A very compulsive read. Fast paced and very thought provoking. How a young Pakistani Adult owing all of his opportunities to the American Collegiate sA very compulsive read. Fast paced and very thought provoking. How a young Pakistani Adult owing all of his opportunities to the American Collegiate system and a graduate placement in an American Corporate, slowly became disillusioned with his adopted land.
His unrequited love affair with the tragic and mentally disturbed Erica,conjoined with a time when America was posturing as the World Police Force following the attacks on the World Trade Centre, hastened his return to his Family in Lahore.
His teachings as a Lecturer brought him ultimately under the scrutiny of United states Security Agents, and his final meal in the company of the unknown individual with whom he shared his life story.
Beautifully crafted story and highly recommended ...more
Yet another gem of a book from the author of Suite Francaise. This story has a real resonance with the final days of Tsarist Russia, and focuses on aYet another gem of a book from the author of Suite Francaise. This story has a real resonance with the final days of Tsarist Russia, and focuses on a developing relationship between The terrorist groomed to assasinate Courilof the Minister of Education under Emporer Nicolas II, when working as his medical attendant in St Petersburg.
From an original stance of pure hatred the code named Leon M learns of the savage grip that the despotic Emperor holds over his ministers on government policy but also on their moral codes, that has an all pervading desire for them to continually court favour, and retain power from ambitious rivals.
As riots among students increase, with the resulting savage reprisals carried out by the Tsarist regime, the deluded and terminal ill Courilof at first tolerates his new companion and then grows to trust him as a confidant to the minutiae of his life as both his career and life peeters out. When the time comes to conceal and throw the hand held bomb, with his Revoltionary colleage Fanny, at the Minister and his entourage he is unable to fulfil his mission and Fanny completes the fatal attack.
Nemirovsky is a master at building the story layer upon layer, in an even handed way arguing the individual stances of the characters, and engaging the reader with a broad understanding of the spirit of the turbulent times at the beginning of the 20th century where the origins of modern day terrorism began. As will all of her books thoroughly recommended. ...more
Another engaging tale from Nevil Shute, focussing on the heroic tale of English Girl Jean Paget and Australian Stockman Joe Harman, whose paths met brAnother engaging tale from Nevil Shute, focussing on the heroic tale of English Girl Jean Paget and Australian Stockman Joe Harman, whose paths met briefly during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1942. Drawn together after the War in unusual circumstances, both had come into money, Jean from the proceeds of a distant relatives estate and Joe through a lottery style win. Jean believed that Joe had been murdered by the Japanese in a grim Crucification execution and Joe had believed that Jean was a married Woman because of the young child she had taken into her care during her long walk in Japanese custody.
They eventually met again after the War, in the Queensland outback, and rekindled their burgeoning romance. Funds in control of her Solicitor Trustee were released to allow Jean to set about modernising the local Town of Willstown, providing variously an Ice Cream Parlour, A Shoe workshop providing Aligator skin shoes, a Swimming Pool and other worthy ventures. Joe developed the Cattle Ranch which was to provide a home for them and their Children, increasing his yield.
A rather simplistic tale, told during the war years with strangely dispassionate prose, describing some fairly sadistic and brutal acts by the conquering Japanese. The events following on from the War, were pretty much "wall to wall" feel good chapters, as the book developed the main love story theme. Written in the 1950's the book had a strong moral core, No sex before marriage (heaven forbid what the neighbours might say about a woman staying overnight in the company of a man) and some pretty strange old fashioned dialogue "Tell the mucking Nip to get those mucking women shifted back" was one notable example.
The portrayal of the Aboriginals as Abo's and "Boongs" smacks terribly of the overt racism of the times to the indiginous population of Australia, being stereotyped as unreliable and unable to undertake anything around the ranch's other than the simplistic of tasks.
Would not wish to criticise the author overly in this aspect as undoubtedly he was at the time, and still reads as an accomplished storyteller.
Do not consider it in the same bracket as his earlier Novel "Pied Piper" but an easy and smooth read about a bygone time of endeavour and good deeds.
Tempted by the fantastic Suite Francais,I had no great expectation of Irene Nemirovskys first and much earlier work David Golder, written in 1929.
WithTempted by the fantastic Suite Francais,I had no great expectation of Irene Nemirovskys first and much earlier work David Golder, written in 1929.
