Dreamers of the Day is a slim novel, not much in the way of plot, but it's a somewhat painful story of a belated coming-of-age and an intriguing peekDreamers of the Day is a slim novel, not much in the way of plot, but it's a somewhat painful story of a belated coming-of-age and an intriguing peek at the personalities and politics that created the British Mandate of Mesopotamia and drew the borders of the modern Middle East. These two sides to the novel aren't very neatly or successfully reconciled, but I found the book worthwhile to read anyway.
I really enjoyed the historical-political aspects of the novel, but I had expected (and wanted) more about the Cairo Conference of 1921 itself. Agnes is an inadvertent hanger-on of the famous attendees, and while she expresses her opinion and is interested by the politics of what's going on, she's outside of it. This isn't a comprehensive look at how and why decisions were made, but it is a peek at those things, and a personal one at that.
Plot is fairly non-existent. It's a character study, of the personalities of the statesmen (and women) at the conference, but also of the western perspective on the Middle East. The relationship between Agnes and Karl, to my eye, is uninteresting and tension-free (which is remarkable, considering the possible spy angle!). The "romance" arc was telegraphed in broad strokes: Agnes is an insecure woman growing more comfortable with herself and her desires, and she is desperate for the attention and recognition that Karl offers. I never doubted how that relationship would proceed.
Russell can be heavy handed at times, but for me, she more than makes up with it with her talent for graceful, gently humorous characterization. While I'm usually wary of using historical figures as fictional characters, especially when a story's protagonist is an original character who befriends said historical figures, but Russell's characters are vibrant and memorable, much like the historical figures themselves, and Agnes, though annoyingly small at times, is no Mary Sue. I found the history aspect engaging, and the late bloomer coming-of-age aspect less so (though there were lovely-written and thoughtful passages explaining and expanding on Agnes's character; I just wasn't very invested in her). Anytime T.E. Lawrence took the stage, both Agnes and the narrative benefited from his activeness and his presence.
The erasure and lack of consideration of the people of the Middle East whom the 1921 Cairo Conference devastated is the point of the book, but it's still uncomfortable to read. Agnes herself grows to recognize this ("You might say it was as though we were starring in our own private movies. Egyptians become 'extras.' They served coffee at the edge of the frame or filled the screen with untranslated rage, while we imagined ourselves the 'main characters.'") and touches, just slightly, on how this is problematic.
The overtly political (and a bit preachy) nature of the book's final part didn't bother me as much as it could have, but it didn't feel like part of the book. I'm still uncertain whether or not it was necessary. I liked knowing what happened to the historical characters after their time in Cairo, but the afterlife framework was more annoying than necessary. Why did Agnes need to be speaking from a contemporary viewpoint? Most readers could have drawn their own conclusions about the consequences of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.
On the whole, however, I'm glad I read this, not just because I'm a fan of Russell (she wrote The Sparrow, which remains my favorite novel of all time) and like being a completist, but because it was well-written. I enjoy the way Russell both analyzes and reacts emotionally to religion, and I really enjoyed passages in the book that did so. T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, and Churchill's bodyguard Walter H. Thompson were my favorite characters in the book, and I enjoyed reading and learning more about them in such a personal setting....more
Sharon Dogar's ANNEXED is an interpretive imagining of Peter van Pels, the sixteen-year-old boy whose family hides with the Frank family and Fritz PfeSharon Dogar's ANNEXED is an interpretive imagining of Peter van Pels, the sixteen-year-old boy whose family hides with the Frank family and Fritz Pfeffer in a secret annex for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. This fictional account covers the years spent in the annex and his final months spent at Auschwitz and Mauthausen.
With its publication date months away, ANNEXED has received criticism from both the press and blogs for adding a fictionalized sexual dimension to the story of Anne Frank. These sources definitely raise some important questions: Is it necessary to do so? What does this story bring to the account of Anne Frank that Anne's diary does not?
Peter may be designated by the book's subtitle as "the boy who loved Anne Frank," but this book is not a teenage romance insensitively set against a backdrop of genocide. Peter's changing relationship to Anne is a major component of the book, certainly, but it's not what defines Dogar's characterization of Peter.
