A lot of critiques about Coupland's work seem to place his latest works as a decadent version of his master pieces. I find this very interesting since...moreA lot of critiques about Coupland's work seem to place his latest works as a decadent version of his master pieces. I find this very interesting since I started reading Coupland precisely from one of his latest novels - jPod. I must say I enjoyed it beyond words. It was a completely fresh literary discovery for me. And truth is, I didn't take it very seriously. One if the phrases I repeatedly used to describe it was 'random shit'. Being a fan of randomshitness, I found it natural to love every page of jPod. And it seemed to me very curious that people utterly hated it and described as a decadent version of Generation X - Coupland. Now that I read The gum thief, I kind of understand those haters. I don't share their feeling, though. For me, Coupland can be a great grim, hopelessness-spreading writer as well as a funny, dont-take-this-shit-serious writer. If jPod left me with a feeling of life is shit, please be part of chaos, The gum thief just left me with the life is shit part. I think that is the part haters love about Coupland. Maybe it also is a matter of not being part of Generation X. Born in the nineties, where are the master pieces I will compare every later work from the same author to? A suggestion about which novel can define us yet? Or maybe it won't be a book at all, but some kind of digital media? In any case, I hope that if we find it, I don't end up hating subsequent novels by the same author just by the crime of not being the same as the first one. Generations change, and hopefully authors change along as well. Merely as a literary experiment, I think I will hold Generation X (which I just bought) till I read four of five more Coupland novels in the very inverse order they were written.(less)
Un gran libro de divulgación de lingüística hispánica. Le llegará a cualquier hablante del español, y es posible que incluso algún extranjero se expli...moreUn gran libro de divulgación de lingüística hispánica. Le llegará a cualquier hablante del español, y es posible que incluso algún extranjero se explique varias cosas.
Su postura sobre los nazis gramaticales es también muy refrescante.(less)
Do I see myself as a more intelligent person when I finish reading a book? Not at all. Do I see myself as a wiser person, a more prudent person, a mor...moreDo I see myself as a more intelligent person when I finish reading a book? Not at all. Do I see myself as a wiser person, a more prudent person, a more enlightened person, a better person overall when I finish reading a book? Not in the slightest. But there is something about devoting a major part of my time to stories that I want to think sets me apart from other people. And I know most compulsive readers share these feelings. I fail, though, in naming it. I just can try to describe it as a "vague notion that something is wrong", using Hornby's words. A vague notion that real life is not the way it should be. It's not simple bovarysme. It's a feeling that you are unfit for the world, but a better world exists somewhere, and it exists because stories have been told about it. Because songs have been sung about it. In High Fidelity, Hornby portrays a hero that has a lot of a compulsive reader, but he devotes his time to listening instead of reading. He finds, much as we find, an intrinsic lack of satisfaction in his life, mainly due to its expectations set by the stories told by pop-music songs. Shall he ever be able to get over them, to outgrow them? Or, in the best of the cases, to satisfy them? It is a difficult task given that he bases his acts on a constant search for the perfect relationship worth of a good song. But the outcome is for the reader to find. Meanwhile, we ought to reflect on our (shared) personal drama on living on a world that has not been written by Shakespeare, Cervantes or Hornby at least, but by thousands of millions of lousy storytellers collectively known as humanity.(less)
The problem of identity is an old one in philosophy, and Vonnegut explores it here with outstanding mastery, while intertwining it with a slightly cyn...moreThe problem of identity is an old one in philosophy, and Vonnegut explores it here with outstanding mastery, while intertwining it with a slightly cynic reflection about WWII Nazi morality. To which degree are human beings defined by their thoughts and to which degree by their actions? If I die being a hero, but secretly hated those I saved, am I still a hero? If I die a villain, but secretly loved and worshiped the ones I killed, am I still a villain? What if I die full of doubts, who am I then? It's never easy to write about Nazism and the holocaust, yet Vonnegut treats the subject with refreshing sincerity and keeps taboo clichés out of the way simply by adopting as a main character an important Nazi figure during World War II who happens to be also an American spy. This man embraces his double-faced nature in such a perfect way, he becomes the very image of middlepoint-ness, amorality, an-ethic existentialism. In "Mother Night" Vonnegut is mocking fascism and thinking deeply about human identity at the same time. Just the kind of book that shakes your paradigms in the way you need them to be shaken every once in a while. (less)
As any character worth writing a saga for, ex-detective Charlie Parker is immediately likable. Yet, as any character worth writing literature for, he...moreAs any character worth writing a saga for, ex-detective Charlie Parker is immediately likable. Yet, as any character worth writing literature for, he has lots of issues. He lives in the gray zone of morality where modern anti-heroes dwell. And the world around him seems to shape itself to fit his issues better. This is a novel full of disturbing images of violence, that could seem gratuitous at first, but are quickly justified by the overall plot and, mainly, by the general meaning of the book.
Perhaps the most important failure of the book is that it isn't one book, but two. Connolly attempts to tell one side story long enough for one book and then he tells the main story which is also long enough for one book. The result is that the reader feels that he just saw two seasons of a series in a row. Not necessarily bad, but things tend to be forgotten or trivialized.
Overall, it is a great mystery novel that doesn't fail to deliver all the thrill and suspense we are expecting from a book of its kind. (less)
Unlike other mystery novels, one can find in Kurt Wallander's stories a deep moaning for the future of humanity. The author doesn't give violence away...moreUnlike other mystery novels, one can find in Kurt Wallander's stories a deep moaning for the future of humanity. The author doesn't give violence away, so anytime we see blood or death a profound chill travels through our spine and we come to the conclusion that life is just another way of suffering. Nevertheless, Wallander's attitude towards crimes show that he is not just looking for career success, but for the world to be a better place.(less)
Maybe the statements about Patricia Melo being the heiress of Rubem Fonseca are exaggerated. Melo creates a bizarre mistery novel and adds a solid sat...moreMaybe the statements about Patricia Melo being the heiress of Rubem Fonseca are exaggerated. Melo creates a bizarre mistery novel and adds a solid satire about the editorial industry of Brazil (and perhaps worlwide). Nevertheless, the story quite never reaches a climatic point worth of a good mystery novel, and its attempt on varying narrative style according to the jobs of the main character are, if any, rudely obvious. Still, it stands as a mystery novel that deviates in style and plot from the rest.(less)