As expected, Toni Morrisons lyrical prose enchanted me during this piece of work as she so beautifully illustrated a story of strained love and the coAs expected, Toni Morrisons lyrical prose enchanted me during this piece of work as she so beautifully illustrated a story of strained love and the complicated mess a promise of freedom can create. The character development in this story is like patchwork art, which is a running theme through Morrison's writing. Despite the fact that in fragments this was a wonderful read, I sometimes found it difficult to follow the story with the number out cut outs and flash backs multiple narrative entails. Morrison indeed expressed the vibrant essence of the 1920's city setting, personifying feelings with such personal accuracy one is left to hear music in every sentence. She describes wonderfully women's subscription to a men, the inherent desire to please and the comfort it so often brings.
"Dorcas, at least, was enchanted by the frail. meltey tenancy of the flesh and the way Paradise could make a woman go back after two days, two! Or make a girl travel back four-hundred miles to a camptown, or fold Neola's arm, the better to hold the pieces of her heart in her hand. Paradise. All for Paradise."
The love triangle presented between Joe, Dorcas and Violet is one of complicated passion and pain. She describes the characters desires and intentions for the relationships they so fervently seek, calling them love. This book shows the meaty ugliness this word, love, can potentially cause. The reader is left to question what this thing really is.
"I told you again that you were the reason Adam ate the apple and its core. That when he left Eden, he left a rich man. Not only did he have Eve but he had the taste of the very first apple in the world in his mouth for the rest of his life. The very first to know what it was like. To bite it down. Hear the crunch and let the red pealing break his heart."
Another interesting aspect of this work is the way in which it describes the tenderness of a man's heart. The often latent feelings of weakness and emotional vulnerability experienced by men are addressed here by different characters. From Joe's longing to find freedom from his stagnant marriage in a love affair, to Golden Gray's quest for his father the male perspective of longing is depicted wonderfully here.
Ultimately Jazz illustrates the tragedy purposefulness can cause in this musical composition of loss, pain and desire....more
Beloved was melancholy tale laced with pain that only Toni Morrison is able to describe in such a way that the words of poetry still leave a sweet tasBeloved was melancholy tale laced with pain that only Toni Morrison is able to describe in such a way that the words of poetry still leave a sweet taste in the reader's mouth. The author's inside-out style of unraveling the plot throws the reader in at the deep end, smack bang in the middle of the narrative left to find their way out by putting the pieces of the puzzle back together. Flash backs occur almost every chapter in this novel which slowly patch up the holes in the development of these troubled characters, helping the reader understand their constant woeful state.
The melancholy atmosphere that remains throughout the book makes this a bitter-sweet read, highlighting the physical and psychological turmoil endured by freed slaves after the American Civil War....more
"Nobody can stay in the garden of Eden. I wonder why."
James Baldwin's perspective of personal alienation is presented in Giovanni's Room with pain ful"Nobody can stay in the garden of Eden. I wonder why."
James Baldwin's perspective of personal alienation is presented in Giovanni's Room with pain full candid precision. David the protagonist tells his tale of an internal battle with his sexuality through his love affair with a man called Giovanni.
Doomed from the start these two characters experience the euphoric moments of love's first stages before spiraling into an unsustainable pattern of uncertainty and dissatisfaction a time goes on.
"With everything in me screaming No! yet the sum of me sighed Yes."
