Well, I thought it was a nicely written book for what it was. It's a slim volume and a quick read. I found the style effective for the character and sWell, I thought it was a nicely written book for what it was. It's a slim volume and a quick read. I found the style effective for the character and setting, albeit not altogether aligned with my personal taste. The narrative is carried forward in three sections of first person voice. Antoinette Cosway, the "madwoman in the attic" in Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" is the main character, and it is her voice in the first and third sections. Mr. Rochester's voice carries the middle section, but the style is such that his voice is conveyed almost as if his narrative was a recollected retelling by Antoinette Cosway. There isn't a dramatic change in the style of the narration.
The style fits well with the slush tropical setting of Jamaica and the Caribbean islands. The narrative has a somewhat vague and dreamlike quality, which also makes it fit very well with the confused mental state of the main character. The background of the character that we met in "Jane Eyre" gets fleshed out and gains substance, as her childhood and adolescence are recalled. Her meeting, marriage , and honeymoon are part of the recollection, which is broken by her breakdown and the onset of her delusional state.
I am giving it three stars, as it was not really in line with my own personal taste as a piece of literature. If I may add clarity to this review, I would compare this book to a watercolor landscape that suggests rather than depicts in detail. There is an impressionistic quality to the book, which is very appropriate for the confused mental state of the main character and the lush, dreamlike settings. In this sense, it represents fine writing and an excellent example of a writer's craft. It simply is not a style that appeals to my own personal taste....more
This was a good book and a good story. It is based on factual events that occurred in the years immediately following the Civil War here in the BlueriThis was a good book and a good story. It is based on factual events that occurred in the years immediately following the Civil War here in the Blueridge Mountains of North Carolina. I've read a number of Sharon McCrumb's books that I've liked better, but that was because I did not find these characters altogether sympathetic. The main characters were selfish, uneducated, and lacking in any sense of social responsibility of their actions. The story was broken up into sections by a far more erudite and objective narration by North Carolina's Civil War Governor,Cyrus Vance, who was the defense attorney in the case. Vance is cast as reflecting back on the story and the case as he prepares to write his memoirs. McCrumb has cast Vance in many of her stories, owing to his large presence in the history of the area and the fact that he was a rags to riches story, having been born poor in a mountain cabin, and raised by his widowed mother.
Vance reflects on his life and the advantages provided by his family in terms of both education and moral guidance, noting that these elements were missing from the upbringing and early adult lives of the main characters in the Tom Dooley story. He notes as well the highly corrosive impact of the Civil War on the lives of the mountain people.
The author provides some detail on how her research was conducted along with the present day names and places, where one might visit and acquire a more personal feeling for the events in the lives of Tom Dula, Anne Foster Melton, Laura, and Pauline Foster, the actual participants in the story. Wilkes County, N.C., where the main events took place was largely pro Union during the Civil War, so the trial venue was changed to avoid jury prejudice against the Confederate Governor Vance in his capacity as defense attorney. The trial records have been preserved along with land ownership, population, and geneological records from Wilkes County, so there was considerable material from which the author was able to flesh out and recreate a plausible narrative of the events. As regional, fictionalized history, this was a good read. As a novel, I did not find the story or characters nearly as compelling as I had hoped....more
I'm giving this three stars because I liked it, not because I didn't think it deserved more. I'm a fiction reader, and I did fid this a bit dry at timI'm giving this three stars because I liked it, not because I didn't think it deserved more. I'm a fiction reader, and I did fid this a bit dry at times. On the other hand, it really did clarify the current position of China in the world. It showed how the economic imperatives that confront China drive their rising military expenditures, their flagrant theft of intellectual property, and their enormous annual need for growth and jobs drives China's agenda. The author details the historical context for prevailing social attitudes in present day China. The evolving economic model as China moves from communism to capitalism receives a thorough treatment as well. Kynge does not gloss over the problems of corruption, nepotism, and bureaucracy that challenge the guiding role of the Communist Party in guiding China's development. I haven't read a lot about China, but this is certainy a good place to start to get a handle on the issues....more
Readable bit of biblical history from the point of view of a young woman. Dinah is the youngest of Jacob's children. The twelve sons founded the twelvReadable bit of biblical history from the point of view of a young woman. Dinah is the youngest of Jacob's children. The twelve sons founded the twelve tribes of Israel, while Dinah's name and destiny were essentially an afterthought. Diamant makes the character real along with many other characters from the Old Testament, and provides a sense of the texture of the times....more
"It's the economy, stupid!" Seems like Bill Clinton's old campaign reminder serves well in a reading of history in general, and the run-up to WW I in"It's the economy, stupid!" Seems like Bill Clinton's old campaign reminder serves well in a reading of history in general, and the run-up to WW I in particular. I'm still early in this book. It's long, and the print is small so I may be at this for a bit....more
Some very similar elements to American Gods, but the main characters seemed more recognizable in many ways. I really liked it. I loved the growth of tSome very similar elements to American Gods, but the main characters seemed more recognizable in many ways. I really liked it. I loved the growth of the main character, the on-going tension throughout the story, the liberal seasoning of humor, and the consistency of the plotting within the established framework of fantasy / reality that Gaiman creates. ...more