I enjoyed this book, but the first half far more than the second half. The mood was artfully created and maintained, and I enjoyed a new style of tersI enjoyed this book, but the first half far more than the second half. The mood was artfully created and maintained, and I enjoyed a new style of terse blunt statement-type expository in comparison to the more subtle approach you get from most writers of the same period. I can't say I prefer that method of writing, but I appreciate the fresh approach given the times.
Speaking of period, this book reflects an original copyright date of 1926, but could easily be set in the modern 21st century, with adjustments for a few technological advances in long distance communication. The second half of the book was effective, mainly in maintaining the original mood - the dissatisfaction with a somewhat trudging existence and continual search for diversion in good food, alcohol and relatively obscure entertainments, but again, this contributed to the point. I was rather bored with the depth of description concerning the nuances of running of the bulls and bullfighting, not being something that is easily imagined when one has not experienced it, and indeed, wished that part to be shorter, but it did emphasize the fact that 7 days in a volatile environment with semi-friends would be wearying in any case. The character of Brett was initially engaging, and later pathetic, as was that of the main character Jake, who you hoped would be a hero of some kind, but ended up being as weak as the other characters -- which again, was part of the point in the first place.
I wouldn't say I enjoyed this book for the story. I did however enjoy it for the mood, for the overall statement that lack of direction and weariness abound, even in those groups of intelligent friends who reach ever farther for enjoyment; that there is a balance between the happy and sad, and despite the reach for fulfillment, there is still an emptiness that remains (in what was intended in this case to represent a generation that seems lost without clear purpose). You could say that same thing in the present day.
The ending was rather unsatisfactory, but artfully so, and I appreciated it as punctuation to a mood.
This wasn't an astonishing novel, and I'll never be able to say I loved it, but it did move me. And I do believe that the statement made is worth qualifying this novel as a classic. ...more
As everyone who knows me well knows, Robin Hobb is my favorite living author. With Fool's Assassin, Hobb continues the story of FitzChivalry and the FAs everyone who knows me well knows, Robin Hobb is my favorite living author. With Fool's Assassin, Hobb continues the story of FitzChivalry and the Fool and as always, I read this book in less than 2 days. I had waited until the second book was close to being released, because it is always impossible to read just the first book in a trilogy, and with the next book, Fool's Quest coming out in 2 days (yes, I have already pre-ordered it on amazon) I felt I could finally pick this one up.
**SPOILER ALERT** Does she write them for me, I wonder? Bee, I had a cat named Bee, a big orange male who ruled my household until he passed away a few years ago, and I loved that Fitz's little girl is named Bee. As a small child, I too was raised by my father and dressed like a boy and was relatively quiet and often misunderstood by adults. I immediately sympathized with Bee, and love her character.
As the first book in a trilogy, it naturally raised more questions than answers, and I wonder, how exactly does the fool propagate? Why is Bee so special when she clearly wasn't born a true white? How long will it take the Fool to figure out that Fitz's daughter is his undiscovered son? So many questions, and surely a few will be answered on Tuesday when I spend all day reading the next installment of one of my favorite stories of all time.
I've read George RR Martin, indeed, back in the 90's my mother used to send me the next book in every series I was reading as it came out. I've read Michelle West, Melanie Rawn, Janny Wurts, Terry Goodkind, Maggie Furey and Robert Jordon, and none of their stories come close to compelling in the way that Robin Hobb's stories do. She is so consistent, and every piece of the puzzle fits into the broader world of the complete set of series. She plans her stories so far in advance, that something that happened in one book can be very relevant several books later, and I enjoy the mysteries as they are solved, and especially enjoy the triumphs that are distinctly lacking in Jordon's and Martin's tales. I actually stopped reading Jordon after Wheel of Time book 10, and though I will read Martin's next book, I don't expect anything good to happen to any of the characters. I love Hobb's treatment of animals, especially cats. Clearly she knows them well. I love her ability to magnify the strengths and weaknesses of humanity in a tale that cannot possibly be long enough.
I hope the Fitz lives to be as old as Chade, and that the Fool lives to meet little Bee, and I look forward to Bee being a central character in future stories. While the Fool didn't make his appearance until the end of this installment, I know he will come back more clearly into focus and I look forward to it.
I believe this series is more deserving of a television series than Game of Thrones, but I do almost dread it happening, as I'm afraid it wouldn't be done well enough. Also, nothing could ever replace reading these books, and I'm glad I've had them in my life. They really are some of my most treasured possessions.
