I had read only one work by Ishiguro before this, A Pale View of the Hills, which was pretty good. Nocturnes, his most recent work, was an enjoyable cI had read only one work by Ishiguro before this, A Pale View of the Hills, which was pretty good. Nocturnes, his most recent work, was an enjoyable collection of stories tied thematically by memory and music. I was impressed by Ishiguro's prose which is well balanced, terse at times, yet flowing as well when need be, a refined style by a mature writer. Also impressive and even surprising was his knowledge, understanding, and deep appreciation of music. It was not easy to decided which story I liked best in this wonderful collection because they were all entertaining and well written, but if I had to pick one it'd be "Malvern Hills," a story set in the beautiful countryside of England. It definitely needs to be read again, as well as the four others in the set. I recommend this book for those who love music. They may feel a certain affinity with the narrators. ...more
Not that it matters much, but I'm writing this review for the second time. The first review I ended up deleting the following morning realizing it wasNot that it matters much, but I'm writing this review for the second time. The first review I ended up deleting the following morning realizing it was utter garbage. I wrote it while drinking and watching the Olympics. I think that says enough.
There were many things I liked about this story. Let me list some: (1) the writing was quite good as far as contemporary works go. (2) the narrative was carefully put together. (3) it was humorous, and that's pretty important sometimes. (4) the travel pieces were fun to read, and added an element of romance or adventure, if that's your thing. (5) I could, at times, closely relate to the narrator/main character. (6) finally, the ending was quite intriguing and well-thought-out.
There were a few negative things but mostly only minor nuisances, so overall this book was worth my time; however, to be quite honest, I prefer reading books that were written long ago by men/women who have been forgotten to those written today by men/women who should just as well be forgotten....more
I have to say this was the worst Paul Auster book I've read, and I've read most of his works. If you must read Travels in the Scriptorium, it is bestI have to say this was the worst Paul Auster book I've read, and I've read most of his works. If you must read Travels in the Scriptorium, it is best that you keep your expectations in check. That way you won't be bitterly disappointed. From the very first words I thought this story was going nowhere. I was correct. When I had finished it it had gone nowhere. It was a tedious read. And a bore. At least though, the second half was a little better than the first, but overall I thought it was a lame story and poorly written, not the work of Paul Auster at his best. If you're thinking of reading this book I suggest you borrow it from your local library and save your money for something decent. I have generously given this two stars, but I was tempted to give it one....more
Tropic of Cancer is the only novel I have failed to complete since high school. I had to put it down somewhere near the middle. Every page was a strugTropic of Cancer is the only novel I have failed to complete since high school. I had to put it down somewhere near the middle. Every page was a struggle. To be fair I gave this one a second chance recently, but to no avail. Maybe one day, I'll make one last attempt to finish it. I don't like quitting what I've started.
This work felt dated. It has lost the ability to shock, humor, and entertain. That shouldn't come as a surprise, since it was first published nearly seventy years ago. This must be one of the most over-rated books ever to come out in the last one hundred years. It seems as if Miller was only writing for himself....more
Cormac McCarthy's vision of The Road is haunting journey - an apocalyptic nightmare - almost surreal in scope, from America's inland to its coast. TheCormac McCarthy's vision of The Road is haunting journey - an apocalyptic nightmare - almost surreal in scope, from America's inland to its coast. These unknown and dangerous roads are as terrifying as any in all of realist literature. It is a compelling story, both deeply disturbing and poignantly sad, of survival during the most difficult time in the history of man: the nuclear aftermath.
The tone is similar to the biblical book of Revelations - dark, desolate and nearly devoid of salvation, yet a sliver of hope remains. McCarthy mesmorizes his readers as the protagonists, an unnamed father and son, having survived the nuclear devastation, take to the road and encounter hardship after hardship, in the form of scavaging dogs, terrorizing gangs, and raving passers-by, on their way to safer grounds. They stagger, scuttle, and scrounge for scraps - food and material; sometimes they seek shelter to shield themselves from the elements, as well as, their fellow man. There is very little for them to do except keep their spirits strong and hope for a miracle, as they make their way through the burnt out landscape - a hellish waste land - to their final destination.
