OK, Lisa you have convinced me! Also Kirkus gave it a starred review - although lately Kirkus has been disappointing me. When I need something to make...moreOK, Lisa you have convinced me! Also Kirkus gave it a starred review - although lately Kirkus has been disappointing me. When I need something to make me happy or maybe when my head can concentrate on nothing this might hit the spot. I hope. I can always take a chance on one book. I neurotically check every book like it is a life choice which is totally ridiculous!(less)
Finished! Father, son and wife - they certainly all deserve eachother. I will throw at you all the thoughts that this novel throws at me. These three...moreFinished! Father, son and wife - they certainly all deserve eachother. I will throw at you all the thoughts that this novel throws at me. These three characters continually throw the real and the imaginary at each other. Delightfully, absurdly and horribly. What is real and what isn't? Well the reader never really knows, and finally one stops caring. This is a fairy tale for adults! Did I enjoy reading it? Sometimes yes and sometimes I hated it. The author plays with the readers. So how many stars should I give this book? I both hated it and loved it. One thing is certain - the author is gifted! The book is amazing - amazingly good and amazingly bad. I could classify it both as a favorites AND I also disliked it. I could give the book no stars at all. That would be a solution, since half of the time I loved it, and half of the time I hated it. That would be the most just solution! That is what I willo do.
Through page 221: So some aspects of the book I like alot and some I don't like at all. The thoughts about HOW Egon Schiele paints are fascinating. Are they true? Look at Schiele's paintings and you will see that the observations seem valid. Many facets of Schiele's painting are brought to the reader's attention - that often the painter sees his models from up above them, that many of the self-portraits and other portraits are multiple immages of one person, that the hands are very masculine both on the women and the men, that thumbs are not visible and the painter's frequent use of mirrors. Here is a quote: "Fonchito was explaining to Justiniana that the mirror is 'where we are when we look at the picture.' And the the model seen from the front wasn't flesh and blood, but an image in the mirror, while the painter and the model seen from the back were real and not reflections. Which meant that Egon Schiele had begun to paint Moa from the rear, in front of the mirror, but then, drawn by the part he did not see directly but only in projection, he decided to paint that too. And so thanks to the mirror, he painted two Moas, who were really only one: the complete Moa, the two halves of Moa, the Moa no one could see in reality because 'we only can see what we have in front of us, not the part behind that front.' Did she understand why the mirror was so important to Egon Schiels?" I doubt that the next book I have lined up to read about Schiele will go into such depth!
Through page 205: Yes the humor remains, if you can just wade through the long sentences on every philosophical subject imaginable. Here the author is definitely speaking to me concerning my opinion that the text becomes "pure sophistry": "If you think this letter is beginning to show signs of incoherence, think of Valéry's Monsieur Teste:'The incoherence of a discourse depends on the listener. The spirit apparently is not conceived in a way that allows it to be incoherent with itself'." Only when Rigoberto's writing takes takes the stage does the language become so convoluted!
Through page 187:Sometimes the writing gets me totally confused and I get annoyed and frustrated and wish it would just end. I wonder where is this going and is it going anywhere but in circles? Sometimes the ideas expressed about religion, freedom, politics seem pure sophistry. I have another book to read about Egon Schiele. Yes, I will read that next, if this book would only end....... Maybe it will pick up again?!
Through page 125: Tantalizing! What is real? What is not? What is intentionally erotic and what is just the readers' imagination? I don't like books that spell thing out in black and white. This is the opposite! Marvelous writing.
Through page 50: Oh I forgot to say, some of the lines are just too funny! No, I am not going to quote them.
This book is without question a guide to sexual arousal. I wouldn't recommend this book to any prude. Enticing, but beyond that the psychological ploys are amazing. She, Lucretia the wife and stepmother to Fonchito, is able to arouse her husband, Don Rigoberto, by describing her sexual encounters with Pluto, who invited her for that fabulous vacation week In Europe. Roberto encouraged Lucretia to accept - and what a trip it was! Willingly husband,wife and lover play this game. There is no reason to judge this immoral; they ALL know what they are doing. They all choose to play the game. These are quite extraordinary characters! (A sidenote - I mean if you love somebody, do you really not mind sharing them?!) Constantly I am wondering is this real or just arousing dreams of fantasy. Knowing this is not a "spoiler". I believe it helps a reader determine if it is a book they want to read. I like it, but it is certainly for adults. I hope I get more about Schiele; I am pretty sure I will.
Through 38 pages: The author dreams up very unusual and bizarre, but not unbelievable, scenarios - a young stepson's affair with his stepmother, a fabulous European vacation with the wife's previous lover and there are no strings attached, a house built for the things in it rather than the people. The circumstances are just so weird that you cannot help but wonder how you yourself would react. And yes some passages are erotic and very well expressed.
