I love this book. Great characters, great love, great struggle; awesome writing - both as far as sentence structure and word use. Am really thinking aI love this book. Great characters, great love, great struggle; awesome writing - both as far as sentence structure and word use. Am really thinking about trying to do actual book reviews for this and 'Blessings'.....more
Pre-cognition! That's what it's called! I always called it pre-ja vue (instead of deja vue) not knowing any other term. For the things I'd occasionallPre-cognition! That's what it's called! I always called it pre-ja vue (instead of deja vue) not knowing any other term. For the things I'd occasionally see that hadn't happened yet (an Irish thing, I always figured). Love to read fiction about it! (reading non-fiction about it would also fascinate, were it possible). ...more
I like this quiet, gentle, sweet book; the two main characters are a bit world-weary, having experienced harshnesses in life such that they don't takeI like this quiet, gentle, sweet book; the two main characters are a bit world-weary, having experienced harshnesses in life such that they don't take good for granted. They don't know each other at the outset of when this book is set; a baby is dropped off and they rebel at first individually, but for both it is a perfect element in their lives. And so far their fears prove unfounded and life is unfolding in its own, sweet way. Reminds me a bit of Margaret Atwood's 'Bean Trees', only that was much, much more difficult to get in to. Lovely..
I also really like how, for the older woman (who owns the estate where the baby was left), time is fluid and the past is present; some times she'll have a conversation with someone in the present moment, interspersed with a self-conversation about the past, or a conversation with someone from the past, or a conversation replay, etc.. Works for me.
Seems like this could make a great film.
Finished it - so sad! But very excellent. Sitting and stewing about the way things ended up going, I guess it is good in many ways; and leaves many good open doors for the favorites to go through in the future. A sequel or semi-sequel etc.. would be delightful, Skip is such a dear character.
Will try and write a proper review for once, by and by. Some themes, such as seeing reality clearly, people's ability to create themselves - regardless of family etc.. - as they choose, and the effects of our choices, I'll mull a bit first....more
Must read right away!! And the rest of hers! And the other Irish Book Awards winners!! Now!
My definition of Irish (in place of anything to do with CatMust read right away!! And the rest of hers! And the other Irish Book Awards winners!! Now!
My definition of Irish (in place of anything to do with Catholocism and/or alcohol): smiling eyes, smart wit, and literary superiority.
And Anne, in case you read this, I'm sure you share all three with me! Given that, I hope you don't mind what I'm going to say:
I don't want to continue reading this. I stopped once, read some more, and now am really stopping.
I feel when reading this like I'm lying in a bed wrapped in sheets like a mummy, and I keep getting turned this way and that, and I'm the movie I'm supposed to be watch keeps being not at all in view due to how I'm moved. I'm sure there's a great story here, I just can't ever get enough of a glimpse of it to fully enjoy it.
Plus, there's touches of oddity almost ala Gertrude Stein, only negative (so weird!), like this:
"This was the place where I existed - in the smell that drifted from the top of a pool of champagne -- beside which, even Liam's clothes felt loud.
What does that mean??? Is she saying she was so drunk from the smell that her hangover was so intense that the clothing made a loud sound?? Come on, that's just too much. I need a little more exposition and a little less sensationalism than that. I don't revel in alcoholia sufficiently to be there with that. And then the casual, near constant involvement of men's genitalia also gets old. I mean, it's not written to be exciting or fun, it's written to be banal and almost quietly loathsome. Plus, it is nearly constant. I think that's to do with the sexual crime(s) that are at the core of this narrative. This just isn't my time for all that I don't think. ...more
My daughter saw this film, and now she wants me to buy it for the house! I'm shocked!!! And she first saw the first half of it at a language camp seveMy daughter saw this film, and now she wants me to buy it for the house! I'm shocked!!! And she first saw the first half of it at a language camp several years ago!!! I don't know what the world is coming to.
Certainly there are things that are interesting about it, and it's more than simply the gratuitous shocker I was tempted to slot it as when I saw it. The effect-of-media-on-people aspects and what's-going-on-with-masculinity and so on, for instance.
