I really enjoyed reading this collection of poetry. It’s like sitting and reminiscing about the past with an old friend. Though these poems share theI really enjoyed reading this collection of poetry. It’s like sitting and reminiscing about the past with an old friend. Though these poems share the theme of drinking, they’re more about the connections made with others through–or in spite of–booze. Some poems are laugh-out-loud funny; others are touching and heartfelt.
Interestingly, A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst employs the second-person perspective. This really throws you into the story, making you an active participant in the events that unfold—whether it’s “smell[ing] your ancestral home on the cool wind of some crazy astral plane” or “having the world you once knew . . . snuffed out in a brutal whiff,” you’re along for the ride. A crazy, wonderful ride of emotions and spirits.
The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea is a tempest of a book. Mishima writes poetically and his descriptions are a work of art in and of themselThe Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea is a tempest of a book. Mishima writes poetically and his descriptions are a work of art in and of themselves. What starts as an innocuous romance novel, quickly turns into a far more sinister tale of destroyed hopes and lost dreams. Throughout the novel love, death, and glory all seem to be intertwined in a matrix of chaos. Ryuji believes that through love you embrace death:
For Ryuji the kiss was death, the very death in love he always dreamed of. The softness of her lips, her mouth so crimson in the darkness he could see it with closed eyes, so infinitely moist, a tepid coral sea, her restless tongue quivering like sea grass . . . in the dark rapture of all this was something directly linked to death. He was perfectly aware that he would leave her in a day, yet he was ready to die happily for her sake. Death roused inside him, stirred. (Mishima 77)
The characters in this book—at least the male characters—all struggle with finding glory. Ryuji believes he can find this through a woman; while Noburo thinks the only way to truly live is to be adventurous and free, forsaking all human ties to explore life on the sea. Ryuji, a sailor, quickly becomes his idol; he puts all his illusions of manliness and glory onto him, imagining him to be the ideal Japanese male and hero. Here in lies the crux of the novel, a young, dispassionate youth struggling to find a path in an unrecognizable, false world.
Noburo’s living in a westernized Japan; even in his most immediate surroundings—his home—traces of Japanese culture are missing: “There wasn’t a single Japanese room in Fusako’s house; her mode of living was thoroughly Western except on New Year’s Day, when she observed tradition by serving the special New Year’s breakfast on lacquered trays and drinking toasts with spiced sake” (Mishima 113). Noburo’s mother, Fusako, embraces and represents westernization. She is a single mother, who owns a retail store that fashions in imported western clothing. Noboru has no father figure and the ideal Japanese figure that he so desperately clings to, seems to have no place in this westernized, peaceful Japan. Him and his gang of friends try to make sense of the world through violence and nihilism. This leads the reader down a very dark path. The way Mishima writes about these brutal acts, makes the reader feel as an unwilling participant to the atrocities being committed. It is quite an eerie feeling.
This was my first introduction to Mishima and though it was brutal, harsh, and unforgiving, it also remains beautiful, thoughtful, and symbolically layered. I will be reading more by him.
There’s beauty in subtlety. Tea with the Black Dragon does not follow typical fantasy conventions; in fact the fantasy elements remain in the backgro There’s beauty in subtlety. Tea with the Black Dragon does not follow typical fantasy conventions; in fact the fantasy elements remain in the background with the crux of the story focusing on a spiritual and emotional awakening and the search for missing persons. It is unusual not to delve into the power and life of an ancient and magical figure, since they tend to be the most interesting part of the story, but MacAvoy does not do this. He instead masterfully plays with the reader only giving us glimmers of Mayland Long’s life, leaving us wanting more and at the same time knowing that Long’s future lies in the present and that his past is irrelevant. The book also mentions Chinese philosophy and mythology but again only very lightly, giving just what is needed and nothing more. Words are not wasted by MacAvoy, everything has a purpose and a reason, and because of this the book has a very mysterious feel to it. A lot of your questions will go unanswered, but there’s a beauty in that.
