I had a very hard time with this book. While on the surface it would seem to be an enjoyable romp, the main character made this book almost completelyI had a very hard time with this book. While on the surface it would seem to be an enjoyable romp, the main character made this book almost completely unbearable. The main character is an author who lives and works in New York City and has traveled to his ancestral home of Ireland to get over a girl who wouldn't go out with him. Here is where the first problem comes in. He was never in a relationship with this woman. I can't relate to this man's complete self-indulgence. His ability to drop his entire life to take off to Ireland for an indeterminate amount of time to get over someone who he never actually had a relationship with is something that I don't think anyone can relate to. My attitude from the beginning was "Get over it".
At the very beginning there was a genealogical error which also drove me crazy. His aunt who is about the same age as himself is said to have had his grandfather as her father. In that case her mother would be his grandmother. For the rest of the book he keeps talking about how his aunt's mother is his great-aunt. Unless there was an incestuous relationship (which seems that it would be worth mentioning) this is just a blatant error.
The main character is fairly conceited and described himself several times as someone that others would be lucky to be with. He also has an obsession with his penis that just seemed completely out of place. While the descriptions of Ireland are charming, I couldn't get over the fact that this book was one of the many where the American goes to spend time in a "less complicated culture" to get over something and to learn a lesson about life. I appreciate it more when the author treats the native inhabitants with the respect they deserve and not as some relics of a bygone age.
This book is the beginning of a trilogy. I may read the other two books just to see if they get better or to get a sense of completion from having read the whole thing. But one thing is for sure...I won't be reading them because the first book compelled me to.
I really enjoyed this book. This is one of those rare books that really makes you see the good side of a region that is often described in disparagingI really enjoyed this book. This is one of those rare books that really makes you see the good side of a region that is often described in disparaging ways. This books takes place in Laos just after the beginning of Communist rule. The main character is a seventy-something coroner who has a homely nurse and a young man with Down's Syndrome for his staff. Their boring day to day jobs become a bit more exciting when several unexplained murders turn up in the morgue. The author describes both life in the city and when in the course of investigation, the main character travels into Hmong territory, he lets us know what the tribal areas of Laos are like. The characters are very engaging and I enjoyed the interactions between them. It reminded me very much of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (which if you know me is a very high complement). This is the beginning of a series that I can't wait to more fully explore....more