Getting this out of the way first: there is no sex scene. There is very little that's graphic in the portrayal of Peter's sexuality or the feelings he has for Anne or she for him. It's no more graphic than Anne's musings about menstruation, sex, and her own sexuality in her own diary. Peter privately expresses a repeated worry that he'll never make love to a girl. Peter and Anne kiss and touch rather chastely. Peter feels longing: for Anne, for love, for freedom, for even the smallest forms of empowerment, for the childhood and the life he's being denied but also for adulthood.
Peter's struggle with his identity, and all the different facets of it -- family, faith, culture, nationality, his uncertain future, the dynamic of connection and alienation, his sexual awakening -- is what I found most engaging about the book. Putting together a coherent identity (and learning how to live that identity!) is difficult enough for any sixteen-year-old, but under the crisis of war and genocide, it's an even more intense project. Dogar does a good job with depicting the disparate and conflicted emotions of the teenagers in the book (Peter, Anne, and Margot), all filtered through Peter's eyes, and in this way, it's a mirror of Anne's diary. I was a young teenager when I first read Anne Frank's diary, and I was struck most by how I could see myself and my feelings in Anne and her writing. Anne's honesty about her emotions and her full personhood are so vivid in her diary, and in this novel, Dogar gives the same type of attention to Peter, whose emotional journey intersects Anne's.
The writing is at times stilted and melodramatic, but the poignancy still often shines through. Peter struggles with words, in comparison to the voluble Anne, and the theme of words and their significance is returned to, time and time again, in a thought-provoking way.
So what is the value of ANNEXED, of a fictional interpretation of an already compelling non-fictional account? When what so many people find memorable and poignant about Anne's diary is its honesty and its authenticity, what value is there in a fictionalized companion to it? Even after reading this book, I'm not sure. I would have been equally moved by the story if Peter were a completely fictional character, and as with all historical fiction, I feel dread about the possibility of readers going on to take or to remember this fiction as fact. Dogar seemed to have approached this project with an open heart and sensitivity for the real life tragedy and for the memory of Anne, Peter, and the others, and the story of Anne Frank is a global touchstone for which a wide audience would be interested in reading about further. However, I'm left with the feeling that this piece of fiction didn't necessarily have to be about real life figures, especially as a representative of the Anne Frank Trust has expressed misgivings about the depiction of these people in this book.
ANNEXED will be released in September 2010 in the U.K. and in October 2010 in the U.S.
The title, the cover, and the genre (YA historical fiction) were what drew me in, and the grace and sharp details of Evie's coming of age story kept mThe title, the cover, and the genre (YA historical fiction) were what drew me in, and the grace and sharp details of Evie's coming of age story kept me turning the pages.
The time period worked for me and was a huge part of the book's charm. Experiencing post-WWII America alongside Evie felt real, and fragile, and uncertain, and not like it was written with decades of knowledge of how the future developed. The plot was heavy-handed at times, and man, did Evie sometimes come across as way too clueless, but her strength in the final third of the book really impressed me....more
On the night of the Bhopal gas tragedy, Anjali waited in a Bhopal train station, her arrival forgotten by her adulterous husband. The suffering she wiOn the night of the Bhopal gas tragedy, Anjali waited in a Bhopal train station, her arrival forgotten by her adulterous husband. The suffering she witnessed and experienced that night left her with lingering physical and emotional wounds, and while Anjali survived, her marriage did not.
Once a superficial but dutiful wife, Anjali had been thrilled with the status her talented military officer husband provided her. But life as a military wife brought her into contact with diversity previously unknown to her, and she began finding her authentic self, and authentic strength, through new friendships. And when she determinedly held on to her decision to divorce Prakash, completely rejecting cultural mores, Anjali began to truly grow up.
This is just the backstory to Amulya Malladi's A Breath of Fresh Air. The story really starts when, over a decade later, Anjali runs into Prakash again. She and her second husband, Sandeep, are doing their best to take care of their twelve-year-old son who is dying of birth defects caused by the Bhopal disaster. Their relationship, however, is thrown off-balance by the sudden presence of Prakash and his second wife. Told in alternating first-person sections narrated by Anjali, Sandeep, and Prakash, the novel jumps back and forth in both time and perspective, but the story it weaves is still tight and focused, the emotional strands varied but rich in the complete picture they create.
