I'm a big fan of Colum McCann's, Let The Great World Spin, and I wanted to love this book. I wanted to gush about this book. I did, I really did. LTGW...moreI'm a big fan of Colum McCann's, Let The Great World Spin, and I wanted to love this book. I wanted to gush about this book. I did, I really did. LTGWS, captured the grit, grime and hope of 1970-80 NYC, in such stunning detail, I became a big fan of this National Book Award winning author.
There was a familiar " sense of place" in LTGWS, and I cried through many sections of that book. It moved me. Transatlantic didn't. Transatlantic, was too broad in scope, too " all encompassing of time, place, and meaning. Too many characters, who do intersect in interesting ways, but really that technique isn't new and brilliant any more. (At least since reading Cloud Atlas)
I now rate a book, on the likelihood I will remember it in the future, What imprint did it make on my psyche. I hope I'll remember Frederick Douglass's important visit to Ireland, in the early 1840s. I"ll remember Alcock and Brown's first transatlantic plane flight, the vivid, bloody,body parts and horror of the civil war. I hope I remember George Mitchell's pivotal role in brokering peace for the weary mothers who lost children in senseless bombings in Northern Ireland during 1970s. I hope I remember McCann's soulful homage to all the women who live longer than their children, who are killed in war, or savage acts of terrorism the world only continues to know, only too well.
So I learned a lot, but grew so weary of McCann's writing style. Simple words. Telegram style. Verb-less non sentences. The staccato. Overdone.
This really was two books, confirmed by Colum in an interview, He had the idea to connect the men's stories, the historical accounts- Douglas, Civil War, George Mitchell, and Alcock and Brown, and then decided to tie it together with a story line of four generations of Irish women, Lilly, Lottie , Emily, and Hannah. If Colum hadn't been so ambitious, had written a more intimate, moving story, as I know he can do, I would have liked this Irish saga so much more. I did cry, so all was not lost. Glad I read it, even glad I bought it, cause, dang it, I do like you Colum McCann!(less)
Dear Ms Byatt, Your wish came true. Your novel, POSSESSION, inspired me to devise my own crash course in 19th century British literature,Norse mytholog...moreDear Ms Byatt, Your wish came true. Your novel, POSSESSION, inspired me to devise my own crash course in 19th century British literature,Norse mythology, Pre Raphealite brotherhood, Victorian poets, and their fondness for Arthurian legend, The Tale of the Ancient Mariner, the Rosetti's, and Browning. Its been a wild ride, I have never been more thankful for the Internet and embedded links.
When you wrote this novel ( which I suspect was under the influence of some kind on illegal substance, unless you wrote this in Amsterdam) all your encyclopedic knowledge spewed onto the page in truly impressive style. Kudos, to you Ms Byatt for famously Winning the battle with the publisher to keep your LENGTHY ORIGINAL VICTORIAN POEMS IN THE BOOK .Here's my confession- I SKIPPED THE POETRY. it's not my cup of tea. I didn't torture myself reading those long sections, although I spent many hours investigating their symbolism and meaning.
The maze of literary works you cited and referenced is dizzying. It's easy to drown in the tidal wave that is POSSESSION. But, alas, I didn't succumb to the material, I conquered it,
when I read the final, brilliant chapters I felt like Persephone at spring time, or like Undine, walking the earth. I emmerged into the green, verdant world, enriched from the maze of POSSESSION.
Is the book satire, yes. Is it multi-layered, complex, challenging read, indeed But, it also, a wonderful, hard- to- out- down romantic LOVE STORY!!! . I will now peel off the countless yellow stick- on notes pressed between the pages of POSSESSION, notes to help me understand references to RAGNAROK (Norse myth culminating in battle of the gods) and MELUSINE ( the mermaid, half beast, water goddess).
Good bye MERLIN and VIVIEN back you go, POSSESSION, to the library shelves, to "possess" and drag another innocent into the mysterious, dark and amazing caverns of 19th century literature, through forests and streams and dreams. it was an enriching journey, not for everyone.