With no doubt a tip to her Jewish Banker Father, this is a mature novel about the loneliness of extreme wealth, and how an elderly Jewish Russian emigre is consumed in his craving to make money from the worlds stock markets in Petroleum and Oil. At the beginning of the novel, David Golder declines to assist his business partner Marcus spiralling towards Bankruptcy, which leads to his suicide. No sympathy is evoked from Golder as he begrudgingly indulges his wife in their Biaritz mansion, the twenties "drop in centre" for the hangers on and faux French aristocracy. His relationship with his daughter Joy is sickenly one sided as she spends and debauches with her Fathers handouts, and only shows him fleeting affection when she requires to refil the coffers, for her hedonistic lifestyle
All the time David Golders health is fading, he dismisses his wife into the arms of another, returns to his Paris flat and his Doctor where he is tempted to return to Russia to tie up one final deal securing the concessions for a newly discovered Russian oil field for the Turbingen Oil Company. His Heart condition is swiftly deteriorating and ultimately dies alone on a Baltic steamer befriending a 19 year old Jewish Convict on route to France to begin a new life.
Nemirovskys descriptions of the odious characters in this book are spitefully drawn and the book has more than a passing resemblance to the shallow individuals painted in F Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby. In my view Nemirovsky has styled a superior piece to the "great American Novel" her prose draws you in and the book a simple tale of greed and the excesses of capitalism in the twenties, has great pace and purpose. ...more
Liked rather than loved this book, and whilst admiring the prose failed to understand its "classic, perhaps the supreme American Novel" status. CharacLiked rather than loved this book, and whilst admiring the prose failed to understand its "classic, perhaps the supreme American Novel" status. Characters, vacuous all of em' were singularly un appealing and therefore I felt no connection with them at all. Ultimately a quick and undemanding read, but not one that would immediately point me to another of F Scott Fitzgeralds Novels/Novella's but who knows........more
We first learn of the American Nazi Propogandist, Howard W Campbell jr in Vonnegut's epic Slaughterhouse Five, and it was that cameo appearance that dWe first learn of the American Nazi Propogandist, Howard W Campbell jr in Vonnegut's epic Slaughterhouse Five, and it was that cameo appearance that drew me to Mother Night.
A highly skilful satire that argues, through a rich cast list of random undesirables, the moral question between the ultimate evil of furthering Nazi Hatred during the war, and the fact that he was all the time, through his broadcasts, feeding American Spymasters information that greatly assisted in the allied victory.
Despised by the American public after the war, as the ultimate traitor, Campbell lives out a semi existence in a rat infested NYC flat not seeking pardon but attracting crackpot American white supremacists, as well as the ever closing net of Israeli Nazi hunters. He can only reconcile his past failures with memories of his undying and complete love for his missing German Wife Helga and with the knowledge that whatever lies in store for him, his recruiting Spymaster Frank Wirtanen (aka his Blue Fairy Godmother) can stop the ultimate sanction against him, even when awaiting trial in Israel for war crimes.
Thought provoking, deeply dark and disturbing, but written with flair and a fair dollop of ludicrous black humour.
For the first time in a long time bailed out of reading a book less than 100 pages in. Whilst accepting that the prose was challenging it was so extreFor the first time in a long time bailed out of reading a book less than 100 pages in. Whilst accepting that the prose was challenging it was so extremely dull. No pace, over elaborate, verbose. It crashed with me when reading the seduction for the first time of Ruth by Rabbit. Get on with it! 6 pages of preamble followed by pretty much nothing. A real Damp Squibb of a book....more
A massive angry beast of a book. No joy, no hope in the preordained life of a Black 20 year old in 1940's Chicago living on the Negro Ghetto south sidA massive angry beast of a book. No joy, no hope in the preordained life of a Black 20 year old in 1940's Chicago living on the Negro Ghetto south side. The anti Hero Bigger Thomas has been conditioned to expect nothing from his life, save for the Religion that the white masters encourage,to maintain control and order over them. Inevitably his rise from petty crime and violence, leads through Robbery to the Murder of a impressionable white Girl her head turned by a member of the Communist Party. With the added epithet of Rape, Bigger was condemned to die in the Electric Chair, and the Book moves swiftly through the three books within a book "Fear", "Flight" and "Fate". The "secondary" murder of his black Girlfriend was mere embelishment to the horror and hysteria created by the Press as the Prosecution obtained a swift and damning verdict at the trial. The Crimes were committed before the readers eyes and were undeniable, but the Author Richard Wright manages through his railing of Racial Injustice and America's paranoia of "Communism", to inject a level of sympathy in the plight of Bigger, that perhaps he does not deserve.
