I was really torn at the outset of this book. As much as it may be a bad thing to judge a book by its' reputation, I am kind of inherently biased agaiI was really torn at the outset of this book. As much as it may be a bad thing to judge a book by its' reputation, I am kind of inherently biased against books that gain huge fame and popularity contemporarily (I'm looking at you, The DaVinci Code), but I was reading it as a bookclub with a close friend as per her request, and my interest was piqued farther by the fact that my mom mentioned that it was one of her favorite books, so I dove in. My feelings are still mixed. I feel like Niffenegger has a really interesting perspective on the significance of time, and how the characters can be read as symbols of a schism between the postmodern and what came before, and her perspective on bookmaking itself and the function of a record- wow! Very cool. With big, abstraction, this book is gracefully insightful, but when it comes down to the bare bones of character development, I was highly disappointed. I didn't feel like I was reading real characters. The lovers were perfectly, ideally, tragically flawed, as was their romance, and none of it resonated with me on any kind of real level. I felt like the good parts of this book- abstraction, prose, were beautiful, and the bad parts- corny dialogue, unrealistic idealized characters never synthesized and reading them right next to each other was jarring. I hate going from beautiful poetry to dialogue out of a bad tv show. There were also parts of the book that hit me as sexist. Don't get me wrong, I won't write off a book just for that. I don't get mad at Heart of Darkness for being a racist book, it's a product of its' times, but I feel like a book written by a woman in 2003 should be above saying stuff like "her body was freshly minted." Minted? Like a coin? Like a woman's body is still nothing better than currency? That she has nothing more to share? Not to mention the fact that Clare is tied to the home, spending her whole life waiting for Henry, who, involuntary as his travels are, is still traveling, still moving, and is still in control of the relationship the entire way through. I may be hypersensitive to the issue of sexism in books, but I don't think that means I'm unjustified in taking pause. Essentially it comes down to this: if I approach the novel as a cerebral work, a postmodern novel that is struggling with the bigger issues of time and space and how that works on an intimate level, I am highly disappointed. If I approach the novel as a romance novel, I find it surprisingly insightful and deep, offering more than the typical heaving bosoms and highlanders (though, allow me to say, the sex scenes bothered me on two levels- for one, they were all unrealistic, and for two, they were all corny). All in all, I enjoyed the read, but I don't think that it ultimately lived up to the hype. ...more
I love, love, love Philip K. Dick. I am no avid science fiction reader, but I got a huge kick out of Philip K. Dick's world. My only complaint about tI love, love, love Philip K. Dick. I am no avid science fiction reader, but I got a huge kick out of Philip K. Dick's world. My only complaint about this collection of short stories is that about halfway through the book you begin to be able to anticipate the twist, but the twist is always good, always satisfying....more
I don't believe I've ever read anyone who writes quite like Jeanette Winterson. She writes with a kind of sensuality that leaps over the conventional,I don't believe I've ever read anyone who writes quite like Jeanette Winterson. She writes with a kind of sensuality that leaps over the conventional, making it arousing and painfully sad at the same time. It is incredible how she has managed to write a book in which you know not even the gender of the main character, but you know their emotions as intimately as if they were your own. After a single reading of this book, it became one of my favorites; not because the story is tragic (and it is), and not because the characters are vibrant, warm, and real (and they are), but because it is rare and wonderful to find writing that is this advanced, rich, gorgeous, and relatable. ...more
I was disappointed in this book- not to say that it was a "bad" book by any means -I was just disappointed. I was in love with the short stories in ThI was disappointed in this book- not to say that it was a "bad" book by any means -I was just disappointed. I was in love with the short stories in The Interpreter of Maladies, and the descriptions that seemed so poignant when standing alone, fell flat once they were elaborated upon. One could say that the writing of short stories is the creation of a moment, and the writing of a novel is the creation of a world. Lahiri may find that the heart of her talent and connection to the reader is in a moment, and not in a world.
I had the good fortune of meeting Ms. Lahiri and listening to her give a book reading here in Seattle, and I am a little bit starstruck. I am excited for her new collection of short stories, and I honestly believe that she is becoming a current-future-classic author!...more
There is absolutely a reason why this book won a Pulitzer. I am unabashedly biased in my love of the short story, so this book, set up as a series ofThere is absolutely a reason why this book won a Pulitzer. I am unabashedly biased in my love of the short story, so this book, set up as a series of vignettes, full captures what I love the most about literature. Lahiri has a way of capturing moments in a way that tears quietly at your emotions. My standout story out of this collection is definitely "Sexy." ...more