For me, it was difficult to read this as a novel. I felt I was reading a memoir or, perhaps, a lightly fictionalised migrant experience and this is reFor me, it was difficult to read this as a novel. I felt I was reading a memoir or, perhaps, a lightly fictionalised migrant experience and this is reinforced by the facts introduced into the novel itself as well as the endnotes. Ramon Santiso himself strides through these pages: his hopes, his dreams and ultimately his triumphs are shared in detail with any reader wishing to share the journey. Father and son share the portrayal of the journey on these pages: it is difficult to differentiate the editorial voice of the son from the experiences of the father but ultimately it doesn’t matter. What we have in this novel is a personal connection with a past that has shaped America.
Many of us who live in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are the descendants of European migrants from the early 20th century. We owe a great debt to Ramon Santiso and millions like him.
I enjoyed this book. Yes, it could have been edited more tightly in parts. But to have done so could have removed the voice that made it so unique. ...more
When lust, power and greed are coupled with a belief that money can buy anything and that the ends justifies the means regardless of the consequences,When lust, power and greed are coupled with a belief that money can buy anything and that the ends justifies the means regardless of the consequences, we have all of the ingredients of an explosive thriller.
When a sexual encounter between the US President and the young wife of a billionaire goes horribly wrong, a number of senior figures become involved in attempting to wipe out all evidence of the crime. Unfortunately for them, there was an eyewitness who has the only material evidence that can link the President to the crime scene.
So why was Luther Whitney robbing the billionaire’s house? Not all answers are as obvious as they may seem. Why is Jack Graham prepared to sacrifice his promising career as a partner in a leading law firm in order to defend Luther, and will he make the right choices? There’s plenty of action in this novel and believability is not necessarily an issue in escapism.
Or not for me, anyway. This is David Baldacci's first novel (I believe) and mand consider it his best. ...more
This is the fourth volume in the eight part House of Niccolo series. The House of Niccolo is definitely a series best read in order: the history, theThis is the fourth volume in the eight part House of Niccolo series. The House of Niccolo is definitely a series best read in order: the history, the intricate plotting and the characters develop throughout the series and the connections between the books can only be appreciated if read in sequence. In this volume (covering 1464 to 1468), Nicholas returns to Venice from Cyprus and is met by a watchful reception and an attack. Nicholas’s company is threatened with bankruptcy and those for whom he cares are also in danger. Nicholas embarks on a mission of his own: he will journey to the heart of Africa, to the fabled land of Prester John in search of the River of Gold. Nicholas is accompanied by some of the characters we have met in earlier novels and his life is, of course, complicated by various events along the way. From Venice to Timbuktu and all manner of places in between, Nicholas is acquiring wealth in all its forms, but will it be enough? As is the case in earlier novels, the pages are action filled, the research is impeccable and the journey is fraught with danger and discovery. As a first time reader, reading these books as they were published, I agonised over the choices Nicholas had to make and wondered what would happen next. As a serial re-reader (I confess), I find new aspects to enjoy and admire in every read. ...more
I first read this novel almost 40 years ago. I’ve just finished rereading: it remains my favourite Charles Dickens novel. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was iI first read this novel almost 40 years ago. I’ve just finished rereading: it remains my favourite Charles Dickens novel. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was initially published in weekly instalments over 31 weeks in 1859: it is historical fiction, encompassing the period from 1775 to 1792.
The novel is divided into three separate sections (books) dealing with different events in the lives of Dr Alexandre Manette, his daughter Lucie, French emigrant Charles Darnay and his family, as well as a number of other people and events in France and England. I believe that the novel will be easier to follow for a reader broadly familiar with the history leading to and consequences of the French Revolution in 1789.
On my first read, I was most interested in the French aspects of the novel: the images of Madame Defarge knitting, and Vengeance, together with the guillotine, have remained in my mind. This time, I was more focussed on identifying some of the themes that run through the novel. Those themes are resurrection, relationships, retribution and redemption.
The sufferings of Dr Manette, and later of Charles Darnay; the relationships between Dr Manette, Lucie, Mr Lorry, and others; the role of the DeFarges, and Vengeance, in both sustaining relationships and seeking retribution; and the redemption of Sydney Carton: combine in a way which illustrates much of what can be good and bad about humanity.
‘Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend,’ observed the Marquis, ‘will keep the dogs obedient to the whip as long as this roof,’ looking up to it, ‘shuts out the sky’.
To write more about the story may spoil its impact for those yet to read it. It is both a fine example of English literature and an interesting work of historical fiction. This is a novel where both the journey and the destination matter.
‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.’ ...more