I'm not by any means an expert when it comes to YA literature (I've read maybe six YA novels so far), but I think I picked up here and there that DaviI'm not by any means an expert when it comes to YA literature (I've read maybe six YA novels so far), but I think I picked up here and there that David Levithan was a good writer. I was coming from the rather good experience of Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante is a terrific little book) and I though why not? I'm ever so slowly getting through a pretty dense novel and I though I needed a bit of a distraction.
Anyway, I wasn't going into it with any massive expectations.
What I discovered was that this book is the very definition of "meh".
I'm not sure that I particularly like Levithan's choice to set this book in an idyllic little town, where there's no such thing as discrimination, but sure, ok, I guess an argument could be made for wanting to show a high school experience for a gay protagonist withouth him having to deal with hate, self doubt, or being closeted.
The problem is that eveything is incredibly shallow. Whenever a scene seemed to go somewhere, it got cut. Whenever a character seemed to have a somewhat serious problem, it got resolved in five seconds. The setting, apart from the town quirks (it's SO. QUIRKY - the less said about it the better, because it didn't work for me at all), is a total blur. Levithan creates a pretty big conflict between Paul, the main character, and his best friend Joni, and then doesn't bother to really get into it, let alone to show what's going on inside Joni's mind. The novel is written in the first person, but Joni could've at least said something about anything.
By the way, when I read this kind of novel I almost always feel like the first person choice is a bad one: when your protagonist is a teenager, as a writer you'll want to keep the style simple in order to make his voice sound believable, but it feels too simple, too plain. I get that you want the readers to experience exacly what the character is going through and what he's thinking, but I remain a fan of the third person, which would still allow you to focus on that one character while being less, well, trivial.
Other relationships and characters in the story aren't explored either: we get to know very little about Noah, and he doesn't feel like a fully realized character: his parents aren't around much, which could be interesting, but nothing is made of it; he paints, he has a sister, and that's it. Kyle remains something of a cypher, despite the speeches he gets to make, and of course the book ends right when he could become more prominent. And so on for everyone in the novel.
It almost feels like Levithan was afraid the book would be too long if he spent too much time on things. He always stops when he should be going deeper. It's not a terrible book, but there's very little there....more
Lo stile è bello davvero, avvolgente da morire, e sarebbe da leggere in molto meno tempo (sono io lenta e distratta), ma le ultime diciamo ottanta pagLo stile è bello davvero, avvolgente da morire, e sarebbe da leggere in molto meno tempo (sono io lenta e distratta), ma le ultime diciamo ottanta pagine mi hanno messo a dura prova: il protagonista (e narratore, quindi dai suoi pensieri non si scappa) è probabilmente il personaggio più egocentrico e preso da se stesso che abbia mai incontrato in letteratura, ma verso la fine Marías decide di premere ancora di più su tutte le caratteristiche che lo rendono insopportabile, aggiungendo in più i discorsi e pensieri di un altro personaggio che, come il protagonista, trasuda misoginia da tutti i pori. Mi stava venendo voglia di lanciare il libro dalla finestra. Peccato perché le prima quaranta o cinquanta pagine sono meravigliose, e lo stile, ripeto, è bellissimo dall'inizio alla fine, ma basta, baaasta con questi uomini che parlano in questo modo di donne....more
La traduzione a questa edizione è a dir poco penosa: oltre ai soliti refusi (neanche tanti a dire il vero), i nomi tradotti in italiano, compresi tuttLa traduzione a questa edizione è a dir poco penosa: oltre ai soliti refusi (neanche tanti a dire il vero), i nomi tradotti in italiano, compresi tutti quelli delle vie, delle piazze, delle chiese e così via, laddove possibili; consecutio temporum che fa acqua da tutte le parti perché sceglie (?) di tradurre il condizionale presente del francese col condizionale presente dell'italiano; toscanismi come se piovesse; ho già detto che i nomi sono tradotti in italiano e quindi invece che di Jean Valjean, uno dei personaggi più famosi della letteratura mondiale, vi ritrovate a leggere di un certo Giovanni, insieme a Mario, Cosetta, Fantina (!) ed Eponina? Grazie al cielo non gli è venuto in mente di inventarsi qualcosa per Gavroche.
Penso che la Bur, non volendo scucire per ritradurre questo libro (che va benissimo, non sono una che si straccia le vesti per una traduzione vecchia), dovrebbe perlomeno rinfrescarla per quanto riguarda certe scelte che saltano all'occhio e interrompono lo scorrere della lettura. ...more
I think this might just be the worst book Akunin has written. It's definitely the worst Fandorin novel, and I didn't think it was possible to surpass sI think this might just be the worst book Akunin has written. It's definitely the worst Fandorin novel, and I didn't think it was possible to surpass such boring exploits as "He, Lover of Death" or "Leviathan".
The mystery part is poor at best, not one of the characters involved in the theatre company is well developed and I couldn't differentiate between them; the ending is more absurd than usual but not even Fandorin, let alone Akunin, cared about the resolution, so it felt like an afterthought.
But the big problem here is the protagonist, who seems extremely changed from the previous books. Mid-life crisis is a bitch: he spends the whole book acting alternatively like a teenager and an old creep who lusts over a woman thirty-six years his junior while constantly undermining her as a person, and thinking about how her profession (she's an actress) makes her false, voluble, untrustworthy; and even towards the end he doesn't trust her fully when she shows her feelings, because she's probably being melodramatic, as actresses (and women) are. The rest of the time he seems to have lost his intelligence and, while trying to solve the case, makes a bunch of stupid mistakes he woulnd't have made when he was 20 (and I'm honestly starting to think that he was at his most mature when he went to war at 22).
