This is a book with a very weak ending. Some of the dialogue is clever, and reminded me of Zelda's writing - one suspects he may have cribbed her diar...moreThis is a book with a very weak ending. Some of the dialogue is clever, and reminded me of Zelda's writing - one suspects he may have cribbed her diary as he did unapologetically in earlier works - and without crediting her. Some whole paragraphs are incomprehensible to me, however, and in general, Zelda's story of the end of her marriage rang truer. Fitzgerald, who says the story is based partly on himself and Zelda and partly on Gerald and Sara Murphy, describes his hero, Dick Diver, as a man who started adult life a charming, clever, talented psychiatric doctor and recognized author. Unfortunately for him, he was also such a giver that he decided to marry and take care of the beautiful and disturbed (very wealthy) young woman, Nicole. After six years of high living on Nicole's money and gradual, apparently happy, adaptation to being rich, he runs out of steam. Nicole, he writes, is so needy that she has sucked the life from him. She has stolen his talent, his charm and his health. He begins to drink, loses his clinic, and finally his family. But not before inventing (?) a history for Nicole that is scandalous and shaming in the extreme. It was a startling and unkind act towards his real wife, and must have raised eyebrows when it came out in print. I was disgusted by this and by the whining of the alcoholic looking for someone to blame. I am aware that families of people with mental illness are often destroyed by it. If that was the story he told, I could better understand. But that's not at all the story he told, and I am unmoved by what he was trying to sell. (less)
About WWI soldiers and officers suffering from battle fatigue/psychiatric disorders and the anthropologist turned psychologist who treats them. I have...moreAbout WWI soldiers and officers suffering from battle fatigue/psychiatric disorders and the anthropologist turned psychologist who treats them. I have nothing special to say about this book. It was fine, but not special in any way. I probably won't read the rest of the series. Too many really good things out there.(less)
I just can't stand Game Change!! Every time I pick it up and read the incredibly vapid comments these authors think are revelations, I gag and run for...moreI just can't stand Game Change!! Every time I pick it up and read the incredibly vapid comments these authors think are revelations, I gag and run for Henning Mankell.
This one takes place in Sweden and South Africa, and the story involves an assassination plot. It is more complex than the first mysteries in the series, and astonishing things happen to Kurt Wallander and his family and colleagues. His father, for example, decides to marry. And then he paints a new landscape!! He reconnects with an old friend, who has been present in every previous book as a totally minor character, and finally addresses his barren private life in an unexpected way.
This is getting very interesting, and I probably won't be able to resist reading the next in the series instead of Game Change. So sorry I bought that one.(less)
There were some very interesting characters who lived at this address, and so many connections one to another, especially in the early years when apar...moreThere were some very interesting characters who lived at this address, and so many connections one to another, especially in the early years when apartments were rented only to those who were socially acceptable as well as wealthy. The building was designed by the Italian architect, Rosario Candela, already known for luxury NYC apartments. It was built by James Thomas Aloysius Lee and his partners. Lee was an adventurous land developer now probably most famous as Jacqueline Kennedy's grandfather, known to Caroline as Grampy Lee. The building did not make Lee a profit, and apartments were relatively stable in price until the 1980's and '90's when the new robber barons began to replace the old society folks. Originally conceived by Lee as a cooperative that would form a club of extraordinary gentlemen who shared the same values, Lee had to settle for renting. Tenants included John D. Rockefeller, Junior, the Brewsters, Landon Thorne and other successful NYC businessmen, many self-made, European royalty, mostly of the minor variety, Jack Bouvier and his wife Janet and daughters Jacqueline and Lee among other less famous names. At one point, Junior Rockefeller bought the building and mercifully rescued Lee from the albatross of debt it represented. After the severe business decline of the late '60's and '70's, the renters finally agreed, under duress, to form a coop and assume the debt as a group. From then on, a board of directors decided which applicants were acceptable. From early days, a few Jewish apartments were designated, and it has only been recently that the informal quota has disappeared.
I enjoyed the author's description of the life of the wealthy in NYC; the richest build homes at first, starting downtown and moving uptown along Park and Fifth Avenues as the years passed. But slowly, private homes were replaced by high rise buildings so that by the '30's, everyone who was anyone was looking for a Candela apartment in one of the best buildings. 740 Park was the best, but for some of the most traditional newly made men, the least pretentious of the meritocracy, Park Avenue was a "Jewish address," so one half of the building fronted 71st Street, and the more staid preferred that address, as well as the less ostentatious entry. The building was divided into four sections, A, B, C, and D-lines, so named because each had its own bank of elevators. There were servants' rooms in many of the apartments, and extra rooms for help downstairs. Each apartment had its own storage room for cigars, wine and extra furniture. There was an enormous amount of remodeling, combining and recombining of apartments over the years. Many tenants and/or owners never occupied the rooms. Many others kept empty apartments after the death of parents who lived there as investments. Some who bought and redecorated lived there for only months or a few years before moving again. There were deaths, scandals, tragedies. Many of the owners ended up broke; some crashed and burned others went to jail. Many tenants were widows living alone, but there were also young families with children. Often the children hated the building. Employees robbed the tenants blind.
