John Updike's Of the Farm is a good story, but more importantly, it really is an exquisitely crafted piece of art. i can't remember the last time i reJohn Updike's Of the Farm is a good story, but more importantly, it really is an exquisitely crafted piece of art. i can't remember the last time i read something whose sentences were so robust yet delicate and just plain good; they wind between plot and description, dialogue and insight with such complex beauty but seem to come from him effortlessly. certainly this is a short novel that contains more truth, charm, and intellect than many lengthier works filling up bookshelves.
this is the first piece of updike i've read and i've got to wonder why i didn't know more about him before as the strength of his writing stands up to any established classic....more
As a paperback thriller/audiobook to fill the void while I work type of thing, I thought this was well done. It had just the right amount of historicaAs a paperback thriller/audiobook to fill the void while I work type of thing, I thought this was well done. It had just the right amount of historical research plopped onto a pile of mystery, deceit, and action and I can only assume the author was hoping for a screen adaptation as he wrote as these books since it keeps that pace and makes way for such imagery but I did not find that it made it too cheesy and think I will add his other book The Forgery of Venus to my list.
The one thing that kept distracting me was this: I believe the author was going for this revealing look at the underbelly of rich amoral city types in his development of the Mishkin family and I think it was supposed to be edgy and glamorously unapologetic but the Jake Mishkin character especially just came off as a bit tired and overcooked for me. Obviously he is supposed to be a pathetic figure but I felt like the author secretly idolized his misogyny and glamorized it for the sake of sales, buttering the whole thing up for Hollywood which actually just made it feel a bit more cheap than it should have. I suppose I may just be barking up the wrong tree and can't expect a goose to be a swan, but yeah....more
This book was written by my English professor from college who I will always have a deep and lasting respect for as she is an incredibly intelligent,This book was written by my English professor from college who I will always have a deep and lasting respect for as she is an incredibly intelligent, funny, personable, and sharp individual whom it was a pleasure to know. She always had these great stories from her life to share with us as anecdotes to express a point in class when it came to writing about oneself and I am looking forward to reading her now published work that fits into this very same vein. I also took a couple of classes with her now former husband and so on another level, I hope reading this will bring some peace to the back of my head on the matter of their divorce...I know she has come out alright in the end and I can only wish them both the best.
******************************************* Just finished reading this and I have to say I enjoyed it quite a lot. I sometimes was a bit fuzzy as to the direction of the narrative, but ended up enjoying the loose arrangement of memories mixed with more current experiences and the thought patterns which evolved from both and shaped the author.
I was surprised by how personally revealing the book was and enjoyed her self-deprecating but warm and inviting tone, her motivation to remain a thoughtful and independent-minded woman during such personal strife, and her clearly delineated intelligence and honesty. I might also add that I very much appreciated the stories of her conservative up-bringing as I was raised in a very traditional German-Lutheran family and can most definitely relate to the weird food, ancestral culture, and the journey of evolving from the conservative mindset of childhood by way of education and travel.
This book reads quite well and there are some interesting bits about Ethiopia scattered throughout. It was a fairly entertaining read, enough so thatThis book reads quite well and there are some interesting bits about Ethiopia scattered throughout. It was a fairly entertaining read, enough so that I did not put it down even though I was sorely tempted to because of how arrogant and sad the author seemed to me.
I was expecting that someone who really wanted to discover such a historical site(s) would do plenty of scholarly research beforehand and that the whole thing would read a bit more legitimate than it did. He admits to not doing much research beforehand and the whole trip kind of feels like he's just winging it which amounts to a sugary travel account and not a devoted quest rooted in scholarship. In fact, the books he does quote from and seems most inspired by are the fictional ones and he seems to be so overtaken with seeing the sites from those books in person that he is convinced they must be where the mines are. Seriously? That is his evidence? The guy seemed a savvy traveler but otherwise just a sad little rich spoiled rich kid and try as I might, I could not shake the outline of him as a pampered brat who just happens to have enough cash to thrown around so that he can play in the world as if it is his own private sandbox and style himself as an Indiana Jones wannabe on his own book jacket.
The whole thing seems a lot more about him convincing everyone in the book and us that he is indeed a certain kind of Adventurer than him searching for that which strikes his passion. Far from being an adventurer that one would look up to though, he is rude and selfish to his traveling companions time and time again throughout the narrative to the point where he pretty much flat out ignores the medical needs of his faithful friend and spends loads of money on his own equipment without even bothering about his companion who cannot fend for himself. He insists on paying for a bigger than necessary mule "entourage," lies about his horsemanship abilities, and goes out of his way to try and impress them and gain their respect by pretending not to eat while he is shoving his face with food he has hidden all the while…honestly though, who cares this much about appearances on a quest such as this? For a cause that seemed so important to him and a cause for which he went through so much for, it strikes me as quite shallow and silly that so much of the book is devoted to him showing off and playing the petulant child who makes so many absurd demands of his fellow travelers while insulting what they hold dearest at the same time.