The Human Stain was surprisingly good. There were a few twists I didn't see coming, and some that I did, but all in all, the story was very well craftThe Human Stain was surprisingly good. There were a few twists I didn't see coming, and some that I did, but all in all, the story was very well crafted and I found that I had a difficult time putting it down, which is more rare than not. It will not be the same book the second time around, and indeed, it will probably be a long while before I read it again, but I'm glad I picked this one up. I did enjoy it....more
**spoiler alert** What a delicious story! It was brilliantly done and covered a lot of ground -- including the contrasts between living in the north o**spoiler alert** What a delicious story! It was brilliantly done and covered a lot of ground -- including the contrasts between living in the north of a country and the south, the country and the city, rich and poor, proud and meek, the society of people who are straight-forward versus those who rely deeply on implications and circumstances, and striving for perpetual honesty but having to lie. I will definitely read this story again. It's a new favorite.
I'm sure this is in the eye of the beholder, but I found Margaret entirely relatable. I've had many experiences similar to Margaret's in this book, most obviously having lost my mother after a painful illness, lost my father unexpectedly of a heart condition, both while relatively young, and so many other smaller things, like making lifelong friends of factory workers, having lost close friends, and having been painfully misunderstood in a way that was not easily rectified, but mattered a great deal to me. If this book was a map of my past and future existence, then I am sitting on the shore of the beach, watching the ocean tides come in and out, doing a great deal of reflecting on the past to determine what is important going forward. To my great joy, not long after the beach scene, Margaret gets to experience her redemption - followed by the anticipated happy ending. I could only wish there were 100 - 200 more pages, as I'd take them as advice. I'm enamored by Margaret Hale, and now I go off in search of more of Gaskell's strong female characters....more
I enjoyed this story more than I care to admit - it's surprising how little human relationships have changed in ~200 years. Thackeray invites us to thI enjoyed this story more than I care to admit - it's surprising how little human relationships have changed in ~200 years. Thackeray invites us to the carnival of human behavior - the Vanity Fair, and admission was worth every penny. I'd read this one again....more
This would have been impossible to read if I had daughters. The writing is tremendously good, but the subject matter is disturbing. Highly recommendedThis would have been impossible to read if I had daughters. The writing is tremendously good, but the subject matter is disturbing. Highly recommended for daughterless serious readers.
I read this in its entirety in one sitting, the writing was that good. I need some more Nabokov in my life! Also, why is it that some of the best writers in English are Russian? It makes me want to learn Russian just to see what I'm missing. ...more
I think the idea of waiting 50 years to be with the person you love is incredibly depressing. Despite the primary premise, this was a good read. I enjI think the idea of waiting 50 years to be with the person you love is incredibly depressing. Despite the primary premise, this was a good read. I enjoyed the structure of the story, introducing us to the characters before telling us their life stories, bringing us back to the present. The ending was weak, compared to the strength of the rest of the story, but overall, I enjoyed it....more
I read this because Mark Frost did Twin Peaks with David Lynch, and I wanted to see what he was capable of on his own. Little did I know, Mark Frost dI read this because Mark Frost did Twin Peaks with David Lynch, and I wanted to see what he was capable of on his own. Little did I know, Mark Frost did a lot of the Twin Peaks writing, and perhaps moreso even that Lynch. This book is very good; although I only vaguely remember the story line, I remember being impressed....more
I generally detest Stephen King's endings (and haven't read more than the very first of his novels, definitely nothing past the mid-90's, and nothingI generally detest Stephen King's endings (and haven't read more than the very first of his novels, definitely nothing past the mid-90's, and nothing under 700 pages), and most of the movies suck, as does the movie for The Stand, but this book was truly disturbing, well-thought-out, and spooky as hell. The Uncut version is much better than the other, and while I do give this book 5 stars as one of the best horror books I've ever read, as usual, someone kidnaps King and writes the end in his stead. Either that or he consistently doesn't know how to end a book so he consistently blows it in the end. I found this to be the case with Tommyknockers also. The books itself was awesome, but the end sucks so badly that I'll probably not read it again. I've probably read it at least 2 or 3 times since I've owned this one since late-childhood....more
I read this not knowing who Christopher Hitchens is, aside from the fact that he is a journalist / writer -- and what a rich life! I generally stay awI read this not knowing who Christopher Hitchens is, aside from the fact that he is a journalist / writer -- and what a rich life! I generally stay away from memoirs, but now I feel I may have been missing out.. I was impressed by his brutally honest description of all things and people -- his loyalty to his lifelong friends, his complicated relationship with his parents (aren't they all though?), how the loss of his mother in such an unexpected way affected him, his unconventional experiences with world leaders and his dedication to making the world a better place, while in the end finding no magic solutions. I found that despite being of the opposite sex, from another country, and generally raised completely differently than myself, he was absolutely relatable. The man is obviously brilliant, dedicated to the written (and spoken) English language, and with such an extensive vocabulary that he is able to impart such a precise sentiment with nearly every sentence. I found myself laughing out loud several times during this book, and especially appreciated the footnotes! A new favortie author - I will definitely seek out more of his work now. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who cares about literature, language, history, political systems, and the dry unique form of British humor....more