(Ismael from Egypt and Anu from Finland fall in love, and their daughter tells the story of her family and how to survive between two cultures.)
Egypti...more(Ismael from Egypt and Anu from Finland fall in love, and their daughter tells the story of her family and how to survive between two cultures.)
Egypti, Libya ja Suomi. Kertojan vanhemmat, egyptiläinen Ismael ja suomalainen Anu, rakastuvat ja myöhemmin perhe liikkuu kolmessa maassa tasapainotellen kahden erilaisen kulttuurin myllerryksessä. Pitkiä ja kylmiä talvia, kaupan muoviin pakattuja elintarvikkeita, puheenkin hiljentävä kuuma aurinko, katkeilevat sähköt. Hetket sekoittuvat toisiinsa, muistot kietoutuvat kehäksi, henkilöistä saadut vaikutelmat pyörivät ympyrää.
Joissain kirjoissa toisteisuus ärsyttää liian kikkailevana tyylikeinona, mutta tässä sitä on käytetty harkiten. Aina palataan sinne, mistä kaikki alkoi. Hämyiseen junavaunuun, jossa istuu enkeli, ja jossa tuli ja vesi ensimmäistä kertaa kohtaavat. ElRamlyn (nyk. Paasonen) proosa on täynnä hienoja kielikuvia, ja sanojen virta vie mukanaan jos vain malttaa keskittyä. Tunnelma on surumielinen ja viipyilevä, mutta joukkoon mahtuu myös hiukan iloa ja toiveikkuutta. Yksi niistä harvoista suomalaisista romaaneista, joista jaksan kiinnostua aihepiirin puolesta, ja jotka ovat vieläpä kaiken lisäksi todella hyviä ja taidokkaita.(less)
I'm not the biggest fan of detective fiction, usually I read more classic stuff like Chandler and Christie from that genre. The first ones remind me o...moreI'm not the biggest fan of detective fiction, usually I read more classic stuff like Chandler and Christie from that genre. The first ones remind me of film noir (there's something utterly enchanting about Los Angeles at night) and the latter ones are just adorably entertaining (despite the grisly murders). However, when I got the chance to get a free copy of the new Finnish translation of this, I thought why not. I've wanted to read more about Africa anyway and this sounded exotic. I think I also got a sudden urge to learn Afrikaans.
The result was that I almost sabotaged my own studying, because I could not put this down for too long a period. I was kind of upset that when I went to my parents' house for a couple days I forgot to take this with me. I waited anxiously to get back to the story.
At first I wanted more descriptions of the surroundings. It felt like the story could have happened anywhere, because there were just brief mentionings of names and places that didn't ring a bell. As the plot thickened, however, I barely thought about it. Meyer drops small pieces of the South African society here and there, and something can also be spotted between the lines. Nothing ever seemed too glued on, and there was no dumping of information (unlike historical fiction often has). The story about the football match was touching, and got me more curious about the situation in South Africa, because I'm not very familiar about the whole continent.
The two levels of time brought nice depth to van Heerden's character. He believes every human being to be fundamentally evil. Hope is not entirely lost, because Beneke would like to break through his hard and cynical barrier. Other characters were realistic as well, and none of them are either good or evil, just ordinary human beings who've had to make some tough choices.
Let's be honest, this ain't special in the way that I usually consider special literature, but this is still an entertaining one in its own genre.(less)
I remember fiddling these books at the library when I was a child, but the thickness of them probably stopped me from ever borrowing them. Instead I j...moreI remember fiddling these books at the library when I was a child, but the thickness of them probably stopped me from ever borrowing them. Instead I just stuck to girly books, like Nancy Drew. The tv series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures on the other hand was one of my favourites. Ok, I'll admit, I watched it mostly because of John Lara :D And oh boy, the films with Johnny Weismuller, my great love! So, like with a lot of other people, the story of Tarzan was familiar even though I never actually read the book.
Now that I'm an adult, I take note on different things than what I would have as a kid. I was able to enjoy the story for what it was and be swept away by the epic adventures, but Burroughs was definitely a child of his era in regards to attitudes. The African tribes are described as being cruel, even monstrous cannibalist savages, whereas Esmeralda, the servant of white people, was mostly a childlike, hysterical and stupid nervous wreck. These basically overrule Burroughs's idea of fraternity between humans, or did it just concern white men? Alice and Jane were mostly just weak and useless (Jane a bit stronger, though), who apparently weren't able to 'think reasonably like men'. It was also unfathomable, that Tarzan's aristocratic instincts were supposedly hereditary, 'a natural result from generations of fine upbringing'. Seriously? Even though he'd been brought up by an ape after being orphaned as a baby? Thankfully Mr. Philander and professor Porter offered a little welcomed comic relief to the story.
