**spoiler alert** Oh my word...this book was too much (in a bad way). Too many metaphors, too many similes, too many examples spelling things out for**spoiler alert** Oh my word...this book was too much (in a bad way). Too many metaphors, too many similes, too many examples spelling things out for us. As a character, the narrator was detached. Therefore I was detached. I really didn't care about him. I found Marianne much more interesting and thought the secondary characters were done well.There are a couple of characters and sections I feel could make for interesting books in their own right.I found the 'back-in-time' sequences dealing with examples of eternal love to be repetitive. The fact the author felt the need to explain his book - rather, his main character's 'redemption' - to us on pages 370 & 371 (the hardcover edition I read) irked me; did he think the readers were not thoughtful enough to know that for themselves? I didn't feel the book or Davidson's writing style to be spectacular - as has been hyped for so long. Perhaps the hype is/was the problem? Overall, I feel Davidson had an interesting idea and then tried to cram everything he learned into the book. I know I am in the minority when I say I did not like this book....more
Read for an in-person book group, I found this to be a problematic novel and didn't really buy in to the whole premise. I couldn't suspend my disbelieRead for an in-person book group, I found this to be a problematic novel and didn't really buy in to the whole premise. I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to just go along with Edwards.
I just finished reading your new book, Last Night in Twisted River. I enjoy your writing style very much and your layers of storytelliDear Mr. Irving;
I just finished reading your new book, Last Night in Twisted River. I enjoy your writing style very much and your layers of storytelling have always been amazing to me. I do have to ask you something difficult, though.
I have had this hope, each time I hear of a new John Irving book being released, that THIS time I am going to be totally surprised by how and where you have taken us as readers. My only wish is for you to really break out of you Exeter/wrestling/boys&mothers box. You do this group of themes so well, and have shown that time and again. In fact, in your new novel you rail against authors who do the same thing by "writing what they know". You can understand my confusion.
In Last Night in Twisted River, the (very)thinly veiled references to almost every book you have ever published, peppered throughout this novel, is a bit disconcerting. Along with a few badly cloaked allusions to some of your personal, real life events I am left worried your creative well is getting depleted. We readers know you KNOW this stuff ~ your comfort zone, your heart.
Please Mr. Irving, something different next time? I know you have the talent to pull off the absolutely unexpected and render the reading world gob-smacked! I still heart you and still give the novel 4 stars!
Okay, so before the book has to go back to the library, I pulled out a couple of quotes that stood out for me.
A)"Ketchum meant that someone should have killed Ralph Nader. (Gore would have beaten Bush in Florida if Nader hadn't played the spoiler role.) Ketchum believed that Ralph Nader should be bound and gagged - "preferably, in a child's defective car seat" - and sunk in the Androscoggin."
Okay, this just made me laugh out loud, picturing it.
B)"Danny Angel's fiction had been ransacked for every conceivable autobiographical scrap; his novels had been dissected and overanalyzed for whatever could be construed as the virtual memoirs hidden inside them. But what did Danny expect? In the media, real life was more important that fiction; those elements of a novel that were, at least, based on personal experience were of more interest to the general public that those pieces of the novel-writing process that were "merely" made up."
C) "That kind of question drove Danny Angel crazy, but he expected too much from journalists; most of them lacked the imagination to believe that anything credible in a novel had been "wholly imagined." And those former journalists who later turned to writing fiction subscribed to that tiresome Hemingway dictum of writing about what you know. What bullshit was this? Novels should be about the people you know? How many boring but deadeningly realistic novels ca be attributed to this lame and utterly uninspired advice?"
D) "Dysfunctional families; damaging sexual experiences; various losses of innocence, all leading to regret. These stories were small, domestic tragedies - none of them condemnations of society or government. In Danny Angel's novels the villain - if there was one - was more often human nature..."
Funny how my tongue-in-cheek letter, above, can be addressed with passages from the novel. These quotations were all taken from the same time in the book, covering pages 372 through 377.
I loved the first two-thirds of the novel. I found Cleave's ability to give voice to a young, female, Nigerian character quite remarkable. I felt theI loved the first two-thirds of the novel. I found Cleave's ability to give voice to a young, female, Nigerian character quite remarkable. I felt the idea for the story to be very original. I was so eager to follow wherever the tale was taking me. Towards the end, (I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't read it) the author uses a plot device that I just cannot reconcile. I know why he did it, but it does not fit with what I feel the character would have done. The story certainly makes you think about the atrocities endured by so many people in some developing nations.
There was/is a lot of hype for this book and I am always wary of books that are elevated in status. The description on the book jacket is a bit irritating ("We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it..."), although I'm sure it has been marketing gold! If you can get past these two elements, I do think the book is worth reading and that Cleave has created a memorable character in Little Bee....more
This is Lansens' third novel. Her last book, The Girls, is one of my favourite and Rush Home Road was a wonderful novel which I loved too. Her new worThis is Lansens' third novel. Her last book, The Girls, is one of my favourite and Rush Home Road was a wonderful novel which I loved too. Her new work,The Wife's Tale A Novel, while well written with and interesting main character in Mary Gooch, was not as strong as her previous two works. In this story the author references her other two novels. I found this a bit disconcerting. She is not writing a series although each story does take place in the same county she has invented in south-western Ontario, Canada. The insertion of these points of reference seemed to affect the flow of the story. I was cheering for Mary and I did wonder how the story would unfold. I felt Jimmy Gooch could have been more fully developed. I recognize the story was about Mary, but a bit more about Jimmy could have added to the story, giving it a bit more depth. I felt the ending to be a bit weak - slightly unfinished or hasty. Over all I would give this three and a half stars. I still believe Lansens is a gifted writer and story-teller but, for me,The Wife's Tale A Novel falls a bit short of her previous ....more
Richard Russo is a great storyteller and he gets the nuances and dynamics of family so well. I enjoyed this one, but it's not one of my favourites froRichard Russo is a great storyteller and he gets the nuances and dynamics of family so well. I enjoyed this one, but it's not one of my favourites from him....more