As often happens, I was aware of the film long before the book and I was prepared for the characters in the book to fall short of the glamour of theirAs often happens, I was aware of the film long before the book and I was prepared for the characters in the book to fall short of the glamour of their film counterparts. They did, in the best way possible. Clare, Jonathan, Bobby, and Alice are beautifully ordinary. I can see why Cunningham is a Pulitzer winner. I fell in love with each character in way that, when mentioned by other avid readers, usually causes me to glance at them askance. I'm not sure if we're meant to fall the hardest for Bobby, but I did. He is both beggar and messiah in one. I don't care how paunchy or receded Bobby grew, I was always longing to know what a hug from him would be like, its purity, its love. The story also gave me an inner peace with the idea that it's ok to feel lost. We all do. We all are. ...more
I'm not going to wax rhapsodic. It was a good read, and this from someone who rarely enteres into the realm of fantasy (in this case, an urban fantasyI'm not going to wax rhapsodic. It was a good read, and this from someone who rarely enteres into the realm of fantasy (in this case, an urban fantasy). What I will say is that, Clive, poppet, you dangle prepositions like fruit from a most laden tree just before harvest! ...more
So, was it the best book I've ever read? No. Did it leave me in a foggy sort of residual high of contextual immersion as a select few other books haveSo, was it the best book I've ever read? No. Did it leave me in a foggy sort of residual high of contextual immersion as a select few other books have done? No. But I did actually enjoy this book once it started to get up to speed. The first half was overly slow and filled with arcane references, the large majority of which never came into play and so served as word salad. If a character says something like, "He's as lazy as one of those Krelmachian binderflops we fought back in '54," and then you don't bother to elaborate at some point as to what the hell a binderflop is, where Krelmachia is, and what the hell the significance of the year '54 is supposed to mean to me, the reader, then all of that colorful description is vacant of meaning. It makes my brain stop, attempt to make sense and place these words into some sort of context, it never happens, I'm pulled out of the story. While we're on the theme of being pulled out of the story, the dialogue is overly modern. I don't ask that fantasy characters speak Middle English, but the majority of the principles had that quippy sarcastic tone I expect out of an episode of The Venture Brothers. And the word /fuck/ was used faaaaarrrr too many times. The word, in it's different forms, appears 496 times. Feel free to cross-check me. I'm no prude, but seriously few people speak that way, let alone the whole bloody cast of a book. I found it a bit sophomoric.
As a gay reader, I picked up this novel knowing that the principle is gay and there is always that little bit of trepidation in such novels as I wonder how the writer is going to treat the portrayal. My three major gripes of bad gay portrayal being:
1) Kid Gloved because the writer really has no idea what being gay means, thus has no footing to breathe life into the character. Mention is made that the character is gay and then that's it. There is no point to the mention, and gay, str8 or otherwise, a pointless mention of any feature or aspect of a character is exactly that: pointless.
2) Offensive because the writer is him or herself offended by homosexuality and is using the story as a vehicle to speak about this offense. This is not to say that offensive things cannot happen to a gay character by word or deed - that's simply real life - but there is a grand difference between offensive things occurring and giving offense.
3) Idealization of the character to the tune of, "I love gay people! They are wonderful!" Really? All of them? I'm a gay dude, and I can tell you that there are plenty of gays I know that I wouldn't wipe my ass with. Writers do this for a multitude of reasons that are too long to go into.
Why this ridiculous preamble, you ask? Because Morgan does NONE of these things with the protagonist Ringal Eskiath. Ringal is real, and damaged, and aging, and broken, imperfect, hounded by past deeds and unsure of how to repair the wounds he has inflicted upon himself and others. He is, in a word, beautiful. Morgan has painted for me that rare thing. A gay character who I have stopped critiquing and started wanting to know. ...more
This is one of the better books I have read in a good while, and I have to admit, it was with trepidation that I stepped into the first page. When I gThis is one of the better books I have read in a good while, and I have to admit, it was with trepidation that I stepped into the first page. When I got this book it was in the middle of enjoying it's paparazzi stalked, flashbulb and microphone-stuck-in-the-face 15 min of heady literary stardom. That alone is usually enough to put me off reading a book. I know that sounds trite, but I hate discussing books at that moment in their life, when the frenzy is on and everyone is frothing at the mouth just slightly.
Needless to say, I loved it. I was drawn in and the world was painted with heavy, bold strokes of lacquer red and creamy silk and was slightly raucous in a good way, as if I were shopping in a Thai open-air market in full swing. The scenes wherein Emiko came to the front were as precise and artful as a geisha. It was gorgeous.
As a strange aside, when I was reading the book, rambutan had just come into season where I live in Puerto Rico. They are referred to by their Thai name, ngaw, in the book. It was just one of those strange coincidences that just makes you stop and think, "Wha?" I bought two pounds of the delicious things and went home and felt like I was Anderson myself, just come from the Thai market with a bag of mysterious ngaw in hand. ...more
Knowing that this is an early work by Chabon, I was impressed. It was a little overdecorated in the writing, typical of budding novelists beaming to sKnowing that this is an early work by Chabon, I was impressed. It was a little overdecorated in the writing, typical of budding novelists beaming to show their skills, but overall, a very satisfying novel. I actually saw the movie that was made from this book first, and though I am sure there are countless other examples of which I am unaware, this has to be one of the most disparate book/movie comparisons I have ever experienced. The omission, amalgamation, and repositioning of characters was astounding.
But this is about the book, not the movie, so 'nuff said there.
