A simple, simple book--with clear, shimmering writing to illustrate Harold's challenging trek to Berwick. In being convinced by the characters' choice...moreA simple, simple book--with clear, shimmering writing to illustrate Harold's challenging trek to Berwick. In being convinced by the characters' choices and their dialogue, as well as maintaining a key interest in the mundane (which is the whole point) I was pleased by every page of the book. I never needed it to move along more quickly, nor did I have to reread the previous page. This story is full of heartbreak and accomplishment--sunny landscapes and dark storms-- of overall, believable balance. Who couldn't be better off with a dose?(less)
Fascinating storyline...one day suddenly the world's wounded begin to shine. Papercuts glow, broken bones shimmer, even heartache lends the bearer a g...moreFascinating storyline...one day suddenly the world's wounded begin to shine. Papercuts glow, broken bones shimmer, even heartache lends the bearer a goldish aura. Brockmeier had a great idea, but I was disappointed in the ending. Additionally, even though it was cool to connect different characters (via a journal of love notes that gets tossed around by accident) the journal entries themselves were obnoxious. I wish the book were a short story instead. I've give this a 2.5.(less)
I had patiently been awaiting Donna Tartt's next novel for what seemed like forever, having devoured "The Little Friend" in a weekend. "The Secret His...moreI had patiently been awaiting Donna Tartt's next novel for what seemed like forever, having devoured "The Little Friend" in a weekend. "The Secret History" gripped me in the same manner, and thank goodness, because I've been on quite a run with books that I am fine with setting aside for a few days.
I have zero familiarity with Greek, much less secret socieities, but I quickly bought into the idea of these 5 characters (minus the narrator)...exclusive, elitist, old-fashioned and most likely crazy. One of Tartt's attributes is that she helps you distinguish these characters, who all have a lot in common (dressing the same, using the same language, all smoking and drinking like mad. ) Fortunately I grew to immediately recognize Bunny, Charles, Camilla, Francis and Henry. Richard, the narrator, manages to be slightly more elusive to the reader. But since we actually have more information about him than his own "friends" do, it works.
There were a few moments in the book that were hard for me to buy...not because of the supernatural flair, but because the narrator didn't seem to do the proper amount of questioning. Additionally his pride, which prevented him from finding adequate housing in the winter and leading to near-tragedy, struck me as not plausible for a man his intellect. Yes, he has many faults (one of which led to a mistake that will haunt him forever) but sometimes I had a hard time processing his decisions.
Fast paced, intriguing, and occasionally scary, "The Secret History" was a great read. (less)
Siri Hustvedt was recommended to me by an artsy Norwegian journalist. I read "The Summer Without Men" in one afternoon, and not because it is short. I...moreSiri Hustvedt was recommended to me by an artsy Norwegian journalist. I read "The Summer Without Men" in one afternoon, and not because it is short. I was able to relate to the narrator on a number of levels. While her prose can sometimes strike me as flowery, Hustvedt is a master of character development. She can skip between the careful word choices among little ladies in the assisted-living complex, a pubescent "queen bee" bully and a 3 year-old neighbor with ease. Somehow in the middle of all of this is our heroine, whose husband has asked for a "Pause", who is just as thankful for her "Dear Reader" as we are for her. I recommend this book for any woman in transition, but it may suprisingly prove more moving for readers who find themselves on assumedly steady ground.(less)