Back in the day when at university, one of the papers I read was in Political Philosophy, with the underlying theme of discovering "moral rectitude",...moreBack in the day when at university, one of the papers I read was in Political Philosophy, with the underlying theme of discovering "moral rectitude", in many ways the themes in this book drew me back to those lectures. A dark very "noir" tale that is easily a morality tale of old, yet entirely modern. The American west is a perfect setting for what could also be seen as reworking of Don Quixote but the context could be anywhere and at anytime. deWitt writes with a light touch, the humour is acute and precise, the violence terrifying but in every word, real. Many will be able to relate to the relationship between the two brothers, and probably readily identify in some part with either or both. A very modern fable that deals with the complexities of familial ties, the search for purpose and meaning in ones life, and the obstacles placed in ones path are all concisely dealt with. This has been a deeply affecting book and a damn good read... one that I will be reminded of every time I clean my teeth!(less)
It is interesting that a title of a book can hang about in your consciousness for ages without ever coming to the fore! This book for me is a case in...moreIt is interesting that a title of a book can hang about in your consciousness for ages without ever coming to the fore! This book for me is a case in point, I have read Kingsolver's "The Lacuna" previously and had been aware of this book, but never got around to reading it. Luckily I found a brand new secondhand copy in a local bookstore last week, intact with its exchange card (from 2005). So... I have to say I did enjoy it, but can't say I'd rave about it. The storyline is strong and the characters draw empathy and the story does cover a big chunk of history in an intimate and personal way - which I think is the novels strength. To me Leah is the character I must empathize with, especially her relationship with Anatole, but I guess that their path through the storyline was always inevitable. In saying that the memorable quotes from the book come from these characters - Anatole "Don't expect God's protection in places beyond God's dominion." That line sums up the story for me, and later Rachel's assessment of her sister's plight -"What happened to us in the Congo was simply the bad luck of two opposite worlds crashing into each other, causing tragedy." Indeed the scope and breath of the story could easily crashed and burned, but luckily it does not. Taunt writing and the multiple perspectives hold it well together. 14 years after first being published, it remains a "good read".(less)
I have been dipping in and out of this book for the past couple of months, and now finally finishing it I can't praise it enough. A beautifully intima...moreI have been dipping in and out of this book for the past couple of months, and now finally finishing it I can't praise it enough. A beautifully intimate and human portrait of the First World War through the eyes of twenty "nobodies" - the common man and woman, their personal experiences of the war told through their journal entries. This is essential reading for anyone interested in The Great War and the experiences of those at the front line rather than the military and political histories. If anything The Great War is the first war that has been recorded on a personal level through the experiences of the common man, this book passionately tells their story!(less)
Ok, I had a copy of this book about five years ago, and before I got the opportunity to read it, I loaned it to someone never to see it again. Luckily...moreOk, I had a copy of this book about five years ago, and before I got the opportunity to read it, I loaned it to someone never to see it again. Luckily I stumbled across it again in my favourite send hand book store, and cut to the chase read it immediately! Coming up to ten years since it's first publication it does remain contemporary and relevant, and it would be interesting to see a revision of some of it to bring it up to date, but in saying that the broad themes of the book and the warnings they convey remain prescient. This is an important book - along with Michael Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma, and also Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers, that are essential reading on our Human impact on our environment.