MS BYATT,YOU SO DESERVED THE BOOKER PRIZE!!
Sincerely, From a dazzled, and ever so humble reader(less)
LOVED THIS BOOK,Barbara returns to her roots describing small town, USA, with such nuance, Feathertown,Tennessee could have been the small NJ town whe...moreLOVED THIS BOOK,Barbara returns to her roots describing small town, USA, with such nuance, Feathertown,Tennessee could have been the small NJ town where I grew up. With a snarky wit, an open heart , and unflinching gaze Kingsolver tackles the limited life of our smart, clever and chronically frustrated heroine's life, amidst the turmoil of global warming and impending destruction.
You might learn more than you'd like about scientific equipment and the detailed life of a scientific researcher, but those details leant to Kingsolver's credibility.
Whether Kingsolver is writing about shopping in a thrift store, taking a kindergarten class on an environmental class trip, or describing a small town church service and It's congregants, Kingsolver writes with stunning truth and dazzling commentary. With such simple phrasing, eloquent wording, Kingsolver paints a canvas helping us see the big picture, as well as the minute brush strokes. I love the world , Kingsolver, the artist creates with words.
Ok, disclaimer, I'm a real Kingsolver fan, she had me back when The Bean Trees, her first book was published. So I'm very forgiving if the plot doesn't move along as quickly as you'd ,Ike or drags a bit from momentary redundancy. I enjoyed our main heroine, Dellarobia, so much, I didn't want HER journey to end, and enjoyed traveling all the little byways and highways this book took me on.
Once again, the writing, the wit, and politics worked for me. I even learned about the 350.org and the pseudo scientific Organizations designed to purposely confuse the American public about global warming. Scientific fact folks- Global warming is real, and buckle your seat belts for the bumpy ride ahead. As a NJ resident I know of what I speak. Thanks, Barbara for writing this book. the WORLD needs it now,(less)
dear Grace, Like many others I enjoyed you in the movie The September Issue! You broke the mold- feisty, opinionated oozing with style and artistic vis...moredear Grace, Like many others I enjoyed you in the movie The September Issue! You broke the mold- feisty, opinionated oozing with style and artistic vision! So I was excited to download the e book from the library, and am glad I didn't pay for this book, Where was the Grace Coddington I discovered in The movie? Sorry to say after reading the first half, enjoying your life's journey from small English town to London fashionista, but skimmed the second half, which became a slog of minutia about your daily life. Am sure he fashion world is pleased to be named in your book, because you didn't miss any, it seems. Perhaps many of your new found fan base won't read this book, and you'll continue to be followed by those smitten with you, which you seem to rightfully enjoy.
I know under that exterior of red flaming hair and size 12 or larger body, there's another book which would address the anorexia and eating disorders of the fashion industry,but despite including photos with you bone thin, I missed the sections where you address these industry issues- the message the fashion world sends our youth. Shame,- I expected more- didn't even read your cat chapter.
Absolutely stunning! Jane is a moral north star, a role model of integrity and passion. Charlotte crafted a book with such mystery, suspense and depth...moreAbsolutely stunning! Jane is a moral north star, a role model of integrity and passion. Charlotte crafted a book with such mystery, suspense and depth. I feel as I did after reading Gone with the Wind when I was 17, smitten with Scarlet and Rhett. Move over Rhett- Edward Rochester has taken root in my heart, alongside Jane! Wow!!!!!(less)
This book hooked me from the beginning and it was a real page turner. I cared about Victoria even though she is not always the most likable character....moreThis book hooked me from the beginning and it was a real page turner. I cared about Victoria even though she is not always the most likable character. It's written very simply, like young adult. , with a pace and story that wrapped itself around my heart like a vine. Don't read any spoilers. I'm glad I didn't know how it would end. Highly recommend this book/- of course having familiarity with flowers makes it more interesting. I really, really liked this book!