Most fantasy novels choose to go back to a preindustrial world or a totally new world from our own; this book, however, is written in modern times and includes present-day technology (at least for when it was written; it seems a bit out dated now). At first I didn’t know how this would work, having dragons and computer wizards in the same novel. I’ll admit I was skeptical, perhaps because I’m very hesitant to accept new technologies in the first place--they have to grow on me and I tend to like fantasy because it escapes into imaginative worlds. However, MacAvoy pulls it off beautifully. He crafts a tale about an old and ancient being, one who finds truth in the most unlikely of places, the realm of humans. A delight to read! ...more
This is one of the scariest books ever written. More horrifying is the fact that we live with this threat—a world dying irreversibly from nuclear des This is one of the scariest books ever written. More horrifying is the fact that we live with this threat—a world dying irreversibly from nuclear destruction—every day. It’s bleak, depressing, horrific, and real. Cormac McCarthy shows us the true evil of mankind and their acts—cannibalism, murder, stealing, war, environmental destruction—yet, somehow he shows us the redeeming qualities of mankind as well—benevolence, generosity, concern for your fellow man, importance of knowledge, and most importantly, love. During a time when no hope remains and all seems lost, the boy remains a beacon of hope and old- world values. This is truly amazing because this boy was born into a world of death and has only his father to learn from. This book shows us the destruction of nature like no other and is a truly heart-rending critique of man’s environmental annihilation. Barren streams with skeletons of fish, dead trees falling to the ground with incredible loudness, the whole world empty to any kind of bird call or animal noise, just silence; these are some of the horrific images this book will leave in your head. A painful book to read, but a book everyone should read. A great novel about a father and his son, filled with human anguish and love. ...more
This book is by far one of the craziest books I’ve ever read—not so much in subject matter, as in style. Tepper tries to cram way too many genres int This book is by far one of the craziest books I’ve ever read—not so much in subject matter, as in style. Tepper tries to cram way too many genres into one book, which results in a conglomeration of things that don’t quite mesh and causes the reader’s disbelief. First off, the book is set in a post apocalyptic Earth where men have returned to a pre-industrial way of life, however, some high technology still remains in the form of nuclear robots who roam the Earth as inquisitors for an evil witch. Then you add in archetypal villages (based on Northern European fairy tales), talking animals (based on Native American mythology), gang related violence and sex which leads to an IDDI epidemic due to drug experimentation and loose sexual practices (an obvious reference to AIDS), and then last but not least Man’s desire to reach the stars and achieve space travel. As you can see this is way too much information in one book.
Up until this point I’ve been complaining and I do think Tepper’s choice of style does result in some awkward moments but overall she manages to pull it off where many authors would fail miserably. The reason Tepper is able to pull it off is because she writes not just to create an interesting story but to comment on social ills and highlight mankind’s flaws. (view spoiler)[One thing she did shockingly well is have the main female character, Olly, die. How often does a science fiction/fantasy writer kill off their main character (This is before Martin’s Game of Thrones, for those who are curious)? And she doesn’t do it just for shock value; she has a message: that this world and the people and animals that inhabit it are worth dying for and if a sacrifice is easy than it’s not really a sacrifice. (hide spoiler)] She critiques mankind’s tendency to destroy and to squander resources on war, rather than trying to think about the future and the possibility of space travel. This book does carry strong feminist and environmental messages, both of which are important. However, this book does not read as condescending and didactic. She manages to incorporate her messages into the story, while still leaving questions unanswered and the reader to draw their own conclusions. I think she is a marvelous fantasy/science fiction writer because she allows the reader to be in a different time and place, all the while writing about problems we currently face. