Incredibly woven tale that is incredibly long, and I'm not sure if it had to be. That'll be my only complaint though, and the reason I didn't give a fIncredibly woven tale that is incredibly long, and I'm not sure if it had to be. That'll be my only complaint though, and the reason I didn't give a full five stars (which it probably deserves). I loved the 'Victorian pastiche' narration - beautiful language with impeccable descriptions of very human characters. The interactions, unfolding of events and back-stories are rich, intricate and brilliantly tied in with the astrological cycle. Very wicked and clever mystery! I wrote wicked in a British accent.
Eleanor Catton is probably a genius.
If you'd like to buckle in for a long yet page-turning ride, this one's for you! ...more
I was impressed and amused with Green's writing style throughout the novel, but something felt contrived at the heart of it. Alaska is an intriguing cI was impressed and amused with Green's writing style throughout the novel, but something felt contrived at the heart of it. Alaska is an intriguing character, and I liked the modern-day Catcher-in-the-Rye-meets-Gatsby narration (for the most part), but for me, it was akin to when Dawson's Creek first aired and everyone thought, "Oh wow, this is a great show! But, teenagers just don't have that vocabulary. They don't act like that, really." You continue to watch because it's entertaining and heartfelt, but you also feel like your just not as into it as you want to be.
The smoking, drinking, blasphemy and fumbling sex scenes were pretty bang on, though. Ha!
The many 'ships are found underneath the mundane, the collective experiences that, on the surface, seem insignificant but actually shape what our entiThe many 'ships are found underneath the mundane, the collective experiences that, on the surface, seem insignificant but actually shape what our entire lives turn out to be, and that's what this collection seems to be about.
I felt so connected to and equally distraught by the characters in each story, depending on their circumstances and perspectives. I've met these people before too, which is the entire point. It's life - it's people - it's all happening out there, and she captures it. I so admire how she can write across the generations, and so accurately depict a different time and place. In Family Furnishings, she does this so uncannily, I had a physical reaction. I literally mouthed aloud "that's kind of...my family." She puts our exact, whole experiences into a masterful sculpting of words...somehow. How?!
Munro tends to talk about what we would otherwise consider the unmentionable, or such brief 'did that really happen, or was I remembering it wrong' moments, that at first glance, such things seem insignificant (or at least boring), but in her stories, are quickly revealed as the pathways and arrows of our lives that dictate what happens from thereon in.
She writes about life (most often the lives of women) in an honest, meticulous way that has taught me (and I assume all of her fans) how to better understand and appreciate how it all unfolds, and not just that, but why we should bother understanding - how that understanding can really heighten our mindfulness, compassion - common sense, really...all of that.
Last thing - I've thought about what I'll call 'the otherwise unmentionables' my entire life, as I'm sure most of us have and do, but until I read Munro, I didn't know there was a voice that could narrate that...I didn't know it was normal or even OK to spend so much time on all of that. Now, as a grownup and as a writer, I know just the opposite is true, and that's really something.
A very naughty indulgence - smutty (that's an understatement)with a simplistic (also an understatement) story line. The characters are completely one-A very naughty indulgence - smutty (that's an understatement)with a simplistic (also an understatement) story line. The characters are completely one-dimensional and much of the ideology is sexist (like many other reviewers say - it's total 'caveman stuff'). Despite this, it was fun! When I wasn't giggling or ohmigoding, I was relishing in the steamy parts! Why not, eh? Can't be serious all the time.
There is a ton of repetitive language, but it was still organized and flowed relatively well. A few details struck me as completely trivial - even odd, and the way they were presented was silly. But, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy those parts at times. Example - the main character, Novemeber, often described meals (yep) and outfits (indeed), as well as daily 'routines'(brushing teeth or applying makeup), which made her seem juvenile and simple, so that took away a lot of her appeal (for me, at least - I don't think this would be the case for all readers). Also, November's thought process was quite lacking - she almost sounded like a gravely miseducated 14-year-old, which was a bit troubling. But like I said, it's a caveman read - it's just for fun. Otherwise, she was likeable enough.
Her love interest, Asher, is totally hot and totally CAVEMANesque: controlling, jealous, domineering, protective, super sexy and rough around the edges. Every second word that comes out of his mouth is profane, as he has an extremely limited vocabulary (well, he is a Tennessee caveman, afterall). I forgive him. But, if he says "baby", "that shit" or "fuck, yeah" one more time I might just have to gag him.
Some of November's dialogue reminded me of the Fifty Shades jargon, like the "Oh, crap" and "Crap, crap, crap", which was definitely annoying.
Their relationship, which was at the centre of the entire plot, is centered around the 'love at first sight' principle. Their attraction is electric and magnetic. It had a lot of Bella-Edward characteristics. In other words, a 'sassy best friend' intervention would have helped the main character navigate her way through such a possession (entrapment, really) if this were to take place in real life. But, it's not real life, so who cares?
I was also reminded of the Twilight "imprint" idea, which seems to happen (in a natural, not fantastical) way in the Mayson family (Asher's grandfather, father, and brothers, primarily). Anyway, interesting element.
I like to escape into these little fantasies sometimes. It gave my brain a rest and let me focus entirely on my...senses!
