**spoiler alert** The Ferryman Institute Written by Colin Gigl and published by Gallery Books in September 2016. I received a copy of this book in exch**spoiler alert** The Ferryman Institute Written by Colin Gigl and published by Gallery Books in September 2016. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I thought I would like The Ferryman Institute much more than I did. Though the book is described as being "in the bestselling traditions of Christopher Moore", it isn't. This novel is much darker. It contains torture and violence.
Charlie Dawson is a Ferryman, an immortal who arrives near the moment of someone's death to make sure they cross over to the "other side". Most go willingly but some need convincing. After hundreds of years of this, Charlie is getting tired of it.
Certainly one can understand this. Charlie's acting out is a passive-aggressive way of sending a message to the powers that be that he just doesn't want to do it anymore. His thousands of official requests to be let go have each and every one been denied. This is likely because he happens to be the best Ferryman the institute has ever had. He's never failed at getting the newly-dead to cross over. When he saves a woman, Alice, instead of letting her commit suicide, he's in for some trouble.
I see trouble in Gigl's constantly referring to the 26 year old Alice as a "girl". Alice thinks and sounds like she's 15. Charlie kidnaps Alice and steals her car, telling her that they need to get away from her house because someone is after her.
By page 215 I was wondering where the fun was.
As I said, the book is nothing like anything I've read of Christopher Moore's. I found the writing itself showing signs of cliché and amateurism. The main women, Alice and Melissa, are horribly written. Alice inexplicably suffers from Stockholm Syndrome and winds up pregnant in the kitchen. She probably wasn't wearing shoes either. Melissa sacrifices HER LIFE so Charlie can have a job he likes better.
What really put this book in the crapper was when Alice is talking to her dead mother's apparition about Charlie and she says, "Maybe I get aroused by kidnappers." I can't believe someone would write that sentence in this day and age. It's not funny. It pissed me off.
I was very disappointed in The Ferryman Institute....more
I inadvertently checked out the abridged version of the audiobook but it was still pretty good. I like that Solomon talks about the lack of resourcesI inadvertently checked out the abridged version of the audiobook but it was still pretty good. I like that Solomon talks about the lack of resources for people who need mental health help. It's a very important topic that needs addressing!...more
I feel sad. I feel cheated! I feel tricked. I still liked the book. KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN was written by Manuel PuigKiss of The Spider Woman: Review
I feel sad. I feel cheated! I feel tricked. I still liked the book. KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN was written by Manuel Puig and was first published in Spain as EL BESA DE LA MUJER ARAÑA in 1976. The English translated edition I read was published by Vintage International in the U.S. in 1991. Two prison cellmates, Valentin Arregui Paz and Luis Alberto Molina, spend evening hours with Molina retelling movies he has seen. The authorities have asked Molina to get information from Valentin on rebel activities he is involved in and report back. Will Molina do it? I liked the story, which consists mostly of the prisoner's conversations with each other. Molina is gay and identifies with the feminine side of himself. I thought it interesting that the author had the straight person called by his first name (Valentin) and the gay person called by his last (Molina). Was it to show that Molina was more intimate in his conversation? Or to deliberately switch the hierarchy? So often in older books I find men called by their last name and women called by their first. I've always considered it a minor put-down of women, something like, "You're not strong enough to be called by your last name." Let's hope all writers drop this habit in their future writings. The interplay between Molina and Valentin can be sweet. Molina is sometimes dramatic and Valentin does not like to reveal his feelings. Molina likes to take care of Valentin, going so far as to clean up after him when he is sick and getting special food brought in for him. Puig never lets us inside the minds of these two, so we're not really sure what the outcome will be. The ending felt a bit quick, but since we don't know the true motivations of either party it seems acceptable to feel this way. My personal belief is that they both made the best of a bad situation and would have remained friends outside of prison if they could have. Something odd about this book: it has random entries of old-fashioned theories (eg. Freud) on homosexuality and its "origins". Maybe it was relevant in 1976, but it's just weird now. I thoroughly enjoyed Molina's stories from old movies (they're all actual films). I even recognized one as he was telling it. This novel is a story that will stick with me.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sister Carrie, an old-fashioned tale of be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Written by Theodore Dreiser (he of An ASISTER CARRIE, review
I thoroughly enjoyed Sister Carrie, an old-fashioned tale of be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Written by Theodore Dreiser (he of An American Tragedy notability), and published in 1900, this first novel shows Dreiser focusing on the allure of greener pastures and how attempts at gaining them might give unexpected results. He also shines a light on how class distinctions may color one's thoughts. His characters, for the most part, think that they deserve better than what they have. Carrie leaves her small town for the bright lights of Chicago. Feeling a job in a shoe factory is beneath her, she lets a man, Charles Drouet, convince her he can take care of her. The story goes on from there with Carrie seeking more wealth.
“She drew to herself commendation from her two admirers which she had not earned. Their affection for her naturally heightened their perception of what she was trying to do and their approval of what she did. Her inexperience conserved her own exuberant fancy, which ran riot with every straw of opportunity, making of it a golden divining rod whereby the treasure of life was to be discovered.”
Carrie avoids confrontations. She would rather disappear than speak up and ends up doing some things that are just plain rude and inconsiderate. At some points Carrie is docile and/or just plain stupid in her decisions/non-decisions, but that could be put down to her youth. Later in her life she does strike out on her own, having learned not to rely on others. I do love late 19th and early 20th century dramas, where novels are set in a less-furious time. Every now and then I need a moralistic viewpoint to reset my own and I'm thankful for Dreiser and other writers of the day such as Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad. Some say this novel isn't moralistic. I disagree. What it isn't is judgemental. I found none of the characters in this story particularly likable but did feel a bit sorry for Drouet, the man in Chicago who sets Carrie up with an apartment. At least he had an upbeat personality. Dreiser succeeds in showing us the pitfalls of wanting a better standing or a better relationship. He's not exactly saying be happy with what you've got, just pointing out that there are problems with every station you might achieve. Even though I didn't like the characters, I was totally caught up in what they were doing and wondering where it would lead them! Sister Carrie is a great read and I recommend it for a lazy weekend!...more
I always read introductions and prefaces in books. In this case, I really wish I hadn't. It lessened my enjoyment of Agony. I'm recommending that youI always read introductions and prefaces in books. In this case, I really wish I hadn't. It lessened my enjoyment of Agony. I'm recommending that you DON'T read the introduction by Colson Whitehead....more
Pretty good for a first novel. Unlikeable character lives by his own rules until suddenly he doesn't. The problem is that we don't get inside his headPretty good for a first novel. Unlikeable character lives by his own rules until suddenly he doesn't. The problem is that we don't get inside his head enough to understand his conversion....more
The Invoice is a quiet book. You'd think it might get crazy slapstick by the back-cover description, where a simple-living man getsTHE INVOICE, review
The Invoice is a quiet book. You'd think it might get crazy slapstick by the back-cover description, where a simple-living man gets a humongous invoice and tries to tell the invoicing company that they've made a terrible mistake. Being a bureaucracy, he doesn't get very far. There is some humor, but not hysterical humor.
Written by the popular Swedish actor Jonas Karlsson, the book is published by Hogarth. My thanks to them and to The Reading Room for an advance copy.
It turns out that the invoice is for your life experience and the amount of happiness you felt for each of the experiences. Through a complicated system, each experience is weighted and assigned a number which in turn becomes a monetary amount that you owe.
I also have Karlsson's The Room and I'm very much looking forward to experiencing more of the strange worlds inside his head. ...more