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** This was a marvelous read. I recently read this out loud to my twelve year old sister; there are twelve years between us, so I had b**spoiler alert** This was a marvelous read. I recently read this out loud to my twelve year old sister; there are twelve years between us, so I had both an adult and child’s perspective of the book. It is a wonderful story featuring anthropomorphic characters and their many adventures. The book deals with many themes and life lessons, including: ideas of maturation, the grass is always greener proverb, friendship and loyalty, and the conflict of nature versus nurture. The Mole and the Toad both experience coming of age stories throughout the novel. In the beginning, the Mole leaves his oppressive earthen burrow—which represents his childhood home—and has moved out into big world, with all of life’s new experiences. He learns that though he misses his childhood home, he does not want to remain there. However, he knows whenever he feels lonely he can return and derive comfort and safety from his old dwelling. This shows that though childhood may be comforting, one would rather experience some hardship and insecurity that comes with adulthood. Mr. Toad—an impulsive, high-spirited, conceited, rich, trickster—takes a much longer time to reach maturation, if he ever does . . . He gives the book life and is the most likable character, despite or because of his flaws. Throughout the book, Toad thinks only of himself and neglects and abuses his friends—Badger, Rat, and Mole—who try and reform him. He constantly breaks the law, steals, puts his and other people’s lives in danger, and brags constantly. Though at the end of the book he changes his ways and becomes a respectable, humble, and thoroughly ordinary toad. Kenneth Grahame constantly references classical texts, including Homer’s the Odyssey. In the chapter The Return of Ulysses, Mr. Toad, Rat, Mole, and Badger go and avenge Mr. Toad’s house against the evil usurping weasels and stoats—referencing Ulysses return home and battle and revenge on the supplanting suitors. I like how Grahame chooses for the toad to be the mischievous, impetuous character. This references both medieval literature and Shakespeare, both of which write of toads being evil, cunning, and associated with trickery. I think this book offers much for both children and adults alike, provides interesting insights about life and maturation, as well as being a highly entertaining and humorous book. I will keep this in my home collection and read it to my children. It remains a timeless classic and must read. ...more
The originality is back!! For those disappointed in Bakker’s previous book, The Judging Eye—due to its complete knockoff of Tolkien’s The Fellowship The originality is back!! For those disappointed in Bakker’s previous book, The Judging Eye—due to its complete knockoff of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring— Bakker more than redeems himself with The White Luck Warrior. Only Bakker can get away with combining the extremely bizarre and grotesque, while remaining philosophical and intellectually stimulating. This book has it all: an evil, murderous child infatuated with his mother, sranc who couple with the dead in the most gruesome way imaginable, an Empress consumed with power to the point of losing her original self, a non-man who supplies a drug to his followers and in return gains worship, a damaged whore who can open her “third” eye and see the sins and damnation of her fellow companions, a wizard who has forsaken his school, his god and his wife and has let his desire to gain vengeance overtake his higher thinking skills, and a young warrior who can communicate with an Earth goddess—Yatwer—bent on assassination. Bakker manages to combine high level action with graphic battle sequences, all the while showing the emotional strain and psyches of the people involved.
This book is wonderfully written and full of interesting twists. (view spoiler)[Esmenet hires an assassin to kill Maithanet and just when the two recognize their misunderstandings for one another and try to reconcile, Maithanet is murdered. Here we see just how fully power and Kellhus’ manipulating words have corrupted Esmenet. Immediately Esmenet is “speaking oil” to curry favor with the onlookers and saying that Kellhus ordered Maithanet’s death. She does not shed one tear for her brother-in-law; instead she puts on her mask and acts the roll of Empress. It will be interesting to see how the empire holds together without Maithanet helping to advise.
Oh, and what about Kelmomas. Isn’t he a very talented, gifted little boy? So loveable and innocent, not capable of harm? Well, maybe not. He has turned into a homicidal, evil genius who is hiding in the palace and living off his victims. Meanwhile, Esmenet and Mimara think he’s the only child capable of love. Boy, I can’t wait to see their reaction when they find out the truth. I don’t know if Esmenet will be able to survive the news, especially if she finds out that Kelmomas murdered Sammi.
The last shocking revelation: Mimara carries Achamian’s child. Now that puts a strain on things. Achamian loves Esmenet. Esmenet’s child is Mimara. Achamian views Mimara as his child. A little incestuous I’d say. Again I’m very curious to see Esmenet’s reaction; not that she has any right to be mad after her betrayal. I still wonder how things will end.