Apart from the risky social context that Baldwin decided to publish his work in, personally the most enthralling aspect of this book is the beautiful way in which he was able to capture the painful complexity of selfish love. David feel in love with Giovanni in a desperate attempt to fill and internal void of loneliness. Once he no longer needed Giovanni he was disposed of leaving this man lost in his sea of love with no one to hold on to. ...more
"Believing in eternal life never helped anybody to live in eternity. Nor did disbelieving. So stop all your pro-ing and con-ing and just get on with t"Believing in eternal life never helped anybody to live in eternity. Nor did disbelieving. So stop all your pro-ing and con-ing and just get on with the job." Initially I assumed this would be a tale of the western man thrown into a world of tropical paradise, forced to adapt to the primitive customs of the native people – much like Huxley’s ‘A Brave New World’ but in reverse. This story soon unravels itself not so much as a narrative with the structure of a story but more like an organised, philosophical explanation of utopia. Here Huxley approaches social, economic and societal solutions to the dilemmas of the western world by illustrating how they would work using the leading characters on the fictional island of Pala. Particularly interesting is the explanation of the family unit. In Pala, decisions such as the selection of a partner are carefully calculated in order to maximise productivity and create utilitarian benefit. Without going into too much detail the laws of this society seem to create a balance between spiritual and emotional fulfilment and wider socio economic utility – a conflicting issue that most societies are unable to subdue. The government of this country use religion (an amalgamation of Buddhism and Christianity) along with a regimented education system to almost indoctrinate it citizens with a specific set of values that promote inner peace and maximise pragmatic practices. “…Not towards the mirage of happiness form the outside in, through toys and pills and non- stop distractions…they could still choose our way but they want to be exactly like you. They are foredoomed to frustration and disappointment, predestined to the misery of enslavement by tyrants… It’s a foreseeable tragedy and they’re walking into it with their eyes wide open.” The author uses Eastern philosophy as the fundamental reasoning for this country, using charming folk tale-esque examples to illustrate his principles. As a flip side to his dystopian novel ABNW Huxley continues to explore mysticism and transcendental states in this literary picture of paradise. ...more
Given his strikingly eloquent writing style Huxley was the perfect person to give such a detailed depiction of the mental and spiritual experience ofGiven his strikingly eloquent writing style Huxley was the perfect person to give such a detailed depiction of the mental and spiritual experience of recreational drugs. Huxley conducts his experiment taking Mescaline under controlled conditions with a friend and his wife on stand by to document his reaction. Described with such a childlike zeal it was amusing to read the account this stupefied state from such an articulate man. The first half of this essay (Doors of perception) is his immediate reaction where Huxley beautifully describes the altered perception of his surroundings including apparent ethereal life exuded by inanimate objects such as flowers and even the crevices of his trousers. The essay then goes further to describe the altered perception of self to place where utilitarianism is lost and all thoughts are focused on the immediate task of simply being.
The second part of the essay (Heaven and Hell) gives a more logical analysis of his self transcendence from a philosophical, theological and anthropological point of view. Here Huxley links various conceptual theories which can make it difficult for the reader to fully grasp if not familiar with the origins of these approaches however possibly prompting some further research. The social implications of drug use are also explored along with a brief lesson on the history of musical and plastic arts with regards to their common objective with recreational drugs - escapism. Huxley goes on to examine, even at some points promote, the importance of mysticism and human transformation proposing its importance in facets of society such as education and religion.
Ultimately this is a great read for any fan of Aldous Huxleys eloquent prose while being a great point of reference for a plethora of theological and philosophical theories on humanities appetite for temporary existential escape....more
Loved this page turning tale of realistic characters balancing relationships, friends, and brutal intrinsic evaluation. Another EJD treasure! The authoLoved this page turning tale of realistic characters balancing relationships, friends, and brutal intrinsic evaluation. Another EJD treasure! The author gives such relateablity, the reading is left feeling like they are reading the diary of a close friend. By the first few pages the you're caught up in the all too familiar situations and absorbed into the story's captivating chapters (alternating between the four protagonists).
I must say the title could have been a bit more creative but I'm splitting hairs. Love, lust, mistakes +losses make this a not so typical love story. Not usually into romance novels but this one was different, honest + sweet....more
I approached this book solely with the knowledge that it is heralded as on of the best pieces of post-colonial African literature without much understI approached this book solely with the knowledge that it is heralded as on of the best pieces of post-colonial African literature without much understanding of the plot or even the political illustration it is critically acclaimed for. Fortunately so,I was able to view the story from a more objective perspective and even more taken aback by its turn of events.
Admittedly, the first half of the book was a bit slow and left me wondering where exactly the story line was going. In hind sight I now understand the importance of Chinua taking such a long to set the scene as the reader gains a deep understanding of the characters and the idiosyncratic dynamic of the society they live in. The rules and customs of this fictional society named Umuifia may seem strange to the western reader but the writer succeeds in illustrating the uniqueness of theses customs and its ability harmony despite its incongruity with western culture. This being said I must say the choleric protagonist Okonowo received little sympathy from me. Regardless of the necessity to accept this societies principals as sound for the stories sake I couldn't ignore the blatant vein of patriarchy running through the mindset of Okonowo and the community of which he believed so much in. From beating his wives for not cooking on time to his vehement desire for his favoured daughter to be male, this character displayed the classic militant father/ husband who's behaviour stems from deep insecurity and the crippling fear of failure and dishonour. Of course the complexity of character made him even more interesting but I found his misogynistic nature irritating.