The strength of the characters made this book an excellent read for me. I loved Anjali and Sandeep, and while Prakesh's sections weren't as strong as Anjali's or Sandeep's, I still thought they fleshed out the story in thoughtful, necessary ways. All the characters were complicated, and they were shown facing down choices that allowed them to grow (or to not). The emotional landscape of this novel was somewhat bitter, somewhat sweet, but it was unyieldingly genuine in its depiction of love, fear, and relationships....more
So basically, this book was perfect (for me). I only wish that I could have had the opportunity to read it when I was Miranda's age. I also probably sSo basically, this book was perfect (for me). I only wish that I could have had the opportunity to read it when I was Miranda's age. I also probably should have read this sooner, because time travel is one of my very favorite things to read about, but the time period (1979) didn't sound that appealing to me. My mistake! When You Reach Me was complicated and juicy while being accessible (well, if you're up for some thinking about time travel, that is, which is not admittedly always the case). The characters were interesting and seemed like authentic middle-schoolers, and Miranda's thoughts and feelings were very grounded. The details included in the book were numerous but never overbearing, each adding to the illuminative realness. It was so easy to put myself in her shoes. Julia, however, was my favorite character, ever since she turned up determined to add a UFO to the class project.
This book is bigger and stronger than it looks. I'm not sure how to do it justice, or even how to describe its place in the genre spectrum: feminist,This book is bigger and stronger than it looks. I'm not sure how to do it justice, or even how to describe its place in the genre spectrum: feminist, literary, historical crime fiction, maybe, although that's still all over the spectrum. Purge most poignantly draws attention to the very clear thread between sexual violence and military occupation. It connects big picture violence (war and occupation) with more personal conflict and interpersonal tragedy (who betrays whom, and how, and why; how it becomes so easy for people to use one another). The inhumanity, the dehumanization, present in this book is very, very crushing. And it's additionally difficult, thinking about current world affairs and knowing that things like this are happening now, still.
It's a very dark read, but not exploitative, despite the exploitation the major characters suffer. The main character, Aliide, is complicated, and not knowing what to think of her, not being able to place her in just one box of victim, villain, selfless, selfish, is partly what kept me turning the pages....more
Edited: To correct a character's name. I'm bad with names and can't read my own notes, apparently!
Edited again: So, adding this a year later than my iEdited: To correct a character's name. I'm bad with names and can't read my own notes, apparently!
Edited again: So, adding this a year later than my initial review! Other people's responses to this book have opened my eyes to some fairly ugly aspects to this book that I in my ignorance didn't notice let alone comprehend. It was pretty obtuse and disappointing of me to not recognize some stock examples of problematic representation, even if I'm not as familiar with Irish history specifically. This review provides an immensely thoughtful analysis of the issues that I was ignorant of and will keep in mind if I reread this book or continue with the series.
While I love good supernatural/paranormal/urban fantasy stories, I've never really understood the appeal of fairies (the fae, the good folk, etc., etc.) and lacked the mythological background to conceptualize them as something other than, say, Tinker Bell (who is awesome, don't get me wrong), or the fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream (who I just find irritating). I'd have never picked this book up had the publisher not offered it for free. And it'd have been my great loss! Of Blood and Honey is the sort of urban fantasy that makes other urban fantasy series look bad, it's just that creative and different.
The book is set in Ireland in the 1970s. Set amid the Troubles, violent things happen. Dark, twisted things happen. For those interested in warnings, (view spoiler)[both the main character and another character are raped; either the lead-up or the aftermath are explicitly related, but the actual acts occur "off-screen." (hide spoiler)] Much of the graphicness is implied, rather than explicitly or exploitatively stated, which I really appreciated. I really appreciated the details and the historical reality Leicht constructed and smoothly presented.
The conflict is a fascinating one, and well-layered. Fairies, fallen angels and the priests who hunt them, Catholics, Protestants, and Liam, a half-fae young man from Derry who struggles to repress the demons inside him. The fairies played only a small part in this book, but I suspect the sequel will delve further into their world.