I liked the social history very much, but I would say that the author gave so many familial and business connections that one's head spun. (less)
You should read this book if you want to know how the religious right connects to the war in Iraq. Disgusting corruption, so bad that they've had to c...moreYou should read this book if you want to know how the religious right connects to the war in Iraq. Disgusting corruption, so bad that they've had to change their name to Xe. They hired thugs from Chile, death squads actually, to do the work in Iraq, paid them next to nothing, then pocketed enormous fees. Remember the first battle of Fallujah? The mutilated bodies of civilian contractors that caused all the outrage? Guess who sent the contractors on a fool's errand without proper maps, training or protection. The founder of Blackwater is Eric Prince, and he's hired lots of discredited ex-CIA higher-ups to help him steal your money.(less)
This mystery's main character is a lawyer who worked for Thomas Cromwell in 16th C England. He is a believer in the reformation that Cromwell is imple...moreThis mystery's main character is a lawyer who worked for Thomas Cromwell in 16th C England. He is a believer in the reformation that Cromwell is implementing for the King, and he becomes disillusioned with all of the above. By the end of the book, he has quit his post and returned to the private practice of law in London. Oh, and he's a hunchback. I thought the mystery was forgettable. In fact, I won't remember it next week. And the portrait of Cromwell was extremely unflattering, which didn't please me, either. Oh well.(less)
I haven't read one of Simenon's simple but convoluted mysteries in a long time. It was fun, and Maigret is one of my faves. I dare you to figure out t...moreI haven't read one of Simenon's simple but convoluted mysteries in a long time. It was fun, and Maigret is one of my faves. I dare you to figure out the crime before the end.(less)
Zelda had a way of writing that was lively and sometimes hard to figure out, but a far cry from the woman who was portrayed in Z. If this is what it's...moreZelda had a way of writing that was lively and sometimes hard to figure out, but a far cry from the woman who was portrayed in Z. If this is what it's supposed to be- her side of the story - she did a much better job of explaining herself than did those who set out to explain her. She describes herself as a person who needed an awful lot of space from the requirements of being a wife and a mother. She couldn't run a house, she really couldn't give her daughter enough structure or home training, she needed an outlet of her own, and she sacrificed everything, including sanity, to get one. Zelda's book makes Zelda the star of her own life, searching for a way to express her vitality and her unique vision. She speaks frankly about abandoning her family and ruining her health in an obsession with dance that seemed at first a good thing in that it provided anxiety-reduction and purpose to her aimless existence, but that became a very bad thing when she couldn't stop. I have questions about the role of alcohol, particularly absinthe, in her later breakdowns. Love to see a psychiatrist do a book on Zelda.(less)
**spoiler alert** Naoko won the Japan Mystery Writers Award, but this is not a mystery at all. It is a science fiction tale, or a fable. The hero, fac...more**spoiler alert** Naoko won the Japan Mystery Writers Award, but this is not a mystery at all. It is a science fiction tale, or a fable. The hero, factory foreman Heisuke Sugita is a simple man, a traditional and loving Japanese husband to his spirited wife Naoki and hard-working father of one daughter, Monami. In 1985, Heisuke sends his family on a school-sponsored skiing trip to Nagano without him. When the bus they are in plunges off a mountain, Naoki is killed instantly. Monami lingers in a coma for a few days. When she finally wakes, it is clear that something is horribly awry. Although Monami's body has survived, it is Naoki's spirit that animates her. Heisuke and Naoki struggle to deal with all the implications of their situation. Naoki must pretend to be Monami in public, but performs all the tasks of a Japanese wife in private, except one. The husband and wife cannot bring themselves to express physical affection--- after all, Monami is only 12 years old. They maintain a sort of equilibrium for almost five years, during which time Heisuke explores the causes of the crash, discovering the bus driver's secret and meeting both his first and second wives and his son and step-daughter. His wife, growing into adolescence in her daughter's body, learns to do her school work, speak to her friends, and decides to go to medical school. When she begins to blossom and to look more grown, the boys begin to show interest in her, creating a crisis. Heisuke is jealous. He begins to spy on Monami, recording her phone calls and slinking around her room when she's gone. He is jealous and follows her on her first date to chase the boy away. Monami goes home with him, and they become estranged, uncomfortable. They realize they can't go on this way. They attempt to have sex, but neither can do it. It seems as if they have reached an impasse. Naoki is depressed. The inarticulate Heisuke prays something will change. The reader wonders whether violence will follow and who will commit it. But then, one night Naoki falls suddenly asleep and without warning, Monami's personality emerges. She is confused, dazed. She has no memory of the years between the accident and her second year of high school. She can only stay awake for a few hours at a time at first, but is soon able to go to school. Miraculously, she is able to do the hard work she has never learned. Heisuke is overjoyed, but also saddened. He hopes Naoki and Monami can share the body, but slowly, over months, Monami becomes dominant. Naoki hints that she will recede willingly, and writes a letter to explain to Monami what has happened. And another letter telling Monami what to do. As Heisuke begins to be concerned about Naoki's survival, Monami asks him to take her to a special park in Yokohama, where her mother and father had their first date. Heisuke, fearful but resigned, prepares with a new boom box and music specially selected to please Naoki, even though buying the CD embarrasses him --it is not music preferred by middle-aged men and the clerk in the music store gives him a look. They sit on a bench and look at the sea. Monami tells her father that her mother has left instructions for her to do this. She falls asleep and Naoki appears to thank her husband and say goodbye. There are tears all around. Monami returns to her body, and the book ends with Heisuke beginning to understand that Naoki has never been with him. She died for good the day the bus fell off the mountain, and Monami, his so smart daughter, has put on this elaborate act to protect him. It has been Monami all along, imitating her mother until her father was strong enough to live without her. Monami marries the son (not really) of the bus driver's first wife, and they all live happily. A surprisingly effective book. I didn't see it coming at all. I thought Naoki would just fade away.(less)