What Chabon did well in this novel is to tell the story of the difference between the people that we meet and the people that we subsequently get to know, who, once the glow wears off, can be very different people indeed. He also gives a good tell of that last confused, gilded summer when young men can still think of themselves as boy not man, though were you to actually ask them during said summer, never, ever would they make such an admission out loud as they reach tentatively forward to marriage and the daily grind and also desperately backward to days of innocence and discovery.
(view spoiler)[Just re-watched the first few minutes of the movie and in the scene were Dudu (renamed MoMo in the movie) picks up Art on their way to the party, you can just make out Arthur wearing a fedora in the passenger side seat. Other than this ultra-brief appearance, Arthur is utterly omitted in the movie. Shame, that. the divvying out of his purpose in the story into the characters of Jane and Cleveland utterly alters Art's feelings concerning the "family business" and his personal growth. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Not a bad book, but not life changing either. Being gay myself, I felt on guard as the topic of homosexuality became rather obsessive about halfway thNot a bad book, but not life changing either. Being gay myself, I felt on guard as the topic of homosexuality became rather obsessive about halfway through the book. I understand and gave leeway for the when and where of the writing of this book, but still. I found the use of the normalization of homosexuality to the point of it being the expected and not the exception as a tool to indicate the protag's sense of, "Holy crap! The future is sooooooo weird!" just a little off-putting. I read through to the end hoping the author was going to take the road of everything is weird at some time or another. It's really just a matter of timing, so nothing is every really weird in the big picture, but that's not really where it went. I was left with what I believe was the author's intent of painting for me a person who felt out of joint with the rest of the world because of the life he had been forced into and that there really was no other fix other than to huddle together with others who are equally out of joint for the same reasons; thus, within that little cabal, no one would really feel out of joint. A bit defeatist in my POV.
This book was suggested to me as part of an LGBT spec-fic reading list, but truth be told, this is not the kind of book I would suggest to another member of the tribe unless the suggestion were given under the caveat of, "Read this. It will give you a good idea of how we used to be portrayed in literature, if at all."...more
Delany's prose takes some getting used to and I have even read reviews of his work that sang to the tune of, "Does he have to be so high and mighty inDelany's prose takes some getting used to and I have even read reviews of his work that sang to the tune of, "Does he have to be so high and mighty in his verbiage?"
The answer is, yes! He does. Someone has to.
Get off your lackadaisical bum, you shoddy reader you, and expect something more from yourself and the writer. Stop kowtowing to the school of thought that indicates, "a simple word instead of an esoteric one." What the hell are all the rest of the words in the dictionary for? Why have complex syntaxes and tenses and grammatical moods if we restrain ourselves to pedestrian fair?
Looking for an easy Sunday afternoon read? Look elsewhere. Looking to make some new neuron connections in your brain? The destination is before you. ...more
There are already enough reviews extolling the genius that is Gerrold as expressed in this particular work which I love dearly. About the only thing IThere are already enough reviews extolling the genius that is Gerrold as expressed in this particular work which I love dearly. About the only thing I can add is to avoid the version of this book as published by Timescape, the original publisher. The publisher flayed the novel to the bone, removing a good bit of content to which they objected (to include some mild homosexuality). Later editions of this book and the second book in the series (same thing happened to the second book) were redacted and published by Bantam as the author originally intended them.
Thank you, Bantam. And David, bless you. I love you, your work. I want to have like a million of your babies. :)...more
I am an interpreter by trade and a linguist by education. I came to the end of the novel and I was compelled to orient myself in the general directionI am an interpreter by trade and a linguist by education. I came to the end of the novel and I was compelled to orient myself in the general direction of the U.K. (thank you, iPad) and genuflect deeply and for some minutes. It's a bit of a niche piece and without some background in linguistic theory much of this novel might go ignored as chaff, but this book is all grain. Whole grain. Nourishing. As an aspiring writer, I felt a smidge emasculated, which I am sure was never China's intention, but to stretch the metaphor to the extent of good taste, I looked down at my pen - which I had thought to be mighty - and found it woefully wanting. That he manages to pull off a delicious story as well as give a lesson in linguistics, language acquisition, and the role that language plays in the development of theory of mind... le sigh.
It's a good thing there is an ocean between us because were there not, I would give Mrs. Mieville, should there be one, every reason to file a restraining order against me. LOL :)...more
Light is a bit like being served a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon expecting a Riesling. It hits the palette in an abruptly unexpected way and might evenLight is a bit like being served a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon expecting a Riesling. It hits the palette in an abruptly unexpected way and might even provoke one to spit it out. It's a piece of literary fiction wrapped in a science fiction genre shell served with two hits of acid. Shocking to the senses, but if you know what you are getting before placing it to your lips, it can be quite the memorable ride. ...more
This novel has been with me since early childhood. Not just any copy of it, but the very copy I acquired as a child. The pages have turned a rich goldThis novel has been with me since early childhood. Not just any copy of it, but the very copy I acquired as a child. The pages have turned a rich golden brown. It smells of youth and discovery. I have read it times without count and it never gets jaded. A novella by today's standards, it is A.C. Clarke at his finest. The writing is as trim and robust as an olympic gymnast. Not a gram of wasted anything. Clarke packs into this novel what lesser writers are unable to fit within tremendous (read tedious) tomes. The story itself is a simple one, but it happens at many levels. It is a coming of age story for the protagonist, but also for the society in which he lives and serves as symbolic representation, messiah, and also pariah, all at once. Knowing of Clarke's passion and interest in the cultures of the East, it is easy to see Alvin as a Shiva of sorts, come to destroy the old in order to make way for the new....more