My main issue with this book was how much the other characters kept Liam in the dark about who he was and the supernatural struggle that was drawing him in. It was just very frustrating, that a couple truthful and timely conversations might have made things easier for Liam! Other than that, though, the book was a smooth, engaging, unique read, and I look forward to the sequel when it's released.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
So, yes, I cried, and yes, it happened in similar circumstances to the time when I cried reading Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow. The moSo, yes, I cried, and yes, it happened in similar circumstances to the time when I cried reading Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow. The most happy scene in the book, where the protagonist is practically lit up with joy and peace and seems to be touching that sacred thread of home and belonging and is shot through with transcendent love radiating back from the universe, THAT, that's the scene that reduced me to tears.
The thing is this: Russell is great with the omniscient point of view. She writes stories that truly need it, stories where the unseen forces of fate or otherwise are an active presence, stories you want to read despite knowing the ending (spoiler alert: lots of tragedy, both ordinary and extraordinary). Doc is no exception to Russell's oeuvre. I enjoyed her prior two historical fiction novels, but oh man, Doc was a far more personal story, and you could tell how much patient love and appreciation Russell had for, in particular, Doc and Wyatt. They're multi-dimensional characters, and even if their Old West legends hang overhead for the reader, the characters are simply living their lives as best as they can.
By choice, I read this book a few pages at a time over the course of two months. I'm a huge fan of Russell's writing, and so I knew I wanted to savor this novel and enjoy it for as long as possible. Doc didn't disappoint as a slow read. There's a little bit of a mystery to the plot, and there are quite a few gunshots fired, but for the most part, this is a book guided by its characters, and delving into their lives is the real treat. It's not a plot-driven page-turner. It's a slow-burn character study, a tribute to a sickly young gentleman gambler/gunslinger/dentist/pianist and all his other compatriots struggling to thrive in the Old West. Everyone has a story, and most of them are sad, and these "ghost lives" of what-might-have-been haunt each page. There are a lot of characters, but with the help of the list at the beginning of the book, I was able to remember who everyone was. (I was, however, often just as confused as Wyatt about Dodge's rocky political landscape, but I think that was intentional.)
It's not all sad. Just mostly. I was laughing out loud at the scene where Doc and Morgan are teasing a clueless Wyatt on the name of his horse (Dick Nailor). Russell's great with teasing out character-based humor. And the push-and-pull relationship between Doc and Kate was awful and heart-rending and frustrating and heart-breaking.
The ultimate emotional place the book to me to, though, wasn't depressing. It was just honest and a little raw. The world's a cruel place, but sometimes, we find home in the love offered by other people: open-heartedly or guardedly, in the form of companionship, in the form of books, in the form of service, in the form of a ghost-lives-waltz in a crowded Dodge saloon over Christmas while a dying, deadly dentist pounds the piano keys and prays....more
Here's what I wish someone would have told me before I started this book: DON'T WORRY, the title's reference to love does not refer to the first relatHere's what I wish someone would have told me before I started this book: DON'T WORRY, the title's reference to love does not refer to the first relationship introduced in the book, Elias Cole's obsessive, possessive stalking of the happily married Saffia Kamara. Even if Elias was deluded enough to conceptualize his actions and feelings as love, the narrative makes it clear that it wasn't love. By the end of the book, the title was quite fitting, just in unexpected ways.
Other things that might be good to know, for those embarking on a read of this book: 1) Yes, it's slow. Excruciatingly slow and full of details that flesh out the world but don't seem to move the story forward. Any actual revelations and plot development take time, and yeah, I found that frustrating. 2) Yes, it skips around in time and place, and the author too often withheld important information about what happened until later on, and I didn't like that. Cheap writing trick, jerking readers around with that! 3) Yes, it's complicated. One of the central characters, Adrian Lockheart, is a white British psychologist who journeys to Sierra Leone ostensibly to help its citizens, and the book examines and critiques that role (I'm often disappointed by how few stories of this type don't critique that!), all while depicting Adrian with complexity and humanity. The author does a great job with infusing all her characters, even the cowardly and manipulative Elias Cole, with that sort of depth, baring their flaws and their flawed assumptions and their wounded places, but never letting them be either solely their worst self, or solely their best self. The characters didn't go easy on each other, either, and I really appreciated that. The author wasn't coddling her characters, and they felt all the more real because of that.
Kai Mansaray, the third main character, was my favorite: a talented surgeon, a native of Sierra Leone, and a man whose nightmares keep him from sleeping. His story took the longest to unfold, and I basically spent most of the book waiting for the chapters that followed him.
