book I've been reading, "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me":
"Sir Sacheverell Sitwell was the first person, as far as I know, to point out that it is the mystery that lingers and not the explanation, the question and not the answer, that stays with us. But sometimes answers and explanations in their turn can build mysteries, or leave behind spaces and empty slaces, and sometimes it is only if we know what the questions were that we can understand what the answers mean. The way the story is told defines the story. It tells us who we should be cheering for, who we hope will survive the story. "Editors," Roger Zelazny told me, "beieve that they are buying the stories, but they are not. They are buying the way the story is told."
Truer words have never been spoken. That is exactly what sets a good story apart from the masses! And that, is precisely what I enjoyed most about the story: its telling.
Thoughtful ruminations on race, and culture and issues with identity made the read even more poignant. So many layered issues about who these characters are.
I can't say the end was completely satisfying, but getting there was great. Excellent choice for our Mostly Literary Book Group. I'm sure we'll have some dialogue about this one! Here's a few standouts for me from the book:
"I have never seen Aunt Loretta look anything like mad. Sad is what she does normally, but right now in her eyes it's as if all she is is a flame. But she doesn't say anything. And then it's like someone's thrown water on her. "You know what, Mama," she says, "you're right. You go on and be right." (I love that one!)
..."She wants me to be able to buy whatever I want at the Fred Meyer without paying attention to what vegetable is on sale and without worrying about bringing double coupons. She thinks a shopping spree at Meier & Frank for a Sunday hat and a new church dress every few months is living in style. Grandma sees these things when she talks about them and gestures with ther hands like she's painting bush strokes in the air. The way Grandma paints her dream for me, there's a low sky." (Ouch!)
While watching one of those "ubiquitous"(?!) newsmagazine shows last night which featured the author Kathryn Stockett, I was reminded how very much IWhile watching one of those "ubiquitous"(?!) newsmagazine shows last night which featured the author Kathryn Stockett, I was reminded how very much I enjoyed this book. Though I did question the role of the white author and the role of the great white hope aspiring journalist/author, I could not argue the moving nature of the stories within the story and the compelling characters. I'm really, really excited this is being made into a movie. My feelings about the white protagonist, were never so strong that Emma Stone could not fill her shoes. I'm open and happy an actress I enjoy has been cast.
Now I just need to find some of my fellow readers who have also read this book so we can make a playdate out of the screening! Any takers?
I'm trying to remember if I read this with my Mostly Literary Gang. Anyone remember? ...more
I read this book about 15 years ago while I was in college. Profoundly moving and harsh. It was the type of book that always felt weird saying that II read this book about 15 years ago while I was in college. Profoundly moving and harsh. It was the type of book that always felt weird saying that I "loved" it. Instead, I always had to carefully choose my words when trying to describe how I felt about it. You can't love that kind of material! I couldn't believe it when I heard it was being made into a film. Still have to see that one......more
This was such a powerful book. I did not want to finish it, if only for the notion of prolonging Jefferson's life. The last chapter left me desiring mThis was such a powerful book. I did not want to finish it, if only for the notion of prolonging Jefferson's life. The last chapter left me desiring more, though. I'm not sure what, but I don't think I liked deputy Paul being given the last word. This follows the line of questioning of who gets to tale our stories? The victor? The defeated? The Black man? The White man? Who gets to write history?
I also wonder who the lesson is for? And who, in the narrative, learns the lesson(s)?...more