Janet Frame is another one of those authors whose books I ration. I discovered Frame's work after I fell for Jane Campion's work. The Piano led to An...moreJanet Frame is another one of those authors whose books I ration. I discovered Frame's work after I fell for Jane Campion's work. The Piano led to An Angel at My Table, which was based on Frame's autobiography of the same name and some of her other work. Frame died a few years ago after a life of tragedy, astounding accomplishments, and gorgeous writing. Some writers wish they would write like Dickinson or Faulkner or Shakespeare . . . I wish I could write like Frame.
Owls Do Cry was Frame's first semi-autobiographical novel. It follows a New Zealand family through the death of a daughter, the mental illness and subsequent institutionalization of another, and the general tragedies of deeply injured children. But the plot isn't what normally matters in Frame's books. her language is intense, and beautiful, and poetic. And right--always right. I'm sure I'll read it again. (less)
**spoiler alert** Set in Canada during the Cold War, the novel follows the family of a Royal Canadian Air Force officer named Jack, who becomes wrappe...more**spoiler alert** Set in Canada during the Cold War, the novel follows the family of a Royal Canadian Air Force officer named Jack, who becomes wrapped up in military intelligence supporting the US in the space race. The most engaging character in the novel is Madeline, the eight year old daughter of Jack and his Acadian wife Mimi. We follow Madeline, her brother Mike, and the kids on living in Centralia, the Canadian airbase where their families are stationed. The book is very well researched, veers from the local to the international and back again with great ease, and is a gorgeous read. And it will break your heart.
And now I'm going to spoil something about the plot, because I wish I had known a bit more about what to expect. The book jacket won't tell you this. So keep reading if you want the warning I wish I had had.
Movies warn you in advance if they contain violence, cursing, sex, or any of the other things that varying people find objectionable. Books rarely do the same. One of the major plot points of the novel is sexual abuse of children. It can be painfully shocking to have such subject matter come at you from left field in books and movies. In this book, I initially assumed I was paranoid, and that the kids would be relatively safe. As the abuse scenario unfolded, I was mortified. And I was crippled with anger at the parents who failed to notice their children's suffering and at the criminal who was changing these kids utterly. MacDonald is a stellar writer, and her characters draw you into their minds. So I was worrying about the kids whether I had the book open or not. If that is going to be too difficult for you, don't read the book. (less)
This lovely little book was a Christmas gift from Scott's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Bill, the keepers of the llamas-in-law. They're readers. I love to ge...moreThis lovely little book was a Christmas gift from Scott's Aunt Shirley and Uncle Bill, the keepers of the llamas-in-law. They're readers. I love to get books from readers.
The book is set in Connemara, that bastion of sean nós dance and fine ponies. The main character is a priest/fisherman, who is pondering some salacious and tragic news he's learned from one of his parishioners. The characters are engaging, and the story is tragic but plausible. The dialog sways towards caricatures here and there, but not too terribly and not for too long. It's a good novella.(less)
The novel, well, I would strangle Natty Bumppo if I had to travel with him. Prattle prattle condescend prattle. Uncas, Chingachgook, and Cora strike me as the real heroes of the story. Cooper rambles a bit too much, and the book could use a good edit. A good story, nonetheless. (less)
The book itself is outstanding, but I found the reader of the audiobook slightly lacking. She overused a hesitant style, and was a bit too twee in her...moreThe book itself is outstanding, but I found the reader of the audiobook slightly lacking. She overused a hesitant style, and was a bit too twee in her tone for a lot of the book. Still, a good listen. My full review is here: http://booksforears.com/2008/01/10/ho...(less)