There was a lot that was predictable to the book, and like I said, it was tough going when the early chapters were either awful (Elias stalking Saffia) or dull. It was also disappointing to not have any chapters from the viewpoint of any of the women in the book, who were all interesting and three-dimensional despite the lack of viewpoints. However, there was a lot to think about in this book, and I was especially engaged in one of the central themes the story wrestled with: a kind of Venn diagram, with "memories" as one circle and "dreams" as the other. Well, dreams and/or nightmares. All in all, I'm glad I pushed past the early chapters, because it was a rewarding read in the end.
Note: I received a review copy of this book for free from the publisher via the First Reads program here at Goodreads....more
Re-read this, a year and a half later, and I bumped it to my all time favorites shelf. It was even more stunning the second time around; I had fUpdate
Re-read this, a year and a half later, and I bumped it to my all time favorites shelf. It was even more stunning the second time around; I had forgotten parts of it, I think I read other parts too quickly before, and paying even more careful attention, I'm amazed by both the emotional weight and the little pieces of the intellectual puzzle. It's a spy game in the form of a book starring two young women, but there is some patient unromanticizing of war stories and, in fact, the very spy story its telling.
I also ruminated a bit about why this book is marketed and understood as YA, aside from the author already being a YA author. My current thought is that because it's, so deeply, the story of a friendship between two young women. "It's like being in love, discovering your best friend." Are there books marketed toward adults, with the development of a friendship--and a friendship that remains a friendship--as the central force? I don't think I see it often.
And, yeah, I sobbed my way through this book AGAIN. Another thing that struck me, this reread, was just how often Maddie cried, and even though she was self-deprecating about it, the narrative didn't deprecate her for it, and it never took away from how brave she was. (view spoiler)[And how, y'know, Maddie's crying turned out to be the linchpin for how the story resolves and omg now I'm crying again. (hide spoiler)] More extra bonus points for complicating the typical association of women's tears with weakness.
FLY THE PLANE, MADDIE.
I read this a few weeks ago but have kept delaying writing a review; my hesitation was a combination of struggling to write about the story while avoiding spoilers (the twists are not the point, but still!) and while trying to avoid triggering my own waterworks, again. (Long story short: I read this book while lying in bed, and by the time I was finished, my pillow and my hair were both soaked from all my sobbing.)
Non-spoiler-y summary: During WWII, two young women become friends. One is a pilot, one is a spy. The spy is caught by the Nazis in occupied France, and the book begins with the account of her work that she writes under duress for her captors, in exchange for delaying her inevitable execution.
I had a couple small problems with the book. My belief in this amazing friendship was impeded by how little of the friendship development was shown--which is understandable, given how the book was structured and the conceit of the book (what we're initially reading is one girl's written record for her captors), but it still left me feeling pulled along rather than taking each step of discovery myself. The latter is the sort of reading experience I prefer.
But the characters WERE great, the writing was thoughtful and careful but never boring or plodding, the depiction of flying was quite beautiful, and the plot and narrative structure were fabulous. To top it all off, the author's notes at the end provided plenty of additional insight and dropped the awe-inspiring information about the amazingness of the real women who shared details and qualities with these fictional characters.
FLY THE PLANE, MADDIE.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I read this charmingly funny book approximately a million times when I was in elementary & middle school, and I spent many hours daydreamingly MarI read this charmingly funny book approximately a million times when I was in elementary & middle school, and I spent many hours daydreamingly Mary Sue-ing myself into the world. I wish I still had my copy!...more
After reading the fast-moving, politically intense Karnak Cafe: A Modern Arabic Novel, I wasn't expecting my next work by Naguib Mahfouz to be, at firAfter reading the fast-moving, politically intense Karnak Cafe: A Modern Arabic Novel, I wasn't expecting my next work by Naguib Mahfouz to be, at first, a very slow domestic drama. This is the first book in a trilogy following the family of the tyrannical Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, set in Cairo around the time of the 1919 Egyptian revolution. Eventually, the household drama and the political situation interact and intertwine, illuminating Egyptian history and culture in a heartbreaking way.
