This was one of those books that got a lot of attention, so I decided I had to read it. But it didn't work for me! I couldn't connect with any of the...moreThis was one of those books that got a lot of attention, so I decided I had to read it. But it didn't work for me! I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I didn't get interested in the story at all. Maybe because Egan jumps with each chapter to a different main character and viewpoint and a different period in time, past and present. However, I thought the chapter brought as a PowerPoint presentation worked well.(less)
P. 99: "'The breath of the wind was like a tiger panting', said Rhoda."
Last sentence: "How many telephone...moreFirst sentence: "The sun had not yet risen."
P. 99: "'The breath of the wind was like a tiger panting', said Rhoda."
Last sentence: "How many telephone calls, how many postcards, are now needed to cut this hole th"
Plot Summary (Wikipedia):
The Waves is Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak through his own voice. The monologues that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset.
As the six characters or "voices" alternately speak, Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self, and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness. Bernard is a story-teller, always seeking some elusive and apt phrase (some critics see Woolf's friend E. M. Forster as an inspiration); Louis is an outsider, who seeks acceptance and success (some critics see aspects of T. S. Eliot, whom Woolf knew well, in Louis); Neville (who may be partially based on another of Woolf's friends, Lytton Strachey) desires love, seeking out a series of men, each of whom become the present object of his transcendent love; Jinny is a socialite, whose Weltanschauung corresponds to her physical, corporeal beauty; Susan flees the city, in preference for the countryside, where she grapples with the thrills and doubts of motherhood; and Rhoda is riddled with self-doubt and anxiety, always rejecting and indicting human compromise, always seeking out solitude . Percival (partially based on Woolf's brother, Thoby Stephen) is the god-like but morally flawed hero of the other six, who dies midway through the novel on an imperialist quest in British-dominated colonial India. Although Percival never speaks through a monologue of his own in The Waves, readers learn about him in detail as the other six characters repeatedly describe and reflect on him throughout the book.
The novel follows its six narrators from childhood through adulthood. Woolf's novel is concerned with the individual consciousness and the ways in which multiple consciousnesses can weave together.
When I saw that this was Woolf's most experimental novel, I wanted to read it right away, because I love experimental novels... that is, until I start reading them. I do appreciate them, but I am afraid I do not have the patience to read them slowly and to pause in order to think about what I just read. The best thing for me would be reading this together with someone else who could explain what I was reading exactly andwho would draw my attention to the uniqueness of phrases and literary techniques and so on. Because, this really interests me... but as I said, unfortunately I don't have the patience to think about it myself.
First sentence: "I John Fothergill West, student of Law in the University of St. Andrews, have endeavoured in the ensuing pages to lay my statement be...moreFirst sentence: "I John Fothergill West, student of Law in the University of St. Andrews, have endeavoured in the ensuing pages to lay my statement before the public in a concise and business-like fashion."
P. 99: "My sister's white, anxious face stood out in the obscurity with a startling exactness of profile like one of Rembrandt's portraits."
Last sentence: "Let him learn that if he will but cease to believe in the infallibility of his own methods, and will look to the East, from which all great movements come, he will find there a school of philosophers and of savants who, working on different lines from his own, are many thousand years ahead of him in all the essentials of knowledge."
Plot Summary (Wikipedia):
The Mystery of Cloomber is narrated by John Fothergill West, a Scot who has moved with his family from Edinburgh to Wigtownshire to care for the estate of his father's half brother, William Farintosh.
Near their residence, Branksome, is The Cloomber Hall, for many years untenanted but now settled in by John Berthier Heatherstone, late of the Indian Army. General Heatherstone is nervous to the point of being paranoid. As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that his fears are connected with some people in India whom he has offended somehow. Every year his paranoia reaches its climax around the fifth of October, after which date his fears subside for a while. After some time there is a shipwreck in the bay and among the survivors are three Buddhist priests who had boarded the ship from Kurrachee.
When John Fothergill West tells the general (to whose daughter Gabriel he is engaged) about the priests, he resigns himself to his fate and refuses any help from West.
Although I read all the books of Sherlock Holmes, I hadn't read any other works by Conan Doyle. The Mystery of Cloomber looked like an inviting and intriguing title, so I decided to start with this one. The novella (138 pages) is filed under Crime/Mystery, but I would classify it as fantasy or even psychological fiction. I liked the story, because, even it was fantasy and somewhat supernatural, it was told in a way that made everything very believable. I can imagine that when one is really convinced that one will have to pay one day for something done in the past, one doesn't resist when the day of the atonement has come finally after several decades.(less)
Equality 7-2521, writing in a tunnel under...moreFirst sentence: "It is a sin to write this."
Last sentence: "The sacred word: EGO."
Plot Summary (Wikipedia):
Equality 7-2521, writing in a tunnel under the earth, later revealed to be an ancient subway tunnel, explains his background, the society around him, and his emigration. His exclusive use of plural pronouns ("we", "our", "they") to refer to himself and others tells a tale of complete socialization and governmental control. The idea of the World Council was to eliminate all individualist ideas. It was so stressed, that people were burned at the stake for saying an Unspeakable Word ("I", "Me", "Myself", and "Ego"). He recounts his early life. He was raised, like all children in the world of Anthem, away from his parents in the Home of the Infants, then transferred to the Home of the Students, where he began his schooling. Later, he realized that he was born with a "curse": He is eager to think and question, and unwilling to give up himself for others, which violates the principles upon which Anthem's society is founded. He excelled in math and science, and dreamed of becoming a Scholar. However, a Council of Vocations assigned all people to their jobs, and he was assigned to the Home of the Street Sweepers.