The Book apparently was controversially received by the critics in the year of publication, and created quite a storm challenging American Society in its treatment of its Black American population, whilst also becoming the first bestseller by a black American author. I understand that Wright moved to France and died prematurely in 1960 never reaching the critical acclaim that this powerful novel deserves, nor returning to his native America.
My only criticism of the book lays in the very preachy style of the Book in its final 50 pages leading to the Execution day. The message had been provided eloquently in the prose that preceded it, and had the feel of using " a sledgehammer to crack a nut" by the end of the book.
An excellent thought provoking read that encourages me to investigate his 1945 Autobiography Black Boy sometime soon.
I find it difficult to present a review of this book, without being influenced by the strength of negative feeling that i have read from others. I wasI find it difficult to present a review of this book, without being influenced by the strength of negative feeling that i have read from others. I was already through 50 pages and feeling distinctly like I was not the intended audience for this holocaust fiction, such was the simplistic and unbelievable tale unfolding, when I read a number of 0ne star ratings. I agree with others that Bruno and Gretel scan younger than their respective 13 and 9 years. I too found it unbelievable that living through a Nazi childhood Bruno was not already aware of the anti semitic society that he would have already been apart of. The frequent reference of "The Fury" for Hitler and "Out With" for what was soon identifiable as Auschwitz, began to irritate. The issue with such a massive subject as the Holocaust is that its' horror and comparitively recent timeline of depravity requires us to react in a manner that is stark and absolute in terms of fact over fiction. It therefore follows that John Boyne's fable will always have the propensity to enrage and upset in equal measure.
I have daughters of 13 and 9, they are experiencing a happy Childhood, full of the exciting opportunities that exist in a multi cultural environment. I have a strong desire that they learn from the lessons of History. They think their Dad is a bit of a nerd for taking such an interest in books. I tell them that it is important. They exhibit a naivety for the Society they enjoy, they are in essence just kids growing up. Are there parallels with the behaviours of Bruno and Gretel?undoubtedly absolutely. Are my Children aware of the world around them?. Only when the News Media takes there fleeting interest.
This book at the right stage of their Education, would in my opinion act as an ideal starting point to develop an interest and understanding of humanitarian issues. Along with The Diary of Anne Frank it has the power to engage the young, and that alone is extremely worthwhile, and commends the book as worthwhile and relevant
a fabulous relevant book, with a clear anti war message but with so much more. Time travel, alien abduction, Optometrics, American Consumerism all paca fabulous relevant book, with a clear anti war message but with so much more. Time travel, alien abduction, Optometrics, American Consumerism all packed into a fast paced 157 pages. Written in the 1970's but not at all dated. Part Autobigraphically Kurt Vonnegut has provided us with a parallel study of the Horror of War and its after effects, Mental Illness or is this souped up Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Great whacky prose but never losing the thread and each individiual strand of the story link easily together.
Billy Pilgrim and a cast of Characters that all are fatally flawed, but are so beutifully drawn. Masterpiece loved it ...more
Well crafted novel based upon the history of the Warsaw Ghetto through to the Jewish Uprising in 1943. A harrowing tale of Nazi depravity and the systWell crafted novel based upon the history of the Warsaw Ghetto through to the Jewish Uprising in 1943. A harrowing tale of Nazi depravity and the systematic murder of Polish Jews, through starvation, disease, unspeakable brutality, and death transports to the concentration camps of eastern Europe. Leon Uris developed the cast of characters with great feeling whether they were the heroes of the Zionists or the monsters of the Gestapo.
Love stories were well twined with the hardships endured in the Ghetto, the resiliance and the courage of those involved in the uprising that ultimately was doomed to failure. The pace of the plot was unrelenting and totally absorbing leaving the reader aghast and with a real connection with the Jewish fighters striving to exist in impossible circumstances.
Not brilliant prose,admittedly, and some of the dialogue was hackneyed and cliched at times,but neverhteless a real affecting book and a important addition to the Holocaust Library. ...more