I am so glad I finally took on this book (especially because it was the first book I ever added to Goodreads and has been taunting me for years! I amI am so glad I finally took on this book (especially because it was the first book I ever added to Goodreads and has been taunting me for years! I am not sure what I expected, but what I read was lovely and nuanced. The novel follows Sayuri, a geisha from the city of Gion as she goes from a poor child to a maid to an incredibly successful geisha. The love story is a bit forced and the ending seems abrupt and confusing; however, that is not why the story succeeds.
The novel succeeds because it the narrative (minus the ending) is as subtle and coy as the geishas are supposed to be. I think the first person narrative helps with that but it is clever and beautiful. Golden gives you an intricate look inside what a geisha is, how they live and succeed and fail and how their decline can be traced back to losing WWII. Our narrator does not say this but rather implies.
I would read this novel because of the cultural knowledge it teaches you and it is just lovely. I know I am not providing a wonderful ringing endorsement but I don't think I have a better word other than lovely....more
Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner is the kind of novel that both stings and purges. The story surrounds the privileged Afghan child AmAn insightful story.
Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner is the kind of novel that both stings and purges. The story surrounds the privileged Afghan child Amir and his delightful childhood with his childhood friend Hassan. Though friends, Hassan is still a servant in Amir's house as he is a Hazara, an ethnicity that is considered subservient. Still, they were raised together though Amir had the privileges of schooling and wealth; however, at times Amir's father admired and protected Hassan more than his son.
After Amir wins a kite fighting contest an events happens between Hassan and some neighborhood kids that changes the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Nothing is the same. Soon after their relationship changes, Hassan and his father move away forever and Afghanistan is at war with Russia. Amir escapes with his father to the United States where they start a new life. Events occur and now married living in California, Amir has to return to Afghanistan and right the wrong from his childhood and make it up to Hassan.
This novel is wonderful. It is powerful. I am not sure how anyone can read it and not quickly recall some sin they committed in childhood or some friend they wronged or some bully they should have stood up to or some bullied child they should have protected. As Amir cleanses himself of his childhood sins I could not help but feel my own sense of catharsis. This book made me feel that redemption is possible and I have not read that in some time. ...more
Steinbeck is one of those author's who have the label "great" or "classic" surrounding him. Sometimes, more than not actually, I find that to be unearSteinbeck is one of those author's who have the label "great" or "classic" surrounding him. Sometimes, more than not actually, I find that to be unearned. East of Eden deserves the classic label, known as one of America's best, and the important Oprah BookClub stamp of approval. It deserves all the praise. I finished a few hours again and still my thoughts are dissecting the book and its many intricacies.
The premise surrounds the Trask family and also examines the Hamilton's. The Hamilton's are dreamers. They laugh and love hard. Sometimes they fail hard but always with a smile. Then there is the Trask family. We start with Adam Trask, whose mother committed suicide, and his half-brother Charlie. They love each other but is tempered with hatred and jealousy. Adam is clearly his father's favorite and Charles has a mean streak that allows him to attempt to murder his brother while loving him so fiercely.
A generation goes by and Adam marries the sociopath Cathy, incapable of feeling remorse, love, or empathy. She gives Adam twin boys, Aron and Caleb, before running of to run a whore house and wreak some more havoc. The boys names come about after a conversation about Cain and Able. That and the fact that their names are so similar to their father and uncle makes you wonder if they are headed for the same awful fate. They are so different and have the same love/hate relationship. What happens is a fight between the idea of choice versus inherent good/evil and whether after making a bad choice can forgiveness and redemption be had.
I loved this novel. It is one of the most complex and intricate and simultaneously delicate novels I have read. In between these huge story lines there is also so many side characters who are so different from the Trasks. The Hamiltons are just inherently happy and the Trask family seems to be fighting off this family curse to join the Hamiltons as a normal and happy family. They are built around lies and deceit and mystery and they have to overcome that to achieve sometimes brutal open honesty.
One of my favorites! This book is unsettling in its nuances and how it displays a great cause/fight like feminism can become twisted and used for pervOne of my favorites! This book is unsettling in its nuances and how it displays a great cause/fight like feminism can become twisted and used for perverse purposes. There are just enough hints from reality and history to make me anxious and nervous about how life could have been or could still be....more
I know this book is intended for bibliophiles but it just had too much semiotics for me. I think it was too much. It was a great mystery novel but theI know this book is intended for bibliophiles but it just had too much semiotics for me. I think it was too much. It was a great mystery novel but the historical political/religious backgrounds became confusing and overwhelmed the mystery at times and did not always seem necessary. ...more
Since college I have always learned to appreciate an interesting narrative perspective and Zusak certainly delivered this to mePlease read this book.
Since college I have always learned to appreciate an interesting narrative perspective and Zusak certainly delivered this to me. What a wonderful book about a German family living on the outskirts of Munich during WWII, oh and the book is told from Death's perspective. Why Death? Well, Death finds the autobiography of a fourteen-year-old German girl and comes to admire her almost but he/she also puts in their own perspective and adroitly discusses the damage of WWII and Hitler.
With Death's commentary the book looks at the life of Leisel Meiminger, a book thief, after she is dropped off at the home of her foster parents, the Hubermanns, after her Communist mother is probably killed by Hitler's Nazi s and her brother died of sickness on the way. Over time she begins to love her foster parents and the friends she makes there, more importantly a blonde-boy named Rudy Steiner.
Also, her foster father pays an old debt by taking in and hiding a Jewish boy. The friendship that formed was an example of humanity in a war-torn and animalistic Germany. The fact that her papa took him was a rare example of humanity, which this book is full of and I think maybe that is why it is so good. We all have read WWII novels from every angle, but I never stopped to think about it from a non-Jewish German girl who was part of the Hitler Youth Group or more importantly, what Death would think about it.
It is bizarre and beautiful and I hope everyone reads it....more
Such a beautiful and interesting novel that gives an interesting take on WWII. The story revolves around Juliet, who at first seems a bit of a fidgetSuch a beautiful and interesting novel that gives an interesting take on WWII. The story revolves around Juliet, who at first seems a bit of a fidget and flake, a war-time journalist who wrote humor during the war but is looking for something more serious to sink her teeth into. During her correspondences (did I mention the entire novel occurs through letter and the occasional telegram) with her friends and editor she also meets a friend in Dawsey, and that is where the novel really begins.
I know that we have all read something about WWII and many times it becomes a certain trope. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society takes an entirely different approach in that Dawsey is actually living in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. What is interesting is that Guernsey was occupied for five years during the war and they had no outside correspondence, no radios, no letters, or news, or anything coming from outside. They did not know how their family and friends outside the island were, their children who left on Kindertransport were away for five years, and they had no idea how the war progressed, and they were short on supplies. During the occupation the residents grew obviously close to each other learning to survive and keep sane and started a bookclub. After the war when Dawsey and Juliet begin corresponding, the story of Juliet's life and the story of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society begins to come out and we learn all about their lives and love of books. Soon Juliet finds her next book and joins the island.
I won't ruin anything more but it is ultimately a story of a healing and hope. These people are source of hope, they survived occupation and the ultimate boredom and lack of insanity. With everything they survived, they and Juliet with her difficult childhood, need to heal and they find that in books and good friends. I am not doing such a beautiful book justice but it should absolutely be read....more