The first part of the book was often a struggle to read. Mahfouz puts his characters--their emotions, their thoughts, and their actions--under a microscope. Paragraphs upon paragraphs are devoted to a dissection of all possible angles on their every feeling. No character was left one-dimensional. This made for a generally enriching but often overwhelming (and sometimes tedious) reading experience for me. So. Much. Detail. And even with all this character depth, I found the great bulk of characters to be ultimately unsympathetic, which often left me reluctant to spend time with the book.
As the revolution crashed onto the scene, however, I found the book more engaging; the characters' normal routines and behaviors were juggled around, and they were forced into uncomfortable situations, which made for a more interesting read. The complicated dynamics between tyranny in the home and tyranny in the state were portrayed with great care. And, despite my unenthused slogging through the first part of the book, the depth of this latter half of the book wouldn't have been possible without all those preceding chapters. All in all, I did like the book, but I'm more glad to have read it than to still be reading it (it took me a couple months). I'm also looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, especially having confirmation that the women characters aren't always relegated to the sidelines in these latter books.
Translation-wise, I found the prose to be above average, with thoughtful turns of phrases and metaphors that pulled more than their weight, but there were still times, especially when song lyrics were quoted, that I could sense I was missing out on depth....more
A novel about the color blue, in which a zany Henri Toulouse-Lautrec investigates the suicide of Vincent Van Gogh. Truly. Christopher Moore paints thiA novel about the color blue, in which a zany Henri Toulouse-Lautrec investigates the suicide of Vincent Van Gogh. Truly. Christopher Moore paints this novel using the palette he's known for, gracefully zooming between the zany and the profound, applying liberal splashes of bawdiness, and shining some light into some weird and silly depths of humanity.
I tend to enjoy the fruits of Moore's kooky and generous imagination, but Sacre Bleu didn't work for me as well as Lamb or Fool did. One reason why was the plot. With the other two books I named, the story's structure was pretty much a given (writing about the life of Jesus Christ and the plot of King Lear, I guess Moore had the plots handed right to him) and I thought both novels clipped along at a good, strong pace. Not really so with this one. There was a lot of repetition, and after a while, I was, like, "STOP. We don't need yet another scene about the seduction and ruination of yet another famous artist. I GET IT." I was also a bit frustrated at the extent to which the reader knew the plot machinations that were still hidden to the book's main characters.
And I know that the gender angle isn't what I read Moore for (to put it mildly), but the gender stuff bugged me quite a bit in this book. Starting with the prologue/prelude even, in which I wanted to punch someone upon hitting the punchline. ("Oh, 'like a woman'? Terrific, this totally gives confidence that women will avoid being limited to objectification in this book. NOT.") And I'd have gotten over that had it not just been an accurate prelude to the rest of the book. Big spoilers for ALL THE BOOK: (view spoiler)[Basically, all the other non-Bleu women of the book have no agency, because Bleu was SECRETLY POSSESSING THEM ALL ALONG. And as explained in his afterword, Moore left out Mary Cassatt because her art was too domestic and so incorporating her wouldn't fit in with the rest of the book. That's a sucker's excuse in a book that makes up EVERYTHING and is amazingly expansive in its scope. Her exclusion from the book was certainly overlookable were it not for the ridiculous excuse, so that was just frustrating. (hide spoiler)]
I also just don't buy into the "suffering artists!" and "oh, the indulgent sex-and-substances-filled lives of artists! how interesting!" and "inspiration is of supernatural origin!" schools of thought. I'm a card-carrying student of the boringly practical "Art is work! Mystical muses are figments of your imagination! Just do the freakin' work!" school of thought, so a lot of the book's nicer thematic aspects passed me by.
But on the other hand, the book was rather sweet, and the characters were engaging, and there was a lot of good humor to it. (Oh, and the actual book itself is beautifully designed, and all the art referenced is included, which is AWESOME.) I liked Mere Lessard, and her treatise on head conking and her disappointment over how anticlimatic it was to brain Juliette with a crepe pan, THAT, that was the funniest part of the book for me: "The joy is in the threatening. Threats are like the love poems of head conking, and you know what a romantic I am." The other best part of the book was Renoir, who I found hilarious from his very first appearance, in which he spitefully informed a nine-year-old (who just insulted Renoir's tiny hands) by pointing out how small his own hands were, "This is why no one likes you, Lucien. You probably have small hands because you have syphilis."
And, yeah, that last quote may be a good litmus test as to whether a reader will enjoy Moore's sense of humor.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more