But um, serious feminists BEWARE! This ain't for you. ;)
A disingenuous and rambling confessional (it reads like an evil Danielle Steel), but if you're patient enough to wade through the crap, and in a juvenA disingenuous and rambling confessional (it reads like an evil Danielle Steel), but if you're patient enough to wade through the crap, and in a juvenile mood, the frenetic antics will entertain you.
Jordan Belfort is someone the world isn't going to forget easily, and not just because Leo and Marty decided to immortalize him. His story puts a human stamp on capitalistic greed - one we can almost reach out and touch - which keeps conversations on the issue going. More than anything, this creative memoir (heavy on the creative) makes one feel as though they know the man, because although his tone rings shallow, he seems to bare all. Instead of drowning in economic jargon, the book zooms in on limits, urges and ego. All personal, so we can relate. Obviously most of us haven't jumped off ledges as steep as Jordan has -- the guy was a pure 1980s beautiful disaster. But, we've all felt the harshness of rock bottom (to whatever degree), and essentially, the will to move onward and upward. And it's about the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, starchy pinstripes included. Yes, he does compare himself to Michael Corleone at one point, and admits to pining after the lifestyles of the Dallas and Miami Vice crews, respectively. What's not to indulge in?
Content aside, I wish Belfort hired a more aggressive editor (someone else had mentioned that, and I thought YES, WHY DIDN'T HE?!). Maybe he couldn't find one, but this could have been a quality memoir if it was written properly. It's fascinating, but it lacks the depth and integrity it needs to captivate a serious audience. A prime example: I searched for sincerity, yet I often found none, and instead battled flaky dialogue like I would a tangled, swampy forest. You can't stop, because you've got to reach the end, but the way through is messy and somewhat demoralizing. In short, the shitty, stupid mess of words kept me from what would have been (I'm sure) a captivating oral tale. It's so much easier to listen to the ums and ahhs and effs and blah blah blahs than read through them, isn't it?
And, although it was (almost) bereft of candour, I do believe Belfort is remorseful. There are moments of clarity when one senses real regret, even within the silly jokes and wild descriptions, and amongst the nostalgia and longing that saturate the narrative. He boasts about it (and everything else), but it's clear he does have a significant degree of emotional intelligence. How could he have gotten to the top without reading everyone so closely and accurately? All of this, tied together, is a big fat bag of contradictions that show his humanity, which is ironically endearing (to a limited degree). It's also proof he's meant to stand in front of a crowd and make an impact. I hope he's doing it the right way this time around.
This book left me pondering (yet again): is there is a morally sound path to making millions? Unless you're JK Rowling, it seems to be a rare feat. The comeback kid addresses all that in his motivational speeches, I believe.
An enjoyable aspect of this read: Belfort bashes all the yuppies, douchebags and sociopaths he's scraped antlers with by describing their flaws and insecurities in such a raw and hilarious way, I felt as though I was a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room. Usually disgusting, but undeniably glorious, and of course, part of that emotional intelligence. That being said, he describes his dad with a sort of touching sarcasm. There's a complicated love there, and these humorous, yet harsh descriptions of his father may be the true candid moments in the book.
I'm eager to see how it'll all play out on screen. ...more
JK Rowling's aptness for describing the human condition on both a micro and a macro scale is what makes this detective novel brilliant. She revealed hJK Rowling's aptness for describing the human condition on both a micro and a macro scale is what makes this detective novel brilliant. She revealed her knack for this in The Casual Vacancy, and now it's embedded in the terrain of this classic-structured mystery (with no skimping on details, which I personally relished in). I know some readers - even avid fans - found the detail tedious, but it's well-crafted and laid out in a way that kept me pining for more, particularly characters' back stories as they explain the why and how of things (while satisfying my desire for in-depth perspective).
Folks may complain about the advanced descriptive language, but it was a good education for me. Yeah, I used my dictionary more than I care to admit, but that can come with reading quality literature. OK, so complex and rare vocabulary items are not necessarily prerequisites for a good book, but the language didn't get in my way. I will begrudgingly admit that several words stung my brain, but I refuse to place the blame on Rowling.
The plot is multifaceted and twisty, and although I correctly guessed the murderer early on, I was soon led astray, and greatly caught up with a list of intriguing characters I NEED to see again, particularly Cormoran and Robin (obviously). They make a great pair, and I'm curious to see how their relationship, working and so on, will evolve. Galbraith, sir, be conjured and write more!
Like all of her work, The Cuckoo's Calling serves as social commentary (although not to the extent that The Casual Vacancy did, and on the principle that they belong to separate genres, I won't compare them). As much as the novel evokes suspense, much of its narration and dialogue illuminates and critiques society's obsession and often ignorant preoccupation with celebrity, as well as its consequences for the famed, the consumed and the medium in charge of keeping this perverse industry well-greased.
A detail I most appreciated was the perfectly-tuned and varying tones and dialects, which offered up boundless depictions of characters' socioeconomic situation, and so, their perspective. Not only did that serve the plot well (as it explained characters' attitudes, beliefs and subsequent action - or in many cases - inaction), but it formed a whole story that readers can truly connect to in an acutely human way.
In short, a great modern mystery not without a refreshing dose of humanity. I'm ready for the next one....more