Just finished my first Stephen King book, and quite sure I won't be looking for more of his. The time travel premise is well done, the characters well...moreJust finished my first Stephen King book, and quite sure I won't be looking for more of his. The time travel premise is well done, the characters well drawn, and it's so much fun to look back at the past, the good and bad. The ending was quite satisfying, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone planning on reading all 845 pages of this story. And, the length of this book is my complaint. Too, too too long. Perhaps Stephen King fans won't be disappointed by the length, but I would have preferred hundreds of pages cut from this book. Thankfully, it's an easy read, but it's just such a long journey, or should I say 'journeys'. The book reminded me of a gem of a movie about time travel, "A Blast from the Past", not that the plots are similar, but it's a sweet time travel movie. (less)
. Sometimes you encounter a "work of art' when you are meant to. This is the case with this astounding short story, The Dead, by James Joyce. This is...more. Sometimes you encounter a "work of art' when you are meant to. This is the case with this astounding short story, The Dead, by James Joyce. This is my first experience reading the famed Irish author. Why James Joyce now? I'm taking an adult literature class. A month ago, I quickly read The Dead and then just let it settle in. Today reread it, and truly realized the beauty of this subtle ,gentle, intimate story.
A family gathers to celebrate the "epiphany" there is gaiety, distinct personalities emerge. A tenor sweetly sings a song, which stirs the memories of long lost love. Of being young. A husband, realizes his wife has loved before, that he hasn't loved as deeply as he might have, that life is passing quickly, that death binds us all together, although some people will live in memories forever. That the snow blanketing Ireland on that Jan night, connects all those alive and dead, present and past. It's beautifully sad.
After my second reading, today, I watched the movie version of The Dead, A Huston family endeavor,80 year old (and dying) John Huston directed his daughter Angelica in what would become his last movie. His son Tony Huston wrote the script. It's a fine movie, and brought all of Joyce's characters to life, especially the aunts and Gabriel, but it couldn't come close to capturing Gabriel's emotional, intimate journey, only Joyce's words do that, and powerful they are. (less)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the politics, too. There are many comparisons to today's political landscape. I was hesitant, thinking there wouldn'...moreThoroughly enjoyed this book, and the politics, too. There are many comparisons to today's political landscape. I was hesitant, thinking there wouldn't be enough to interest me, having read Julie and Julia, watched the movie. Somehow the intimacy of these two fascinating people, and the times they wrote about pulled me into their journey. Ten years before Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published! Amazing that it even happened, and I have a new found appreciation for the efforts it took back in the 1950's- 60's. Not a book for everyone, but if it's your "cup of tea" you'll enjoy every sip.(less)
Became a 'huge Kingsolver fan in the mid 90's when I read "The Bean Trees", and "Lacuna" did not disappoint. Sometimes books come along at the right t...moreBecame a 'huge Kingsolver fan in the mid 90's when I read "The Bean Trees", and "Lacuna" did not disappoint. Sometimes books come along at the right time, I had seen the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philly Art Museum, and of course, watched the movie again. So last year I picked up "Lacuna" and embraced it all, the art, the politics, and learned about the Monument Men, the military art experts who helped pack and move our art treasures from Washington DC to the Biltmore in Asheville! This amazed me, and led me to watch Europa, Europa, Hitler's plan to move all the art treasures from all the European countries to Germany! So sometimes a book is not just a book, it's a catalyst for a journey, and Lacuna was that for me! (less)
Anna Quindlen - I really wanted to embrace you- like your feminism, your politics and often in one sentence you captured my life. But, but , but ther...more
Anna Quindlen - I really wanted to embrace you- like your feminism, your politics and often in one sentence you captured my life. But, but , but there is something about the style, the repetitiousness of the theme, of saying something with too many clever twists that became fatiguing. Did I read it too fast zipping through my library weeklong kindle version. Perhaps, but I think not . So book with a cute clever title "lots of candles , plenty of cake "you get 3 stars.(less)