In Lima a stepson has affair with his stepmother, but what is real and what is fantasy is mixed/ not always clear. Schiele's life plays a central role in the novel. Erotic and sensual passages. Perhaps read In Praise of the Stepmother, which is tied to this novel. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is also praised by Kirkus(less)
Through page 96 of 192, ie half-way done, and I am giving up. I don't like it. It immensely irritates me. The only thing one could possibly learn from...moreThrough page 96 of 192, ie half-way done, and I am giving up. I don't like it. It immensely irritates me. The only thing one could possibly learn from this is how a person with OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Behavior - thinks. OK, I feel immensely sorry for the main protagonist Martin, but I do not want to spend time reading anymore about where the rug, TV, closets, all the contents of the refrigerator, bathroom supplies, etc are stored in each of his respective "clients" homes. Clients are the people he steals from using digital photography, copied keys, a 10-sided die that ensures an absence of pattern, etc, etc. I simply go buggy reading about all this planning and obsession with detail. For a normal mind, I hope I am rather normal, the text is mind boggling horrible! I know the text must fit with how the thief thinks, but it is too tedious to read. According to me! There is lots of suspense, which may appeal to some, but I think: why in the hell am I getting so tense when this is just a dam fictitious story?! WHO CARES! If you like suspense, maybe you will like the book. From what I have read briefly of other reviews the thief, Martin, is a good guy and will actually help his clints, but I cannot bear to follow his way of thinking. So I give up. I am NOT finishing this book! I am adding a shelf called "swapable" and when GR offers this internationally, it will be available to those who do like such suspense thrillers with nice people. Martin IS definitely nice; this is why he starts getting into trouble!
You know what I am thinking? I am free! I breathe out with a sigh of relief, now I can choose a book worth reading. Sorry Joanne, this just didn't fit my personality at all!
Through page 59: This book is driving me crazy with all the details, even though I know it fits the main protagonist's character. He has OCD! I will stick it out.(less)
In conclusion: The ending is cute, but with this final note I haven't given anything away. It is how you get from A to Z that is importa...moreNO SPOILERS!!!
In conclusion: The ending is cute, but with this final note I haven't given anything away. It is how you get from A to Z that is important. A perfect comfort read, if that is what you are looking for. Please see below for more detailed information.
AFTER 80%: What I like about GR is that we help each other find books that will fit our own interests. No matter how much effort I put into studying a book before I choose it, each book is always a bit of a surprise. This one too. Please look at the shelves I have put this on: fauna, humorous, kenya and relationships. Yes, those are the central themes. You do learn a bit about Kenyan life and history, but what is given is minimal. Much is related to expat life in Kenya, and quite honestly this isn't my highest interests, but there are native Kenyans too and Iheir presence in the book is a saving point for me. It is humorous and a light, quick read. It helps if you are interested in learning more about birds. Does the following bore you or interest you?
Kenyan crested guineafowl are shy and wary birds. They stick to one patch of forest, where they know every twig and track. It is next to impossible to creep up on one to shoot or grab it. But they possess great curiosity, and nothing incites their curiosity more than the colour blue. I have never seen this for myself but I am assured by my friend Kennedy that he has watched a Kenyan crested guineafowl staring at an empty pack of Clear Sky cigarettes for minutes at a time. Should you want to trap one of these birds, therefore, the best bait to use is not grain or fruit or anything that the bird might eat, but simply something blue. (80%)
I assume thisinformation is correct.... But what is important is for you to judge if this is interesting or not!
One more thing. this is not much about the antics of bird-walkers. This book is more about how one properly conducts a contest. That can be amusing too. And about how people can tackle a contest so very differently. Winning is important, but but how we win is too.
I haven't read more than 9%, and I don't really want to be talking to you. I would rather be reading. It is just that the lines are so funny! I am smiling on most every page. This is the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor I enjoy.
Mr. Mali, is currently in Scotland. First his wife dies and his head is rapidly balding and to top it all off he has a heart attack. So his daughter gets him an appointment with a cardiologist, and what does the cardiologist say?
'You need a hobby. Something to take your mind off work - it's stress that does it you see. '
The eminent cardiologist savoured the word. Up until only last year he would have said 'overdoing it' and he still wasn't sure whether that phrase was a bit more Harley Street, but everyone seemed to use 'stress' these days and it was good practice to keep up with modern develpments. Patients expected it.
Is your appreciation of humor similar to mine? The doctor suggests birding, and with fright Malik thinks he means he has to get a new wife or "revitalize himself through prophylactic prostitution! " No,the doctor is suggesting ornithology. So Malik buys himself some binoculars.
