A great escapist read and wonderfully drawn characters whom you want to meet again after its all finished. Made all the more intriguing by the persona...moreA great escapist read and wonderfully drawn characters whom you want to meet again after its all finished. Made all the more intriguing by the personal story of the author and all the conspiracy theories about his death and the ongoing drama of what he left behind and the long term girlfriend who is trying to salvage something from this tragedy. Can't wait to read the second book!(less)
Reached for this off the bookshelf while suffering a fever and cold and was just what I needed, remembering those rooftop guest houses and the tangled...moreReached for this off the bookshelf while suffering a fever and cold and was just what I needed, remembering those rooftop guest houses and the tangled kites, the ghats, the river boats, the pilgrims of Varanasi (Benares). A wonderful look across and within cultures from the perspective of a young Indian man. (less)
Chapter One introduces Eugene while chapter two introduces the characters he meets when he moves to the countryside, descriptions o...moreChapters 1 & 2
Chapter One introduces Eugene while chapter two introduces the characters he meets when he moves to the countryside, descriptions of Eugene are superficial, he lacks depth, something he may encounter soon perhaps.
The commentary is accessible and mildly humorous with its use of French words and an I'll write how I like attitude.
Eugene Onegin is bit of a dandy. Son of a lavish spender who clearly didn't instill much of a work ethic into his son. Then thanks to the legacy of a rich Uncle, he will spend more time in a dressing room, than any character I've ever read of.
Not interested in history or politics or activism, he possesses a wealth of well polished stories to offer at the many social engagements he attends. Hates the Greek heros and prefers the theories of economics. Something of a chameleon, a charmer, dare I suggest, a manipulator, seducer? Prefers balls to ballet, the city to the countryside, yet tolerates boredom, cynicism suits him.
Chapter Two begins to broaden the range of characters and they provide a welcome contrast to Onegin assisting him to see things through different eyes. He is charmed by his friend, the poet Vladimir Lenksy and enjoys listening to his outpourings of emotion through poetry.
Olga, the subject of the poets verses since boyhood, the loved one and her elder sister Tatyana, the dreamer, the loner, living vicariously through her books.
I can see the benefit of reading and rereading, going back and reading earlier passages a second time enlightens the story further.
Chapters 3 & 4
Eugene Onegin inquires as to how his friend the poet spends his evenings and thus finds himself invited to join him for a family evening at the home of Olga and Tatyana, where they receive warm, old-fashioned hospitality, though afterwards he cannot remember which girl was Olga and which Tatyana. While the evening failed to ignite significant interest in our hero, it did set tongues wagging among the locals.
Conjecture found unending matter: there was a general furtive chatter, and jokes and spiteful gossip ran claiming Tatyana's found her man;
The girl who spends her hours immersed in romantic novels let her imagination run wild and fell for the insinuations, if not the man himself, suffering from a love sickness of her own making, culminating in a letter (in French) to the imagined hero she has shaped from the form of Eugene Onegin. A baffled Onegin, clearly does not read the same literary genre.
Who taught her an address so tender, such careless language of surrender? Who taught her all this mad, slapdash, heartfelt, imploring, touching trash fraught with enticement and disaster?
I can't help but laugh, it is perhaps the poetic form combined with the ignorance of the hero, this bringing together of polar beings, to create such a discordant clash of romantic versus pragmatic. And so we wait to learn what will pass, when by chance the two meet, and Tatyana must listen to the unfeeling hero speak from a detached but well intended heart, warning her against baring her soul so easily in future.
But I was simply not intended for happiness – that alien role. Should your perfections be expended in vain on my unworthy soul?
Though it is true, he tolerates and listens easily to similarly themed devotions from his friend the poet, for whom such outpourings are his raison d'être.
And finally the long autumn and winter bore him sufficiently and he agrees to a second visit, one that will fall on Tatyana's name day celebration!
