I read a bunch of these cozy mysteries when I was a kid. For a reading challenge, I needed something published in 1991 and, for my commute, I needed tI read a bunch of these cozy mysteries when I was a kid. For a reading challenge, I needed something published in 1991 and, for my commute, I needed that book to be available on audio from my library. I spotted this and thought it might be fun to revisit this series. The narrator did a great job with the book and made this a fun and easy listen. I had completely forgotten (or maybe didn't notice) just how much sex there is here. None of it is explicit -- it's all innuendo and side comment -- but much more going on between Amelia and Emerson than I picked up on as a young reader.
In any event, this is an adventure story set in Egypt. The plot is rather fanciful and far-fetched, but does involve discovery of a lost city where people are still living (somewhat) as they did in ancient Egypt. Overall, the plot carries the story forward, but the heart of the book is reading the interactions between the characters and the amusement to be had from watching these proper British archaeologists blunder about....more
This book resonated deeply. Though published 100 years ago, and as commentary on revolution in Bengal, the book speaks to freedom and government in aThis book resonated deeply. Though published 100 years ago, and as commentary on revolution in Bengal, the book speaks to freedom and government in a way that felt extremely relevant today. Here, characters debate whether the ends justify the means. Is it okay to lie or cheat if it's for the good of the country? For the country's people? Just who are the people who should benefit from the country anyway?
The writing style is highly philosophical. The characters engage in long descriptions of their reasoning and how they feel about this or that argument. They sometimes argue with each other in dialogue, but often just in monologue. The story is told from three first-person perspectives -- two parties to an arranged marriage and a hanger-on of the husband turned revolutionary.
I was so engaged with this book that I read it in two days. I think it merits rereading in a slower, more considered way, but I couldn't tear myself away from learning what would happen to these characters, particularly the young wife, Bimala.
I'm so glad this popped up on a list of books for a task in a reading challenge. I'd never have found it otherwise....more
An enjoyable conclusion to the trilogy. I missed Raisa from this book as she was one of my favorite characters in the first two books. It was good toAn enjoyable conclusion to the trilogy. I missed Raisa from this book as she was one of my favorite characters in the first two books. It was good to get more back story on their marriage and first meeting, but she wasn't present in most of the book. Still, seeing Leo out of Russia and traveling to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States was a welcome change from the bleak Soviet setting of the previous two books. Overall, the book was more sad that I had hoped for characters that I'd really come to like over the past two books. Reading all of these books within a few months kept all of the stories fresh in my mind and made the trilogy feel like a coherent work rather than separate parts.
I don't recommend this as a standalone book. Read Child 44. If you like it, continue the trilogy. If not, don't read this one....more
I don't think this would be as good as a standalone novel if you haven't read the first book in the trilogy, so I'd recommend starting with The Three-I don't think this would be as good as a standalone novel if you haven't read the first book in the trilogy, so I'd recommend starting with The Three-Body Problem if you haven't read that yet.
This book has a different translator and a different narrator from the first book. It's always hard to know how much a different translator affects the book, but I think maybe Ken Liu would have encouraged better naming for the central project in this book. The narrators for both audiobooks were good, so the change in narrator wasn't a problem.
Briefly, this book picks up where the previous book left off -- Earth is faced with a 400 year period before an alien fleet will show up to destroy the world. For reasons complicated and spoilery to explain, the government decides to appoint some master strategists to try to figure out a plan to respond to this situation. These are called "Wall-Facers." I know this name derives from something about certain types of meditation, but the name just sounds ridiculously silly in English and it made me chuckle a bit every time it was used. Then, the counter attack group are known as the "Wall Breakers." Really? Wall Facers and Wall Breakers?
Still, silly names aside, the concepts here are interesting. What would society do with this long-term, but very real crisis? Is there a way to reason about alien civilizations and appropriate interactions with those civilizations? What's really salient in human civilization? At what point does our ethical system break down? What's the role of family?
This author is excellent at examining these concepts both in the conversations his characters have with one another and the situations they create. Unfortunately, he's not that great at creating characters that are individually interesting or that anyone wants to root for. I don't know if this is a cultural issue -- maybe there are personality and cultural cues that a Chinese readership picks up that are lost on this clueless American reader. Much of the internal thoughts of the main character are left unspoken -- leaving the reader to figure it out (or not) from his actions.
