As somebody who has not the appreciation for science fiction, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how captivating the Time Machine was! An a...moreAs somebody who has not the appreciation for science fiction, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how captivating the Time Machine was! An absolutely commendable piece that conveyed ideas of popular philosophies in regards to evolution, socialism and capitalism that remain pertinent to today's society. Written with such vibrant and detailed imagination, the Time Machine accounts the journey of an unnamed Time Traveller who traveled into the distant future of 802,701. Using a first person voice, Wells was able to create a very believable world expressed vividly by the Time Traveller as he recounts his experience as an ignorant yet curious visitor of an unknown world that simultaneously beheld a strange beauty and horror to him.
Though Wells begins his novella on the scientific theory of time and relativity, the Time Machine is ultimately a work of social science rather than hard science. He borrows ideas of Marxism to illustrate the social fabrics of year 802,701 which is inhabited by two distinct species of humanoid creatures that are apparently descendants of humans, the Eloi and Morlock. With such a setting and by utilising paradox as well as irony, Wells threads in his critiques of Victorian England society that was embroiled in Industrialisation and functioning on the mechanics of capitalism.
Wells' position on Social Darwinism and capitalism was made clear in the Time Machine as he paints a future of which while the physical world may have achieved "perfection" through technological advancement, it has also paved way for mankind's inevitable fall into a state of social, moral and intellectual degeneration as mirrored by both the herbivorous-fun-loving-childlike-surface-dwellers-"Bourgeoisie" Eloi and the carnivorous-nocturnal-underground-lurking-monstrous-"Proletariat" Morlock. Simply amazing how Wells was able to conjecture such profound social commentaries through a surprisingly short story.(less)
The thing about having a favourite author or reading multiple works of the same author is that one may not be able to escape from setting certain expe...moreThe thing about having a favourite author or reading multiple works of the same author is that one may not be able to escape from setting certain expectations for the works that follow, especially if your prior read was the better or best work of said author. That was the case for me with Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter (TBD).
Having read The Joy Luck Club (TJC), I acknowledge that Amy Tan is indeed a remarkable writer whose work resonates with sentiments that I hold dear to my heart; self-identity, cultural belonging and the relationship between mother and daughter. TBD remained true to Tan's signature albeit not being quite the page-turner as TJC was. Can't say that I didn't feel a slight disappointment when I started TBD because of its slow pace and its seemingly unending depiction of insignificant mundanity of Ruth's (daughter of Chinese immigrant LuLing) everyday life. However so, I must say that by the end, this is a book that I appreciate for its imagination, creativity and emotions.
The book is divided into three parts shared between Ruth's life at present time (90s) in the USA and LuLing's life's story in China many years before, making a full circle in the third part. There were several times when I was tempted to just close the book and read another because of the stagnancy but I was desperate to continue on because of the compelling prologue. I was completely captured and it became a puzzle that I had to solve, my push to go on and I am glad that I did because as the story progressed, I found myself engrossed as the bits and pieces began to reveal themselves. Funny thing was that during the first part of the book, all I could think of was LuLing's story but during the second part, I was anxious to find out what was going to happen to Ruth, her marriage and whether her relationship with her mother was going to take a turn for the better.
This is a book that may require more patience than others but it is a good read nonetheless. (less)
When I began reading Night for the second time, I tried to put myself in his position, to try to imagine what it is like to be amidst turmoil, to exp...more When I began reading Night for the second time, I tried to put myself in his position, to try to imagine what it is like to be amidst turmoil, to experience what he experienced; the cruelty, the loss, the pain. Call it having a penchant for vicarious experiences, but the thing is that no matter how much I implored his words to take me there, I don't think I ever did reach there. Not because his work lacked description, but simply because I did not live through it to know what it is like. The human cruelty, the loss of hope and loved ones, the pain of losing oneself and the pain of numbness, unless one experiences them, those are feelings difficult to grasp. Even if they were within reach, it is still difficult for me to accept that such inhumanity took place or that one could live through it and find the courage to immortalise them in words. Bless the ignorance in me.
Night is raw, almost candid. No embellishments, no fancy words yet sufficient to stir up emotions within me and leaving me unsettled, especially towards the end when Wiesel relates the march and the carriage ride to Buchenwald. When such inhumanity takes place, seldom you need glorify them in words to feel the vacuity and pain. You will witness humanity being stripped down to its bare as survival hangs thin. Forget compassion, forget empathy, forget solidarity. Hunger, thirst, physical exhaustion will leave one’s mind tortured and forever change the face of humanity – remove it of its soul, turning it into a morbid creature.
I read this nonfiction without realising that I was reading it within the same premise framed by reading fictionalised accounts of personal loss and tragedies; of having the expectation of a “happy” ending, the assumption of a resolution or of a personal victory in some ways after triumphing over evil. Reading Night made me realise that life isn’t always as the stories go. Surviving a tragedy isn’t always going to leave you remade or flood you with optimism and gratitude for being given a second chance, because in reality, tragedies could leave you broken as you are, rob you of yourself and render you hollow and unrecognisable. Sometimes, there is no such thing as a resolution.
In history text books, you learn the facts and figures of past events, you may learn of the what, the when, the why and the how, but seldom will you hear the voices of the people affected and the sound of the experience itself. Night is an honest voice of one man as he recounts his battle as a boy for survival during one of the darkest moments in history. It is also his cry against God as he tries to make sense of the cruelty he witnesses. (less)
Be prepared to be swept away on a compelling journey of one man's struggle to find a place for himself - torn already as he was as a person of mixed p...moreBe prepared to be swept away on a compelling journey of one man's struggle to find a place for himself - torn already as he was as a person of mixed parentage - in a world wrecked with the chaos of war and by his inner turmoil in having to choose between the love and loyalty for his family, teacher and country, all the while, threading the ever ambiguous thin line of right and wrong. A poignant tale written with such beautiful fluidity and told with a richness that promises to mesmerise all your senses as well as capture your heart with its warmth, ingenuity and elegance.
I absolutely appreciated the imagery and the incorporation of both Eastern and Western cultures and philosophies in delivering a novel of epic proportions through the voice of a character whom is difficult not to empathise with. (less)