Impressions of Tatayana and Olga
Tatyana is distant and aloof socially, yet vulnerable to the roller coaster of emotions she reads and studies at length in her romantic novels. Her falling in love is not as such inspired by meeting Onegin or anything he says or does in their first encounter, it is by the idea of him inflamed by the wagging tongues of neighbours, that allow her, now that she has some distance from the man himself, to imagine herself in love. She has a need to express herself and because she hesitates to ever do so in person, pours her emotion into the written word – a letter.
Olga we only see through the eyes of the enraptured poet Lensky, he is always with her, walking with her, reading to her, writing poems about her, he gives and receives love easily and neither of them appear subject to the more tumultuous vagaries of passionate love.
Onegin's Reaction to Tatyana?
An almost fatherly response, he was concerned that she should not respond in the same manner when next she looks for love, outwardly he shows little emotional response to her revelations, however there is a hint that the words may have affected him at a more sub-conscious level that has yet to make its way into his more intellectual self. Fortunately, he does show careful consideration for her feelings, by refraining at least from criticising her too harshly or outrightly rejecting her. Ironically, it is his constant boredom that will lead back to the warm hospitality of her family home.
Overall, these two chapters are much more dramatic and throw us deep into the story, they entertain, they shock and delight. It is a pleasure to read and I am looking forward to what the next two chapters will bring.(less)
2014 is the 100th anniversary since the birth of Tove Jansson, so I'm reading more of her work in recognition of this.
The True Deceiver is the story o...more2014 is the 100th anniversary since the birth of Tove Jansson, so I'm reading more of her work in recognition of this.
The True Deceiver is the story of an aging woman artist Anna Aemelin who lives alone on the outskirts of small village, snow bound as the opening pages reveal its stillness and propensity for chatter.
Anna keeps to herself and is content that way, her post and necessary supplies are delivered, there is minimal disruption to her way of life and the inspiration that feeds her artistic leanings, which awaken with the Spring and her venturing into the woodland beyond her home.
One of the villagers, Katri Krill, known to all as being good with numbers, one who can sniff out the slightest hint of corruption or exploitation, dreams of financial security for herself and her brother Mats.
Despite her trustworthiness, her sudden interest in the aging artist sets tongues wagging in the village, as she takes over more and more of Anna's business affairs, bringing her out of an oblivious state of denial regarding her situation, an interference that is both appreciated and resented equally.
The True Deceiver is Tove Jansson at her best, struggling and yet persevering to put into story form, the battle of those two states of mind, objectivity and aesthetic sensibility, constantly at war with each other, unlikely companions just as Anna and Katri, the rabbits and the dog.
Brilliantly evocative of the artistic struggle, it is a story that invites discussion and keeps the reader thinking long after that last page is turned. And wondering what those rabbits might have looked like, Moomins perhaps?
A tale of capable spinsters, otherwise known as excellent women, always to be relied upon, often taken for granted and hardly deemed for marriage. Mil...moreA tale of capable spinsters, otherwise known as excellent women, always to be relied upon, often taken for granted and hardly deemed for marriage. Mildred is one of those excellent women who might just make it up the aisle if the book was allowed to continue on for a few more chapters. In the meantime there are many who need comforting by her, not to mention endless cups of tea. Set in London Victoria, though it seemed much more like village life to me. Happy to have finally become acquainted with the infamous Barbara Pym in this her anniversary year.(less)
Monsieur Linh has no choice but to flee his country of birth due to tragedy and destruction around him, war or some kind of tyrannical regime have mad...moreMonsieur Linh has no choice but to flee his country of birth due to tragedy and destruction around him, war or some kind of tyrannical regime have made it impossible for him to stay, and so he takes a boat with his grand-daughter Sang diu, arriving as a refugee in a country across the water somewhere. The author does not say where he came from or where he arrives at, making this part of the reading experience, in fact we all had various impressions of where the story may have taken place, my own impression very much influenced by my recent reading of Vaddey Ratner's novel In the Shadow of the Banyan and my own travels in that part of the world.
Monsieur Linh doesn't leave the refugee dormitory at first, but when he does he befriends Monsieur Bark and so begins a regular coming together, a special friendship despite the incomprehension of each other's language. In a sense we are as uninformed as Monsieur Linh, we follow him into the unknown, share his anxieties and fears for Sang diu and feel the deep and mutual appreciation of the gestures of new-found friendship.
