gamache takes over the surete training college and, of course, shenanigans ensue. i found myself feeling quite emotional during the read. it's been eagamache takes over the surete training college and, of course, shenanigans ensue. i found myself feeling quite emotional during the read. it's been easy to become very attached to the characters of three pines!...more
this was a bit of a funny duck of an edition in the series for me as the 'babylon project' is oddly brought to light in three pines. we are given a bithis was a bit of a funny duck of an edition in the series for me as the 'babylon project' is oddly brought to light in three pines. we are given a bit more on ruth's past in this book, which i did quite enjoy. (i think she's my favourite in three pines.)...more
i seem to be hitting a bit of a reading rut lately, though one with a common denominator: books where i find the settings and time periods very interei seem to be hitting a bit of a reading rut lately, though one with a common denominator: books where i find the settings and time periods very interesting, but which, overall, leave me feeling a bit disappointed. though i did find some of the characters interesting in 'the mistress of nothing', i felt it was a very surface portrayal. even with allowances for the times and traditions/expectations, the second half of the novel proved very frustrating - i didn't really buy into the situations presented, (view spoiler)[after sally and omar's baby was born (hide spoiler)], and found their handling clumsy.
this book was selected as the september read, by the in-person book group that is trying to find its feet in our neighbourhood. we are meeting tonightthis book was selected as the september read, by the in-person book group that is trying to find its feet in our neighbourhood. we are meeting tonight to talk about.
i found this an interesting read, and it is clear lavorato did a mountain of research in support of his novel. while neither serafim or claire are particularly sympathetic characters, you can't help but hope the best for them as they seemingly move from one disappointment or act of violence and violation to the next. lavorato's writing is lovely, his experience as a poet is evident in the prose. the novel deals with some really big themes: politics, religion, art, feminism and the women's movement, immigration, morality, class systems, language, family... there is a lot going on in this book. and i think this is where things didn't quite hold together for me. i understand the weaving of all these subjects through his characters - especially as serafim is on the leading edge of what will become photojournalism - but the sheer number of ideas fragmented the flow of the read quite a bit for me. oddly, i felt a little impatient with the story - it seemed to take a long time for claire and serafim to finally connect. (oddly, as i am not, generally, an impatient person.) i quite liked the secondary characters, and found they added a lot of interest for me while i was reading. (claire's grandmother, and seraphim's friend antonino, in particular.)
the author noted in an interview that serafim and claire is "about obsession with your art", and i definitely felt this. though when it came to claire, her obsession does seem to shift to the more nebulous concept of fame as the story progresses, which made for good contemplation.
"saudad" is mentioned in the book, as an untranslatable portuguese word which describes the longing for things that are absent but that may never have been had in the first place. this concept, in the context of fiction, is fantastic! perhaps it could have been the title?
many thanks to mclelland & stewart (PRHC) for the ARC edition of this book -- i have been keenly anticipating this read in 2016.
3 stars, if we comany thanks to mclelland & stewart (PRHC) for the ARC edition of this book -- i have been keenly anticipating this read in 2016.
3 ½ stars, if we could.
the parker family is one hot mess. but aren't all families in at least one way or another? jones has created an interesting cast of characters in her novel, and i particularly loved how each character had their own warning sign included in a legend. each chapter is headed by one the ten signs. i feel like jones got into some really interesting research while working on this book - lake superior, geology, marine life, daredevils going over falls, paris, health issues... it all weaves well into creating the parker family history and foundation. i very much enjoyed the thunder bay setting
there were a few issues with the novel i had a bit of trouble with -- there is a device that repeats, 'if this were a movie...' crops up many times to denote how a film version of the parker life would vary from the reality. a bit meta, heh! the first couple of times it was interesting... but i felt it just came up too many times and it took me out of the flow of the read. another issue, i was more invested and engaged in certain storylines and characters, so then felt the other threads to be noisy (if that makes sense?) finally, i also felt like a couple of the story arcs petered out a bit weakly.
