I remember I was working in a book store when this was first released to much controversy over death threats and due in part to that it became a bestI remember I was working in a book store when this was first released to much controversy over death threats and due in part to that it became a best seller. I am pretty sure that is one of the main reasons I didn't read it then. The other being I didn't always want to read the newest releases. Even then I was reading books from older generations as much if not more so than the latest read. Now that both the book and I are older it was time to see what all the cartoons and threats were about.
I can see where the threats came from but not for the reason I had suspected. This book doesn't treat the prophet well but it definitely parodies the well known Ayatollah Khomeini and Rushdie does a superb job of it. It's unfortunate that he didn't do as great job with the rest of the book. I really feel that all the subplots didn't jell with one another. Each on it's own was better than the whole. I know this can be done better. Just look at Cloud Atlas.
On the other hand his characters were wonderful and some of the scenes had me chuckling. Poor Saladan, when he experiences his change and is confronted by the local police is hilarious. The glimpses into Indian culture were most welcome as well. I love learning especially if it's fun or done with beauty.
This is well worth reading because the writing is wonderful even if the cohesion isn't. I look forward to Midnight's Children....more
Call them science fiction, fantasy or magical realism if you like but make sure you also call these stories wonderful! I'm already a fan of shorts stoCall them science fiction, fantasy or magical realism if you like but make sure you also call these stories wonderful! I'm already a fan of shorts stories but I'm not exactly a fan of reviewing them, mainly because there are stinkers among the gems but I found none in this collection.
Considering each ones length I found each of them quite complex. The Library of Babel contains more than books it also seems to be housed in a labyrinth of hexagonal rooms with many corners. Who knows what's around the next one? There are many mazes in this set of stories and not all of them physical.
Borges simplicity of words enhance the beautiful writing they create when strung together by his capable pen. He was a really nice and welcome change from some of the more name intense and flowery prose I've currently been reading.
I swear I could hear that drum playing in my head at odd moments. Especially every time I tried to write this review. I think it was my own warning toI swear I could hear that drum playing in my head at odd moments. Especially every time I tried to write this review. I think it was my own warning to pay proper homage to a brilliant book. It always amazes me how some authors can take some dark passages of a characters life and treat it with a humour that doesn't detract from the seriousness of the subject.
I wanted to kick Oskar in the rump almost as often as I wanted to hug him. What an exasperating protagonist but I suspect he is very much a product of his time and environment. Did I mention he dictates this from a mental ward? I would definitely rank him with some of the best anti-heroes.
Unique, weird, annoying and sometimes heartbreaking this is a work that's worth the effort to read. The allegory runs thick but never seems too obvious. I think Mitchell's translation and afterword also helped in the version I read because I don't know if I would have understood enough of the slang and turns of phrase used otherwise....more
I learned more about Chile, Chinese culture and the California gold rush than I have having read history books in school. Allende was not only informaI learned more about Chile, Chinese culture and the California gold rush than I have having read history books in school. Allende was not only informative but it was all detailed and beautifully told.
I love how richly developed her characters are but I also found this a bit of a flaw as it took an enormous portion of the book developing what I thought became too many main ones. Which quite frankly led the latter part of the book into a bit of a mess.
I know Eliza was meant to be the center of the story but Tao Chi'en stole most of my attention. It was wonderful to see him grow and adapt emotionally and become a caring and compassionate person as it was to see Eliza develop.
If this is a good indication of Allende's level of writing and detail then I look forward to seeing more of her....more
Murakami's books can seem both superficial and faux surreal. Characters blip in and out. Most of them seeming to have nothing to do with the story heMurakami's books can seem both superficial and faux surreal. Characters blip in and out. Most of them seeming to have nothing to do with the story he tells. I finally found the secret is to enjoy the ride while he connects the dots. In this case it takes you right up till the end of the chronicle.
There's a lot of symbolism here. The most powerful being a horrific and far too detailed scene that's continued on in one form or another throughout the rest of the book. The well being the other major symbol. I was very unsettled by a good deal of it while some was totally lost on me.
If you want an easy read I suggest you stop right here because you aren't going to get one. You'll also find some of the characters, including Toro Okada, infuriating cyphers. You may also find yourself totally falling for some of them. May comes to mind. I'm pretty damned sure that's not a wig shop she's been working in but you grow to care for this odd and very damaged girl.
Sometimes I don't just want the meaning of a book handed to me and want to delve deeper on my own. This definitely scratched that itch....more
I really had to sit a couple of days and think on this review as I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book considering I wasn't overly fond of LI really had to sit a couple of days and think on this review as I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book considering I wasn't overly fond of Love in the Time of Cholera. While this is not an earth shattering story it definitely affects the reader and finds a spot in your heart or mind to dwell, myself included.
Part of the magic is how each character is very much isolated in solitude but in some way means a lot to another who is also absorbed in their own form of solitude.
I loved the meandering style of a story teller as it made it seem like I was sitting there listening. I didn't have much trouble keeping track of the people in the story as they were so distinct to me that it didn't matter if their names were almost the same.
You'll love it or hate it but it will leave it's mark. I'm pretty sure this will go on my favorites shelf. ...more
If you can wade past the numerous characters with not easy to remember names this book begins to charm you. At times bleak and at times joyous. It's aIf you can wade past the numerous characters with not easy to remember names this book begins to charm you. At times bleak and at times joyous. It's a bit bi polar but well worth a read....more