A good solid anthology. So many good stories I can't decide which is my favorite. However Theodora Goss did a fantastic job with Estella Saves the Vil...moreA good solid anthology. So many good stories I can't decide which is my favorite. However Theodora Goss did a fantastic job with Estella Saves the Village! I am going to list all the stories soon and talk about them because some of them are remarkable. There is one about "The Twelve" little soldiers that the Brontes played with as children. So wonderful. One about the daughter of a Pre-Raphaelite painter.(less)
I read this novel a long time ago. In fact, I've read it several times. It's hilarious and sad and so revealing. In some ways, I identified with Garp,...moreI read this novel a long time ago. In fact, I've read it several times. It's hilarious and sad and so revealing. In some ways, I identified with Garp, the fact that he bought a house that a plane had crashed into because he felt that house would always be SAFE. Nothing bad could happen there again. Of course, he was wrong, but don't we all want to feel safe. Some of us do feel safe or some of us do not realize that we are all Garps, living in a life that can turn on a dime.
This may be a good time to say that we should read fiction, even genre, to relate to the world and to see reality even when it pains us.
We all build illusions. Illusions are grand things, but there are moments in our lives when we must see ourselves and the world for what it is.(less)
This is a book that I have been wanting to read for a long time. I began reading it the other day and finished this morning. It's not something that I...moreThis is a book that I have been wanting to read for a long time. I began reading it the other day and finished this morning. It's not something that I will ever forget.
This is a dystopian novel which is centered around a group of cloned children who come of age learning that their lives are to be lived as donors for ill people. When the clones die as donors, they complete their lives.
However, this is a great love story and also a wonderful coming-of-age story. Because it is about the loss of innocence. While cloning is a big issue, the heart of this book is what it means to be human and how we make meaning of our lives.
It's also about how we can see "Others" as less than human, be they clones or just people we don't understand or have empathy for. It's the act of dehumanization that we are all capable of.
There is much talk of souls and who has souls. But this is the surface issue, one of those issues that grabs headlines and offers labels so that we can draw pretty little lines around what we see as acceptable and not acceptable. The real issue is what it means to be human and how we should treat one another in a world where we are all going to die of something.
Finally, it's a heartbreaking love story within the focus of three friends who are clones, who will die as donors, and who each try to live meaningful lives.
ADDITION: With all my complaints and I am going to revise this review, I still love this book and am haunted by it. It's one of the best books I've re...moreADDITION: With all my complaints and I am going to revise this review, I still love this book and am haunted by it. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. It has staying power.
It's difficult to rate this book, because I have such mixed feelings about it. It's original, dark, Gothic, and highly descriptive in a way that makes you feel, see, smell, and taste the words. It's also a novel that I wanted to love, even as I read it and felt uncertain; I'd change my mind on the next page and say, "this is beautiful, disturbing and a great novel."--but then on the next page, I'd feel the same frustrations I felt over and over again. I do believe Adam McOmber has a great career ahead of him, and that many people are going to love this novel. The White Forest is, in truth, an irresistible read that I could not put down.
Completely addictive. Flawed. Messy. Wonderful. Sad. Gorgeous. Jane is an incredible character. Wish the end had been different. Flashback is not my style/who cares.(less)
This is really 4.5 rounded down for the last story in the book, The Strange Case of X. Otherwise this would be the masterpiece of modern New Weird Fic...moreThis is really 4.5 rounded down for the last story in the book, The Strange Case of X. Otherwise this would be the masterpiece of modern New Weird Fiction and the first story, Dradin in Love was awesome storytelling and some of the best prose I've ever read, PERIOD.
I just re-read that particular story and it's 5 times now!
However, the New Weird is not for everyone and I'll admit, I am NOT a fan of it, even when I know it's good. But this is the one book of New Weird that I am taking into my new writing room. But it's the only one I am taking. Well, maybe China Mieville will get there, too.(less)
One of my favorite series of all time. This needs to be made into a better film. It's lovely, fierce, and the kind of fantasy that everyone can read....moreOne of my favorite series of all time. This needs to be made into a better film. It's lovely, fierce, and the kind of fantasy that everyone can read. I am saving it for my grandchildren.(less)
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I c...moreMy name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.
And so begins the novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. You can look this up on the Internet and spoil a wonderful novel, but I caution you not to, after all, you might want to read it one day.
Merricat is the eighteen-year-old narrator of a small, rather simple novel about two sisters who live with their ailing uncle in an old house outside some small hamlet (village) in one of Shirley Jackson’s New England landscapes. However, no details of this are ever given. You have to know a bit about Jackson to guess where the village and house are. Constance, the older sister, is clearly agoraphobic, due to the fact that she was accused and then acquitted of murdering her father, mother, aunt, and little brother. Merricat escaped because she was sent to bed without her supper for punishment and Uncle Julian didn’t eat enough “sugar and blackberries” to kill him, only enough to maim him and leave him with a bad heart. Merricat is the only surviving member of the Blackwood family who goes to town and communicates with the village. However, one or two old Blackwood family friends do come to tea on certain days.
The beauty of this story is the *inner workings of Merricat’s mind* and her perception of reality. She narrates the story and the reader is pulled into the mystery of the Blackwoods and the tragedy of their lives. Some questions are never answered, and they do not need to be. For example, what really was at the cause of the horrible murder.
The village treats the Blackwoods like we all do those old haunted, shabbily beautiful houses at the edges of woods, with strange surroundings and eccentric occupants. We love them, respect them, fear them, and laugh at them. We might also resent them.
I’m not going to write much more for fear of spoilers. Let’s just say, a shallow cousin, named Charles comes to visit, and like most relatives, he’s there for any money he can get. He takes advantage of the poor, sweet, agoraphobic Constance and is not very nice to ailing Uncle Julian. Merricat, who is totally possessive and protective of her sister, is just miserable watching this scumbag take control of their house and lives.
What happens is worth every single moment you would spend reading the rest of the novel, and every cent you paid for it. It’s worth buying to read again. The simplicity of the novel is stark but beautiful. The use of repetitive words and phrases, the black comedy of Uncle Julian and his *papers*, the magic that poor Merricat tries to use to protect herself and her family, and Constance’s agoraphobia make this a great read and one of America’s finest novel.(less)
A re-read. This is one of my favorite novels, given to me by a friend for Christmas the year it came out. Magic never looked so good.
It's work to rea...moreA re-read. This is one of my favorite novels, given to me by a friend for Christmas the year it came out. Magic never looked so good.
It's work to read this book, but when you finish, you will know that it's not a just a book, but a work of art and the work of a lifetime.
Mannered fantasy set in the time of Napoleon that follows the tale of two men at odds over magic and how bringing magic back to England both creates and destroys. Has footnotes. Metafiction. Post-modern literature.(less)