I really wanted to like this. I read a review of it and it seemed so terrific. The art was almost as good as I anticipated, especially the elephants aI really wanted to like this. I read a review of it and it seemed so terrific. The art was almost as good as I anticipated, especially the elephants and the dancing girls.
But I just couldn't cope with the characters, and how ridiculously unrealistic they were. I guess I've read too much 'real' Victorian fiction. Emma's relationship with her employer was so implausible. Sometimes I can accept that I'm in a fictional world, where everybody wears period costume and talks in today's voice and behaves with today's values. Maybe it was the hyper-realistic drawings, but I just couldn't do it. It didn't pass the sniff test.
Still, I'll probably read some more in the series. Maybe it will get better, maybe I will learn to mind less....more
I picked up this book with some trepidation. It's a translation from the French, and the cover just says No Fun At All. But it turned out to be a pageI picked up this book with some trepidation. It's a translation from the French, and the cover just says No Fun At All. But it turned out to be a page-turner in the beginning, and when it started going all European and existential, then it was almost over. I could live with that.
A man is walking in the market when he realizes a woman is staring at him. The woman follows him home and he invites her in. She reminds him they have met before. She tells him a story, and says she needs a gun. He gives her the gun.
Which is why I was really eI was really bummed when I saw the trailer for this Swedish movie - it looked so good. And so likely to give me nightmares.
Which is why I was really excited to find it was a book. I was able to watch the Ring (on a small screen, in the daytime) once I read the book first.
So this was very Swedish, in it's social outlook, glue-sniffing and whatnot, and the vampire mythos wasn't all that revolutionized. I think the real point of interest here is the notion that vampires could not exist unless they are abetted by regular daylight people. And these regular people have various motivations for wanting to keep a vampire ( a killer, someone they know is a killer) alive. Here's looking at you, metaphor....more
Not what I expected. The book opens with two stories about funerals and "corpse walking" and closes with a few interesting pieces about blind musicianNot what I expected. The book opens with two stories about funerals and "corpse walking" and closes with a few interesting pieces about blind musicians and career criminals, but everything in between? Classify under, "What Appalling Things Happened to Me During the Cultural Revolution" and "The Even More Appalling Things I Did to Other People During the Cultural Revolution."
I understand that there was no escape from the Cultural Revolution and I guess I should have realized that for anyone over the age of 30 or so the events and impact of those years are pretty much the biggest story they're going to come up with.
I'm not saying this isn't valuable journalism. On its own it deserves 3 or 4 stars. But it gets knocked down to 2 for false advertising. I already read Wild Swans. I know what happened and it makes me ill. I'm going to have to go back to World War II just to cheer myself up.
Clara, if you're still on your post-apocalyptic kick, it already happened: in China 1966-1976....more
A book of the unconscious mind. When I picked this up, I was bored with my reading, and excited to be going somewhere new and far away. Nothing couldA book of the unconscious mind. When I picked this up, I was bored with my reading, and excited to be going somewhere new and far away. Nothing could be farther away than Siberia. But I was bored here too. Bored with czars and revolutions and bombs and root soup and toothless babushkas, with smoky black peasant huts and roads that petered out into the endless steppe. Bored with starvation, assassinations, the disappeared, the widowed, etc, etc. And yet…I don’t think I will ever forget this book. It is like it only came alive after I had closed it and moved on. I think it skipped my conscious mind entirely and fed directly into the well of dreams: The armless, legless veterans called “samovars,” careening about on wheels, fighting each other in the town square, knives in their teeth and hate in their dead eyes, the sparkling hoarfrost eye of a dying saiga on a frozen dune, public dances in the open air on top of a hill under the floodlights.
As a read it really only gets 3 stars (if that), but it gets the extra star for what's encoded.
Don’t know what a saiga is? Look it up, you’ll be glad you did.
I hesitated (several years) to read this book, afraid a lack of Christian background would make it all meaningless. I did start reading at my desk, wiI hesitated (several years) to read this book, afraid a lack of Christian background would make it all meaningless. I did start reading at my desk, with Wikipedia onscreen, but once I got under way, the "vivid, continuous dream" took over. I failed to recognize some unnamed characters, I'm pretty sure, but I decided not to care. The book is supposed to represent the story of Christianity in its newness, and its newness to me can be taken as in league with that. I don't know exactly what to make of it overall, but the characterizations were wonderful, and the few details sketched in brought a whole ancient world, in its societies, humanities, and complexities, into believable life.
One of the saddest things about the book, was how Barabbas was not welcomed by the Christians, who were supposed to believe in "love one another", and who were supposed to find such support in each other. Whatever they meant, or said they meant, didn't matter, because Barabbas just wasn't likeable or knowable. Whether this was a metaphorical marking (like his facial scar) or not, it just seemed awfully, depressingly, like real people. We're all who we are, regardless of what we profess.
Paul, I'd recommend that you take a look at this for the amazing way he writes passages of paraphrased dialogue (and interior monologue) with almost no quoted dialogue at all, but still perfectly in-tune with the character's voice. And that's in translation!...more
It passed all of yesterday when my head was hurting, and D was too sick to talk to me. They mystery was standard, and not overly accomplished. The besIt passed all of yesterday when my head was hurting, and D was too sick to talk to me. They mystery was standard, and not overly accomplished. The best thing about reading foreign mystery novels is the by-the-way things you pick up by accident. What people call their dogs, or what kind of food they think is a romantic night out. Or how this book always tells what language a conversation is held in: English, German, or Icelandic. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm sure it does signify. It represents a different world, and a different relationship to the rest of it. Its a sideways glance into something more meaningful than all the witch burnings, secret symbols, and spells written in raven's blood....more