This is a problematic book. It has its good points, and some very negative. But let's start with the positive. The book is incredibly well researched,This is a problematic book. It has its good points, and some very negative. But let's start with the positive. The book is incredibly well researched, if there is anything you ever wanted to know you will find it here. You will find a whole lot of information you didn't even know you wanted to know. And Laura Thompson clearly loves her subject, she loves to write this book and it is very evident throughout it. No, throughout most of the book. She loves the subject and she loves the writer Christie and all this love and staunch belief in Christie can make an entertaining read. But then there are some problems...
First of all this love for Christie makes Thompson a bit blind to the fact that not everyone that picks up this book will share her absolute devotion, considering Christie the best crime writer of the Golden era of English crime. It is of course quite alright to believe in your subject, but it can get a bit tedious with a long section stating Thompson’s opinions on why Christie is the greatest presented as unarguable fact.
Secondly, this is not a straightforward biography, you get all the facts, but a bit jumbled up as if you are supposed to have a grasp on the basic facts of Christie's life beforehand. For example, Christie’s first husband, Archie, is not much more than introduced before you are told that the marriage will end in shambles (which can get a bit boring for the reader, if nothing else). What Thompson want to tell her readers is instead the psychological biography of Christie. And that is a dangerous road to tread. Thompson seems incapable of consenting to that some things we just don't know, and we won't ever get the answer. The blurb on my copy talks about a unique access to letters, diaries and interviews with the family. This might be true, but it doesn't change the fact that most of the information come from Christie's books. Not her autobiography but her novels. Of course parts of it might very well reveal something about their creator, but it can't be used as facts, not even when semi-autobiographical. We just don't know what's true, and what is a pure fiction. Most of all Thompson turns to ‘Unfinished portrait’ and when there are facts and thoughts which collide with what we KNOW about Christie Thompson just pass them by without admitting the problem with using such a source when using the books for other parts of her life which we have very little, or no, other information about. Because we have to admit that there are quite frankly a lot about Christie's thoughts and inner life we don't know anything about. Not to mention that the novels are used in this way only when it suits this book's purpose. When a character says something less suitable it is labelled as a product of Christie's creativity.
Thirdly the main purpose of the book is without a doubt for the author to give her version of what she thinks happened when Christie disappeared for a week in 1926. I do not have a problem with that, it is an engrossing read. But there is a problem in this for the rest of the book. Everything that happened before this is analyzed with the knowledge of what was to happen then, and much afterwards is then analyzed as an effect of that one week and the media reaction afterwards, without taking into account that there are of course other things that must have influenced Christie and her actions. A person's actions in his or her life are generally not explainable with just one single cause. Another side-effect of this is that the later parts of her life are described in a way that is much less interesting, and since that is about fifty years of her life it is a bit of a problem.
Fourthly there are many instances in the book when what she writes is an answer to the book ‘Agatha Christie and the eleven missing days’ by Jared Cade, where Thompson mostly disagrees with the conclusions drawn. If you haven't read the book in question, and no I haven't, it is just pointless.
And finally Thompson has a clear concept of what she thinks, stating them as facts and not opinions, most prominent in her belief that Christie was too attached to her mother and the house where she grew up. I should say the evidences she puts forward are not hard enough to really sound convincing... ...more
Salaligan är kanske inte så känd för dagens svenskar - men den är ett talande bevis för att grov kriminalitet varken är något nytt fenomen, eller någoSalaligan är kanske inte så känd för dagens svenskar - men den är ett talande bevis för att grov kriminalitet varken är något nytt fenomen, eller något som är knutet bara till storstäderna. Det här är berättelsen om några unga män som i början av 1930-talet skapar skräck med en serie meningslöst grova brott, motivet är pengar men mord är oftast resultatet. Och allt kretsar kring Sigvard Thurneman (född Sigvard Nilsson) som efter brotten kom att tillbringa många år på Säters mentalsjukhus.
Författarens ingång i hela denna sorgliga historia är personlig - han börjar med att berätta om hur hans mor var god vän med Sigvards lillasyster och att han inte tror att hans mamma skulle uppskatta den här boken - men den byggs sedan upp som en kriminalroman, i och för sig en kriminalroman där man redan från början har facit, fast som ändå lyckas vara spännande. Sundelin gör utvikningar kring hur man såg på mentalvård vid tiden, hur polisen fungerade på tidigt 30-tal, och andra ämnen som intressanta och relevanta för läsaren, men lyckas ändå upprätthålla spänningen. Den är en riktig 'page-turner'!