Equality accepts his profession willingly in order to repent for his transgression (his desire to learn). He works with International 4-8818 and Union 5-3992. International is exceptionally tall, a great artist (which is his transgression, as only people chosen to be artists may draw), and Equality's only friend (having a friend also being a crime because, in Anthem's society, one is not supposed to prefer one of one's brothers over the rest). Union, "they of the half-brain," suffers from some sort of neurological seizures.
However, Equality remains curious. One day, he finds the entrance to a subway tunnel in his assigned work area and explores it, despite International 4-8818's protests that an action unauthorized by a Council is forbidden. Equality realizes that the tunnel is left over from the Unmentionable Times, before the creation of Anthem's society, and is curious about it. During the daily three hour-long play, he leaves the rest of the community at the theater and enters the tunnel and undertakes scientific experiments.
Working outside the City one day, by a field, Equality meets and falls in love with a woman, Liberty 5-3000, whom he names "The Golden One." Liberty 5-3000 names Equality "The Unconquered".
Continuing his scientific work, Equality rediscovers electricity (which he, until the book nears its conclusion, calls the "power of the sky") and the light bulb. He makes a decision to take his inventions to the World Council of Scholars when they arrive in his town in a few days' time, so that they will recognize his talent and allow him to work with them, as well as to make what he sees as a valuable contribution to his fellow men.
I read De Eeuwige Bron (The Fountainhead) by Ayn Rand a long time ago, and loved it. Therefore, when I had the chance to read another one of her novels, I didn't hesitate. Although I do not always agree with Rand's philosophy, I think she writes great novels, with subjects and themes that set you thinking. I will definitely have to read Atlas Shrugged too.
In Anthem, she tackles the, for me, immensely interesting subject of identity and the possible loss of it. She believes, and I agree, that there will always be individuals that will try to break free from totalitarian and/or repressive, dictatorial doctrines because there will always be people who wonder and think...
First sentence: "'The names,', Claire said, 'what about the names?'"
P. 99: "There was something about the woman - a moral astringency - that begged bo...moreFirst sentence: "'The names,', Claire said, 'what about the names?'"
P. 99: "There was something about the woman - a moral astringency - that begged both confession and challenge."
Last sentence: "With a pile of stones, he had written a name."
From BookDepository: A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner's name--and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country's. The memorial's designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself--as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman's cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure their perspectives. A striking portrait of a fractured city striving to make itself whole, "The Submission "is a piercing and resonant novel by an important new talent.
This was the first choice for #TwitLit, the Twitter Reading Club of the Dutch newspaper NRC. And because I started hearing some good things about it, I ordered it immediately at BookDepository and started reading it the minute it arrived in my mailbox. The story itself also appealed to me; what would happen when the design of the memorial for the victims of the attacks of 9/11 in New York was the work of a Muslim? Waldman sets down a believable chain of events, that is so convincing at times I could have believed it really happened. I loved the way she described the feelings and actions of different characters that were involved; Mo (or Mohammad) the architect, Claire, the widow of one of the victims of the attack (a rich and beautiful woman), Asma, also the widow of one of the victims, but in totally different circumstances (Asma and her husband are illegal Bangladeshi's immigrants), Paul, the head of the jury that has to decide which design will be chosen for the memorial), and so on.
Although the characters are only briefly sketched, it is as if you know them; it is very easy to understand why they think and act as they do, and their reactions are only too human.
I think this debut novel will appeal to many people, both those that love a great story and those that want stories with real-life characters.
I heard a lot about this book and for some weird reasons (including the title, probably), I thought this was going to be a book about sickness and dan...moreI heard a lot about this book and for some weird reasons (including the title, probably), I thought this was going to be a book about sickness and danger and the miserable life of two brothers working in a stone-quarry in Ethiopia... Well, luckily I was completely wrong. Yes it is about two brothers, and it is in Ethiopia (for the greatest part), but there are no stone-quarries and definitely no misery as I had pictured it. If you haven't read it, do so now.(less)
I liked this a lot, but I thought there were some things that could have been gotten into more and I didn't really like the ending; I thought it was a...moreI liked this a lot, but I thought there were some things that could have been gotten into more and I didn't really like the ending; I thought it was a bit abrupt.(less)
I found this book boring... I thought all the characters were awful and I never once got interested in what woulld happen to them, although I knew fro...moreI found this book boring... I thought all the characters were awful and I never once got interested in what woulld happen to them, although I knew from the start that something dreadful would happen. And it did, but only on the last page, and then it was mentioned, and that was it. Not for me, this one. (less)
A monologue spoken by a painter while he is painting the portrait of his former friend, an art critic. From the start you know something terrible is g...moreA monologue spoken by a painter while he is painting the portrait of his former friend, an art critic. From the start you know something terrible is going to happen, so you keep on reading. So good!(less)