I heard about this book from a family party that a friend brought me to. Her parents are union people, so the party was union people. This book came u...moreI heard about this book from a family party that a friend brought me to. Her parents are union people, so the party was union people. This book came up, and they remarked on how true it was to an extent, but also that she may have somewhat created patterns that weren't actually there. So I'm cautious.. also I'm cautious because I don't know enough about the international situations she writes about to take in her writing with perspective. But, all that being said, it sounds like a crucial read at the moment. In my fantasy, Obama will be fixing these things at the same time that I'm reading about them, and everything will be good again! In any case, I hope she includes references or further reading lists etc.. for continued education. Just came across another GR review suggesting this work. Ok, now (months later) just saw 'the take', and I'm totally here with this now.. can't wait to read!(less)
I really enjoyed this book, but it's been a while now. I'll try and spiff up this review when I have my copy nearby. It was very engaging and luscious...moreI really enjoyed this book, but it's been a while now. I'll try and spiff up this review when I have my copy nearby. It was very engaging and lusciously written. I found the women-oriented rituals very interesting. My boss at the time was doing 'Joseph and the Techni-color Dreamcoat' (or something like that) at his church, so I gave it to him to read. He was repulsed, said it was a women's-only book. I know other men don't feel that way (thank goodness), but he probably is in the majority. (less)
This review may contain spoilers, I didn’t check that box because it isn’t really that kind of book. However if you’re a read...moreLove and Marriage: Review
This review may contain spoilers, I didn’t check that box because it isn’t really that kind of book. However if you’re a reader who likes to know things only via the author, and beforehand to know only what’s on the book covers, you probably don’t want to read this.
This novel of a family tapestry woven with many threads including those of terrorism will impact you not due to the intensely sensational nature but instead due to it’s quiet intensity. The aspects of terrorism are some of the most intensely quiet moments of this book, certainly by conscious design.
The book is very tightly structured, reminiscent of a vise - or a straight-jacket; the tone is flat and dry which forms a smooth surface for the wildly dramatic and turbulent content. I will try and keep my review free of excess emotion/words etc.. in response.
My interpretation of the structure of this novel is that it mirrors the structure imposed on a family by those individuals who make certain life choices. Like when a person chooses a military career, or to be in the police forces, or to be a politician, or to an extent to be a doctor - the family of that person is affected. There is a discipline imposed, a set of actions that are prohibited, a set of actions that are required. There is a format that is imposed - these things happen repeatedly and always this way, those things never happen. The structure of this book - very short chapters, everything told, but told minimally so that what is told does the showing to an extent, voice that is not always clear who it belongs to - requires the reader to adapt in a way perhaps similar to how the family adapts to their life structure.
In this book, a question is asked: is the choice to become a terrorist similar in these ways to the choice to be on the police force or in the military? Can a choice to be a terrorist be valid, if made earnestly and with the best intentions? Of the answer to that were yes, would it still be yes over any range of actions? Or only over certain actions? What about the family of a terrorist - are they still a family? Do the same family-rules apply about love and loyalty and keeping secrets and following rules? How does forgiveness work at the end of such a life?
I feel like at this point I should include a disclaimer of some sort - I don’t agree with this idea, or I don’t feel that way. But I’m not, because this isn’t about me, it’s my review of the work of someone else. She has included in her text all that she wanted to in that vein, any of my own feelings are irrelevant. And would violate the discipline (my German talking, a different word is probably more true) and the rules that are bound in with this book.
This is a piece of fiction, a novel; presented as a memoir of a family from the point of view of a member of that family. That creates also a great deal more work for the reader, as information is presented in a order and a format that is not conducive to rational thought or analysis.. For instance, the struggle of the Tamil Tigers is at first presented as having been triggered by a certain event, then later on more is said about the beginning that might color a person’s perceptions differently. That choice of the author also could be a suggestion about life in such a family - that incomplete information is often all one receives. Reading this actually coincided for me with working in a place in which I never received all relevant information about anything. There, as in this family (or atleast as a reader) the choice is available to feel less in response - knowing that if you knew more, you might feel differently. So in order to feel incorrectly / come to an incorrect conclusion, better sometimes to remain in suspended animation, withhold closure, stay detached. Of course, that detached state makes it easier to do as one is asked without being conflicted also.
