I didn't realise that there were so many questions about and around the issue of Jewishness, but they all get considered in this book. Can you be a Je...moreI didn't realise that there were so many questions about and around the issue of Jewishness, but they all get considered in this book. Can you be a Jew without knowing it? Can you be half Jewish? Are all Jews responsible for any subjugation that is happening with Palestine? Are Jews excluded by society or do they exclude society? It goes on. There is a slight plot that a lot of these questions are hung on, and the book was interesting enough, but I didn't find it that funny, if funny at all, and it is not a book I would read again, or recommend.(less)
I found reading this to be strange - it was an experience akin to walking through the changing landscape of a desert, as described so well in the book...moreI found reading this to be strange - it was an experience akin to walking through the changing landscape of a desert, as described so well in the book. This book shouldn't work for me - there is not much of a plot; the characters are not sympathetic - at least, I was not moved by their predicaments; there is for each charachter massive amounts of backstory, something that normally bores and frustrates me and the book is set in the second world war - a setting that has been so overused by novelists that even though I find that time of historical interest, I avoid novels set in it.
I did wonder if I would have liked the book as much had I not once half watched the end of the film. This meant that I had clear pictures of Hana, the burnt man, and the villa. I had no rememberance of Kip from the film, but Kip is the one character who is really fleshed out in the book, and towards whom I had some sympathy. So the bits of the film I remembered complimented and enhanced the book. (less)
I have seen the film of this book many years ago, and have to say that I prefer the book, as the film puzzled me.
The story is that a girl in "modern"...moreI have seen the film of this book many years ago, and have to say that I prefer the book, as the film puzzled me.
The story is that a girl in "modern" times (it was written in 1975) who goes to India to find out more about Olivia, the woman that her grandfather was married to before she left him for an Indian prince. The modern girl, who I don't think is actually named, goes to great lengths to follow in Olivia's footsteps, even seducing an Indian in the same place where Olivia and her Indian Prince first made love. I found the modern girl to be more interesting than Olivia, who seemed a bit shallow, and would have liked to know more about her and to follow her story for longer, but I was totally immersed in this story. It is a nice quick read as well, the book is only 181 pages. (less)
I bloody loved this book, and am totally in love with Cromwell. Wolf Hall is a tale of the historical period when King Henry VIII was in love with Ann...moreI bloody loved this book, and am totally in love with Cromwell. Wolf Hall is a tale of the historical period when King Henry VIII was in love with Anne Boleyn - so from about 1526, until she miscarried a boy in 1535 - told through the viewpoint of Thomas Cromwell.
I, like most people, have a psssing interest in the bloody hisory of Henry VIII and his children, and found the story to be fascinating. The tale charts the rise of Cromwell as well, and he is presented in such a sympathetic way, as such a hard working, loyal, loving person, of quiet wit, grounded in a confident belief in himself, that it would not be possible to dislike him. Whether this depiction is accurate is of course hard to judge, but Cromwell must have been an unusual man to have risen to the position that he held.
At the back of the book is an interview with the author who indicates that she is writing a sequel. Oh how I do hope so! (less)
This book has some fantastic blurb on the cover, so I kind of feel that I should have liked it more.
There is no main character in the book, the book i...moreThis book has some fantastic blurb on the cover, so I kind of feel that I should have liked it more.
There is no main character in the book, the book is about several people, a retired judge who only cares about his dog Mutt, his grandaughter Sai, who is in love with her Nepali tutor, their cook, who has a son illegaly living in America, the son Biju, and the acquaintances of the family. The book is about how these people live, and how that is affected by the Nepali uprising in the area they live in (Kalimpong).
I read that the book is funny, but I found it very sad. Everyone seemed so tied into their hard unsatisfactory life with no wiggle room to change it. It was offputting that it took a long time to get into the book. You don't get any feel for the characters at first, information about them is doled out slowly through the book. I also wasn't sure about the structure of the book - the book begins with an event, and then tells so much in flashback. I found myself unsure of where we were with Sai and her tutor.
I don't like really to read books where the outlook is so bleak for the characters, I do like a book which has a little hope. (less)
**spoiler alert** At the end of this book the main character was going to receive the results of an AIDS test, pretty sure that he was going to be fou...more**spoiler alert** At the end of this book the main character was going to receive the results of an AIDS test, pretty sure that he was going to be found positive. It is enough comment on this book to say that I absolutely did not care one way or another what the results would be. I found this guy quite repellant, and could not understand his popularity throughout the book, and could understand only too well his falling from favour.
There is no plot in this book. It is about a young gay man, his affairs, his interior thoughts, which are mostly self-absorbed, and to a lesser extent, a little about the family he lives with.
The only thing that kept me reading was the writing. And it only just kept me reading. (less)
Despite everything I really enjoyed this book. Despite what? Despite it being a booker prize winner, for one thing, and despite it being written in fl...moreDespite everything I really enjoyed this book. Despite what? Despite it being a booker prize winner, for one thing, and despite it being written in flashbacks, and extracts from papers, and extracts from another book (also called The Blind Assassin - such a tired concept now, but perhaps not in 2000). This book mostly concernes the last year of Iris Chase Griffen, and Iris is a believable old person, and a believable old person who has had a believable interesting past. Of course some of what was happening to Iris's sister in the past was obvious to me, long before it was revealed in the book, but even that seems likely, given that in the fictional terms of this book, it was being written with hindsight - which probably revealed more than was clear at the time.(less)
This is an odd little book, but one that is very compelling. Really, this book should not work - there is an omnipresent narrator (the book is written...moreThis is an odd little book, but one that is very compelling. Really, this book should not work - there is an omnipresent narrator (the book is written in the third person) and one of the narrator's comments - about how the boutiques of London would all have changed entirely after a couple of years - destroyed the mood for me almost entirely. The advice of writing books is to have nothing happen that doesn't move the story forward, but we have Heinrich van Furstenfeld's sudden, short appearance.
I just couldn't help liking the book, even though.
The book is about a collection of boat owners moored at the Reach on the Thames people. There is Richard (and Laura) in a converted minesweeper - the only boat that can be described as a houseboat really; Nenna and her two girls; Woodie; Maurice; and Willis.
It is not very clear how much time passes during the course of the book, but a lot happens. One boat sinks. Richard and Laura split up. There is a violent assault, and a 6 year old girl is threatened. Heinrich appears. Nenna's Canadian sister arrives. Two boats get put up for sale. And the book ends with a storm, a storm in which one boat, with two people on board, breaks it's moorings ....
As I read the boat I felt that the flow of the book was like the descriptions of the Thames - the river is a character in the book, her tides rule the movements of the people on the boat (very literally, they cannot use the head except on a falling tide), and the flow of the book has the same switches, the same eddies, the same sudden appearances of valuables found hidden in the mud (Heinrich) or dangers that come floating in with the tide (Harry). (less)