You know that feeling you get just after finishing a book when you can't really put into words what you think? I've sort of got that now, but I'm goinYou know that feeling you get just after finishing a book when you can't really put into words what you think? I've sort of got that now, but I'm going to try to give my first reflections.
For the first couple of chapters, I wasn't really sure what it was supposed to be about. It seemed very narrative driven without much depth. And the main character kept banging on about how pretty she was, which was a bit annoying (envy maybe?) And I couldn't understand why such a mediocrity would be the subject of a book. But a few chapters in, I got on the book's wavelength and all the subtext suddenly was plain to see. Although I had guessed the ending quite a lot earlier (as another reviewer noted, it is very similar to 'Atonement') that didn't detract from the effect. This is very much a novelist's novel - very introspective (some might say navel-gazing) and lots of name-dropping of people that Ian McEwan probably knows very well. There's an appearance of a very recognisable Martin Amis, for example. It isn't really a book about spying at all, it's about writing a novel in those early days of the Booker Prize. Is the novelist a version of Ian McEwan himself? Quite possibly, but to say more may give the story away.
When I've settled down a bit, I might try and re-write this review with a bit more light of hindsight. But for now suffice to say that 'Sweet Tooth' could stand next to 'Atonement' any day. ...more
I'd been looking to read this for ages, but kept putting it off. This was partly because I'd struggled to get into 'Middlemarch' and also because of tI'd been looking to read this for ages, but kept putting it off. This was partly because I'd struggled to get into 'Middlemarch' and also because of the end of 'The Mill on the Floss'. However, I'm so glad I eventually read this. Although some people do say that George Eliot can be a bit preachy, I generally found her messages to be ones that are very applicable to everyday life, making you think more about your decisions and their consequences.
The plot is very moving, particularly as it approaches the denouement. I found the first half of the book to be a little slow moving, but in a very short novel I suppose it can afford to have unusual pacing. In a longer novel, that first section wouldn't really be so long - it's just because it takes over 50% of the book that it feels a bit slow. But trust me, it's worth it.
It's thrilling and exciting and I enjoyed reading it. Some of the writing style did grate slightly, with the constant reminders that local charactersIt's thrilling and exciting and I enjoyed reading it. Some of the writing style did grate slightly, with the constant reminders that local characters were speaking in a Devonshire accent. Not a great work of literature but enjoyable all the same. ...more
**spoiler alert** I have heard a lot of people draw comparisons between North and South and Pride and Prejudice. There are certainly similarities - in**spoiler alert** I have heard a lot of people draw comparisons between North and South and Pride and Prejudice. There are certainly similarities - initial mutual dislike between hero and heroine born out of misunderstanding and social inequality, the hero making a marriage proposal which is at first rejected by the heroine, the hero doing something altruistic to make the heroine change her mind about him. And, as the strong silent type, Mr Thornton is a bit like Mr Darcy. However, I think in character it is Margaret who is more like Mr Darcy. She is the social superior, and throughout the book is described with certain masculine attributes, unlike her father who is very much a 'feminine' character. (Though, as a feminist myself, I do object to feminine values being seen as necessarily weaker and less reliable than their masculine counterparts. On a similar note, I'm not sure why the publisher of the edition I read felt that the best front cover illustration for this book was a portrait of a dewy-eyed, blushing maiden in a state of half undress. I have no problem with this in itself, but I'm not sure it gives the best indication of what the novel is about.) The main story is not really the romance between Margaret Hale and Mr Thornton. That is only really a device to illustrate the main message - that idea of North and South coming together, learning of each others virtues and blunting each others faults. Also, unlike P&P, we get here the voices of real working people, not just the middle-class gentry....more
I had high hopes for this. I have a tiny obsession with most Titanic-related things (April this year was a good month for me!) so a book which sells iI had high hopes for this. I have a tiny obsession with most Titanic-related things (April this year was a good month for me!) so a book which sells itself as a what-if alternative history of what would happen if a man time-travelled to attempt to prevent the ship from sinking sounded a good concept. Unfortunately, for me, the Titanic element was disappointingly small and the rest was taken up with action-y, running around, blowing things up sort of writing which doesn't really appeal to me. I also have to admit that I didn't finish this book. I got to page 430 out of 750 and realised that I didn't really care what happened in the end, which is my cue for giving up on a book which I'm reading. Usually I try to persevere, but I just couldn't be bothered with this.