The soap aspects still kinda turn my stomach slightly when I think of it, must just have been something about my mood that day or something. Anyway, in order to have a more nuanced stance regarding it, perhaps I'll read the book. We'll see.....more
I don't think I've read enough Pulitzer-winning works yet. That whole 'rose-colored glasses' thing is something I seek to release from myself, perhapsI don't think I've read enough Pulitzer-winning works yet. That whole 'rose-colored glasses' thing is something I seek to release from myself, perhaps this will be a tool in that process....more
Sounds like someone saying out loud what some of us have thought for a long time. 'money follows merit' - people actually believe that? Obviously moneSounds like someone saying out loud what some of us have thought for a long time. 'money follows merit' - people actually believe that? Obviously money follows privilege, most of the time. Etc... Not that there aren't exceptions, yadda yadda.. Anyway, looks like a great read. ...more
This book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well asThis book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well as many warm embraces to literatures of other peoples and places also. This immersion includes not simply sharing of various literature snippets, but a great deal about the effect of fiction on the human psyche: what effect it can and should have on a people. The very power it holds over the human species. Highly recommend to any who writes, or reads, or is human (ok, slightly exaggerating, but not much. Really). In fact, literature is so much a presence in this book, her first addendum after the acknowledgements (there are four unique ones) is a suggested reading list, giving details of the referred-to content: Forough Farrokhzad, Golshiri, Ferdowsi, Gorgani, so many more.. all translated. This list doesn't include all the non-Iranian fiction mentioned.. really, this book calls out for an index- between the political content and the literary content, the family content also of course.
The second content: Iran's history, 20th century. Fascinating look from the inside at the motifs and textures of the administration of Iran, from a person on the inside who herself - and/or her family - had contact with a wide range of people at the core of the country. This part was very illuminating for me. And not just about Iran, but also I imagine it can be extended to other Islam-based countries. For instance, this section, about life in Iran in the early Eighties: "Since almost all aspects of public life had been restricted or banned, out private domains took on the function of public forums. Our houses became our restaurants, bars, movie houses and theaters, concert halls, public forums on literature, the arts, and politics. True, these free zones were threatened constantly by a state that could at any time of day or night raid our houses and confiscate the alcohol, gambling cards, makeup forbidden books, and videos. They could arrest us on charges of immorality.And yet in those days there was a suppressed excitement that belied the anxiety and fear-- or, now that I think of it, perhaps the two fed off and strengthened each other. While the country was torn apart by war and besieged by repressive laws, daily arrests, and executions, beneath the surface, just underground, there were mutinous acts and shows of resistence that constantly frustrated and subverted teh powers of the state. An act as normal and mundane as having a party with men and women where drinks were serve, music was played, and perhpas a movie was watched.. had to be undertaken with caution, curtains drawn, so that it became something very special, like a stolen eclair." - I can't help but wonder if that captures a flavor that - atleast in part - is also tasted at various times in countries like Pakistan, perhaps Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.. Azar also made clear how various forces came together to result in the overthrow of the Shah, nearly 100% of which were disappointed by the outcomes. Almost had echoes of Hitler's rise - people not listening to the clearly-available actual plan of the Ayatollah, instead hearing only that part of his mesage that suited their needs. Very dangerous, again. The third content of this book is Azar's family: and it could be said to be the core of the book. Any female who thinks she has a difficult relationship with her mother could try this one on for size, I think she'll find trading doesn't appeal. All the members of her family and close friends are well-drawn and complex. The pacing didn't always suit me, but I believe it did serve the content well.
So, three distinct contents, knitted together into an intricate tapestry reminiscent of beloved Persian artwork. All three are present from page one to the end, all three support the other two alternating with taking their own spot in the limelight. Really a fascinating work. ...more
Seems like a flavor-fit for transit rides next week.. I like the crazy-family parts, the incipient intelligence coming to fore, the inner-Jewish-templeSeems like a flavor-fit for transit rides next week.. I like the crazy-family parts, the incipient intelligence coming to fore, the inner-Jewish-temple content, and the dry wit (if that's what it is), like this, about during the State Spelling Bee: "A misspoken letter is irreversible, the equivalent of a nervous tic during brain surgery." Ouch!
One huge aspect of this story that bothered me is Saul not including Eliza in any Jewish Learning at all, no Bat Mitzvah, etc.. Brings up the time period - maybe it's set in the 70's? Saul's college days seem to be late 60's early 70's, so it seems it's got to be the 80's. And I don't know when things really changes, but as of the late 90's I know girls were all having Bat Mitzvah's, and not just the smart girls or anything. So that just kind of continually threw me for a loop. I guess the story works in some ways given that fact (Eliza's unfamiarity with Hebrew letters is a basic element of the later part of her journey), but it felt so bizarre and without any justification provided. That and some other touches did feel contrived, as others have said. Which, along with the extreme avoidance of conflict etc.. made it more unusual then would be optimally useful seemed to me.
