I came to this having read such books as SLIM and THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES. I'll be interested to see how it strikes people who aren't familiar with thI came to this having read such books as SLIM and THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES. I'll be interested to see how it strikes people who aren't familiar with those sources. I think trying to flesh out the inner world of Babe Paley is an interesting project; she's one of the few important people in that group who hasn't had much of a voice. (I'm fascinated by her false teeth-- didn't they ever affect her appearance or speech in those days before titanium implants? Didn't they ever fall out? Did they maybe have something to do with the Sphinx-like reticence that seems to have possessed Babe?) I like what Benjamin does with mothers and daughters and sisters. Overall, yes, I do think she adds something to the story, a feat I would have considered impossible given the multifarious writings already available.
One thing that bothered me on and off is probably more of a feature than a bug. The narrative felt very second hand, overheard-- in fact, much like the narration of ANSWERED PRAYERS. The way they all sit around talking about the Woodwards, for instance. It made me long for the vivid narration of the same story by Dominick Dunne. And, again, I wondered how it would strike people not already familiar with the story to have it delivered in that way. Would you even understand it? ...more
Kalanithi had so much to say, and so little time to say it in! In thinking about this book, I feel I'm thinking about a person. The person and the booKalanithi had so much to say, and so little time to say it in! In thinking about this book, I feel I'm thinking about a person. The person and the book seem to be conterminous even though the book is so short and Kalanithi's life was so jam-packed with experiences and influences. Now that the book has been published, I'm reading about how it was completed after his death from all sorts of sources, including his many emails. That sheds some light, for me, on how the book came to seem so compendious. I would say it was my favorite book of 2015, but it doesn't compare to other books really. It's more like a love letter to the world from this guy who could have been so angry and disappointed. Just a huge gift. ...more
Loved this book! I saw a review which described it (rough paraphrase) as being about the effects of technology on people's lives and thought, hmm, itLoved this book! I saw a review which described it (rough paraphrase) as being about the effects of technology on people's lives and thought, hmm, it is sort of about that. But hearing that description, I would not have read it because I am pretty much over technology as a plot device. Burke makes it fresh. She has a wonderful way of making you keep turning the pages while giving you more really chewy legal stuff than most thrillers do....more
**spoiler alert** Really, really enjoyed this. These old novels have the best structures. I love the way this one is all about the landscape and the s**spoiler alert** Really, really enjoyed this. These old novels have the best structures. I love the way this one is all about the landscape and the seasons of the year. And how it's been ten years since this and five years since that. Everything so orderly and all the pent up craziness just below the surface. The story takes a dark turn and the weather turns bad-- this would seem hopelessly corny in a contemporary novel but Du Maurier can pull it off with no problem.
I kept imagining this as a graphic novel. There are so many wonderful visual moments-- like the time he sees his shadow and it appears "...a monstrous thing. without shape or substance."
One quibble though. I am not a fan of the frame of this story. "They used to hand men at Four Turnings in the old days. Not anymore, though." This is repeated at the end it it does give a chill, but what does it mean? Not that someone is going to be executed, surely. Remembering it from an early reading, I started to wonder if Philip was really insane-- some sort of hereditary insanity-- and was in prison awaiting execution and imagining most of the other stuff. I don't think that can be it, though. I suppose it may refer to the fact that there's been a twist and Philip appears culpable now, not Rachel. But it could also mean that Rachel got what she deserved, just not in the expected way. Mostly though I suspect it's there in the beginning just to let you know there will be a death and possibly murder. It also paints a somewhat ruthless picture of Ambrose and of the relationship between him and Philip. When the stuff about hanging is repeated at the end, I don't think it explains anything; we still don't know if Rachel killed Ambrose or how much of Philip's suspicion was just crazy.I think it makes a really pretty frame but it doesn't quite hold up, for me. ...more
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me-- they suck!
Hemmings's narrator, Lea, mentions the movie Sabrina throughout t Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me-- they suck!
Hemmings's narrator, Lea, mentions the movie Sabrina throughout this book. I was also reminded of THE GREAT GATSBY. It comes as no surprise that Lea, the ingenue, turns out to be composed of stronger stuff than her filthy rich hosts. What did surprise me was how ABSOLUTELY HORRID the people in the big house were. I was also kind of stunned by what seems like pretty complete betrayal on her mother's part by moving in with those people in the first place. Who puts their kid in a position like that? Her mother spills her guts at the end and explains how everything all happened and made sense at the time, but she's going to be lucky if Lea doesn't wind up with a pretty hefty case of resentment. Still, as extreme as the situation was, I think anyone in, for example, a fairly messed-up blended family can probably relate.As always, Hemmings entertains and I loved her emphasis on different parts of Oahu.
**spoiler alert** This book revisits GOING WRONG in a lot of ways. If I had come to it as a new book by an unknown author, I would have reacted with e**spoiler alert** This book revisits GOING WRONG in a lot of ways. If I had come to it as a new book by an unknown author, I would have reacted with excitement and anticipation of more books. Sadly, there won't be any more. Reading this book was also a melancholy experience for me because it revisits one of RR's saddest themes: the way people trap themselves in prisons of their own making-- be it jealousy, cupidity, or addiction to sugar-free sweets. Or, as with Guy in GOING WRONG or Carl here, some combination of need and substance abuse and growing paranoia.
But wait! There's kind of a glimmer of redemption at the end. We find out that Carl confesses his crimes and goes to prison. Another character, one of Rendell's unassuming sages, comments that confessing must have become less "scary" than not confessing. "And now, now it's all over." And that is the last sentence of RR's last book. RIP and many thanks. ...more