This book explores:
Love-Marriages and Arranged-Marriages, Proper Marriages and Improper Marriages, and love: the choices and securities and risks involved with each and whether or not there are other kinds. Human will and personality and self, constructions of paradigms of self. The Asian diaspora experience: living in North America with people who aren’t aware of your home country, being different (or being in an enclave and then the same), much more. Family relationships and emotions: in particular the complexities and power of them. The Asian residence-at-place-of-birth experience, village life and rituals and customs, discrimination and injustice as well as internal community workings in all their variety. Terrorism: both exhaustively and incompletely; due to it being voiced as a family member and the terrorist himself. That choice of voice allows for freedom to leave out aspects and go in depth particularly according to choice. A lot of challenging content, with particulars about Sri Lanka, the conflicts between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE - the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, formerly the Tamil New Tigers). Children and growing up: what effect do the parents’ choices have? What freedom does a person have regarding their opinions/feelings about family history, homeland history and struggles? What about a person who has a family member very involved in a struggle - do they have the same choices then about their opinions/actions? Do they have fewer choices? When are they ok? Always? Only if they obey? Only if they feel inside the correct way? Only if they accept/understand/confirm with their lives the choices/actions of their parents/other family members? Communities with injustice: What is the best response of the group suffering injustice? Does anything work? If a government is brutal, are they ‘bad’ in the same way that terrorists are ‘bad’? More bad? Less bad? Madness.
Many of these subjects are universal, one interesting counterpoint regarding that last set about a child and their choices comes to mind in Freedom Writers, the book and film. It’s very very different situation of course. But the core comparison is between parents who choose their actions/lifestyle vs. parents who didn’t; and what basis that gives the kid for their decision-making as they come into adulthood.
Anyway, this is a rich and complex book which I’m almost certainly not doing justice to. If the topics explored are of interest, I’d encourage you to try it! (less)
With the width, depth and breadth of the crisis/opportunity we're facing, probably multiple voices and mutliple sets of solutions will need to be empl...moreWith the width, depth and breadth of the crisis/opportunity we're facing, probably multiple voices and mutliple sets of solutions will need to be employed. The ideas in this book are likely a part of them.(less)
from Wikipedia: As of January, 2009, he remains pessimistic about the US and global economy. He says "we have a subprime financial system, not a subpri...morefrom Wikipedia: As of January, 2009, he remains pessimistic about the US and global economy. He says "we have a subprime financial system, not a subprime mortgage market". And while he does not believe that the United States is at risk of another Great Depression, he expects it to be the worst recession since the 1940s. Looking at the global picture, he writes, "As the U.S. economy shrinks, the entire global economy will go into recession. In Europe, Canada, Japan, and the other advanced economies, it will be severe. Nor will emerging market economies—linked to the developed world by trade in goods, finance, and currency—escape real pain."[8:]
His pessimism is focused on the short-run rather than the medium or long-run.[2:] In Foreign Policy (Jan/Feb 2009), he writes, "Last year’s worst-case scenarios came true. The global financial pandemic that I and others had warned about is now upon us. But we are still only in the early stages of this crisis. My predictions for the coming year, unfortunately, are even more dire: The bubbles, and there were many, have only begun to burst" In conclusion, he adds, "This will be a painful year. Only very aggressive, coordinated, and effective action by policymakers will ensure that 2010 will not be even worse than 2009 is likely to be." [8:]
At a conference in Dubai on January 20, 2009, he said, "I’ve found that credit losses could peak at a level of $3.6 trillion for U.S. institutions, half of them by banks and broker dealers. If that’s true, it means the U.S. banking system is effectively insolvent because it starts with a capital of $1.4 trillion. This is a systemic banking crisis. . . The problems of Citi, Bank of America and others suggest the system is bankrupt. In Europe, it’s the same thing." [9:]
In short: another of the very few who a) really understands what's going on in the financial meltdown; and b) understands the enormity of the denial currently in place to a scary degree; and c) is willing to communicate urgency around these things.(less)
This book describes and illustrates comprehensively yet pithily the major facets of Reconstructionist Judaism. It is written by Rebecca Alpert, a Rabb...moreThis book describes and illustrates comprehensively yet pithily the major facets of Reconstructionist Judaism. It is written by Rebecca Alpert, a Rabbi who was formerly Dean of Students and current member of the faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and currently also Director of the Women's Studies Program at Temple University. And its co-author is Jacob Staub, Dean and Director of Medieval Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. This book is short (88 pages) and simply written, but contains a wealth of information about this crucial Jewish voice in our global community. I've only browsed it myself, but am aware of its contents through membership in a reconstructionist shul, attendance at services etc.. plus within my 'Introduction to Judaism'/conversion class in 2000 and my participation in a program for new converts which was a contrast-and-compare involving all the local synagogue options. Highly recommended for anyone interested, including anyone who thinks that the Jewish community is monolithic. It's not, any more than any other community.(less)