I'm eager to read the third book in the series....more
The paranoia and senselessness of Stalinist Russia envelops the reader in this book that manages to combine a serial killer detective story with histoThe paranoia and senselessness of Stalinist Russia envelops the reader in this book that manages to combine a serial killer detective story with historical fiction with true crime. I picked this up after reading and enjoying The Farm by the same author. The books are totally different from one another, but both manage to build suspense and tell a great story and both capture their respective atmospheres (here, Russia; there, Sweden). This book is way outside my normal reading choices which rarely turn to serial killers or to spy novels or to books set in Russia. But I'm very tempted to immediately read the next in the trilogy. I've become attached to these characters and completely intrigued by the setting. Highly recommended if you can stomach the senseless violence of the regime and the grimness of the setting and the relatively grisly descriptions of child murders....more
Three stars for the storyline taking place during the war, but only two stars for the post-war storyline and overall an unsatisfying book. I loved heaThree stars for the storyline taking place during the war, but only two stars for the post-war storyline and overall an unsatisfying book. I loved hearing about the war period and wanted to hear more about Trudy (the woman at the heart of the 1940s portion of the story). I'd never spent time thinking about Hong Kong during the war and was interested in learning a bit about the British ex-pat community there in the 1940s and 1950s. But Claire (the center of the 1950s story) fell entirely flat and was not a character that I wanted to know anything more about. Most frustratingly, even when the entire plotline was revealed, I still felt that I didn't understand the actions and motivations of most of the characters.
Many authors, with varying degrees of success, have attempted the interweaving of two story lines. Here, the time frames were sufficiently close in time that it made the structure confusing and hard to follow. Overall, I think this author would have been better served by just telling the wartime story without the overlay of the 1950s story.
Not recommended unless perhaps you have a connection to Hong Kong and just want to connect to the sense of place here. But I suspect there are better books for that....more
This is real science fiction, of a type that I've rarely read. Thus, I'm the wrong reviewer to compare this book to others in the genre or track any rThis is real science fiction, of a type that I've rarely read. Thus, I'm the wrong reviewer to compare this book to others in the genre or track any references to Arthur C. Clarke or anyone else. But even though this was far outside my usual reading choices, I found the book exciting and interesting.
The physics concepts are just outside my understanding, but the author does a good enough job explaining and analogizing that I felt I could follow the science even if I couldn't use it to solve the problems myself. I'd never heard of the three-body problem (and actually had to go read the Wikipedia article about it), but loved the way it was played out in this book.
The narrator for the audiobook did an excellent job reading the sometimes technical material in a way that was easy to follow.
I'll be eagerly awaiting the translation of the next two books in the trilogy....more
I really enjoy reading Octavio Paz. His poetry is lush and romantic, the images are strong. This book has parallel pages with the Spanish and the EnglI really enjoy reading Octavio Paz. His poetry is lush and romantic, the images are strong. This book has parallel pages with the Spanish and the English translation. Even though I don't read Spanish, I enjoyed being able to look over to the other side and read the words in the original language after reading the translation. There are so many references lurking in this work - both to relatively recent figures and to historical figures. I wish I had a poetry club or something to read this with me so that I could discuss the images with others. I'll definitely look for more of Paz's writing....more
I wanted to like this. But I didn't really. I hated the main character, never really bought into the romance at the heart of the story, and found thatI wanted to like this. But I didn't really. I hated the main character, never really bought into the romance at the heart of the story, and found that the flashback structure was too choppy to hold the book together. I felt bad for the POWs (who doesn't), but didn't connect with them as individual characters here. I recommend that you read Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption instead....more
A fascinating, academic biography of Hatchepsut. The book starts with enough general information about the time period and the other Egyptian rulers tA fascinating, academic biography of Hatchepsut. The book starts with enough general information about the time period and the other Egyptian rulers that I was able to understand the context. This book does an excellent job telling both the story of the archaeological evidence (such as it is) as well as the story of the history of scholars and their own biases that affected their interpretations of the evidence. Hatchepsut is a tantalizing figure. How did this woman become not just a queen, but a king? What was her relationship to her step-son who became the next Pharaoh? Did she have a romance with her architect. Because her history was attacked and largely obscured in antiquity for unknown reasons, likely, though not necessarily, because she was a woman who took the (male) role of King, we don't have clear answers. ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It traces three families in Burma, India and Malaya from 1885 to a brief stint in the mid-1990s. I have little knowledI thoroughly enjoyed this book. It traces three families in Burma, India and Malaya from 1885 to a brief stint in the mid-1990s. I have little knowledge of these countries' histories and found it fascinating to read about the British Empire from this perspective. I don't know that I'd ever read about Japanese invasion during WWII from this perspective.
The author for the audiobook did a fine job keeping up with the story, but did not do enough for this listener to differentiate the different characters. I sometimes found myself confused for a bit about which storyline I was hearing. But maybe that's the fault of the listener rather than the reader....more