You know how I love Peter Pan, and it's always risky reading any kind of retelling, but... Wow. This book was incredible. It takes the theme of death...moreYou know how I love Peter Pan, and it's always risky reading any kind of retelling, but... Wow. This book was incredible. It takes the theme of death from Barrie's original, which has largely been lost in subsequent retellings, and takes it to a whole new level. The mythology all makes sense, the story is multifaceted, and it really makes you think. I liked how she tied together Barrie (including the stories of his dead brother David and his relationship with the Llewellyn Davies family), the fictional Darlings, Peter, and the fictional Preston and his family. It all meshed so well. The multiple points of view (the deceased Preston, his grieving mother, Wendy, and Peter) really lent itself to a complex picture of what death (and life) means on either side of the divide. There were lots of layers and subtle overlapping of characters between Here (Neverland) and Before (real life) that you can either read right past as you enjoy the story or pay close attention and get even more out of it. I can't really do it justice.
The only reason it didn't get 5 stars (and it came awfully close) is because I was irritated by a handful of editing errors (I know, I know) and because I wasn't really satisfied with the motivation behind the murderer's crime and the convenience with which the person was able to get away with it so unrealistically. Basically, the death of Preston was a majorly important plot point, and logic seemed to flee with the necessity of making it happen. It seemed like a weak point in an otherwise very strong story.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone, including Peter Pan fans and anyone interested in thinking about what happens when we die and why we live. So good.(less)
This book was just kind of ridiculous and overly-derivative and filled with editing errors. I was not really impressed at all. I almost gave it 2 star...moreThis book was just kind of ridiculous and overly-derivative and filled with editing errors. I was not really impressed at all. I almost gave it 2 stars, but since I can't even imagine reading the rest of the series, I'm giving it 1.(less)
This book just left me with an incomplete, speechless feeling. It was a stunning work, made even more so by the fact that Némirovsky was essentially w...moreThis book just left me with an incomplete, speechless feeling. It was a stunning work, made even more so by the fact that Némirovsky was essentially writing this as the events were happening (which technically makes it not historical fiction, but I'm still calling it that). Her notes for the next three parts of the book were full of ideas based on what she thought might happen, and it's just extraordinary how perceptive she was. Her writing is also beautiful (and I think the translator must have done a very good job) and almost mesmerizing. The way her characters brush past each other, their lives sometimes touching and sometimes just missing each other, is choreographed with the utmost artistry. This fraction of Némirovsky's magnum opus is a masterpiece, and I can only imagine how magnificent it would have been if it was finished. This woman obviously had immense talent as a writer. I'm really glad I read this book, and I look forward to reading more of her work.(less)
It took me three weeks to get through this one, which is pretty darn long for me. I thought I was going to like it, especially because it often comes...moreIt took me three weeks to get through this one, which is pretty darn long for me. I thought I was going to like it, especially because it often comes up as a read-alike for Gone with the Wind.
Basically, I think it would be a lot more enjoyable if I was an educated late-19th century Russian. He spends a LOT of time mocking various Russian institutions, contemplating the meaning of life, art, and the like, and generally rambling with social commentary that is mostly irrelevant to a modern reader. (I know, I'm appalled that I'm even thinking, much less saying, such a thing.) In the midst of all this verbalizing, he frequently included phrases like "and then they discussed subjects that interested him greatly" or "she responded with words it hurt him to recall," without elaborating on what these subjects or words may be. It was very frustrating.
Also, I gather that Anna Karenina and Konstantin Levin were meant to illustrate polar opposites, reason versus passion, logical thinking versus impulsive behavior, work versus leisure, love versus faith, etc. etc. etc. But really, the titular character of this novel should have been Levin, not Karenina, because he seemed to be the main focus of the work as well as Tolstoy's fictional alter ego.
So I'm glad I struggled through it, but I wish I was smart enough to get more out of it. I guess I'll just stick to the 1948 Vivien Leigh film.(less)