The portrait of the father and son are uncomfortably realistic. We can feel every strain of desperation, misery, and terror through their tribulations. The father's sacrifice for his son through their many terrifying ordeals on the road holds universal appeal. McCarthy's depiction is an unimaginable rendering of a world without sanity. This masterpiece is a frightening psychological experience we can not afford to neglect. This needs to be read by all....more
Animal Farm is a good goodread. The best part of the story are the ridiculous (and very fitting) caricatures of the leaders. This book not only satiriAnimal Farm is a good goodread. The best part of the story are the ridiculous (and very fitting) caricatures of the leaders. This book not only satirizes the fanatical ideological position of communism and socialism, but also serves as a stern warning to governments and their citizenry about its dangers. If you didn't read this modern classic in school, it's not too late to pick it up now. You may see what happened then is happening now, and has happened all throughout history. Read it....more
The Comfort of Strangers is an eerie story of a chance meeting between a local and a couple on their holiday. This story lulls in the reader, bit by bThe Comfort of Strangers is an eerie story of a chance meeting between a local and a couple on their holiday. This story lulls in the reader, bit by bit, with little surprises here and there. However, for most of the plot, a gnawing tension, an uneasy calm, exists and is only released when the last page is finished. The book is appropriately short. Ian McEwan skillfully creates a mood of adventurous gaiety and carefree fun on the surface, but underneath all this pleasantness, awaits a world of shock and perversion. The personal intimacies shared between the vacationing couple are shattered forever. If you have a couple of hours to spare, this sparse novel is definitely worth the time....more
Ian McEwan choice of subject matter may induce some people to wince, but his art lies in the manner with which he fills in the lurid details. The CemeIan McEwan choice of subject matter may induce some people to wince, but his art lies in the manner with which he fills in the lurid details. The Cement Garden is the story of four siblings, two boys and two girls, who've lost their parents. Becoming an orphan is tragic, but this story isn't about tragedy. It's about exploration and imagination. Here these children are able to overcome their loss, and as they do, retreat into their own little world, where society's accepted notions of right and wrong disappear within their newfound security. It is in some sense a dark world, but not without light. This portrayal of youth, innocence, purity, and loss is an intriguing one and I recommend it for those more daring. ...more
Then End of the Affair by Graham Greene is an interesting story of love, devotion, jealousy, and faith. This is known as one of his 'Catholic novels,'Then End of the Affair by Graham Greene is an interesting story of love, devotion, jealousy, and faith. This is known as one of his 'Catholic novels,' but there are only aspects of religiosity interspersed through this work. It is unlike Endo Shusaku's novel Silence, which is completely based on a faith in God.
I see this as a mature work, written by a man who has grown in his own (Catholic) faith. The structure and diction are fairly sophisticated. His works are not as slick as an Ian McEwan, but no less enjoyable. However, a bit more effort is needed....more
The Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence is a remarkable achievement of literary craftsmanship. Lawrence's meticulous attention to detail provides the reader wiThe Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence is a remarkable achievement of literary craftsmanship. Lawrence's meticulous attention to detail provides the reader with a penetrating look into one girl's world, a world of inner struggle. The flowering youth, Alvina, who has always been cared for by her father and his attendants, seeks to find herself afresh, independent of an overbearing society with its rigid rules and expectations.
She meets an Italian of exotic beauty, Ciccio, who is employed to work at her father's new theater. She is attracted to his raw nature and direct manner, which is deemed less civilized by others. She leaves her home to runaway with Ciccio for Naples, against the wishes of those close to her. Her dreams and desires are aroused by this foreigner, but not always for the better.
D.H. Lawrence through methodical design and panoramic vision sustains this novel to the end. His characterizations of Alvina and Ciccio are true to life, neither embellishments nor simplifications. This beautiful and accurate portrayal of one girl's wish to find herself in a complicated world is worth the effort....more
I wanted to read this book, Cannery Row, mainly because the story appealed to me - small town life in Monterey, a place I had visited a few times befoI wanted to read this book, Cannery Row, mainly because the story appealed to me - small town life in Monterey, a place I had visited a few times before. I am not a huge fan of Steinbeck, but I thought it could bring me some laughs with its cast of 'characters.'
The story is set in a fishing area of Monterey - Cannery Row - during the Great Depression. It is a simple story about a group of un-employed or seldom-employed friends who decide to throw a party for a man known as Doc, a marine biologist, who is friendly and helpful to all in their small town. After the plan gets off the ground, the entire community of Cannery Row grows alive in order to assist the boys in any way possible towards the success of Doc's party.
The character sketches were the best part of this book, especially the man named Mack, the leader of this aimless and jobless bunch of young misfits. He seems to be able to do no right, although his intentions are bighearted. This story is a comical look at a fishing town, but it is not without some sadness too. I recommend it if you desire some light reading on a warm summer night....more
The Diamond as Big as the Ritz was suprisingly more interesting to read than Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby. These books, at least to me, seemThe Diamond as Big as the Ritz was suprisingly more interesting to read than Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby. These books, at least to me, seemed to be written by two different authors for two different readers. Although, the ending probably can't be considered a 'happy' one, it wasn't as dark as Gatsby either. What I liked most was Fitzgerald roaming, child-like imagination. This story was a fun read and I recommend it for younger readers - like students - who want to tackle Fitzgerald, but without all the seriousness accompanied by doing so....more