This book was a complete surprise. The truth is that I didn’t even realized I had bought it, as it came with the Audible version of The Man of Propert...moreThis book was a complete surprise. The truth is that I didn’t even realized I had bought it, as it came with the Audible version of The Man of Property: The Forsyte Saga, the first book in the Forsyte Saga. But what a lovely surprise it was.
I cannot remember reading about aging and approaching death with such candor. Jolyon is 85 years old, and as his life approaches its end, his perception of beauty and love sharpens.
If in the previous book in the Forsyte saga, John Galsworthy impressed me with his perceptive social commentary; in here it is his understanding of human nature that shines through.
I highly recommend it, especially for those of us with aging parents or grand-parents. Or those of us without many years to live. Actually, I recommend to anyone who needs a reminder of what is important in life. (less)
I didn’t like it! Maybe the problem is that I listened to it on audio format instead of reading it and ended up “losing” some of it. I don’t know…
I ac...moreI didn’t like it! Maybe the problem is that I listened to it on audio format instead of reading it and ended up “losing” some of it. I don’t know…
I actually hate to be this hard on books. I am most of the time very generous with my stars. But this time I just can’t… It felt contrived, the vocabulary too snug, the characters all unbelievable. It is getting 2 stars because I learned a few things about Dumas.
Oh! But I wanted to love this one! I really, really wanted to love this one… What a disappointment! (less)
A copy of The Diviners had sat at my bookshelves for a while now. It won the Governor’s General Award – a prestigious Canadian award - in 1974, and ha...moreA copy of The Diviners had sat at my bookshelves for a while now. It won the Governor’s General Award – a prestigious Canadian award - in 1974, and has been part of the Canadian literature must-reads since. I finally got to it this week. The story is told through flashbacks, fabled tales, conversations with an imaginary person, philosophical questionings... The format may have been fresh on the 1970’s, but seemed a bit dated. Yet, the story is abiding. The search for self-identity, in a nation that also seems to be perpetually in an identity crisis.
The personal grief and struggle of never overcoming the barriers of gender, race and social stigma is beautifully weaved through the story with disquieting prose. Margaret Laurence’s writing is very poetic at times, but without unnecessary romanticism. She was accused of destroying family values with this book. Even of the increase in teenage pregnancies during the 70’s. This bigotry is almost comical, when the search of roots and connection permeates the whole lives of Morag Gunn, the main character, her daughter, Pique, and her lover, Jules.
Here is the truth, I read this book because of the title. I am taking part on a reading challenge and one of the more interesting tasks was to read 3...moreHere is the truth, I read this book because of the title. I am taking part on a reading challenge and one of the more interesting tasks was to read 3 books with titles that would form a “spine poem” (you can check more here http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/book%20s... ). Anyway, I needed to read Irretrievable because I had already invested too much time on the other 2 titles and I was not about to start it all over again. But I got very close to giving it up.
At the end I finished and I am glad I did because the last 1/4 of the book was rewarding. It is just one of those books that takes forever creating a scene and a mood before letting the plot move forward. It is however an interesting commentary on married life, and although marriages have changed profoundly in the past 120 since this book was first published, certain aspects of married life are consistent though the ages: we get tired of one another and certain qualities of our personality can became irritating to the other.
I really wish it had been a short story or novella though. (less)
I just needed something light. Life has been hectic and I needed some laughter. Well, this book served the purpose. I could pick it apart if I did wis...moreI just needed something light. Life has been hectic and I needed some laughter. Well, this book served the purpose. I could pick it apart if I did wish to do it, but I have decided to take it at face value. It is light, it is fun. It does have aspects that I found more disturbing than comic - elderly abuse should not be taken unthinkingly – and the degree of family dysfunction gets to heights only seen in Greek tragedies. But, again, I stayed true to my own vow to just relax and enjoy it, without making great rationalizations. It worked.
I recommend it to anyone in need of stress relief, with the recommendation not to overanalyze it. (less)
From a previous review I posted on Amazon: Don't be scared of the gloomy subject of this book. This is a tender and lovely, albeit very sad, story. My...moreFrom a previous review I posted on Amazon: Don't be scared of the gloomy subject of this book. This is a tender and lovely, albeit very sad, story. My teenage daughter actually suggested this book to me, and I am so glad she did. Teenagers are definitely the target audience for this book, but people of all ages will identify with the struggles of ordinary people living under the Nazi regime. That Death is the narrator adds a sophisticated literary touch to it, but the story never losses its kindheartedness appeal. This book also humanizes the German common folk in a way that, to this day, authors are reluctant to do. Very seldom Germans living during the WWII are given the degree of humanity and dignity that is shown in The Book Thief. (less)
After hearing so many great reviews, I was disappointed by this book. It gives the reader an overload on information on the architecture of New York i...moreAfter hearing so many great reviews, I was disappointed by this book. It gives the reader an overload on information on the architecture of New York in the late 1900’s, and on the theatrical scene of the time, which would be all right if as much care had been put on the characters themselves. The characters felt as if they were modern people transported back in time. As much as I appreciate the feminists undertones and struggles of Sara, the wanna-be-first-female-police-officer, respectable single-woman in 1896 did not go dining with a group of men in late evening, did not call bachelor’s in their homes, and did not stay all night on a rooftop with a male partner in a stake out looking for serial killers. I am not saying that they shouldn’t, just that the mores of the time did not allow it.
I could go on picking more holes on this book, but I feel I have spent enough energy on it already. I did give it three stars because the premise of the book is a good one. This 1800’s CSI is entertaining, if one decide to overlook the flat characters. And, is this really much different than most mystery books, where the story is plot driven in detriment of the characters? As mystery books go, yeah, I will keep the three stars… (less)
I am glad I finally got around to reading Divisadero. Michael Ondaatje is one of the greater authors of our times, and I greatly enjoyed his previous...moreI am glad I finally got around to reading Divisadero. Michael Ondaatje is one of the greater authors of our times, and I greatly enjoyed his previous books. But Divisadero left me somewhat dissatisfied.
Michael Ondaatje’s prose is superb, but prose alone doesn’t a great book make. Divisadero's plot - or plots, as two stories are told – feel contrived, as if plots and characters were only the venue to beautifully crafted language. This is maybe true of all Ondaatje’s books, but in his previous works the characters surface from the depth of the poetic narrative with great humanity. And, in Divisadero, I never truly developed great sympathy for the characters. The characters seemed interchangeable and therefore difficult to empathize with individually.
I would still recommend this book to readers that are moved by clean and beautiful language. But, to anyone not yet acquainted with Ondaatje’s previous books, I would suggest that they try The English Patient or In the Skin of a Lion first. (less)