When I bought this book, another reader cautioned me against reading any reviews because there is a twist at the end of the book, so I did as mentioned and kept the reading experience pure. There is so much more I could share about how we invest ourselves in characters as readers, wishing things to happen and just as in life, ignoring the niggling instinct.
It is a beautiful story and I urge you to read it in English or in French, it is a testimony to kindness, tolerance, suffering and the small but heartfelt joys that friendship brings.
With Cormac McCarthy its always a case of I liked the story and I really liked the language, I like the way he writes but it is true he has a pessimis...moreWith Cormac McCarthy its always a case of I liked the story and I really liked the language, I like the way he writes but it is true he has a pessimistic nature and so its difficult to be much more exuberant about a novel whose major theme is futility. But I do love to read his stories - although I'm not tempted by 'Blood Meridian' due to the violence (and the recurring comments that agree they couldn't make sense of that aspect). Since I'm an optimist and theres no half star option I'm going to give it 4 stars.
This is the second in the trilogy and I loved the first book 'All the Pretty Horses'. Also enjoyed 'No Country for Old Men' and psyching myself up for the bleakness of 'The Road'.
I read this years ago around the time I was travelling and first living in London. I used to write down quotes in a little book at that time and disco...moreI read this years ago around the time I was travelling and first living in London. I used to write down quotes in a little book at that time and discovered a short piece of prose or a very long quote in the back of the edition of Kate Chopin's book, called 'A Reflection'. It remains one of my favourites quotes ever and so encapsulates those twin parts of us, the one that wants adventure and the one that needs solitude.
A Reflection Kate Chopin
Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace. They are fortunate beings. They do not need to apprehend the significance of things. They do not grow weary nor miss step, nor do they fall out of rank and sink by the wayside to be left contemplating the moving procession.
Ah! that moving procession that has left me by the road-side! Its fantastic colors are more brilliant and beautiful than the sun on the undulating waters. What matter if souls and bodies are failing beneath the feet of the ever-pressing multitude! It moves with the majestic rhythm of the spheres. Its discordant clashes sweep upward in one harmonious tone that blends with the music of other worlds--to complete God's orchestra.
It is greater than the stars--that moving procession of human energy; greater than the palpitating earth and the things growing thereon. Oh! I could weep at being left by the wayside; left with the grass and the clouds and a few dumb animals. True, I feel at home in the society of these symbols of life's immutability. In the procession I should feel the crushing feet, the clashing discords, the ruthless hands and stifling breath. I could not hear the rhythm of the march.
Salve! ye dumb hearts. Let us be still and wait by the roadside.
Candid, insightful, a pleasure to spend two days in Diana Athill's company through her book and experience in the publishing industry. My full review h...moreCandid, insightful, a pleasure to spend two days in Diana Athill's company through her book and experience in the publishing industry. My full review here at Word by Wordhere at Word by Word.(less)
Morrie was one of Mitch Albom's college professors and one of the unique kind that seems to occur if you studied the humanities, one that becomes a me...moreMorrie was one of Mitch Albom's college professors and one of the unique kind that seems to occur if you studied the humanities, one that becomes a mentor, a special friend, a kindred spirit.
Mitch didn't keep in touch with his professor, until many years later when he saw him on television and realised he was dying. He goes to see him and so begins a ritual meeting and sharing the older mans last days and some of the most pertinent things his 78 years has taught him.
It is a well edited conversation between two men, it gets to the point quickly and is a wake up call for the younger man and to all of us of what is important in life versus what we tend to give our attention to. It might seem obvious, but it is also true that we often need reminding of the those things we already know but rarely practice.
I read this now as background research as I am working with a 78-year-old woman writing a similar kind of book, only she is bot on her death bed, far from it, but she is equally inspirational and her boo might just be as popular as Mitch Albom's when it comes out. We certainly can learn a lot from our 78-year-old friends.(less)