i was a little put off by the style, which seemed precious to me, hell-bent on being poignant, or, as the guy who reviewed this for The Nation put it,i was a little put off by the style, which seemed precious to me, hell-bent on being poignant, or, as the guy who reviewed this for The Nation put it, aphoristic (he meant it a compliment). i guess i don't like my writers to be aphoristic. a book i just read and cannot seem able to review, Purple Hibiscus, enchanted me precisely because the beautiful writing was so enmeshed with the content that it disappeared. writing that draws attention to itself annoys me.
but i'm being unfair. i only read some 60 pages. maybe it wasn't the right time. the library wants the book back and it seems wrong to keep it, not only for the late fees, but also because there are many people in the great city of miami who can enjoy this book better than i, looking at it gather dust on the stereo speaker (there's where i keep the rejects), waiting to feel like Good Prose. as of today, therefore, this book is officially "unfinished."...more
ah, i'm abandoning this, not because it's not a worthy, sweet, nicely written lesbian right-of-passage YA novel, but because one can read only so manyah, i'm abandoning this, not because it's not a worthy, sweet, nicely written lesbian right-of-passage YA novel, but because one can read only so many girl-loves-girl, parents-persecute-loving-girls, girls-turn-out-battered-but-okay stories. or at least i can. this is better written and better developed that Keeping you a secret, but the story is basically the same. i never much went for romance. ...more
i dislike trips inside the criminal mind. i know it's the stuff of a lot of thriller/crime fiction/movies, and that many people find it compelling. noi dislike trips inside the criminal mind. i know it's the stuff of a lot of thriller/crime fiction/movies, and that many people find it compelling. not i. i prefer trips into the institutional mind: the cops, the lawyers, the psychologists. those are the demons that haunt my days. those the monsters i need to humanize.
this well written book journeys into the mind of the perpetrator but only follows the procedural steps of the FBI and the media. not for me....more
i found Brick Lane breathtaking, and if anyone is deciding whether or not to read Brick Lane based on this book, i really think they should reconsideri found Brick Lane breathtaking, and if anyone is deciding whether or not to read Brick Lane based on this book, i really think they should reconsider, if for no other reason that they are so different, they could be written by different authors. they really should be judged independently.
i would finish this book if i were reading it at another time. but this is not a good time for me to slog through a writer's experiment with a genre she -- it seems to me -- doesn't quite inhabit. what monica ali seems to want to do here is look at multicultural england through the eyes of an average joe who is not a total scumbag but is not exemplary either. gabriel lightfoot is the chef of the kitchen of a once-first-rate hotel, but the melting pot metaphor doesn't quite pan out, mostly because the white male protagonist is not pleasant. his morals are at least frayed, his character weak, and his mental world on the verge of falling apart.
i don't enjoy novels that chronicle the unraveling of their protagonists, and i don't enjoy novels written by young female writers with a kick-ass feminist novel under their belts that chronicle the unraveling of middle-aged guys (zadie smith does this too! what gives?). there's plenty middle-aged guys chronicling the unraveling of middle-aged guys, and if i want to read about this subject i'll turn to them. what i'm saying in not that writers should be limiting themselves to writing about people who are, whatever that means, "like them," but that if you are monica ali and you can write about vibrant women like nazneen, why write about gabriel lightfoot? (note: i'm aware there are like a million holes in this argument, but please, monica ali, understand what i'm saying! i don't ask that you give us bangladeshi story after bangladeshi story, but... can you take a breather from experiments and write something, you know, good>/i>? cause we know you can).
the writing is solid, sometimes really good, but ali does seem out of her element. she is still head and shoulders above the average writer, but the language doesn't seem to gel, quite. the plot is all over the place. a lot of sections should simply be cut by 9/10s. i've read half the book and i am still far from finding a focus or finding out why people, including gabe, act the way they do. i'm going to be the first one to check out your next book from the library, monica ali, but i'm giving up on this one....more
i gave this book a good go but maybe it's not for me. there is a problem in telling the story of another, and sometimes the problem is that we want toi gave this book a good go but maybe it's not for me. there is a problem in telling the story of another, and sometimes the problem is that we want to "get" that other. i think i'm not big on "getting." i'm not big on pinning people down. i know one wants to, i know it's human nature; i know that much of what we do when we engage in human interactions is trying to figure out who the other person *is*. but our best writers, and maybe we at our best, resist this drive. the good writers present characters but refuse to wrap them up. look at olive kitteridge, which so deservedly won the pulitzer prize. so nah, i don't want an answer to the question, who were dylan klebold and eric harris? i want stories, details, narrative, thoughts, but ultimately i'm not interested in the pursuit of knowing who they were, because, well, because it's unknowable. i refuse even the suggestion that we can ever get to the nugget of a human being, much less slap a name on it. dave cullen is too much into nuggeting. not my thing. ...more
i'm so sorry Eifelheim. you are awesome in all sorts of ways and you kept me company for a few good weeks. but we need to part. because i'm just not ii'm so sorry Eifelheim. you are awesome in all sorts of ways and you kept me company for a few good weeks. but we need to part. because i'm just not into you. you are a good companion and you make the time pass, but also, and please don't take it too hard, i often find my mind drifting when you talk to me and my smiles and nods are just mechanical. our dates were okay, even good, but we are just not traveling the same roads, listening to the same music. i'm dumping you, honey. keep company with those -- and they are certainly legion -- who love you and get you. i wish you well. ...more
read a few chapters of it. impressive. more later.
still at it. it will probably take me a year to read it. english people write difficult language.read a few chapters of it. impressive. more later.
still at it. it will probably take me a year to read it. english people write difficult language. i wish my sister in law and good friend sharon told me how long it took her to get through a page. it takes me about 4 mins and 23 seconds.
i really, really like this book. shriver is an immensely talented writer with fireworky facility with language and a ton of deep and true things to say about our humanity. many of the passages are simply arresting.
the narrator is not entirely likable, which is awesome, because she lets you see how one can empathize with those whose life sucks whether one likes them or not (and can empathize with oneself whether one considers oneself okay or a total fuckup).
unfortunately i have to stop reading, barely past the 100 page mark. i entirely plan to finish this book, but the pace is very slow (too much repetition?) and i need to be carried along these days.
so this goes on hiatus. but i'm looking forward to picking it up again....more
i know psychopaths are a common attraction -- books and movies teem with them -- but i find it impossible to muster even the tiniest interest in them.i know psychopaths are a common attraction -- books and movies teem with them -- but i find it impossible to muster even the tiniest interest in them. do i read empathetically? i think i do. i can't empathize with psychopaths. i barely made it to the end of In Cold Blood, though i did read the Ripley trilogy. but then, ripley is cool, as is hannibal lecter. they are psychopaths who care for *something*, so i can care for them. ...more