Kazuo Ishiguro has a beautiful, simple style of writing that can best be described as atmospheric. It's the type of writing that you could picture youKazuo Ishiguro has a beautiful, simple style of writing that can best be described as atmospheric. It's the type of writing that you could picture yourself reading at the table of an outdoor cafe, the type of reading that makes you think about the people around you and the circumstances that have brought them to where they are today.
That said, this book was not one which gripped me very strongly, which might be more of a statement about my preference in short stories than of his writing. After picking up the book, I did not feel compelled to read through all the stories at once; in fact, doing so often left my mind wandering, unable to slow down to the careful pace his stories wove. In that way, I would rank this book as a beautiful read, but not a necessary one, and I'm not sure if I've come out of reading it with any strong lasting impression of the story - just a willingness to try Ishiguro's writing again at some point....more
I really wanted to like this book. I absolutely loved Kon Satoshi's adaptation of the book for film, and so I really wanted to like the book, but in tI really wanted to like this book. I absolutely loved Kon Satoshi's adaptation of the book for film, and so I really wanted to like the book, but in the end, I think Kon took an interesting concept that Tsutsui conceptualized and elevated it far beyond its execution in this novel. What started off as a stilted (due to translation), but interesting setting ended up devolving into a completely incomprehensible, sexist mess. Maybe there's some deeper point to this book that simply went over my head - I'm certainly not well-versed in psychology - but all that I came away with was the sense that the author had some pent-up frustration where women and intimacy were concerned that he penned into these pages.
I will continue recommending the film with fervor, but that's as far as my devotion to this verse goes....more
As a econ and math major, I suppose I'm not really the target audience for this book. It does manage to put a lot of concepts in decision and probabilAs a econ and math major, I suppose I'm not really the target audience for this book. It does manage to put a lot of concepts in decision and probability theory in terms that the average, interested reader should understand, but my fear with this book is that I think it oversimplifies both in a way that might be a bit misleading to those who think this amount of foundation is enough to start predicting the patterns of the stock market....more
Before going into the book itself, I really have to commend whoever it was that designed the look and feel of this novel. The cover was absolutely oneBefore going into the book itself, I really have to commend whoever it was that designed the look and feel of this novel. The cover was absolutely one of the things that drove me to read this first, out of the many books that I have on my to-read list. It's gorgeous, it's simple, the colors absolutely pop, and it's just proof again of the fact that while people shouldn't judge a book by its cover, sometimes that's what it requires to pull that novel off of the shelf. Well done.
As for the story itself, I think what Meg Donohue has done a very good job of in this story is constructing a more complete view of its characters and of its plot by telling it through the eyes of two people. Two people with very disparate ways of looking at life, different perspectives shaped by their lives, which you come to recognize more over the course of the novel by just hearing their tone of voice, and seeing the details that pop out to them before others. One of the drawbacks we sometimes see with limited third person is getting an entirely skewed picture of all that's happening, but by including two girls with vastly different backgrounds, Donohue sidesteps this pitfall entirely. Both of the main characters have voices that are very easy to follow as narrators, making this book on the whole worth reading for that alone, the well-constructed storytelling and the ease of the words.
Beyond that, however, it's important to note that this book isn't the type of novel you turn to if you want any life revelations. It's not the book you turn to if you want to cry. It's heartwarming, and even a little bit cookie-cutter in its ending, the type of book that you turn to for a plane ride (which is precisely what I did) or if you just need something happy to unwind with at the end of a long day. I don't want to spoil the ending for the readers, but in many ways, I found myself surprised and a bit dismayed at how well everything came together in the end; what started as a slice of life story ended up feeling a bit too happily ever after, leaving me with the sense that I was happy for the two lovely ladies, but that I couldn't really identify with this story. The heartbreak gets relatively little space next to all the more shallow misunderstandings in the book, as though deliberately trying to pay focus to the more shallow, fluffier parts of the story.
On the whole, I enjoyed it. I would probably read it again once or twice, because the writing style is, again, quite good in that it flows so easily. The focus of the book could have used a little work, but on the whole, I think that this was a great tale to sit and contemplate on a two-hour plane ride....more
A very cute read that kept me engaged enough that I would read a sequel, but definitely a book that was lacking in a few key areas. What I was most loA very cute read that kept me engaged enough that I would read a sequel, but definitely a book that was lacking in a few key areas. What I was most looking forward to was some world-building, as the book pretty clearly leaps into a simple, but interesting notion of magical give and take at the start, but very little gets fleshed out over the course of the book. Where did the Council come from, for instance? We know that magic is often genetic, but how much of a community is there? What type of witches do there exist, and has there been anyone who is capable of straddling the divisive lines in terms of their abilities? There are a lot of questions which remain hanging, which isn't terribly surprising given the choice of a fifteen-year-old as narrator, but it still leaves one feeling as though something's lacking by the end. Additionally, although this again isn't terribly surprising given the youth of the narrator, the characters are all pretty one-dimensional and their motivations aren't always easy to pin down.
One highlight of the book, however, was the way the narrator dealt with the divorce of her parents. As someone whose parents are currently in the middle of separating, I found the narrator's musings pretty true to life there.
I enjoyed the tone of the book, and again it was a read that kept me engaged throughout its pages. Not bad for the YA genre, although not the most memorable book either....more