Ok and I have to mention Kellhus and the Men of the Ordeal. Things don’t look good on that front. They seem to be losing the war, despite Kellhus’ best efforts. Kellhus’ origins still remain shrouded in mystery. Here’s my guess and it is only a guess, so don’t hold me accountable. I believe Kellhus might have been created by the consult and the great twist will be he—master of all and great manipulator—was manipulated himself into thinking he was helping to defeat the consult. I could be wrong but that’s my guess. (hide spoiler)] Go read the book. It is fantastic. Bakker remains a master of fantasy. I can’t wait till the last book comes out. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** As much as I loved the Prince of Nothing trilogy, I was hesitant to read The Judging Eye because it picked up twenty years into the**spoiler alert** As much as I loved the Prince of Nothing trilogy, I was hesitant to read The Judging Eye because it picked up twenty years into the future and I was afraid that the characters I loved would fade into the background. However, this was not the case and I'm glad I finally read The Judging Eye. The story continues with Esmenet struggling to maintain control of the empire, all the while dealing with the harsh consequences of her choice to be with Kellhus, including: being married to a man incapable of love, who manipulates all those around him to reach his goals, producing children who are emotionless, mad, murderous, and/or deformed creatures. Meanwhile Achamian comes out of isolation to try and find the secret behind Kellhus' mysterious origins. Kellhus' character remains in the background; we don't see anything from his perspective and he continues to overawe people with his presence and conquer nations. Two new characters emerge: Mimara and Sorweel. Mimara--Esmenet's daughter who was sold into prostitution--follows Achamian into the depths of hell, literally, to learn sorcery and proves to have unique powers of her own, as well as a brave heart. It will be interesting to see her development throughout the series. Sorweel's character--a son of a defeated ruler who constantly struggles with his conflicted heart--was a disappoint. He is a Hamletesque figure, who remains static throughout the book and the sections on him are rather dry because nothing ever happens. The reason this gets 4 stars instead of five is because, unlike the Prince of Nothing series, this book lacked originality and borrowed greatly from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. At one point Achamian and the men he's hired are forced--due to a storm--to go underground through Cil-Aujas, a place very similar to the Mines of Moria. During this trek the band is attacked by sranc--creatures similar to orcs--and is forced through a chokepoint during which a staircase is broken and surprise, surprise they are momentarily relieved. Also, the band discovers that the Non-Men brought this evil upon themselves by enslaving humans for their mining purposes. Despite the fact that he borrowed ideas from Tolkien, the book remains a very entertaining, philosophical read, with some horrific images and original ideas of his own. The writing style and language are once again flawless and R. Scott Bakker does a good job exploring the nature of man. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and eagerly await the sequel. ...more
I had high hopes for this book and was greatly disappointed. I will admit I’m a huge fantasy fan, but haven’t explored too much urbanMediocre at Best
I had high hopes for this book and was greatly disappointed. I will admit I’m a huge fantasy fan, but haven’t explored too much urban fantasy. Now normally I would question why fairies, hobs, and other mythical creatures—usually associated with the earth and Mother Nature—would be living in a polluted, crowded city and if mythical creatures did dwell in a city, I would imagine them to be more fiendish, evil type creatures. However, I was willing to put aside my initial biases and see where Charles de Lint took the novel. He did not take it far. It seemed he only put in the urban elements to make the reader relate to the physical area (Ottawa, Canada) and the human world, as well as to be original. There didn’t seem to be much difference between the human characters and the magical characters. The evil monsters were just giants who rode Harleys. The magical characters ate at restaurants and at the Waffle House and spent human currency. Jacky and Kate were able to see the Faerie world, become invisible to fellow humans and members of the Faerie world, as well as run amazingly fast, just by having a hob sew some stitches into their coat and shoes. It seems to me if you’re going to have an urban fantasy setting, there should be some point—an environmental critique, humans’ ever growing need to develop the natural world, therefore forcing the mythical folk to live in cities, etc. However, de Lint doesn’t seem to be making any point.
The story is very formulaic, with flat, good versus evil characters and no one in between. When Jacky—the main character—realizes the magical world exists and how the Seelie court is being brutally attacked, she is able—with no magic of her own and no forethought and planning—to defeat the Unseelie court, when for years the great wizards, lords, Gruagaghs, could do nothing to stop them. De Lint tries to show that through bravery and willingness to sacrifice yourself for the common good you can defeat your foe. However, this coming of age story is very childlike, shallow, predictable, and lacks stimulation. If you’re a youth and new to the fantasy genre, this might be a decent book, otherwise I would steer clear. I gave this book two stars only because some of the ideas in the novel were interesting, even if they were not fully developed. Such as: 1. There are supernatural beings that live among us, but because we don’t believe in them we have lost the ability to see them 2. That humans have a great tendency to believe in the bad supernatural creatures (ghosts, undead, witches, etc.) versus the good (fairies, elves etc.). ...more