The author presents an excess of characters all with individual roles that come together to form a unified sense of community spirit. After taking so long to establish these characters and building an understanding between them and the community, second half of the book shows Chinua slowly introducing symptoms of disturbance from the English missionaries aiming to infiltrate the community. The insidious nature of their bout for authority is brilliantly depicted here as these men begin innocently by preaching their Christian gospel and offering to teach literacy. Their concealed intent to take over the village soon becomes apparent to the people of Umuofia but by then it is all too late. Interestingly the unravelling of these events seem to happen so quickly towards the end of the book, almost like the indigenous customs of this village are slipping through the readers' fingers. This steady disintegration is beautifully captured in its entirety by the title - Things Fall Apart
N.B. I also loved the African proverbs sprinkled throughout the book....more
This depiction of our current generations relationship with the internet was surely not intimidating lecture on digital overload I expected. Though aThis depiction of our current generations relationship with the internet was surely not intimidating lecture on digital overload I expected. Though a slow burner, the author successfully states and explains his theory on our desensitisation to real life and the disintegration of traditional cognitive thought processes. With likeness to an essay the reader is taken on a journey through the history of human inventions which have irreversibly and inexorably altered social structures as well as the manner in which we process literary information ie. clock, print press, newspapers. This was one of the most insightful portion of this work, while the repetitive reference to similar psychological theories linking the increasing popularity of the internet to our diminishing ability to conduct long term mental processing eventually became a tedious and unnecessary feature. Another insightful concepts explored here is the internet generations lack of ability to perform reflective tasks such as reading a book for an extended period of time. This was discussed with reference to the rewiring of our synapses to absorb information quickly and to a shallow depth as a result of the net's fast paced, quick clicking nature. One of the last (of 10) chapters entitled 'The Church of Google' tells of the history of search engines while unraveling the psychological and economical tactics used by Google to generate as much traffic, and in turn profit, as possible. However preachy he may come across, Nicholas Carr does a great job telling the tale of the unprecedented technological revolution that is the internet, helping us understand the current and possible future effect of its extensive use on us as a individuals both socially and intrinsically....more
“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”
Sylvia Plath perfectly depicts the atmosphere in t“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”
Sylvia Plath perfectly depicts the atmosphere in the bell jar of depression in this semi-autobiographical novel. With numerous quotable statements this book takes the reader through the protagonist Esther's downward spiral with charm, dark humour and relatable observations of the world around her. What stood out significantly was the writers beautiful description of natural elements, frequently personifying the weather in addition to abstract metaphoric illustrations of sound. From the subjects of mother daughter relationships, attempted suicide and the significance of a loosing ones virginity I thoroughly enjoyed the journey through this frosty chapter in Esther's life....more
What a horrorshow piece! This is just one of the words used by Burgees to create the made up language of 'Slovos' which the combination of Russian, BiWhat a horrorshow piece! This is just one of the words used by Burgees to create the made up language of 'Slovos' which the combination of Russian, Biblical language and Cockney rhyming slang used throughout ACWO. Originally apprehensive about attempting to read a whole book in this strange dialect I found the author undoubtedly makes accessible by feeding these words to the reader on a drip so by the first few pages the new language is not only easy to read but enjoyably so.
Like many I originally heard of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation and decided to find out what all the hype was about. Notorious for its reputation for graphic scenes of ultraviolence I decided to read the book before the film, however Burgees' vivid descriptions of rape and brutal muggings surely illustrate a clear picture in the mind of the reader. I must say the violent scenes were not as bad as expected possibly as a result of abstract language softening the mental sting of the details presented.
The ultimate debate presents by Burgees: Which is the lesser of two evils... Involuntary good or intuitive evil?
This question is approached flawlessly by ACWO and the answer is ultimately decided by the reader. We are taken through the life of the young protagonist Alex who in a way, can be seen easily seen as that twisted friend that just needs to grow up.
This book was gripping from the first page. Stunningly relate-able as Coelho captures the life of this woman brilliantly, depicting the world though tThis book was gripping from the first page. Stunningly relate-able as Coelho captures the life of this woman brilliantly, depicting the world though the eyes of someone who believes they have experienced the best life has to offer and is already dissatisfied. The young protagonist Veronika no longer feels it necessary to live through her predictions of life's mediocrity and decides to commit suicide only to fail with irreversible consequences. The situation she is left in then leads to the discovery of how precious life really is and the importance of living every day as if it is the last....more