This is an ambitious first novel by Davies. I found the descriptions of the POW camp in Wales fascinating - who knew that Wales was that involved? I lThis is an ambitious first novel by Davies. I found the descriptions of the POW camp in Wales fascinating - who knew that Wales was that involved? I liked the fact that the war was seen from different personal and national perspectives - it is easy now to know what really happened, but imagining the surprise by some of the Germans that they were losing the war is thought-provoking. The relationships between the Welsh girl and her father and the German POW were not as deeply explored as I might have liked. There was such a preponderance of plots, sub-plots and themes that some of them were necessarily shortened to make the book a readable length. Overall, I liked it and came away with thoughts to consider. I will watch for Davies' future books....more
In this debut novel, Ruiyan Xu writes deftly about the frustrations that develop when communication is not possible. Li Jing becomes aphasic when he sIn this debut novel, Ruiyan Xu writes deftly about the frustrations that develop when communication is not possible. Li Jing becomes aphasic when he suffers a traumatic brain injury, rendering him no longer able to speak or understand Chinese. His relationship with his wife and son suffers, and his business begins to fail until his wife learns to run the firm in his absence. His reversion to the English he learned as a child is facilitated by Dr. Rosalyn Neal, a neurologist from Oklahoma, who is hired by Li Jing's family. Her personal life becomes incorporated into the story line, and she and Li Jing eventually develop an inappropriate relationship.
I found Meiling, Li Jing's wife, to be the only likeable character in this book. She alone maintained dignity and integrity while the world as she had known it crumbled around her; however, I had to suspend disbelief when she rather seamlessly took over as acting president of her husband's investment firm. Rosalyn deteriorated from her initial professional persona into someone with few inhibitions and a desperate need for attention. For me, the story line took on a "soap opera" quality as it progressed, and the promise of its early premise was never fulfilled. ...more
Like most Anne Tyler books, this one has many levels. I think that there is a reason for the stereotypes she presents - most people do not leave theirLike most Anne Tyler books, this one has many levels. I think that there is a reason for the stereotypes she presents - most people do not leave their heritage when they immigrate. Perhaps total integration into America was not possible - nor desirable - for the Iranian family. I found it interesting that the American family retained the Korean name of their adopted baby (and insisted on her wearing tradition Korean garb), while the Iranian family changed their daughter's birth name to a very American name and dressed her as an American child. Surely this is worthy of contemplation. I think that Anne Tyler is saying many things in this book - it simply is not possible nor desirable for many to totally assimilate, nor is it healthy to retain every custom from their places of birth. This is not a book advocating for or against foreign adoption, but about the ways that people see themselves when they become Americans. I liked Dave the best. He seemed to endure the absurdity of many of his daughter's actions and to see byond the backgrounds to the people themselves....more
Orphan Number 8 is a fictional account of the life of Rachel Rabinowitz. When they were very young, Rachel and her brother, Sam, witnessed the death oOrphan Number 8 is a fictional account of the life of Rachel Rabinowitz. When they were very young, Rachel and her brother, Sam, witnessed the death of their mother in an altercation with their father. The father fled to avoid prosecution, leaving them officially labeled as orphans and remanded to the custody of the Orphaned Hebrews Home in Manhattan. Through a series of unfortunate events, Rachel and Sam ended up spending the next ten years in an institutional environment. Rachel and other children were the subjects in a series of experiments by Dr. Mildred Solomon, which left Rachel with alopecia and, as an adult, diagnosed with cancer from massive radiation. As an adult, Rachel became a nurse and worked in a nursing home where Dr. Solomon arrived as a terminally ill patient with bone cancer. Ironically, Dr. Solomon's fate lay in Rachel's hands as Rachel was forced to make life-altering decisions that vacillated between revenge and compassion. Rachel's life is filled with heartbreak and moments of courage that most of us will never be able to comprehend. One Hebrew phrase struck me as applicable to all of us: tikkun olam, which is the belief that it is everyone's responsibility to help someone else, for the good of us all. That is the message I will take from this book. I am grateful to LibraryThing for the opportunity to review this book as an ARC....more
I have always sought out books published by Algonquin because they are exceptionally well written. This novel is no exception. It is a multi-layered pI have always sought out books published by Algonquin because they are exceptionally well written. This novel is no exception. It is a multi-layered portrayal of lives that combine obsession, infidelity, grief, mental illness and murder. I thought Nina De Gramont did an excellent job of building suspense from the first page. The characters are flawed and some are unlikeable, but this novel is effective in depicting them into a riveting reading experience. I am grateful to have received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers' site. ...more
Noah Hawley has written brilliantly about a subject that few of us consider when a seemingly senseless, horrific crime occurs: the family of the allegNoah Hawley has written brilliantly about a subject that few of us consider when a seemingly senseless, horrific crime occurs: the family of the alleged perpetrator. Paul Allen is a renown rheumatologist when his son, Daniel, from his first marriage is accused of killing a popular Democratic candidate for president. Paul is wracked with guilt about this son whom he left in California with his first wife when he moved east and established a new life with a new family. He refuses to accept that his son committed the crime, and attempts to exonerate him using medical procedural approaches that have served him and his patients so well in determining the cause of their symptoms. He thoroughly researches cases of murders and assassinations that have occurred in the past, which adds another compelling layer to this extraordinarily good novel. Paul and his family are reviled by the press, people in the community and his colleagues. The emotional toll on his marriage is compelling and realistic. This is a book I will long remember and highly recommend. ...more