A Tiger’s Wife is an eerie set of tales from the “old country”. The story is set in the Balkans. The book is a grouping of s
A Rich and Deep Tale
A Tiger’s Wife is an eerie set of tales from the “old country”. The story is set in the Balkans. The book is a grouping of short stories connected together through the story’s narrator and her grandfather. The Balkan region has experienced generations and centuries of war, death, misery, not-well-understood political shifts and trauma. Racism and genocide has been rampant. These old tales developed, I suspect, to explain the unexplainable and the terrible. They are rich in allegory. Obreht has performed a credible job in tying these legends to her creative story and weaving it, ever so delicately, into the realities and politics of the Balkan’s, past and near-present. She does it subtly and abstractly. The story is deeply symbolic. The symbols connected to hardships and qualities of people and the Balkans are wonderful. Obreht has created a story of the collisions of the realities of science with the fears, evils and uncertainties of life. She describes the desire to explain the unexplainable with facts and science. Yet she concludes that sometimes superstition, religion and spirituality can be the only place to receive answers, even when you cannot accept it. It is a story about how people cope when they are about to face the worst, the denials, the transference of fears and anxiety and yes the transference to hatred and harshness of the disadvantaged. It is worth the effort to read this book. At times, it is an effort. While author is creative, I believe she will be published again; the book gets tedious and is flawed. I struggled to “hang-on”. It is worth the struggle because of the richness of the tale. All the same, the story is so deep it is tempting to skim through the highlights a second time; just to be sure all key points are picked up. ...more
Keith Richards referred to some of his adventures as an “Adult Disneyland”. Reading his autobiography i
A Reading-Ride through an Adult Disneyland
Keith Richards referred to some of his adventures as an “Adult Disneyland”. Reading his autobiography is like vicariously taking an adult Disneyland out-of-control life-ride. The reader is in a safe environment, he knows he cannot get hurt, or hurt anyone else, and a sane and thoughtful person will never want to take this ride, in reality. The reader experiences a dangerous, out of control and, at times, hurtful and uncaring ride. Many of Richards’s friends, family and girlfriends took the brunt of Keith’s life. Those close to him died, went to jail, got neglected, became addicts or had mental problems. Richards speculates throughout the book how he was able to survive when so many others did not. By his own admission, he does not really know. The autobiography is an honest attempt at conveying Richards’ life. It is down to earth and holds the readers interest, at times it is like reading the accounts of a train wreck. Richards contributed much to the music world. While he will not receive any awards for contributions to humanity, beyond his music, especially during the years of heavy drug use, he experienced the life of his generation in his way and on his own terms I “read” the book as an audio book. It is well done and creative. The words jump to life. The readers are Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley, with a very short intro from Richards and he reads the last chapter. Johnny Depp is the reader through Richards’ saner, controlled and informative years and again during the time frame of the later years after Richards cleaned up. Depp is more reserved, but, interesting. When Richards begins to find (and lose) his inner-self and his life direction goes out of control, Hurley takes over. At first, Hurley put me off. Hurley attempts to approximate Richards speech. When he reads, as Richards, he uses a heavily slurred, substance-influenced sounding English accent. It is almost comical. I came to realize Richards really does sound this way. As other contributors to the book provide testimonial Hurley uses their accent of origin; Texan, southern, etc to read the testimonials. Hurley puts emotion, his own touches, and very high energy into the reading. The style of reading is very effective. It gives the book an additional dimension and brings it to life. I came to enjoy Hurley’s reading of the book. It fit the book, as well as Richards’ song writing and guitar playing fit the Rolling Stones. I suspect the choice, placement and style of readers was an intentional creative contribution by Richards to the audio book. I read that he handpicked the readers. The book’s narrative becomes more conversational and less and less formal as the autobiography develops. As the book hits its stride, in the middle, the reader will feel as though they are sitting in Richards’ living room listening to him tell you his life story from memory, as he winds his way through stories, tangential thoughts, opinions, insights and speculation. The