I may have set a new personal best record with this novel: from start to end in 36 hours. But that's neither here not there; more to do with the commeI may have set a new personal best record with this novel: from start to end in 36 hours. But that's neither here not there; more to do with the commencement of midsemester break than the book itself, though it does make for a good holiday page-turner.
I'm coming to the Outlander party rather late, and by way of the new TV series and I think this is the only time I have actually preferred the filmic medium of a piece of fiction over the written form. Gabaldon's novel seems less politically conscious than the writing that's coming from Ron D Moore's production team, and though the author's historical research is commendable, there's a distinct advantage to bringing a period story to life in film because the detail feels immersive and effortless. Also, Claire's less annoying when you're not stuck inside her narration all the time.
I was surprised a little by my less then enthusiastic reaction to the entire Jamie and Claire relationship. While I really like the unconventional aspects: she's an older woman, they frequently scream at one another until they're blue in the face etc, on the whole I didn't really feel like I had much sense of the 'why' of the relationship. Given that their entire romance unfolds through a series of violent misadventures followed by Claire (again!) patching up Jamie's various injuries, there is hardly any room to explore how their personalities actually have common ground in the stuff of everyday life.
While I know most readers recoil from the lengthy analysis of corporal punishment, and in particular, how this theme plays out between the married couple, I thought it was one of the few occasions where the core values and experiences of the two lovers were actually dealt with with any sophistication. Humiliation and the meting out of bodily punishments is probably the only strongly developed theme through out the whole story, strangely enough, and I'm still not convinced that Gabaldon has really acquitted herself. The salacious and sensationalist manner in which a lot of it is portrayed gets in the way of any profound insights on the subject matter, unfortunately....more
Much like Charlaine Harris's contractually-obligatory writing, I really am only reading these last Sookie Stackhouse books just to see the series throMuch like Charlaine Harris's contractually-obligatory writing, I really am only reading these last Sookie Stackhouse books just to see the series through. It was an effort getting through this book. Admittedly the mystery plot was a bit tighter in this one than some recent installments, but all the rest of the story around it felt like a whole lot of padding to bump up the word count. I can't count the number of times we got to read about Sookie putting on make up, or running grocery errands, or the number of words wasted expounding the incipient marital bliss of every Bon Temps aquaintance Sookie ever made. Boring!
I know that the wedge that's being consistently hammered between Eric and Sookie is making some readers pretty angry, but frankly I can't even bring myself to care much about the Queen of Oklahoma plotline- it was developed in such a straggly mishappen manner that I'm just not very engaged with the goings-on of the vamps anymore. Which is sad because Pam was one of my favourite things in the series- no more witty one-liners or tinder-dry observations on the inanities of humankind! More than ever, I find myself preferring the True Blood-verse to Charlaine Harris's writings. ...more
**spoiler alert** Although my bookshelf tags are 'gothic', 'supernatural' and 'mystery' The Little Stranger is rather a difficult book to pin down and**spoiler alert** Although my bookshelf tags are 'gothic', 'supernatural' and 'mystery' The Little Stranger is rather a difficult book to pin down and sits across a couple of genres. It's frequently compared to Wilkie Collins, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw or Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca because the plot follows a series of uncanny, eerie events in a manor house fallen into decline. In many ways Water's book seems like a classic psychological suspense ghost story. But there are other genres that occassionally rear their heads that add to the complexity of the book: a sort of Dickensian/ Gaskell-ish interest in British class relations; a Ford Madox Ford-like experiment in unreliable narration; the casting of a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest sort of doubt over the line between sanity and insanity etc.
And while all of these things made for a multilayered read with potentially interesting interpretations, something about the book failed to grab me. It hapened about halfway through the novel- I think I realised I had worked through the various possible explanations for the events at Hundreds Hall, could see three or four potential endings and was essentially just reading to get to the end to see which one would turn out to be the correct one. I think Dr. Faraday's constantly repeated rationalising of the plot killed a bit of the narrative tension for me. However, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ambiguity of the ending and I liked the way the characters' doubts and confusions are replicated in the reader's difficulties in locating a final cause for the weird and trgaic events and inability to place the genre of the story. One is left wondering at the end whether they've read a gruesome ghost story, or a unnerving account of psychopathology....more
Dead Reckoning gave me the distinct impression that Charlaine Harris is running out of steam with the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't think this isDead Reckoning gave me the distinct impression that Charlaine Harris is running out of steam with the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I don't think this is up to the standard of the early novels of the series, in that it's not as tightly written and the plot lines seemed to fall a little flat. I'm sure I'll continue reading the rest of the Sookie Stackhouse books, if only to see the damn things through, but they definitely don't seem to have the same pizzaz as they used to....more