Ok, so you could probably draw a conclusion from all this that I didn't like the book, but it's quite the opposite. The story was a great dose of pulp entertainment, even though the end felt a bit rushed and glued on. Because of my personal lack of interest towards wrestling with animals, I was happy for the arrival of Jane and the contrast it brought, but as a whole this was a great adventure novel of which I will definitely read the next installments at some point.(less)
Wonderfully compiled reference book with an abundance of colour photos. Not just a list of discoveries, but works also as a coherent story of the deve...moreWonderfully compiled reference book with an abundance of colour photos. Not just a list of discoveries, but works also as a coherent story of the development of archaeological conventions in digging up ancient objects.(less)
Considering how little information we have from most of the queens, this is quite coherently compiled. An extended list that doesn't just throw queens...moreConsidering how little information we have from most of the queens, this is quite coherently compiled. An extended list that doesn't just throw queens one after another, but also offers a short and clear biography of each of those it's possible. Kind of sad really, that there might be an incredible amount of equally or even more intelligent consorts and harem wives than Cleopatra, but we just don't know that (yet?). We give more attention to the more famous kings and queens, because there's more information regarding their reigns, therefore it leads us to believe that they were the most important ones. Anyway, Tyldesley has also written an introduction to the book, so it's a bit easier to put the queens into context if you're not familiar with the women's history in Egypt yet.(less)
I tried my best, I really did. Made it to 300 pages out of 1063. I just can't waste any more of my time into a book that reads like a 15-year-old's sc...moreI tried my best, I really did. Made it to 300 pages out of 1063. I just can't waste any more of my time into a book that reads like a 15-year-old's school essay about Cleopatra VII. It was obviously well researched, and the first page promised a lot. I love verbose descriptions when they're done well, but George's bulky and in some ways pedantic sentences made me want to tear my hair off and stick scarabs into my eyes. Quite heartbreaking actually, because I had such enormous expectations based on the GR rating which basically promised a masterpiece. Instead I got paper doll characters, whom I had no contact whatsoever, and events described in such a way that I started glancing the page numbers after 50 pages. The whole thing was a major overkill, like the author was constantly banging me in the head with a shovel in order to make sure I understood everything. Seriously, the last days of the Egyptian kingdom, and the life of a woman with the utmost intelligence and knowledge in languages aren't deserving of this dull treatment!(less)
Comparative Literature entrance exam The beginning was good, the scene in the café was beautifully written. Maybe the overall message was good too, abo...moreComparative Literature entrance exam The beginning was good, the scene in the café was beautifully written. Maybe the overall message was good too, about leaving and coming back, but I still didn't like it that much. For example the characters were two-dimensional, so common in books of today. Although I would read this again any day instead of The Kite Runner.(less)
I should have known I like Christie because her stories are just simply wonderful old-fashioned crime puzzles that make you turn the pages and sigh wh...moreI should have known I like Christie because her stories are just simply wonderful old-fashioned crime puzzles that make you turn the pages and sigh when everything's finished. There's not much action or focusing to the crime solver's personal life which is fantastic and in a lot of ways works better than the plots of formulaic contemporary crime novels. Also, the time in which the murders are set is part of the appeal to me. For a long time I've adored the tv movies because you could actually see the lovely costumes and the stories came to life. Now I'm really pleased to have finally decided to read the original books.
You might also want to try one of my favourite games, the Orient Express board game if you want to train your "grey brain cells" like Poirot.(less)
When I read the last words of Clea, I was disappointed. Disappointed because the story ended and because I had to leave Alexandria. Durrell describes...moreWhen I read the last words of Clea, I was disappointed. Disappointed because the story ended and because I had to leave Alexandria. Durrell describes it with such great passion and tenderness, that during some passages I was moved and almost teary-eyed. The glimmering sea, dusty streets, hedonistic carnivals, Arabic quarters... All that refused to leave my mind alone whenever I had to stop reading, due to boring everyday necessities. The four books gradually reveal the stories of Alexandria's people, those who are changed by the city. Despite however macabre their fates might be, Durrell's writing makes it seem beautiful and maybe slightly melancholic. All of their lives are tangled up in a huge web that spreads over Egypt and which is a catalyst for the events, events that represent the difficulty of loving someone, in all forms possible.(less)
The descriptions and history sections went ok but I just couldn't get into the plot. Smith is good at drawing you to historical events but he's kind o...moreThe descriptions and history sections went ok but I just couldn't get into the plot. Smith is good at drawing you to historical events but he's kind of lost in writing a novel. Very predictable and annoyingly simple characters.(less)
I appreciate the author's research of his own roots and the overall message this book has. The problem I had with it was that the writing style was un...moreI appreciate the author's research of his own roots and the overall message this book has. The problem I had with it was that the writing style was uninteresting. It wasn't bad but it made the characters too two-dimensional for me to enjoy the story overall. They were all empty and I couldn't cheer for them or feel for them. But I understand why the book is important to some and why it has the position it has, I just didn't notice the literary value it supposedly has. Plus the plagiarism accusations can't be good for an author's reputation and respect.(less)