At one point, someone explains to the main character, Milo, that he'd make a terrible protagonist for a novel. At this moment, I am unsure if this amoAt one point, someone explains to the main character, Milo, that he'd make a terrible protagonist for a novel. At this moment, I am unsure if this amount of self-awareness is enough to save the novel.
The Ask is a novel of frustration and anger. It flirts with the melancholy long enough to become modern-day noir, just to be harshly whipped back into pages of sheer rancor. Milo emulates the voice of many friends I have had where their anger and self-loathing tears them apart to a point where only they are blind to it. I've had to cut ties with my best friend from childhood because of this and I wasn't excited to revisit those tensions. Old friend, I tried. Milo, I tried. The Ask, I tried. There's something beautiful in the three of you, but the insanity in showing that beauty to the world is just too taxing....more
Note to self: Stop reading the bleakest of books during my work lunch breaks.
On the Beach is strangely a light, heavy read. Structurally light, thematNote to self: Stop reading the bleakest of books during my work lunch breaks.
On the Beach is strangely a light, heavy read. Structurally light, thematically heavy. The entire thing is various people coming with the inevitability of their upcoming death!
Having been written in the 1950's, On the Beach somehow makes completely relevant present-day points while also containing some hilariously dated dialog.
Example 1: "We liked our newspapers with pictures of beach girls and headlines about cases of indecent assault, and no Government was wise enough to stop us having them that way. But something might have been done with newspapers, if we'd been wise enough."
Example 2: "He glanced again at the carton of Lucky Strikes, but the captain was right, of course; they would be hot and it might well be death to smoke them."
Having not been alive anywhere near the 1950's, I can't say for certain, but I'm guessing that this was originally a logical statement that turned into delightful irony over time.
Anyway, it's a rather quick read where the character interactions and the burden of obsession between life and death is sure to bum you out, so go on! Read this and see how many different emotions you can feel at the same time! I think I counted about 4-5 at my peak....more
And the Pursuit of Happiness reads like a children's book written for adults. That probably sounds far less complmentary than I mean it. When an authoAnd the Pursuit of Happiness reads like a children's book written for adults. That probably sounds far less complmentary than I mean it. When an author (heck, you can take this to other media as well) takes a style intended for one audience and successfully transfers it over to another, that is a monumental (too buried to be a pun) task.
Kalman writes like you're having a conversation with her and given some of the subjects present, you're probably talking over lunch at a place you never knew existed. Like a hole-in-the-wall Turkish cafe that has more refills than charm and it has a lot of charm. She speaks in small essays on various famous figures in American history, portraying not only some of their contributions but also on the recognition they receive now and how the two do not always match.
AtPoH is whimsical. It's like the first week that you date a girl raised in the Village by Beatnik parents - even the simplest things can appear as magnificent as a dream.
That is my best description - it reads like a dream. But not one of those boring ones that your sort-of-but-not-really friend approaches you with. Like that time in college someone starting hitting my friend because, in her dream, he wouldn't tell her how to jump in some video game she made up. Not like that. It's the daydream you lose yourself in....more