Normally, I can put aside my job as a copy editor and enjoy books, but some of the errors and poor judgments in Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and SweeNormally, I can put aside my job as a copy editor and enjoy books, but some of the errors and poor judgments in Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet were so egregious that I found myself reaching for a red pen.
The 1942 passages, as far as I could tell, were well-researched, and the rough idea of the plot was compelling. The 1986 portions were a disaster, and the story seems to drag and repeat itself. We don't learn anything new every flashback/fast-forward, which, to me, defeats the purpose of a split-time setting.
My biggest gripes were the anachronisms in the 1986 part of the story and the portrayal of Henry's parents. There isn't really a good argument for choosing 1986 as the setting. A lot of the "modern" technology mentioned is very modern -- it wouldn't be accessible for at least another 10 years. Henry's son uses the internet to search for a person, but the internet was really not used a lot before the 1990s. I'm vaguely remembering that he might have been majoring in something computer-related, but even with that access and know-how, that wasn't something readily available in 1986. And CDs weren't big until the 1990s, either. In 1986, everyone was mostly using cassette tapes.
The treatment of Henry's parents is patronizing. Even when it's clear that they're speaking in Cantonese and the conversation is in English for the reader's convenience, they omit verbs in a very stereotypical portrayal of Asian immigrants. It makes no sense to suggest that they would be speaking so brokenly in their native language.
The mistakes really didn't make me think less of the author; like I said, the story is compelling. But the editor could have made it so much better with some strategic cutting and a closer read for fact-checking....more
**spoiler alert** I really wanted to like Death Comes to Pemberley more than I did, but it had a lot of disappointments.
I was OK with most of what P.D**spoiler alert** I really wanted to like Death Comes to Pemberley more than I did, but it had a lot of disappointments.
I was OK with most of what P.D. James did with the characters, but I didn't like that Col. Fitzwilliam becomes less likable. I also didn't like how much Darcy ruminates. The conversation between Darcy and Elizabeth in epilogue in which Darcy harps on the Wickham/Georgiana near-elopement years before Pride and Prejudice takes place seems entirely unnecessary. Adding the scene with Georgiana and Alveston to the previous chapters (although it could be argued that Alveston isn't a necessary character at all), the book would be fine without the epilogue.
That said, I did enjoy the story. The ending wasn't necessarily a surprise, but I generally enjoy reading about later lives of the characters, and there were some nice touches. I liked that James brought in references to Persuasion and Emma, especially since fixing a situation would be in keeping with Emma's character....more
This was hands-down the best book I've read this year and the most beautiful imagery I've ever read. It's so beautifully written that I feel like anytThis was hands-down the best book I've read this year and the most beautiful imagery I've ever read. It's so beautifully written that I feel like anything I say about it would cheapen what was obviously a labor of love....more
After a slow start, I was sucked into the intricately detailed world Carey creates. There's so little I can say without giving away masterfully wovenAfter a slow start, I was sucked into the intricately detailed world Carey creates. There's so little I can say without giving away masterfully woven surprises. It was a delight to read. Mostly....more