I am a terrible review writer. That is why I never write them. But I have to write something about this book because it is so phenomenal. I will stick...moreI am a terrible review writer. That is why I never write them. But I have to write something about this book because it is so phenomenal. I will stick with Oscar, not because Lucinda isn't a great and very interesting character, but because Oscar has my heart. He is an awkward, I suppose silly looking man who has grown up with a stern, but loving radically fundamentalist father in deeply rural England. He literally knows no more of the world than his fathers house, a path and his neighbors house. Here in this tiny patch of the world Oscar forges his religious sensibility: one of sin and punishment and an overflowing sense of redemption in Gods love. I am not a religious person, but Oscar moved me.
To write about what happens to him would be to spoil the book. All I can say is that this book was beyond original,vivid, surprising and exciting. If I could give it six stars I would give it 7. It is rightly placed among the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, This will always be one of my favorite books. (less)
The Alienist is a fantastic murder mystery that takes place in New York in the 1890's, and it is sheer page turning fun. There is a serial killer lo...more The Alienist is a fantastic murder mystery that takes place in New York in the 1890's, and it is sheer page turning fun. There is a serial killer loose in New York. His victims are boys about twelve years of age who work in brothels that specialize in "whore-boys"--boy prostitutes who wear female clothing and make-up. These boys tend to come from immigrant families, and desperatly need to make money.Because they come from the lowest level of society they are not missed when they disappear, especially by the police. Theodore Roosevelt is the newly appointed police commisioner. He takes on Lazlo Kreizlerl to find the serial killer. Kreizler will use psychology to determine the identity of the serial killer. Kreizlerhas a new method, which he has formulated himself, of detecting the culprit. That is by getting to know him through and through so as to find out why he kills, thus being able to anticipate his moves and catch him in the act. The crux of Kreizler's theory has to do with context. Know the context of the subject's early life and you will understand why the subject acts the way he does. The subversive idea that lies behind this theory is: if the subject was reacting rationally to what was happening to him from his earliest childhood, how can he not be acting rationally, according to his lights, now. How can you judge him sane or insane? I kept asking myself three questions: when does speculation become fact? Why are people, even today,so afraid of the contextual theory of behavior? And most of all, how badly do you want to eat at Delmonico's?