oh, you guys - i am so torn over this one. i love anne tyler, and i love shakespeare. this whole 'hogarthif we could do half-stars, 2 ½ for this one.
oh, you guys - i am so torn over this one. i love anne tyler, and i love shakespeare. this whole 'hogarth shakespeare' project is completely intriguing to me, and i have now read all 3 of the books that have been released so far. i was worried about how this retelling would be worked by tyler. The Taming of the Shrew has its problems in our modern times and debates about misogyny, the patriarchy, and submissive females whose only value is as a married woman are not uncommon. but, could shakespeare have been making strong social commentary in support of women? who knows. but there is a lot of meaty background to consider and dig into.
enter anne tyler! :)
"That Tyler was willing to participate in this project at all is something of a fluke. The Hogarth editor just happened to catch her in a vulnerable moment. Tyler says, “When they first mentioned the possibility to me, I actually laughed, because here’s somebody with terrible plots — and they’re not even his own — but wonderful words, and then someone comes along and says, ‘Why don’t you take his terrible plot and add your inferior words to it?’ I mean really, does it make any sense?”
she cracks me up! but vinegar girl was not quite as entertaining as i had hoped. 'kate' seems a bit watered down - her temper and 'shrewdness' have lost a lot of their edge. her father and 'pyotr' (the updated 'petruchio') seem more caricatures - which isn't totally out of line with some of shakespeare's work... but it just didn't work for me coming from tyler. (though i will admit i was totally wanting more about kate's dad and pyoter being immunologists and autoimmune researchers at johns hopkins, nearing a breakthrough. i would totally read that novel if the caricatures issue was addressed. heh!)
with this novel, while it was quick reading and had its moments, i came away feeling a bit bummed that i didn't find too much humour in it, and that there wasn't a bit more nuance going on in the story. and a few situations in the novel were just left dangling. so this wasn't a novel i found sharp and highly engaging, unfortunately.
elena ferrante truly has a handle on the emotionally dark and twisty natures people possess. humans are complicated and difficult to fully know, whileelena ferrante truly has a handle on the emotionally dark and twisty natures people possess. humans are complicated and difficult to fully know, while at the same time one's own identity can be inconsistent and confusing. ferrante's style, through this translation, is sparse and compelling. but even with this sense of sparseness in the writing, there is depth and so much to think about with nearly every sentence. ferrante also gives such a strong sense of place in her stories, something i really enjoy in fiction. i read this over a few hours and it felt right for this work, which - though memories of the past are interspersed - mostly takes place over a 24-hour period of time.
i did not quite love this as much as the The Neapolitan Novels, but it is still a strong work from ferrante, and i liked going further back in her work. i also quite liked some of the same themes being explored here as in her later books.
this book is pretty damn awesome! i got so much enjoyment out of becky chambers' novel - i found it smart, insightful, entertaining, and emotional. itthis book is pretty damn awesome! i got so much enjoyment out of becky chambers' novel - i found it smart, insightful, entertaining, and emotional. it really packed a terrific reading punch.
i am not well read in the scifi realm... but i dabble a couple of times a year. so i don't know much about the sub-genres or the tropes, or have, really, any expectations beyond hoping for a good story. and this novel is such a good story.
it's very character-driven, and i love the cast chambers has given readers. each is so distinct (and i mean this beyond the fact so many different species are presented in the novel). chambers also manages to brilliantly weave in some politically charged galactic issues. i loved that, and how it reflects back so perfectly on us puny humans. another aspect of the book i enjoyed very much was the fact that inter-species relationships were written about, non-binary gender roles exist, and same-sex relationships are presented. there are some wonderfully kick-ass women in the novel - if you are a reader who loves books to pass the bechdel test... this is a great book for you! it passes with flying colours!
i recommend this to pretty much everyone -- if you think scifi isn't your thing, give this book a try. i feel like you will be won over by the long way to a small angry planet. i was so won over, i got teary at a couple of different moments during the story. there's a strong heart here, but not in a schlocky or cloying way.
that this is a debut novel is kind of making me go WOW even more. one reviewer (for the guardian, i think, called the book 'profound and humane', and i really cannot argue this at all. it is both of these things! this is an open-hearted book for our times. )
but, beyond all of these excellent things, the book is just a whole lot of fun. i came to it through the fact it was longlisted for the baileys women's prize for fiction. and i am SO glad it landed on my reading radar because of the award. i shall now impatiently wait for the next book in the series (or, i think they are saying the next book is a "stand alone sequel") - A Closed and Common Orbit. i only have to wait until october, 2016. i can do that. i think. :)