Distractingly, I kept wondering whether this book was (semi)autobiographical. The author's father was "disappeared" in Cairo in the late 1970s and hasDistractingly, I kept wondering whether this book was (semi)autobiographical. The author's father was "disappeared" in Cairo in the late 1970s and hasn't been heard from since. He could be long-dead or he could still be alive in one of Gaddafi's far-flung jails. Matar's paternal uncle had been imprisoned by Gaddafi for nearly 2 decades, before he was released sometime in the 1990s. So the whole time I was reading this book, I wondered how much of Hisham Matar is in young Suleiman?
Other than that distraction, I really enjoyed this novel. The title says that we are in the country of men, but the novel's hero(ine) is Suleiman's (the 9 year old narrator) mother, whose oppression as a young teenager - after getting caught at a sodashop with a boy by her supposedly liberal poet brother, 14 year old Najwa is beaten, taken out of school and married off to a man 9 years her senior. After Suleiman's dad (a closet anti-Gaddafi revolutionary) gets caught by the regime, it is his wife, alchoholic, beautiful, still-young, Najwa, who knows how to navigate an oppressive system to save her family.
Suleiman is a thoroughly unpleasant and unlikeable boy & grows up to be a bland young man. But this story is painted so vividly (though in simple language), the tenderness is so beautiful and the brutality is so shocking, that it's worth the read. ...more
Sweet is in the title, and the book sure is sweet. The storyline is a little fantastical (seems like the author wanted to throw in every trope out theSweet is in the title, and the book sure is sweet. The storyline is a little fantastical (seems like the author wanted to throw in every trope out there about race, racism, immigration and the American south to make a point, rather than let her story organically emerge), but the characters are believable. The story revolves around the 1960s murder of a black father and daughter in Mississippi and the present-day inhabitants of the sleepy Mississippi town, including former Klansmen, new Mexican immigrants, and the family of the deceased father and daughter.
The who-dun-it part of this "mystery" is solvable almost immediately, but the characters save the book. The best storyline is the sweet & budding romance between the title character Jiminy, a white law school drop-out and Bo, a black pre-med student who's great-aunt is Jiminy's grandmother's long-time housekeeper. Kristin Gore's dialogue between these two is charming & believable and I'd recommend this book for light, summer reading. ...more
Awesome Guardian Rose is back, and so are the rest of the gang! This time, Rose is starting to fear a madness related to Vamp Lissa regaining her ownAwesome Guardian Rose is back, and so are the rest of the gang! This time, Rose is starting to fear a madness related to Vamp Lissa regaining her own use of magic (the two are cosmically connected, doncha know). The Strigoi are also back, with a vengeance!
Should the Moroi use their magic to help the Guardians protect their world? Some say yes, and others, say no. Rose finds out that Dimitry will be assigned to Lissa after they graduate, meaning Rose will have to put aside her feelings for Dimitry, if she's ever to perform her job (saving Lissa's life) well.
While S. Meyer hints at violence and gore, R. Mead doesn't shy away from it - which is how vamp books should be! The battle for vamp supremacy and the battle in Rose and Dimitry's hearts rages on! ...more