I am deeply prejudiced against American soldiers in war. I blame bad American patriotic movies for that; movies that I never sought but they were thro...moreI am deeply prejudiced against American soldiers in war. I blame bad American patriotic movies for that; movies that I never sought but they were thrown upon me once in a while. There is no escape from the American pop culture, and once you're cornered by it, there is no escape from prejudice.
Thus, for a long time I kept my distance from Heller's writing. No matter the reviews; I cannot like it if it tells another story of those sweaty, dirty bastards with rotten hearts or suffering from an illness of patriotic idiocy. I can take wars, but put American soldiers in them and I can't take them anymore - that's what I thought before reading this book. But then a few friends of mine who know what I like strongly recommended it, so I gave it a chance.
I hated the world and the characters from the very beginning, because it was war and there were American soldiers in it. The world was twisted and the time distorted; full of mediocre and mean men in power, and of narrow-minded and mean men without power. But the writing was excellent, so I kept reading, and suddenly I got enraptured, taken by force into this dreadful world, into a skin of a character who hated that world as much as I did. This is a masterpiece. I am so relieved that I escaped it at last. See you guys in Sweden.(less)
Romantic and naturalistic. Sexual and physiological. The opposites melted into a surprisingly fluent narrative and a consistent picture. Brave adventu...moreRomantic and naturalistic. Sexual and physiological. The opposites melted into a surprisingly fluent narrative and a consistent picture. Brave adventure into the human soul, and you need to be brave to understand the full power of the book - brave enough to admit that it is not about some abstract people, but about things that can happen and at times do happen in your own head.(less)
I believe that many of Harry Potter fans were, are and will be awfully disappointed with this book.
It is an amazing book nevertheless.
It took me a whi...moreI believe that many of Harry Potter fans were, are and will be awfully disappointed with this book.
It is an amazing book nevertheless.
It took me a while before I became engulfed in its atmosphere, before I started feeling attached to some characters and despise others. It takes a lot of time to get to know them. The narrative is detailed, almost real time, so we get to know the place and the people slowly, as if we were visitors in the town of Pagford ourselves. In the beginning, I was slightly tired with too much detail, but with the reading progress I felt more and more drawn into the picture, until finally I was there myself. It’s a type of magic that only great talents can perform.
But that’s all the magic that is there – the novel is very down-to-earth. It describes our world, our neighbours and our troubled selves. The detailed narrative not only offers an exact picture of its background, it also scrutinises its characters through and through. They are real. They are very convincingly alive.
While reading, I could not help thinking that Rowling had taken her popularity very seriously, and that she had aimed at forcing her fellow citizens to look into the mirror of her story – the mirror that is not at all curved, although it shows very sharp contours. Not many people can do that; great authorities, philosophers, scientists, doctors, social workers and sometimes even politicians try to bring attention to some problems, but who listens to them? And Rowling, having already gathered the whole world’s attention, can speak loudly. And she does. She proves herself not only as a high-class writer, but also as a sensitive, wise and careful observer of the world.
This is one of the best impulse buys I have ever made. The contents are very efficiently organised, the narrative is engaging, and there is a wonderfu...moreThis is one of the best impulse buys I have ever made. The contents are very efficiently organised, the narrative is engaging, and there is a wonderful balance of science and anecdote. And the subject is of great importance. The author postulates that animals are, not unlike us, feeling, unique individuals that deserve to be treated with consideration and respect. They can feel fear and joy, they appreciate beauty and play games, they enjoy relaxation and thrills of risk, they can feel love and resentment. Some of them even develop a sense of humour and morality. "An animal destined for the slaughterhouse still deserves respect and compassion."
I recommend this book to everyone. I would put it on the obligatory reading lists at schools, if I only could.(less)
It is not only an accessible and interesting read, it is almost a therapeutic literature. None of this 'fix-your-life-believe-in-yourself' nonsense, b...moreIt is not only an accessible and interesting read, it is almost a therapeutic literature. None of this 'fix-your-life-believe-in-yourself' nonsense, but a book that allows understanding of what is happening to you or to your closest. It convincingly demonstrates how depressive behaviours are common not only amongst humans, but the rest of mammals as well. It shows how we have adapted this biological need of seclusion and introspection into our culture and our rituals. Very few minor factual lapses, most probably the effects of a momentary lack of focus rather than the lack of knowledge, do not spoil the pleasure of reading. (less)