Really interesting commentary on identity formation, parental approval, and the relationship between the two. It shows situations at the far end of bad, but even so, the way the father, Saul (in particular) thinks about what he's doing with his kids is not that far off from how many/most middle-class parents think about such things, possibly. It doesn't give the 'instead, do this' accompanying content, which I miss, but I guess that would fall in the category of spoon-feeding, etc.. I guess for me the 'instead' is, um, unconditional love of who the kid actually is, and support of that person - especially when that person's process doesn't carry any parental rewards of identity validation etc.. Very chilling and absorbing and all. Reading it on my transit route currently was awful/perfect, as my route consists of 4 reading-segments of 6-10 minutes each, punctuated by movement. Echoed one part of what the characters in this book would be going through - the real world impinging on their chosen universe, and they're having to respond accordingly. I intensely disliked the ending at first (having no idea how it could end while approaching the last few pages, as so much is going on), but afterwards, forced to make peace with it (to the extent I wanted to have peace with it) I can see that it's relatively perfect. A person incorporating reality into their psyche and making the optimal decision for them based on that reality. Am very, very happy to be done with it....more
Some reviewers say what would also seem obvious, that this book will be most impactful for those who have experienced loss. Which I have, thankfully nSome reviewers say what would also seem obvious, that this book will be most impactful for those who have experienced loss. Which I have, thankfully not of my own child (who I'll hopefully precede in death by about 5 decades, despite living until 114 myself) but of others. Including surviving a young-person's suicide, 25 years ago, anniversary of which is in a few weeks. And I think I have more grief to release yet about that one and others, none of them have anything to do with revenge; but revenge is something I've danced with regarding other things in life. So will be interesting to see how it goes with me. At the library sale, this one was full price rather than the usual range of $1 - $3 (and then 50% off sale, of course), wonder if it was a mistake, or if it's due to the film coming out, or what....more
This.. this ... --- This is the guy that Frank was all hung up on in 'Little Miss Sunshine'!! I'd been vaguely (or less than that) (hardly at all, reaThis.. this ... --- This is the guy that Frank was all hung up on in 'Little Miss Sunshine'!! I'd been vaguely (or less than that) (hardly at all, really) (But, I mean, I'm certain I'd atleast HEARD of him once or twice) aware of him before then, but Frank (Steve Carroll is nifty) made me very curious. Wonder if it's in here that he mentions what Frank referred to in the book about one's miserable years being the impetus for all the best parts of our lives, or our art, or something like that..? Anyway, besides him etc.. the content wouldn't interest me, but GR notes about how it shows memory etc.. are also fascinating....more
I'd heard about this forever, feels like something I'd really like to read now. Partly if I get the job involving unions; in any case because the counI'd heard about this forever, feels like something I'd really like to read now. Partly if I get the job involving unions; in any case because the country (world) is at a turning point regarding work. Much of the -work- that had been done integrally involved harm to the earth or to a group of people or to one's customers or employees or all of the above. Feels like at this moment, since so much has to change anyway, people are somewhat awake about the potential of now to change those aspects as well. In any case, life is like to get more pedestrian or simple or something for vast numbers of people, seems we may need to regain our parents/grandparents attitudes about work being not ego-driven etc.. Like it was for the people interviewed in this book, for instance....more
I am so glad that he wrote about that city and its murders, I'd heard about it and been quietly upset that more wasn't being done. He both answers thaI am so glad that he wrote about that city and its murders, I'd heard about it and been quietly upset that more wasn't being done. He both answers that need and has already acted on that same need very powerfully. ...more
Sounds unfun (Victorian, English), yet somewhat good (female protaganist, good writing, critical of Victorian social structures). So, we'll see..
And iSounds unfun (Victorian, English), yet somewhat good (female protaganist, good writing, critical of Victorian social structures). So, we'll see..
And it does involve stonehenge..
From Wikipedia: "Hardy critiques certain social constraints that hindered the lives of those living in the 19th century. Considered a Victorian Realist writer, Hardy examines the social constraints that are part of the Victorian status quo, suggesting these rules hinder the lives of all involved and ultimately lead to unhappiness.
His mastery, as both an author and poet, lies in the creation of natural surroundings making discoveries through close observation and acute sensitiveness. He notices the smallest and most delicate details, yet he can also paint vast landscapes of his own Wessex in melancholy or noble moods.[13:] (His eye for poignant detail - such as the spreading bloodstain on the ceiling at the end of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and little Jude's suicide note - often came from clippings from newspaper reports of real events)."...more