BEFORE STARTING: My son is an ornithologist. I have been on numerous "bird walks". These walks are quite amusing if you step back and look at yourself and the group. Tongue in cheek humor?! A fun read probably because you remember past experiences? Are these excurions so different if they take place in Nairobi or Sweden? It is not the birds, but we humans who are amusing. (less)
If I read this it is b/c I am attracted to the writing style. Many people don't like the "gross" ending, whatever that means! About a girl trying to u...moreIf I read this it is b/c I am attracted to the writing style. Many people don't like the "gross" ending, whatever that means! About a girl trying to understand who her mother, a tinker's daughter, really was. Also about the girl's choice to abandon her promising musical talent.(less)
A fantastical fairy tale for adults. The degree to which you enjoy this book will depend on how much fantasy you can stomach and to what degree you ar...moreA fantastical fairy tale for adults. The degree to which you enjoy this book will depend on how much fantasy you can stomach and to what degree you are looking for an emotional ride. My fantasy threshold is low.
When you buy this book you are purchasing a ticket to an emotional roller-coaster ride. I kind of knew this when I purchased it, and that gets me annoyed at myself. We buy a book to have our emotions stirred. Isn't that really too much?! And in this case it is all fiction, made-up, imaginary! At points I was so irritated I wanted to hop off the ride; the story-line was too trite and too predictable. By the end I had to admit I enjoyed the fantasy. I thought, sometimes we need fairy tales to keep our spirits up. Still..... that I set myself up for the emotional turmoil kind of disgusts me. I mean, getting upset over a real problem has a point. What was the point here? Maybe to make a philosophical statement. Maybe instead we just enjoy "feeling" our emotions.
I must admit, the story goes in a direction I never guessed.
I started the audiobook. I am immediately hooked. I am not even going to read a paper book at the same time. Just this. No way am I going to read/listen to anything else first.
Before reading: Boy does this start schmaltzy. I read a bit at B&N. Everybody tells me to read this. I guess I will have to give it a go. I am just wondering how I will take this after Skye dying less than a year ago..... he too had cataracts, arthritis and a weak bladder. He was an old dog. Almost a year has gone by. I think I should be able to take it.(less)
I cannot say I enjoyed reading this book. It is depressing, The family is doomed, there isn't much humor and the author's writing has a melancholic to...moreI cannot say I enjoyed reading this book. It is depressing, The family is doomed, there isn't much humor and the author's writing has a melancholic tone. Furthermore, each episode went on and on and on; the author used too many words to get his message across.
Nevertheless, I left the novel with a vivid awaresness of each character's being. I really came to know them. I felt like I had known these people, grown alongside them. As the novel neared its end, I was jolted when I recalled how these characters were in their youth, I felt I had grown up alongside them. I remembered past Christmases past, shockingly inappropriate parental behavior and shared moments of kindness too. Birth and death, it is all there. I saw what life and age had done to the family. This, the author did exceedingly well. I believe Stegner wants us to see that to truly understand a person you must know all the messy details of their lives and even of their ancestors. What our parents have lived through does not stop within them, it continues to influence the next generation and the next and the next.
The novel does have an historical perspective. It depicts life in western USA during the early 1900s. It depicts that period when pioneering came to an end. It depicts chasers of rainbows, people who were disappointed when they arrived on the pioneering stage just a little bit too late to cash in big, people who thought it possible to get something from nothing. Quick money: be it gold mines, gambling, stocks. These are people with big dreams that for one reason or another always turns up five minutes to late or at the wrong place, always short on luck. Such people were not necesarrily lazy or not willing to work, at least in their youth, but as they failed time and time again they were never able to alter their behavior. Why? Some people are big dreamers, I guess.
Look at the book's title. Do you remember the song with the same name? If you know the song you will grasp the content of the book.
I like learning about past events, Why wasn't I satisfied by learning about this time period? The lives depicted what I have heard happened in my own family. My maternal grandmother's parents lived through the stock crash. They lived out west in Kansas and Missouri during the dustbowl. They went from rags to riches to rags again. Yes, many times. This particular great-grandfather of mine was born a gambler. So the story did speak to me personally. It did perhaps teach me a bit about their lives. But it was so dam depressing. It is more depressing than even holocaust memoirs since the troubles described are due to the actions of the characters themselves. You cannot get mad at a higher outside forces that destroys you. These people are destroying themselves. And they continue time after time to make the same dam mistakes. Some because they are dreamers, some because they do it for love.
When you are done reading this, what are you left with? There is no moral message on how we can improve things. It all feels rather hopeless. We humans are a sorry species. The book did move me. Now at least I have tried a book by Stegner. My husband read Angle of Repose. We concluded that both the style and the plot events were similar. (less)