Fandorin has been in love before; he's acted ridiculous before (and there's always been a bit of benevolent misogyny in his behaviour and thoughts), but never in such a way: it was sad and irritating to see such a great character end up like this. The women in Erast Petrovich's life have never been a strong point of Akunin's writing: they're very often sterotypes (like Esfir from The State Counsellor), barely there (Ariadna Arkadevna from The Death of Achilles) or underdeveloped (like Angelina and many others); the only exception, in my opinion, is Ksenia Georgevna Romanova from The Coronation who, although she appeared rather briefly, was written as a thoughtful, mature young woman navigating contrasting feelings in an extremely stressful situation. But the best female character he's written in this series is definitely Needle from The State Counsellor, and I think there's a connection between the fact that she's a great character and the fact that she doesn't interact directly with Fandorin.
Here Eliza, who we're supposed to believe is Fandorin's second great love, is so badly written (apart from being incredibly self-centered and shallow she makes a bunch of idiotic decisions throughout the book) that it was impossible for me to root for her and Fandorin. Instead I hated every single page that was devoted to their relationship and especially those written from her point of view; their whole love story was a "tell, don't show" fest: they keep saying how much they are in love, how much they're confused by their feelings etc. etc., but as reader I never saw this love in their interactions.
Another thing that was irritating is the setting: it's 19-fucking-11 and Akunin, who's dealt in very interesting ways with major Russian history events in the past (the terrorists of the 1870s and 1880s, the espionage side of the war with Japan, etc.), finds nothing better to do than spend all the time inside a theatre with a bunch of self-obsessed assholes and a murder plot that makes no sense whatsoever.
So, awful. Really really awful, especially because I usually love this author and this character. It's a bitter disappointment, given that we're in the home stretch of the series.
The less said about how it all sounds in French, the better....more
Il fatto che ci abbia messo una cosa come dieci giorni a leggere un libro di circa duecento pagine credo dica tutto sul mio apprezzamento.
La trama, ilIl fatto che ci abbia messo una cosa come dieci giorni a leggere un libro di circa duecento pagine credo dica tutto sul mio apprezzamento.
La trama, il conflitto al centro del romanzo, in realtà è parecchio interessante; è un dilemma di coscienza che nasce intorno a una questione poco chiara che riguarda un vecchio testamento, e il protagonista si trova a decidere tra fare la cosa che ritiene giusta, indipendentemente da ciò che gli suggeriscono gli avvocati, e quello che sembrerebbe essere il dovere nei confronti della Chiesa di cui fa parte, mentre i giornali scelgono di mostrarlo come un avaro nullafacente senza sapere niente di tutta la vicenda.
Il problema è che è scritto in modo noiosissimo, io non sono una lettrice molto costante ma qui mi veniva da mollare dopo aver letto un paio di righe, è troppo asciutto riuscendo al contempo ad essere, a momenti, troppo enfatico; e, nonostante la questione di cui sopra sia in sé un'idea ottima per il romanzo, mi sono fatta l'idea che Trollope non avesse particolare interesse a sviluppare i propri personaggi, che mi sono sembrati descritti da lontano, come se non avesse voluto, per così dire, sporcarsi le mani e renderli più vividi, più umani, più passionali. Stendiamo un velo pietoso sui comprimari (come Mr Bold, il quale prima giura di fare qualsiasi cosa per la donna che ama, anche venire meno a fare quello che ritiene il bene della comunità, e cinque minuti dopo si domanda chi gliel'ha fatto fare di rinunciare "for a girl").
I found it an exhilarating read, rich, vivid, full of life, even as I sort of facepalmed my way through the astoninishgly bad decisions Edward, the prI found it an exhilarating read, rich, vivid, full of life, even as I sort of facepalmed my way through the astoninishgly bad decisions Edward, the protagonist and narrator, makes again and again.
I had been a bit disappointed by The Stranger's Child, irritated by the change of perspective every hundred or so pages, but mostly because I came to it expecting something entirely different, whereas in this case I did not have any specific expectations, I had only quickly looked at the plot and, funnily enough, it had made me think of Villette.
I was not sure how I felt at the beginning, Edward being fascinating but also irritating and, I'll admit it, kinda gross with his falling in love, or rather in lust, with a seventeen year old boy. But the moving central part, about his own adolescence and his first love, completely sold me.
It was a peculiar experience as a reader: at one point I thought it would've been better as a third person narrative, but in fact one of the most interesting aspects for me was to feel as much as a voyeur as Edward, following him in search of Luc, sharing his every thought, and finding myself fascinated by Luc, wanting to understand him, wanting him to be in every scene, to be able to unfold him, to unveil him.
At times I was put out, at times it was extremely funny; it constantly gives a sense of knowing exactly what it wants to do and how to do it
And even when Edward is at his most pathetic and ridiculous (more than once I said out loud "what the fuck are you doing?" or "this is not going to end well, is it?"), it manages to make you understand exactly what he's feeling, that sense that that love you have, precisely because of the pain it provokes, is the most important thing you have and you dwell in your misery feeling it's what makes you you, and without it you'd be lostand empty, and all the while the person you love is in many ways a complete stranger, unattainable and unknowable, their mind far away, impossible to unlock.
If seems impossible and cruel that I only have two more books of Hollinghurst's to read. It's so, so good....more