The book has the title Roxy - The band that created an era. Since the book ends with their first record and all of the first 340 or so pages has nothiThe book has the title Roxy - The band that created an era. Since the book ends with their first record and all of the first 340 or so pages has nothing at all to do with the band itself but what led up to its creation I think it would be more correct to call it Roxy - and the era that created the band. But if you get over that this is an excellent book.
Through tons of interviews with those who were around (not just the band members, but the people around them) and an eye for details the writer has made an excellent job at explaining just what was happening in the sixties in England, if you were young and into the arts (which all of them were - Bryan Ferry himself studied art at college before settling on his music career) and wanted to make something completely different (through art, music or even fashion).
Though, if you are just interested in the music this might not be the book for your....more
It's totally fascinating and I love it! It's insightful and enjoyably written, about those artists and hang-arounds and wannabes that you could find iIt's totally fascinating and I love it! It's insightful and enjoyably written, about those artists and hang-arounds and wannabes that you could find in London (mostly) in the first four decades of the 20th century. The author has also quite an insight in matters from her own family background - being the daughter of Quentin Bell, the son of Vanessa Bell - and though not an academic she treats the subject very well.
The book is written with chapters on different themes, a choice made by the author as she (as she states herself) thought that would work better than having a chronological description of these people. Since the book is more about a style of life than aiming to be a biography of all the people who lived it, I think she made a right decision. Still, I think it would have helped with ONE chapter on the historical development - it's 40 years of history, from the Edwardian era up to the Second world war, passing through the Great war and the roaring twenties. A lot of stuff happened in that time and it would have been interesting to see if the bohemians continued to differentiate from 'ordinary' people in the same ways, or if there was a change. And I wouldn't have minded a little bit more on the subjects of religion and politics (which could be quite interesting, I think).
(I even enjoyed reading her Notes on sources - which is quite a feat!)...more
After several trips to Normandy with my dad, I asked him for recommendations for a book on D-Day (it was his main interest for going to Normandy to beAfter several trips to Normandy with my dad, I asked him for recommendations for a book on D-Day (it was his main interest for going to Normandy to begin with - my interests had been more satisfied with the medieval history of the area, but after a certain time you get curious about what happened at this important stage in the second world war). Dad recommended that I read this book, and I can understand why.
This is a brick of a book, full of information - but presented in a way not to scare any reader (not even my type, who is anything but a war buff). It is an excellent explanation to what happened, where and why, but it also full of information and tidbits that must interest people who already know quite a bit. All in all it has something for most people, if you just have a hint of an interest for the subject....more
Författaren Rose Lagercrantz egen släkthistoria (Lagercrantz är kanske mest känd som barnboksförfattare - men det här är en bok för vuxna). Det är enFörfattaren Rose Lagercrantz egen släkthistoria (Lagercrantz är kanske mest känd som barnboksförfattare - men det här är en bok för vuxna). Det är en historia om överlevare och om glömska.
Kapitlen är korta och från början får man intrycket av en fragmentarisk samling minnen, men så småningom utkristalliseras en större bild, både rörande och obehaglig. Men det är också en fin beskrivning av ålderdom och hennes mors sista tid i livet.
Detta är den sortens bok som ger en klump i halsen, men det är också en del av poängen med den. ...more
There is a blurb from Independent on Sunday on the back of my copy which sums up this book quite well: "Scott and Zelda's letters make it clear that bThere is a blurb from Independent on Sunday on the back of my copy which sums up this book quite well: "Scott and Zelda's letters make it clear that both of them knew they had wasted their youth, beauty and early success. And both of them understood that they were bound together". They really do, the letters.
There is one bulk of letters from before the marriage of this famous couple, but the great bulk is from after Zelda's breakdown in 1930 when the couple for long periods were not living together. Neither of them come across as people easy to deal with and with the added problems of alcoholism (Scott) and mental instability (Zelda) and the way they galloped through the roaring twenties one can't be surprised that it ended in such a mess. And these letters are really the only way to understand them from their own evidence (you can guess all you want that it was Scott's jealousy of his wife's ability to write that drove her to insanity - and would that mean that she drove him to alcoholism? things are never simple). Or as Zelda herself summarizes things (in 1939): "Dearest: I am always grateful for all the loyalties you gave me, and I am always loyal to the concepts that held us to-gether so long (...) Nothing could have survived our lives."...more