Here is a rare opportunity to step back in time to the start of The New Yorker Magazine and follow it's lead artist through his career. This is a greaHere is a rare opportunity to step back in time to the start of The New Yorker Magazine and follow it's lead artist through his career. This is a great in depth look at a cartoonist and artist who defined a generation and made headlines with his life style which was the embodiment of the Jazz Age. Maslin does a superb job of bringing Arno to life and giving us insight to a bygone era. ...more
3.5 out of 5 stars A strange yet wonderful 16 year old girl lives and works in Liverpool Station and she has never left its confines. Wise beyond her y3.5 out of 5 stars A strange yet wonderful 16 year old girl lives and works in Liverpool Station and she has never left its confines. Wise beyond her years, she works in the Lost Property Office for her "mother" a fanatical religious woman whose job it properly is, but instead beats Martha and lies to her as to her origins and worth. She proclaiming that everything and everyone is of the devil and tells Martha she is a child of his and a worthless foundling not deserving of a proper surname so she is give the surname Lost. After hitting Martha in the face with a belt for asking too many questions and questioning Mother's story, Mother goes back to her room above the office to lie down and dies. This is the story is of Martha discovering who she really is and how she will relate to the world now she is out from under Mother's thumb. Enter into the mix 37 year old Max who thinks he's found the suitcase and lost archives of Mal Evans and his Beatles ephemera. He halfheartedly pursues 16 year old Martha while bulling her and trying to get her to locate Mal's lost urn of ashes for him.
It is a fascinating first person narration tale of Martha Lost finding herself with the help of friends she makes along the way and learning about proper and improper relationships. The voice and thoughts of a girl who is ignorant to most everything outside of Mother's influence except for what she has gleaned from books and brief interactions is surprisingly believable and yet maintains a surreal dreamlike quality which doesn't take away from it. It is bittersweet in nature but also keeps up the readers hope, not allowing them to drop down into too much worry and despair for the character. ...more
Spending one's life forever engaged in ritual and formality can take a toll on one. One day Queen Elizabeth is feeling a bit off-sorts, and decides toSpending one's life forever engaged in ritual and formality can take a toll on one. One day Queen Elizabeth is feeling a bit off-sorts, and decides to go off on her own to visit her decommissioned yacht Britannia, now a tourist attraction, which is in Scotland. After a visit to the stables, and a cheese shop, she gets on a train to Scotland. Two young people, the girl who works at the stable who lent the Queen a hoodie, and Raj, from the cheese shop, who had recognized her, follow along at a distance to makes sure that she is okay. Meanwhile her staff is in a tizzy at her disappearance and fear that she might be depressed or exhibiting signs of dementia, and with unlikely pairings of the staff, they head off to try and find her while trying to keep MI5 from getting involved. This is a sweet story about the Queen, those who work for her, and their lives in contrast to each others and how these interactions open up their views of others, the world and themselves; even the Queen needs compassion and connection at times. It's a sweet and funny story that won't change the world, or your life, but it is an interesting slice of life worth a read. ...more
I listened to this book on Audible.com and here is the review I wrote for it there.
The narration was so distracting to me that I wondered how the stoI listened to this book on Audible.com and here is the review I wrote for it there.
The narration was so distracting to me that I wondered how the story would be different with a better narrator. Degas fails to take into account that these people are Japanese and the story takes place in Japan. I'm not saying the characters should have Japanese accents, but the 15 year old girl shouldn't sound like an irritating Valley Girl! Some of the female voices mocks the characters they represent. It's painful listening to Mai and the ditzy voice discounts any value to her words. None of the voices match the characters personalities. Our protagonist sounds more like an effeminate single guy than a suburban married man, and the character of Ushi (spelling?) sounding like Peter Lori detracts heavily from the story. It makes it too camp.
The story is at times stunningly graphic. The ability of the writer to conjure up scenes of torture and man's inhumanity to man may be a bit too much for those who are more sensitive. There is the ability for the horror to become rather too vivid when your mind visually fills in the scenes of men being skinned alive. I am not a person who is in any way delicate and some of it made me blanch. This is a story of surreal fantasy and there are times the reader feels lost as to what is going on or feel they've missed something. A few of the subplots feel slightly unresolved as well.
The sex scenes are also relatively graphic but not so bad as torture scene by far.
Basically a very ordinary man who is floundering a bit in life and is feeling directionless after resigning from his job and has his life turned upside down the moment that his cat disappears. Murakami likes adding cats to his stories. From there, he gets odd phone calls from even stranger people. Which culminate in the life altering event of his wife disappearing. He is then thrown into contact with many odd and usually attractive women leaving the reader to wonder why he never contemplated locking the door and disconnecting his phone. From here on out we hear the stories of soldiers mentally scarred by the atrocities of war and some women with special gifts who often have been violated in sexual or psychological ways or both. If this all sounds confusing it is. The book is the story of a living nightmare which our protagonist goes through where he becomes equally odd and often has a far too calm way of handling it. It's a bit tough to figure out how he really feels at times as most of us would not have reacted with equal equanimity at being trapped down in a well.
Honestly, I couldn't put it down, but I'm not sure how much I enjoyed it. I would suggest that you read this one instead of listening to it to avoid the narration that will most likely leaving you distracted from the story thinking about the narration quirks and failures and how it effects the interpretation of the text. ...more