This review has actually caused me to get waaay behind on my reviews for my blog, simply because I didn’t know what to say about it. In a way, I stillThis review has actually caused me to get waaay behind on my reviews for my blog, simply because I didn’t know what to say about it. In a way, I still don’t. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.
Rather than a novel, this is more of a collection of short stories which do have a common thread and do overlap in places but, in reality, could stand alone. There is no doubt that the writing is good. Very good. The plot, however, dragged for me and I found that I finished it more because I don’t like to leave a book unfinished than because I wanted to actually find out what happened. There was nothing there that made me want to keep turning the pages. Couple this with the fact that the book is quite dark, and it makes it hard work to get through. Another thing that bothered me was that the characters are very samey and it was difficult to tell the difference between some of the voices. I found myself having to check which part I was in so that I could recall which story I was reading.
I’ve given it 3 stars because I don’t think the writing deserves less than this, but in the end I just don’t think it was for me....more
This was certainly an interesting concept. 253 people on a tube train, including the driver. Each person has a page in the book. 253 words about eachThis was certainly an interesting concept. 253 people on a tube train, including the driver. Each person has a page in the book. 253 words about each person, including what they look like, what they do for a living and what they're thinking. The whole book takes place over a journey of less than 10 minutes. It's basically a series of short-stories, interlinked by various things - some people on the tube are thinking about others that they don't know are in other carriages, some are colleagues, some are family etc etc.
The premise was interesting and I did enjoy reading it as it was 'something different', but I couldn't really connect to the characters because their stories were so short. Also the format of the book meant that I was constantly flicking back and forward through the pages as I tried to remember who was linked with who and how (although this is made somewhat easier by a comprehensive index at the back of the book).
Not one of my favourites, but a fun read nonetheless....more
I really need to read one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Prior to reading this collection, I’d only read one of her short stories in an antholoI really need to read one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Prior to reading this collection, I’d only read one of her short stories in an anthology with other writers and, whilst I remember enjoying it, I hadn’t remembered just how much I enjoyed it.
This collection is Adichie’s latest offering. The stories have varying themes, but all are based around her home country of Nigeria and all are linked by their exploration of the human condition. Whilst I can’t comment on her previous work, I’ve heard many great things about her writing and so I was really looking forward to reading it. I wasn’t disappointed. Her writing flows beautifully and she has a clear empathy for her protagonists – many of whom are women and many of whom are struggling in some way – with love, their financial situation, war, and so on. The use of different narratives kept the stories interesting and different and I especially liked one of the stories where 2nd person narration was used. This isn’t something I’ve come across very often but, certainly in this story, it was very effective. In addition to the actual writing, Adichie’s description of the surroundings really gave me a sense of being there, without being overly descriptive. I haven’t read much fiction based in Africa, but these stories really left me wanting to know more about the continent and its history.
I have discovered recently that I love to read short stories but whilst some of them can lack depth and characterisation, this is not so with this collection. Each one of the 12 stories is well paced and wonderfully crafted and almost all of them evoked some sort of emotion. I also found that where many collections have some good, some bad and some ok stories; this collection was consistently good. There wasn’t one story that I felt was ‘just ok’. A thought-provoking and interesting read. ...more