I've been making an effort to go through some of my TRl lately, and this has been there for - oh, 10 years or so.
I had quite high expectations, which...moreI've been making an effort to go through some of my TRl lately, and this has been there for - oh, 10 years or so.
I had quite high expectations, which is not always a good thing. This is basically about Middle Class drop outs being a bit self satisfied with their disillusions. The dialogue is sharp, and it's all very clever, but in the end I just could't empathise with the characters.
I am aware I have mentioned class in a couple of recent reviews. I don't want to come across as an inverted snob, but my earliest memories are of winter in a trailer park in Wisconsin. My Lumpen credentials are pretty solid. OK, the road from trailer park to garret passed through a couple of universities, and maybe I did have options to join the hollow middle classes these people reject. But if the choice was ever presented to me I didn't see it. Trailer park vision I suppose.
At least they have the option to drop out of something, which is something most people don't get. Do I respect them for their decisions? Not sure. They know what they're rejecting and why, but there are no positive choices. There is no active seeking of anything. And they don't seem to be suffering too much for their pseudo-principles. I mean, can a barman afford to rent his own bungalow with a swimming pool? Not in my world he can't.
I know Coupland's trying to capture a sense of rootlessness, hopelessness and general floating anxiety, but they all seem to have given up a bit easily for me. As a cultural critique he's also got a very soft target - at times it feels like he's shooting Middle-American fish in a barrel.
I think that was my problem. I get what he's saying - and more or less agree. Yet for every point he makes, a feel like there are ten more waiting in the wings. And I wanted to grab his characters and give them a good shake.
But I'll still give it 4 stars for being well written and producing a reaction. (less)
This is a lovely little book. It's two short stories, that tell tales of love, loss, death, destiny - oh lots of things. The language is sparse -Yoshi...moreThis is a lovely little book. It's two short stories, that tell tales of love, loss, death, destiny - oh lots of things. The language is sparse -Yoshimoto observes and reacts. She doesn't waste time on delving, when a metaphor will do. It's full in incisive one liners and quotable quotes. Sweet, funny, sad, but always hopeful.
Sally Vicker's Jungian background really shows through in this book, and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. It's dripping with art, mytholog...moreSally Vicker's Jungian background really shows through in this book, and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. It's dripping with art, mythology, archetypal imagery and even a bit of physics, yet she balances all the intellectualising with the telling of of a touching human story very well indeed.
The characters of the story within the story are far more real than the narrator and the people in his life, but I don't think this is necessarily a flaw. It brings into sharp focus what is the real heart of the book.
If I have a criticism, it's that it can be a bit dry in places, and she does occasionally throw in a good idea without really exploring it as deeply as she could.
Still, a very good read, and I shall look into some more of her work. (less)
607 pages. That's quite a lot. And the font's pretty small too. It's a commitment. Especially when you work a lot, and I do. But that's OK, I like my...more607 pages. That's quite a lot. And the font's pretty small too. It's a commitment. Especially when you work a lot, and I do. But that's OK, I like my job, and it (more or less) pays the rent. That's not always been the case though. Sometimes I've been miserable as sin. But still, bills need paying, so I carried on.
Toru Okada didn't like like his job. So he quit. He needed time to think. It didn't seem to matter, those bills got paid anyway. Lucky Okada.
So what does he do? Not a lot. Other people come and go, each with their story to tell. They seem to find Okada. He's just there, not doing much. He has time to listen, since he quit his job. Some of these people are full of life, some defeated, some rich and some poor, some have faces and some don't. They're real and not real at the same time.
So is it worth the commitment? I don't know. I need time to think. I might climb into the well in my garden. But I don't have a well. Or a garden. I could gaze interminably into my navel, I suppose. Same thing really. I think. Except I can't, because I have to get up for work.
So I guess I should drag one concrete statement out of my befuddled brain and say - yes, 4 stars. (less)