“Because, between "reality" on the one hand and the point where the mind strikes reality, there's a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes int...more“Because, between "reality" on the one hand and the point where the mind strikes reality, there's a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not; and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.” Theo
Theo is a young boy in New York, visiting the Metropolitan Museum with his mother, when a bomb explodes and just about everyone dies, except Theo. He is given a painting, The Goldfinch and there starts the story. The first part of this book was nothing less than brilliant. Grabbed me and kept me invested and in love with Trott’s genius. The fact that Theo lost his mom at age 12 and lived in NY, loved art resonated to no end with me, as I lost my Dad at 12, lived on East 80th street and spent a lot of time at the Met; but beyond that Trott put into words the feelings I had of losing a parent, feeling alone and vulnerable and questioning my future. She captured those feelings artfully and articulately.
Part 2 of the book finds Theo in Las Vegas having been dragged there by his father and floozy of a girlfriend. There Theo meets Boris, a Russian schoolmate who leads a bit of a sleazier life and is quite an influence on Theo. Again, compelling, true, sad. I loved the bits about art collecting and the insider info about antiques. Loved Hobie – he sounded like the lady who had an antique store on 81st street. So calm, so knowlegable – but not offering a whole lot in terms of words of wisdom.
At this point my interest started to wane. The drug and alcohol abuse got old and the descriptions endless. I was ready to get to the end by page 600. But by page 725 I was once again savoring every description and Trott’s gift of prose.
Theo, Boris and most of the characters are multi-dimensional, flawed human beings with both a horrible side, worthy of hiding from all humanity, and a very human side. They are products of their childhoods, of their flawed parents and of experiences that scarred them profoundly. It is a story of coming of age, coming to terms with the past and Theo's growing up and "facing the music" as his father used to say.
I would have to give this book a 5 for readabilty and enjoyment and a 2 for a couple of grave mistakes, which IMHO, reduce the credibility of the plot...moreI would have to give this book a 5 for readabilty and enjoyment and a 2 for a couple of grave mistakes, which IMHO, reduce the credibility of the plot.
Jennifer wakes up in a hospital bed, having been gravely injured from a car accident, making a full recovery with the exception of her short term memory. Once home, she realizes that her feelings towards her husband run from cool to icy and that she is being kept in the dark from something in her past. She finds a love letter hidden in a book, signed simply "B" and begins to understand that there is more to her life than society parties and looking good on the arm of her husband. Fast forward 30 years and we meet Ellie who has jumped into bed with a married man and has lived for the past year looking forward to the short moments she can be with him, while at the same time she is neglecting her career as a journalist.
So the question becomes, is it ever right to disrupt a marriage? Is there any defense of an extramarital affair? Does a deep love justify breaking up a marriage? We see the perspective from the very staid 1960's and again from the millenium perspective.
My issue with the plot lies not in the amount of coincidences, but in the lack of curiosity on the parts of the two involved. SLIGHT SPOILER: wouldn't you want to see your dead lover's grave? Or if you knew him to be alive, stalk him just a little? Check internet and phone book for him? Look up his son and try to reconnect that way? As a journalist who reads papers, wouldn't he have read her husband's obit and known he had a second chance?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although not nearly as much as Me Before You; but towards the end I became disappointed with these details . (less)
Excellent novella, gripping and poignant, about an American patrol in the Vietnamese jungle who gets toyed with by a female sniper. Read it in one sit...moreExcellent novella, gripping and poignant, about an American patrol in the Vietnamese jungle who gets toyed with by a female sniper. Read it in one sitting and well worth the hour of my time.(less)
“Hey Clark', he said.'Tell me something good'. I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two peopl...more“Hey Clark', he said.'Tell me something good'. I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn't have met, and who didn't like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other. And I told him of the adventures they had, the places they had gone, and the things I had seen that I had never expected to. I conjured for him electric skies and iridescent seas and evenings full of laughter and silly jokes. I drew a world for him, a world far from a Swiss industrial estate, a world in which he was still somehow the person he had wanted to be. I drew the world he had created for me, full of wonder and possibility.”
This book could have been called "The Gift." As Will sits paraplegic in a wheelchair, furious at the cards he's been dealt, and Louisa settles for a ho-hum life in a small town, they are brought together by circumstance and over a period of 6 months give the greatest gift to each other -- the gift of freedom.
I read this book thinking it would be a fun book to listen to while walking the dogs. Light, bright and breezy. It was, but it was also so much more. This book very effectively looks at the plight of the terminally ill, of paraplegics with no hope of recovery and of the possibility of euthanasia. It is written with tact, wit and an introspection that is remarkable. Yes, there is an underlying love story which is sweet, but the real medula of the story is far more profound.
I'm so glad I didn't buy this book. Saw it on the shelf at the library and thought I'd give it a try. I thought the premise was good, original and mi...more
I'm so glad I didn't buy this book. Saw it on the shelf at the library and thought I'd give it a try. I thought the premise was good, original and might have held my interest, but frankly the character development was just not there and in the end I was skimming paragraphs -- never a good sign. I think the Latin authors who use this sort of literary license get it right - Allende, Garcia Marquez etc; Atkinson? Not so much. (less)
Excellent novel of the Holocaust told from the perspective of a reluctant SS officer stationed at Auschwitz who tries to make a difference. Very diffe...moreExcellent novel of the Holocaust told from the perspective of a reluctant SS officer stationed at Auschwitz who tries to make a difference. Very different and at times almost too graphic. Anka is a character who will haunt me forever.(less)
While the subject matter was somewhat interesting and the group who narrated their thoughts seemed to be interesting people, this book seemed to be a...moreWhile the subject matter was somewhat interesting and the group who narrated their thoughts seemed to be interesting people, this book seemed to be a simple transcription in chrono order of some conversations that the author had with a family of holocaust survivors. There was no editing, questions posed to clarify positions or expand on ideas. And when put together it just falls far short of a well thought book. It would serve a better purpose inside a family photo album with grandmother's memories and thoughts of that time period. Very valid, but too disjointed and incomplete to really be called a memoir. (less)