**spoiler alert** A killer is on the loose in post-war Berlin. Turns out the murders began prior to the Second World War. Through the victims we exper...more**spoiler alert** A killer is on the loose in post-war Berlin. Turns out the murders began prior to the Second World War. Through the victims we experience life around Berlin before, during, and after WWII. Having lived there through the era, Pierre Frei creates a historical backdrop rich in detail to paint a compelling canvas. Humanity is depicted in it's entire range on the scale of evil to good. To me this novel excelled through the life sketches of the victims rather than as a murder mystery with a clumsy plot that felt rather forced. (less)
I grappled with the rating, and as many reviewers have expressed, found myself wishing for a half point system. Thus I'd have settled at 3.5. Forster...moreI grappled with the rating, and as many reviewers have expressed, found myself wishing for a half point system. Thus I'd have settled at 3.5. Forster was certainly a gifted writer and A Passage To India is definitely meritorious of classic status. I found the prose elegant, but for me the story line dragged at various points, thus at times making reading feel labored. The book did a great job of exposing the reader to the social dynamics in the later days of British colonialism in India. With candid viewpoints into the prejudices and caste systems of it's day, Forster's novel still makes a poignant statement for today's reader.
Forster did a great job of demonstrating the complexities of the various caste systems on both it's British and Indian subjects. Not only does he expose Anglo prejudices, we are also given insight on prejudices that exist amongst the people of India. The novel gives the reader a strong sense regarding the diversity of India's cultures and religions, and it's impact upon existing layers of social stratification. The caste system also made it difficult for the characters to maintain their sense of individuality. They always had to be on guard when expressing themselves. Even in the privacy of one's home, servants were usually spies set out to defame reputations. Society surely had an Orwellian feel.
This classic novel had been on my "to read" list for years. Having read Pearl S. Buck's The Living Reed and Imperial Woman back in the early '90's, I...moreThis classic novel had been on my "to read" list for years. Having read Pearl S. Buck's The Living Reed and Imperial Woman back in the early '90's, I had no doubt that The Good Earth would hold up to all it's proclaimed greatness. Being raised and having spent significant parts of her life in China, Buck is as prominent a sinologist as any of her era. Thus having read The Good Earth, I understand it's universal appeal, and have no doubt it'll be regarded as a major work for generations to come.
Through the peasant farmer Wang Lung and his wife O-lan, we witness with realism, hardship of life in pre-revolutionary China. The simplistic prose is very refreshing, lending to the authenticity and vividness of the novel's characters. Through the family's struggles for survival we learn much about the resilient and tenacious character of the Chinese culture. It boggled my mind to reflect that beyond the novel, the Chinese people would continue to endure even greater degrees of suffering for another century. Good Earth's overall appeal is humanity's optimism and strength to endure. This novel will someday find it's way back to my "to read" list.
My interest in this work was piqued by so many wonderful reviews. I had never read a "graphic novel" and imagined that to be analogous to my comic boo...moreMy interest in this work was piqued by so many wonderful reviews. I had never read a "graphic novel" and imagined that to be analogous to my comic book readings as a youngster. I approached my decision to read The Complete Persepolis with skepticism as to how I'd regard it's merit as a work of "literature." I don't mean any disrespect to the genre, I'm just confessing my ignorance due to lack of experience. I add this because I remember being a big Science Fiction fan back in the early 80's and feeling an injustice that the genre wasn't deemed as acceptable in some literary circles. I was unable to locate Persepolis in the graphic novel section, thus prompting me to seek help from the sales clerk. She led me to the History section. My mind grappled with wanting to spend the $25, but curiosity and wanting to try something new won out. Good decision!
I found Marjane Satrapi's use of comic book format a refreshing way to further draw the reader into her life experiences as a child growing up through tumultuous times in Iran. It has been said that the illustrations don't seem too detailed, instead, I found that they really were. Her use of words and images felt balanced and placed the reader right into her shoes. I also felt that her account successfully portrayed how horrors of war and oppression might impact a family in a country that we view as enemies here in the United States. Persepolis delves into complexities of culture and history, yet we experience a personal familiarity with Marjane that reminds us that as humans we're really more alike to one another, than we're sometimes led to believe. (less)