but these aren't huge complaints... just things i noticed while reading that were a little distracting. really, there is a lovely heart to we're all in this together. jones does a wonderful job with tensions and frictions in family, the things that go unsaid and bubble just below the surface, and the different ways people are never fully known to others. as well, jones displays wonderful sensitivity in charting kate's, the parker family matriarch's, path.
and, because this tune has been in my mind ever since i learned the title of this novel, and i can't stop thinking about it even time i think of this book ... i give you sam roberts band. 'keep moving don't stop", indeed! : https://youtu.be/VojforS6qFM
this was a re-read for me... but i last read it when it was published (1989) and have a crap memory. so all i retained was the barest of strings, andthis was a re-read for me... but i last read it when it was published (1989) and have a crap memory. so all i retained was the barest of strings, and the sense of just loving this story.
i have to say that i get so much enjoyment out of reading richler (and, as with carol shields, i get bummed fairly frequently over the fact they are no longer here to share new work with us). if the word 'romp' were ever well used in reviewing a book, it would be for this novel. it's a total romp. (can't believe i'm using that word!) it's epic and grand, fun and sharp, and for all its literariness, there is also an interesting mystery.
"In this, his ninth and most complex novel, Mr. Richler, a Canadian, is after something ambitious and risky, something slightly Dickensian, magical realist: ''Two Hundred Years of Jewish-Canadian Solitude.'' Richler fans will find the scenes one expects in his work -funny, biting, snide-sympathetic takes on Montreal Jewish life - incorporated into a fanciful superstructure of history, geography, myth... Regardless of what its author may actually have experienced, ''Solomon Gursky Was Here'' reads as if it were great fun to write. Dense, intricately plotted, it takes exuberant, nose-thumbing joy in traditional storytelling with all its nervy cliffhangers and narrative hooks, its windfall legacies, stolen portraits, murders and revenges, its clues that drop on the story line with a satisfying thud."
and i think the cool thing prose hit on in her review was the aspect of fun -- as i was reading i kept hoping richer had as much fun writing this as i was having reading it. there seems to be a whole lot of mischievous joy seeping from the pages, and that was a great experience!
i really like and respect ami mckay! i love how she digs deep into history, then spins it for fictional purposes. she's great at creating evocative pli really like and respect ami mckay! i love how she digs deep into history, then spins it for fictional purposes. she's great at creating evocative places and times, and interesting characters. her previous novels - The Birth House and The Virgin Cure - were books i deeply enjoyed. The Witches of New York has us revisiting main character, moth (now 'adelaide'), from the virgin cure. so... all of this to say i was, of course, hugely and keenly anticipating the new novel. i tried very hard to keep my excitement and expectations in check, but sometimes it's difficult - excitement just bubbles up, you know?
beforehand, i did manage to maintain very little awareness about the new story (all i knew was 'moth is back!' hahaha), so didn't know if i was in for spooky, creepy or eerie, or what? if you have concerns about this, there is a sinister side to TWoNY, but it's not super-scary or creepy. overall, i did like the novel. not quite as much as the previous two... but i felt engaged and entertained. the story was a little predictable for me, but i was still eager to turn the page to see what was coming next. i think my hesitations in truly loving TWoNY are down to two issues:
1) it definitely feels like a set-up for a series (or at least a second, followup, book). though the novel ties up nicely enough at the end, there are aspects which are left undone, foreshadowing more to come. so some of the book felt like 'set-up' instead of a fully and completely realized whole unto itself. this was surprising to discover as i was reading. but i will read whatever mckay publishes - with hope i am not way out in left field on the series idea (i really don't think i am, heh). it would definitely be nice to get some resolutions to a couple of storylines within TWoNY!
