I listened to the audio book version of this novel. As a specific note to that, the woman who narrated the book did a fantastic job conveying the voicI listened to the audio book version of this novel. As a specific note to that, the woman who narrated the book did a fantastic job conveying the voice of the book's narrator character, while giving all the other characters distinctive voices. Well done.
Chip (a gamer who also does extreme type sports) and Deb (slightly sarcastic, although nowhere near the levels of her friend Gina, and apparently something of a drunk) are getting married. From there, they go on their honeymoon (Deb nixed volcanoes, skydiving, and other out-there honeymoons -- a hint) in the British Virgin Islands. While they are gone, Gina hooks up with Ellis, the fake brit (another hint perhaps?)
While on their honeymoon, they get pulled in when a parrot fish expert staying at the same resort discovers mermaids! But in short order, the expert accidentally dies in her bathtub, and the resort is trying to trap the mermaids to create an attraction. Of course, this cannot be allowed.
To be honest, I didn't really like Deb (all that drinking and sarcasm), but I did like her voice, especially delivered by the audiobook narrator. I enjoyed the action toward the end. And I was driving along listening to the end of the book, which seemed to be wrapping up in a satisfying manner, when I hit the last five minutes.
I wonder if I was swerving a little at that point, because I was staring at the car stereo, saying 'What?!? What?!? What?!?' I won't say why, since lots of other reviewers already have.
Up until that point, I would have given the book 4 stars. Those last few paragraph dropped it down. There just really wasn't any need for the final twist other than to shock the reader/listening.
So, I would recommend that if you read this book, skip the last 5 minutes/2-3 pages of the books. Stop at the point where they are at the celebration party and Chip starts talking to Steve and Janine. Don't go further.
I heard about this book abck around the time it was originally published, so when the trade paperback edition came out, I picked up a copy and put itI heard about this book abck around the time it was originally published, so when the trade paperback edition came out, I picked up a copy and put it on my TBR bookcase. Yes, I have enough unread books that they fill *two* bookcases, with a few left in piles on the floor next to them.
So, it shouldn't be surprising that it took more than six years to get around to actually reading it, and I will be honest, the push was to stamp off a square on my reading bingo card (author under 30: she was 23 when this came out, and she is *still* under 30).
Now I wish I'd read it a lot sooner.
The story is primarily about the narrator, a young black woman born in Cuba, but living most of her life in London. It deals with issues of race and immigration, mental illness, and being a young woman finding she's pregnant and unsure how she feels about it. Then there's her brother Thomas, who is either bullimic, or has a very touchy stomach that left him throwing up after every meal as a child, and dealing with bullying in school. There's also their parents. Papi is a black academic, who wants his son to get over his problems and his daughter to get an advanced degree and forget about actually going back to Cuba, even for a visit. And there's his wife, Chabella, who much to his dismay is immersed in Santeria.
Built around this story is a fable about Yoruba gods who live in a house with one door in Lagos and the other in London, which is the Opposite House of the title (also called the Somewherehouse). It also deals with identity, for gods that went from Africa to the Caribbean and adapted themselves to new religions.
Falling into Literary fiction (and magic realism), there is no real plot to this, outside of Chabella's argument with her husband over religion, and the narrator dealing with her pregnancy, and her relationships with her boyfriend, her best friend, and her family.
But the language was beautiful and pulled me along. I would have happily kept reading, but unfortunately it ended. Definitely well worth reading, even for someone like me who prefers more plot in my reading....more
I'd heard about Station Eleven from a number of sources (in particular BookRiot.com), and was intrigued enough to buy it as soon as it hit the stores.I'd heard about Station Eleven from a number of sources (in particular BookRiot.com), and was intrigued enough to buy it as soon as it hit the stores. I am very glad that I did.
The book is about a flu pandemic (the Georgian Flu for the area of Russia that it appears to start) that essentially wipes out civilization. But beyond that, it centers around Arthur Leandar, an actor who dies on stage in Toronto the night that the flu arrives in town and runs out of control. Parts of the novel revolve around his first wife (past), and his first friend after leaving his isolated home (past and future). There's also the paramedic who tried to save him, and used to be a paparazzo who followed him around. There's also his son who survives the pandemic, only to turn to questionable activities. And Kristen, the child actress who was on stage with him when he died, and sixteen years later is part of a traveling group that is part symphony, part Shakespearean company, moving from community to community putting on performances.
The writing was gorgeous, and the story was a lot more gentle than the storyline might imply (there is violence, but most happens 'off-screen'). It also ends on a positive note implying that a corner has been turned for the survivors. No 'The Road' bleakness here. And while I am curious about what comes next, I was perfectly satisfied by the ending.
And I immediately passed my copy on to my sister, because I think she'll enjoy it just as much as I did....more
People Park is an experimental town celebrating a grand anniversary by bringing in Raven, a (presumably famous) illusionist to create his greatest triPeople Park is an experimental town celebrating a grand anniversary by bringing in Raven, a (presumably famous) illusionist to create his greatest trick. The result is... well, it isn't good.
Among the characters are a family, the mother of which was a People Park resident in years gone by. Then there's her old friend, who has a lesbian lover, whose brother has... issues. Then there's the men's group that seems to be running so much of the town's infrastructure. Oh, and the mayor's upper body has been removed from her lower body, much to her display. And the island is flooding.
The various characters were interesting, but the story they were hung on was a muddled mess. It also took a while to get past the conceit of no markings on dialog.
Pig's Foot is a book I have trouble evaluating. On the one hand, it's the story of the history of Cuba, from the slave days through to more modern timPig's Foot is a book I have trouble evaluating. On the one hand, it's the story of the history of Cuba, from the slave days through to more modern times, following two intertwined families, told by their descendant who is apparently locked up by a villainous officer. Characters include a pygmie slave with a giant dick, revolutionaries, two sisters who marry two men who are as close as brothers, a violent rival, spirits from Africa, the city of Havana, and above all, the mysterious hidden village of Pata de Puerco, the Pig's Foot.
I was enthralled by the world created and the characters.
Then I hit the ending and was horribly disappointed. First of all, I've read that sort of an ending before. (view spoiler)[Much like Life of Pi, it ends with the suggestion that the narrator is delusional. In this case, he is actually in an insane asylum, undergoing electric shock therapy. (hide spoiler)] Unfortunately, the ending left a slightly sour taste. Take out the last few chapters and it was a great book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more