One of my favorite books. Willa Cather is amazing. Her writing flows. Her characters are real, and complex. The book also gives you an idea of what li...moreOne of my favorite books. Willa Cather is amazing. Her writing flows. Her characters are real, and complex. The book also gives you an idea of what life was like 100 years ago - as well as how the great plains were before we made them into farms.(less)
A multilayered award winning tale of interwoven romances. Set in two different centuries and connected ing...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
A multilayered award winning tale of interwoven romances. Set in two different centuries and connected ingeniously through letters and journals. It has elements which include faeries, myth, poetry, science, feminism, lgbt, and Victoriana.
Setting: Primarily set in the late 1980s in London we have a variety of academics whose interests lie in a celebrated poet’s life and work - Randolph Henry Ash. He is a source of intense exploration and historical interest for these scholars, as they research his body of work in their highly competitive environment. From their findings on his life during the mid to late 1800’s it appears Ash led a very quiet and uneventful life. But as one researcher finds out via misplaced letters, they are very wrong.
Thus begins the recovery of the missing pieces that will fill in the blanks for this group of academics, who become ever more obsessed as they struggle to be the first to piece together the juicy details that are alluded to in the new findings. As two of the scholars try and answer their questions they find themselves traipsing to various areas in England and France to find the answers.
Sound simple? Not a chance - there is so much more. This convoluted story will take you back to a very different time, but there is also a wealth of incredible subplots and threads.
Thoughts: I started and abandoned Possession several times. Giving up on try number two, I thought the writing to be inaccessible, overly intellectual and boringly academic. Now I am thinking one develops “reading muscles”, and considering my years of hiatus from reading fiction I was out of shape. Having read bits about the book’s elements since, I realized the book fits inside a favorite circle of my interests. I gave it another try in audio.
This unabridged audio version was read by Virginia Leishman, and she moderates her voice for each of the character’s while changing accents - ranging from English to Scottish to American and with a believable voice for changes in gender. Excellently done, my only “complaint” is that the narrator’s voice is so pleasant she lulled me to sleep on various occasions. So listening while tired or sleepy is not recommended.
The novel has some interesting elements and literary techniques interwoven inside it. These include threads about fairies, what appears to be paranormal events, and scientific research – including the collection of insect, plant and sea life (all popular with the gentry during Victorian times). The author also expertly uses several literary devices; for example, the usage of poetry as a preclusion to the chapters called epigraphs. Through this method the author has written and included some complex poetry. Lastly the story is told via letters and journal entries making it epistolary.
Not a fluffy romance, it is a complex, realistic yet sad romance – where real life choices and their consequences are exemplified and I liked that it does not end with everyone living happily ever after. In summary, Possession is out of the ordinary, intellectual and academic – making it a book that not everyone will enjoy. It is also descriptive, metaphorical, dense and an amazing work of fiction. It deserves a rare 5 stars in my opinion. (less)
I found this book in an international airport terminal's book store, and was really pleased to have done so. I have always been fascinated by men and h...moreI found this book in an international airport terminal's book store, and was really pleased to have done so. I have always been fascinated by men and how they think, feel, and behave. I always have felt to better understand a man or men would allow me to have better relationships with them. I believe that this is true. This book allowed me to do this and gave me further insight from the male perpective, ironically from a women experiencing what it is like to be a man by living as one. (By the way the process she goes through is very interesting.) The author does an amazing job giving the reader insight into what men are really like because she is sensitive and non-judgemental about the male experience. She is obviously an "evolved feminist" whom likes men, which contradicts the myth that lesbians hate men. I do recommend this book for anyone interested in human behavior, women or men whom are interested in the "male experience", or relationships.(less)
As Americans we "love" vampires. So much that in fact what was once horrific has become almost an "icon". Specifically, there are vampire novels of ev...moreAs Americans we "love" vampires. So much that in fact what was once horrific has become almost an "icon". Specifically, there are vampire novels of every thinkable sub-genre. We have romance, erotic, mystery, young adult, and classic vampire novels to name a few. Because of this, for an author to write a truly horrifying vampire novel that is out of the ordinary he would have to take a look at the novels available and find an element which has not been used extensively. Which is what I believe John Ajvide Lindqvist did. He took what is commonly accepted as one of the most disgusting things we as a culture see to be happening secretly in our neighborhoods and used it to change the typical vampire story line. He did so effectively, all the while taking the reader's horror to different level. This was an enthralling read. It scared me. It disgusted me. I was shocked. Which is the point of horror. I want to be truly scared. There should be gore....not a lot, but some, which was the case in this story. Fortunately, the story went beyond the shock to include interesting and colorful characters and day to day events which balanced out the shock and gore. It has an easy to follow format with small chapters divided into smaller sections which made it easy to pick up and put down. Which is welcome when your scared. The translation was excellent, which if it is not, can make the story difficult and unreadable. I felt I was reading a book written by a native speaker including enough of the Swedish culture to make it feel like it took place in another country. Personally, I would have liked to have read a bit more of the Swedish customs within the story, but then I like interesting cultural information. The only thing negative I can say about the book is that the very ending was fairly predictable and I found several typos, and I am a lousy editor. As for recommendations, I think that this book may offend a number of people. Truly horrifying things often do. So if homosexuality, pedophilia, and appropriately placed gore bother you then this may not be a book for you. I however, enjoyed it and thought it was "fun" if one can truly call being scared and disgusted fun. I enjoy it as long as it is in a book and thankfully not in "real life". (less)
I am new to adult science fiction. I've read Fahrenheit 451 and a number of short stories through the years, a few young adult novels recently as well...moreI am new to adult science fiction. I've read Fahrenheit 451 and a number of short stories through the years, a few young adult novels recently as well as a bunch as a pre-teen. Quite a while ago I decided that I would like to read more of the genre. The Mote in God's Eye captured my attention when I was putting my husband's ancient paperback science fiction collection on the shelf in the spare room. I think it was when I first read the title that I was hooked. What a cool title and its been calling my name ever since. When I started reading the book, I actually had to keep notes. This is something until now I have refused to do. The characters are numerous and complicated, having very long and interchangeable names, which the authors do frequently. I refused to give up and am glad that I kept reading because, although not an easy read, the story began to flow. It is set in the distant future when space has been colonized, and the reigning governing system called The Empire has contact with very intelligent aliens. It naturally examines some possible challenges which could occur when faced with this mind-boggling situation. I truly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in science fiction and the social consequences and problems which would inevitably occur with this type of an event. The story is complex, has some elements of mystery, is suspenseful, dramatic, and I thought it was funny at times. If that doesn't temp you then read it because the aliens are amazing. I was tempted to give it 5 stars but to be fair I have nothing to compare it to. (less)