story of his life is larger than life and outrageous. It is the life that someone may chose to live had they decided to never grow up, never mature but could still find a way to earn a living. His early and mid-life is the story of a drug crazed oppositional and defiant Peter Pan. In his later years he becomes an overindulged, easy-to-anger, temperamental artist used to getting his own way. He develops a following of people who become close to him, in spite of his peculiarities. His relationship with Jagger is one of the more interesting aspects of the book and can and will be analyzed by Rolling Stone’s fans for a long time. The book has many dimensions. Those people (I am not one of them) who are music experts or musicians have many very interesting insights in Richards’ development as a musician. He gives the reader a great course on his style of guitar playing. He also provides detailed insight into how he goes about writing music. Rock-and-roll experts get insight, from Richards’ prospective, on the development of the Rolling Stones, his relationship with Jagger and other band-mates, rock-and-roll birth and lore, and Richards’ musical inspirations. Cultural historians get a perspective, of an important insider, of the 60’s culture. They receive insight into rock-and-roll contributions to the culture; how it all fit into the politics and crazy changes of the times. They learn about Richards’ view of other musical greats he came to know. This book is destined as an historical reference used by social, cultural and anthropology historians for many decades. For a regular reader, like me, the autobiography is a simultaneous enjoyable and disturbing read. I try not to judge Richards, although the lack of care he provides to his children he had with Anita is very disturbing. Like many parts of the book he attempts to rationalize his care of his two older children, but it comes across as superficial. His conclusion is they came out ok, so it must not have been all that bad for them. His life-decisions are not what I would choose if I were he. Perhaps if I were Richards and had his talent, by not choosing his direction, I would have not achieved his success, either. It may all go part-and-parcel together. As in all autobiographies, it is impossible to differentiate the author’s personal distortions from fact. He provides a healthy dose of self-justification and rationalization. He also provides a small amount of self-critique and criticism. I hope more impressionable readers will get the insight of the heavy drug use in the appropriate context. At many times Richards romanticizes its use. He also conveys that it was essential to keep functioning in his crazy Rolling Stone-induced world. He is honest about its detrimental effects and difficulty to get clean but he gives far more book-time to the romance and need of its use. He conveys a basic message of drugs, which if used “correctly”, should not be harmful, at least to him. Richards wavers over whether he used drugs correctly or not. He sees the countless times of capture by police as a vendetta against him, the Rolling Stones or rock-and-roll or his generation. He misses the point; that they were all captures for suspicion of illegal substances. Captures, almost all the time, in which he did have illegal substances in his possession. He sees use of his fame and contacts to get out of trouble, even when caught with drugs, as a deserved victory over the “man”, as opposed to a privilege reserved for the few and the elite. He appears blind to the hypocrisy of his logic and actions in regards to the use of drugs and his view of the law and police. He doesn’t connect the dots that his perceived harassment by the police departments, throughout the world, all, “magically”, stopped when he stopped using hard drugs. He is a few of the lucky drug abusers that survived, by the-skin-of-his-teeth. He left a trail of other people who were hurt by his drug abuse and his drug induced influence on them. His attempts to rationalize this behavior come across, to me, as thin, often transparent, excuses, self indulgent, self-serving and narcissistic. It is impossible to know if that is what Richards is really like, without knowing him directly. As Richards admits, each person chose their own way to deal with their crazy success and each person chose their own addictions to cope. Richards’ insight is that Jagger chose fame as his addiction and Richards chose drugs. Richards devotes nearly two thirds of his book to his drug crazed 10 years. The remaining one third was devoted to the rest of his life. It appears he believes the heavy drug years were more interesting then the rest of his life. The 60s were a transformative time, the Rolling Stones and Keith Richards were a vital part of the era. This autobiography gives an important look at these contributions and Keith Richards, as a musician, person and his unintentional and personally unwanted cultural leadership of a generation. The book is an interesting “ride”; take it at your own risk.