2) the style of writing felt a little bit too YA-y to me. - not quite as mature or... insightful, perhaps, as mckay's style in her previous works. it felt a little more simplistic. the content of the novel is not something i would recommend to younger readers - it's definitely a book for adults or very mature readers in their late-teens. one of the primary characters is 17yo, so TWoNY could definitely be an attractive consideration for older teens. there is some sexuality (no too heavy at all), and sinister tension/mystery, so just be aware of those if you are considering the book for your mature teen readers.
oh - another small point: moth/adelaide. i feel like i should go back and re-read the virgin cure. i loved moth in the book. in TWoNY, she's a bit older and a bit more jaded. though always street smart and cunning, there was a sensitivity to her in TVC which, though not totally absent was lessened in some ways in TWoNY. this is one of the areas that could be expanded if a second book or series is coming. i definitely would have liked more depth to moth/adelaide's arc. though we are left with imagining the possibilities to come, which can be quite enjoyable! :)
so... to sum up: i did quite like the story, characters, and mood mckay gives us in TWoNY. (and it's an absolutely perfect read for late-october!) i am also reading The Witches: Salem, 1692, by stacy schiff at the same time. this has actually been a fantastic paired read, with each book benefiting from the other, and overlapping with one another. yay! so i highly recommend that strategy, if you are into pairing a NF work with fiction. ...more
this is the second novel i have read from richard wagamese, and i continue to be impressed with his stories, style, and heart. while reading him, i juthis is the second novel i have read from richard wagamese, and i continue to be impressed with his stories, style, and heart. while reading him, i just feel there is much thoughtfulness and care given to his characters and their arcs. but i also feel there is a strong sense of care given to the reader. so wagamese's books, so far, definitely go into my 'quiet novels' folder. (this novel, and Indian Horse, and which are very possibly my favourite kind of books - 'quiet novels', i mean!)
i read this book very quickly, and i think doing so served the story well. franklin starlight is being, finally, given an oral history of his own life, and the life of his father, eldon starlight - a man he barely knew, and who only ever made very sporadic and drunken appearances in his son's life. and the timing is important to the novel. the book isn't very long at all, so if you can carve out a dedicated chunk of time to read it in one or two goes, i recommend that approach.
along with evoking wonderful settings and vivid characters, wagamese hits on some big ideas in medicine walk, and i know i will be contemplating them for some time. in fact, i feel like this is a book that would hold up very well under a second or third reading, and that it might get better with each re-read. (and it was very good the first time!) i certainly plan to hold onto this book and read it again. ...more
right off the top i feel the need to confess: short stories are something i really struggle with as a reader. i tend to come away from reading them feright off the top i feel the need to confess: short stories are something i really struggle with as a reader. i tend to come away from reading them feeling as though something is not complete ("wait! that's it??") or, alternately, i spend a lot of time going "what the what just happened?!" so i totally realize i have a shortcoming in this department - but i am working on it.
i approached crummey's collection optimistically. i love him. (seriously!!) and i held hope that his beautiful use of language and evocation of place when writing would draw me in completely. while there were many stories i liked a lot in flesh and blood i am left wishing i loved it more. (my fault, i know!) i give the book 4-stars for the writing. my own overall enjoyment of the collection is more around 3-stars (which PAINS me to my core to say about crummey's work).
i loved the settings and the glimpses at mining life during the industry's decline. crummey is terrific at the nuances of family and community - both of which are important in these stories. i also liked how the location of black rock recurred, along with a character or two cropping up in different stories -- i definitely appreciated the continuity in these instances.
i do suspect i will be thinking about a few of the stories for quite some time... in particular, 'the measure', featuring nurse maggie dawe.
i have now read four of fallis' five books. and while i have been entertained at times, there are some things about hisyep. this book was just okay.
i have now read four of fallis' five books. and while i have been entertained at times, there are some things about his style that just don't work for me - which were more evident to me in this book and 2014's No Relation.
generally, his books are great if you are in the mood for something light and fun. but when you get into specifics for each book, you might hit some problems. some of the issues i struggle with in fallis' books are: repetition; product placement (naming brand names); simplistic; predictability; way too much 'telling'.
in poles apart i wasn't quite as taken with the characters as i have been in his previous books, though i quite liked the secondary character of beverly tanner and would have loved more from her. the characters seemed a bit flat, and things felt a bit too flip.
so, overall, i didn't like this one too much - though beverly tanner salvaged things for me somewhat. ...more