Dark and biting satire that doesn't hesitate to twist the knife after it's been plunged into your tender bits. One of few award winners that was veryDark and biting satire that doesn't hesitate to twist the knife after it's been plunged into your tender bits. One of few award winners that was very deserving of its Man Booker win....more
Beautifully written morality tale about corruption and redemption. I am normally very leery about stories featuring clergy, but Greene doesn't give inBeautifully written morality tale about corruption and redemption. I am normally very leery about stories featuring clergy, but Greene doesn't give in to preachiness here. Instead he offers a short tale of a country gone mad, a priest battling his own demons and his own personal Javert, a Marxist lieutenant who comes to learn that there are not as many differences between him and his quarry as he believes....more
This was an exemplary read. Comedic indictments of the Latin ideal of machismo, kidnappers who are absolutely no good at kidnapping, the consistentlyThis was an exemplary read. Comedic indictments of the Latin ideal of machismo, kidnappers who are absolutely no good at kidnapping, the consistently volatile political situation of Latin American countries, the lonely emptiness of the ex-pat, and the utter worthlessness of one man's life when viewed through a Utilitarian framework: all of these themes find expression in Greene's Honorary Consul.
This had been floating around in my to-be-read queue for a while and I have no regrets about bumping it to the top of my list. Greene was a master wordsmith and his characters are always, at the least, interesting constructions. The ability he has of writing characters that pursue two goals that are completely at odds with one another is flawless and with it he captures the often maddening complexity of even the most dull person. Humans are beautifully flawed and fascinating creatures and too often the challenge of expressing that is above the skills of most writers. Greene rightfully earned his place among the pantheon of literary giants....more
Finally a return to form for Gibson after the disappointing (for me) Pattern Recognition. Having left behind the dark and dreary future of cyberpunk fFinally a return to form for Gibson after the disappointing (for me) Pattern Recognition. Having left behind the dark and dreary future of cyberpunk for the dark and dreary present of today, Gibson has retained his characteristic wit and his trademark ability to discern developing trends before they even appear on the horizon.
Characters in Gibson novels are normally searching for or developing the Edge, that fine line of innovation which will drive human thought and existence forward to new technological and intellectual levels. This is generally an amalgam of art, science and politics as embodied by several different characters that may or may not meet in the flesh, but who's actions have wide-ranging effects. Their movements are a lot like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings in the rain forest and triggering a typhoon in Japan.
But while the characters and their basic actions are easily prescribed, there is still a good amount of chaos to wade through along with mind-expanding descriptions of the vast possibilities of human interaction with technology. From macabre "locative" art that allows an admirer to view the holographic body of a recently overdosed River Phoenix outside the Viper Room in LA to a Cuban crime family that communicates via text messages sent in Roman approximations of Cyrillic characters, Gibson has a strong idea of how technology is adapted to fit the needs of its users and vice versa.
A very scattered and odd book. I'm not sure what I think yet, I think I need to sleep on it before I can really evaluate it. As a child of the 21st CeA very scattered and odd book. I'm not sure what I think yet, I think I need to sleep on it before I can really evaluate it. As a child of the 21st Century, one scene in which the protagonist is trying to talk via chat with his wife seemed long, confusing and needlessly complex. Other than that I am rather torn on this book but know that, at the very least, I didn't hate it....more
One of the most painful books that I have ever forced myself to read. I was a bit trepidatious before picking it up owing to the poor experience I hadOne of the most painful books that I have ever forced myself to read. I was a bit trepidatious before picking it up owing to the poor experience I had with Handmaid's Tale, but figured that Atwood deserved another chance. No longer. I will not force myself to read something that leaves me cold and unmoved.
The saving grace, if there is one, is the story-within-a-story of The Blind Assassin. Unfortunately these interludes are few and far between. The majority of the story is about a woman looking back on her life as a high-flying member of Toronto society between the two World Wars. Yawn. Does the world really need another book about a woman chaffing at the social constraints of yesteryear? Have we read Kate Chopin? Yes? Well then you don't need to waste the time on this book.
I should have followed the Nancy Pearl rule of 100 pages for this one, but I have never been one to put a book down.
This is an early contender for "book of the year" status. Many thanks to those who have recommended it to me, I would have missed out on an essentialThis is an early contender for "book of the year" status. Many thanks to those who have recommended it to me, I would have missed out on an essential work of fiction.
It's written in a different style that eschews typical rules of punctuation and paragraphs, yet Blindness remains understandable to the lay reader in a way that the books of Cormac McCarthy do not. This book was incredibly haunting, painting a realistic portrayal of the darkness in the hearts of humanity and showing how quickly the veneer of civilization is stripped away when confronted by a disaster.
When a plague of white blindness descends upon a city, the afflicted are quarantined inside a mental hospital and forced to fend for themselves in their newly-blind state. A gang of blind ruffians quickly takes control of the food supply, forcing the other inhabitants to first turn over all of their valuables and then turn over the incarcerated women. Quarantined alongside these afflicted souls is a woman who can still see, the wife of the ophthalmologist who initially diagnosed the white blindness before subsequently falling prey to it.
They say that in the kingdom of the blind a one-eyed man is king, yet the doctor's wife is subjected again and again to various outrages as she attempts to fight for justice and order within the asylum until finally reaching a breaking point. Finally escaping from her confines, she takes several inmates with her into a world transformed by the sweeping blindness that only she remains immune to.
This was a very gripping story that I could not put down once I started. Good literature is few and far between, but I am exceedingly glad that I was directed to this masterpiece. Even after reading only one of his works, I can state that Saramago was deserving of his Nobel Prize in Literature. I can't wait to see what the rest of his oeuvre has to offer....more
After reading several absolutely fantastic books by Graham Greene, The Power & The Glory, The Quiet American, The Honorary Consul, this book was aAfter reading several absolutely fantastic books by Graham Greene, The Power & The Glory, The Quiet American, The Honorary Consul, this book was a bit of a letdown. I like books about organized crime, I like mysteries, I like whodunits- but I didn't love this book.
I think a lot of this had to do with the ham-fisted way in which Greene went about portraying the characters and their internal conflicts. It was all very melodramatic and smacked of daytime television. The characters were caricatures, all with their own secret pain stitched firmly on their sleeve. By the end of the book I didn't care how the boy killed Hale, I just wanted to be done with it. ...more
Okay, I'm still reading this book and I probably will continue to read it for another few weeks. It is dense. There is just so much packed into each sOkay, I'm still reading this book and I probably will continue to read it for another few weeks. It is dense. There is just so much packed into each sentence that I find myself reading and rereading passages to make sure that I can keep up with all the acronyms and in-world inventions that Wallace keeps introducing. This is easily the most challenging book that I've read in years, which is a good thing. I like a challenge.
I can see why so many hippies have recommended it to me. Like The Illuminatus Trilogy, this book lends itself to the conspiracy-minded and lovers of trivia. It's very easy to see why this read is such a cult classic. Perhaps the best thing that I've taken from this book is an understanding of so many jokes and references that used to fly right over me without a second thought. For example, one of my friends has an Enfield Tennis Academy shirt that she's cherished for years. After reading this book, I finally understand it.
I'll be back with more thoughts on this as I make my way deeper into its labyrinthian bowels....more