Ok, I'm officially giving up. Yes, I agree with my daughter that it's cool how the punishments fit the crime - like for theives, their own actual human...moreOk, I'm officially giving up. Yes, I agree with my daughter that it's cool how the punishments fit the crime - like for theives, their own actual human form keeps getting stolen and they are forced to shape-shift into reptilian form and back. Awesome.
But the payoff is insufficient.
How do I dislike these? Let me enumerate some of the ways:
Zillions of references to local politics of Italy circa 700AD - don't know, not that interested honestly.
Millions of references to mythology - don't know, so don't get it, and don't care very much.
Each bit of content is very short: a meeting, a conversation, a response, on to the next thing. All extremely episodic and lots of work digging in to all the meanings and allusions only to be suddenly finished. Blah.
In between that kind of content, these opaque place-descriptions and movement descriptions - lots of work, don't care that much.
Painting of Jews and Muslims as evil, by the way (unless I'm interpreting it wrong) - not surprising, since it's Christian-oriented. But unpleasant and off-putting.
Plus the whole thing about Virgil having been in Hell briefly due to living just before Christ was born. He was Roman though, right? The Romans didn't become Christian till Constantine (interesting story about that included - the leprosy and all); so he didn't really 'just miss' being born whole and living a life of grace. He just missed taking part of the gleeful persecution of Christ.
Which is fine, but it's like, the little bit that I do know of the situation underlying all this is out of kilter.
But I'm very happy to have been exposed to it. Honestly, I feel like - the people living then thought all these big thoughts? And wrote so ornately? And were that smart? And had that much history? It makes me remember how rich and textured human history is, going that far back.
So, there is that.
May use it for sleep-induction from time to time, or when feeling too content with my day or something. For the most part though, I declare myself finished with it. Bah!(less)
Really enjoyed this, was just perfect for me at the moment! I tend to like writing with lots of detail, more often than not, and this had that in a wa...moreReally enjoyed this, was just perfect for me at the moment! I tend to like writing with lots of detail, more often than not, and this had that in a way that totally fit for me. Also great characterizations, interesting plot, a current story and lots of historical context filled in slowly in a way that really worked for me. It's also very visual, and I really liked that. I liked the map, I was visualizing scenes much more distinctly than I usually do while reading. If this sort of content often works for you as well, I'd highly recommend it! -------- Layers are one of the main thing I love about this book. There are layers of snow falling over everything on the small island of San Piedro, just east of Washington State, where this story is set. And this story is nominally about a murder trial, but that is only the most superficial layer. It is actually about what is involved in being human and having experiences and being shaped by those experiences.
How much can a person resist the effects of what happens to them, and how much is the impact of life on each person out of our control?
Race identity and race consciousness are the main vehicle for exploration of these questions.
Set in 1954, this story includes information about two main sets of people on this island - the white population and the Japanese population. Through extensive narrative on the past - mainly through the eyes of Ishmael Chambers, the one-armed newspaper man - we see the macro life of the island move forward over the decades. And we see in particular detail the period around the bombing of Pearl Harbor - which prompted an amount of hysteria against the Japanese community. The result of that hysteria was the internment of that population - that entire population, from this island - for a period. Which is something I hadn’t known too much about, was great to learn more. And then this novel’s main storyline - about a purchase of property by a Japanese family from a white family which was nearly concluded at the time of internment - is a personal layer woven into that historical reality.
The murder trial going on is that of Kabuo Miyamoto, who was the son of the man buying the property in question. He is accused of killing Carl Heine, the son of the man about the complete the sale when the internment took place. Carl was found dead on his fishing boat, and evidence (and racism) quickly directed attention to Kabuo. Kabuo is married to Hatsue, a woman of striking beauty. Hatsue and Ishmael had been close childhood friends, and were just at the threshold of becoming sexual when the internment took place. Ishmael remained completely enraptured with Hatsue yet to the current time, and plays a pivotal role in the trial as an outcome of that love.
Betrayal, jealousy, passion, racism, and other human intensities are woven into this community’s life on this small island that is built on fishing and tightly-wound relationships. I adore the details at the various levels - from the actual battlefield experiences of Ishmael in Japan to the internment camp to the fishing boats to the trial to the minute effects of the huge snowstorm that hits the island during the trial to the intimate human interaction details. And great enveloping read! (less)
My friends choices are so awesome: have a great mix of reviews for books like this! Lots to think about, clearly. First will be fascinating, which gro...moreMy friends choices are so awesome: have a great mix of reviews for books like this! Lots to think about, clearly. First will be fascinating, which group of readers I fall in to, then - everything else about it!(less)
I think I read this in High School, in fact I think it was one of the things of that set that I liked the most (not necessarily saying a lot). Anyhoo,...moreI think I read this in High School, in fact I think it was one of the things of that set that I liked the most (not necessarily saying a lot). Anyhoo, how it's on a list of books for my daughter to choose from, so reacquainting (and perhaps re-reading) myself.
So, this bull-headed Norwegian (my blood of there is like, yeah? So?) has a theory that everyone disbelieves, and seeks to prove it through action which everyone believes is deadly. He gets 5 guys to join him, and amazing (true!) adventures ensue. 1946. The wide sea, water, wind, sea creatures galore - and a raft. Wild!(less)