I couldn't get through this one in book format. I caved and bought it on audio cd. The ending killed it for me. It was just too messy and unsatisfacto...moreI couldn't get through this one in book format. I caved and bought it on audio cd. The ending killed it for me. It was just too messy and unsatisfactory. I never felt that the book really ended. On the plus side.... I thought that that would be an easy sentence to finish. The fact that it isn't perhaps speaks volumes. Too much name dropping. It was all forced. However, I did go out and buy Miss Avery's previous novel so it really couldn't have been that bad. (less)
Average. Extremely average. This plot of this book was completely guessable from the beginning and the heterosexual characters were incredibly grating...moreAverage. Extremely average. This plot of this book was completely guessable from the beginning and the heterosexual characters were incredibly grating and dull. Franny was supposed to be this super cool girl but then fell into every girly stereotype in the world. Lisa P. come on, stick up for the fairer sex. On the plus side the gay characters were fun although the use of the word queer started to annoy. Perhaps I am too old for this book. Scratch that. I am definitely too old for this book. Why wasn't teen lit a booming genre when I was in middle school and probably would have appreciated it?
This is a cute book and I was probably a little unfair to it in this review. It is hard to not be overly critical when characters are THAT annoying. Cowboy guy was also far too perfect. As was the little coincidink with grammy at the end. No spoilers though. Read and groan for yourself.(less)
This was a good book but it kind of fell apart and I lost a lot of interest at the end. Worth a read but feel free to skim the last fifty pages. I am...moreThis was a good book but it kind of fell apart and I lost a lot of interest at the end. Worth a read but feel free to skim the last fifty pages. I am not one to be bothered by weak and outdated portrayals and ideas about women but this book started to bother me at the end. There is the idea that a woman must be submissive in order to be with a man. It sounds like this young author really did not know too much about relationships at the time that she wrote The Illusionist. (less)
Whatever his flaws may be, there is no arguing the fact that Clive Barker is a visually stunning author. The scenes that he evokes in his writing will...moreWhatever his flaws may be, there is no arguing the fact that Clive Barker is a visually stunning author. The scenes that he evokes in his writing will remain with one for years and linger long after any recollection of the plot has faded. I say this because I read this book on vacation over a decade ago. I remember devouring it, but I do not remember too much about the plot. I do however immediately recall lush scenes in a forest, a terrifying visual of a polar bear, a bedroom in San Francisco, and something about a domus mundi and a sparsely populated section of the british isles (perhaps).
Given the fact that most books are gone a few months or a year after they are read, I would argue that Sacrament is worth a spin just because of its incredible staying power. (less)
I have always wanted to get into Ali Smith's books since I had to read her version of the myth of Iphis for a Latin class, yet, despite the number of...moreI have always wanted to get into Ali Smith's books since I had to read her version of the myth of Iphis for a Latin class, yet, despite the number of her books that I own, this is the first I have finished. I always find her writing to be somewhat inaccessible. This seems to be a pattern in trendy authors. The harder to read and more incomprehensible your book is, the better. However, I did sit down and read this book end to end after several false starts and I am not entirely upset that I did so.
Nota Bene: The first few pages, though cute, are not representative of the book. Do not be thrown off course by them (or be overly optimistic if you adore them).
The most noticeable feature of this book was the stream-of-consciousness wordplay. Some of these sequences are absolutely fantastic and hilarious (if you are one of those people who become distracted by the flexibility of language). I was disappointed to find that most of these moments were in the beginning of the book and that as I turned the pages, I found more and more philosophical and plot digressions (possible? I think so) that I found to be much less enjoyable.
The book is written in four parts: there, but, for, and the. Get it? Funny. Maybe. I believe it is supposed to be a bit of a meditation on the qualities and ways of existing in the modern world. I actually think Ms. Smith did more meditating in her book than one Booker winner whose name I shall not mention...*cough*JulianBarnes*cough*...whoops. These parts are actually quite cleverly structured with a reveal at the end of each to put the part into context. Although perhaps guessable by those determined to ruin the element of surprise, these moments were quite pleasing.
Is the book worth a read? Perhaps. Is it worth the current (hardcover) price of admissions? Perhaps not. The moments of brilliance were not enough to save a very convoluted novel. (less)
All students of higher learning and authors read this book and note its lessons well. Keep a copy of all finished material safe and in a fire-proof co...moreAll students of higher learning and authors read this book and note its lessons well. Keep a copy of all finished material safe and in a fire-proof container at least one mile away from any other copies.
This book is good fun but rather depressing if you read it too seriously. Bad things are inevitable, yes, but so too are good, lovely, fluffy things. (less)
Thoroughly thought through. If you enjoyed that phrase, read this book. If you did not, still read this book. I am among the latter and I did indeed r...moreThoroughly thought through. If you enjoyed that phrase, read this book. If you did not, still read this book. I am among the latter and I did indeed read this book and I still managed to enjoy it. Tada!
I'm not sure I believe Mr. Fry's claim about being ignorant of the plot. Any thoughts?(less)
I don't remember a single thing about this book expect an ode to the big mac (yes, the sandwich). I do recall being entertained. This book may not be...moreI don't remember a single thing about this book expect an ode to the big mac (yes, the sandwich). I do recall being entertained. This book may not be packed with literary merit but it is more quality fun than much of the other stuff out there. Give it a chance. Be mildly amused. You know you want to.(less)
I absolutely love Alan Hollinghurst and adore getting lost in his world. However, this book did not have quite the same impact as his others. The pros...moreI absolutely love Alan Hollinghurst and adore getting lost in his world. However, this book did not have quite the same impact as his others. The prose was not as densely constructed and the world lacked some of the texture that he has previously evoked in this writing. Despite the length, it was a much quicker read than his previous efforts. However, this is all comparison. To take the book on its own terms...
I really enjoyed The Stranger's Child. I read it in one day and can't really find too much fault with it. It was technically well-written and reflected the long time that was presumably spent writing it. That being said..
-Why kill off your most interesting character at the beginning? I realize that the rest of the novel is spent dwelling on memory and the various ways in which someone is remembered, especially as time passes. However, none of the other characters was half so interesting or charismatic as the dead dude. Daphne, a rather wet rag becomes a bit more interesting as she gets older but not enough to redeem the face time she receives.
-The entire novel felt very self-conscious. It felt that Mr. Hollinghurst was trying too hard to craft a piece of genre fiction. This would have been a rather interesting idea if he was playing around more with the genre and not just sticking to it and perhaps slightly mocking it.
-Our modern age seems so drab and utterly unromantic by the time one finishes this novel. Time machine anyone?
Bottom line: Read this book and give it a chance. It is worth the time, if only for the fact that one of Alan Hollinghurst's lesser efforts is still so much better than most anything else out there. I gave up on the book the first time through and when I sat down and read it I wanted to kick myself for not doing it sooner. (less)