As I write this review, I am about 10% into the third book of this trilogy. And when I say book, I mean volume... there are three (3) roughly 1000 pag...moreAs I write this review, I am about 10% into the third book of this trilogy. And when I say book, I mean volume... there are three (3) roughly 1000 page books in "The Baroque Cycle": Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World.
Reviewing this first volume without the content of the others would be unfair. Reviewing the entire series on content would be immensely difficult, so I suppose I shall stick to reviewing in terms of pleasures derived.
Language: Neal Stephenson is, if nothing else, a cunning linguist. His vocabulary is replete with wanton lucubrations and exasperating and exacerbating in his continual use or archaic spellings of words like "phant'sy" or "barock." If you liked that sentence, you may like these books. I have never turned to the Kindle "definitions" button so frequently in my life, and my Scrabble scores have been soaring with all of the new words I have learned... or is that "learnt". I LOVE learning new words (even old, archaic words), so I look at this as a win, not a drag on the story.
History/Philosophy: There's a nice plot line threaded around Newton.. no Leibniz... no Louis the XIV... no William of Orange... Okay, reset: The plot wends its way through most of 17th and early 18th century European history, and in its own "Forrest Gumpesque" way, the characters seem to find themselves in the middle of many of the most important moments of that history. It's a nice way to convey history, if one is averse to reading dry text books. On the other hand, there are far too many dukes, duchesses, kings, queens, petit nobles, bastards, marriages of convenience, royal lineages and other trappings designed to either fill pages or convey that Europe was an incestuous, suppurating boil of syphlitic philandering... God, he's rubbing off on me.
Character Development: I've grown to appreciate the value of a well developed back story, and I can't say I've seen one pieced together as well as Jack Shaftoe's character over two books. Daniel Waterhouse is equally well drawn.
What would I critique the book on? I feel like Stephenson slips out of character once in a while. For example, in referring to Eliza's children cavorting through a castle (ooh... spoiler for book 2) he says the children were "tear-assing" through the halls. That's a bit modern, and it happened a couple of other times... in ways that dragged me up, out of the comfortably constructed phant'sy Stephenson had spent so much time planting me in. (less)
After seeing the new Peter Jackson Movie, which only covers the first 5 chapters of the book, my son was anxious to read ahead and see where the story...moreAfter seeing the new Peter Jackson Movie, which only covers the first 5 chapters of the book, my son was anxious to read ahead and see where the story went. so, when I bought the Kindle version for him I decided to dive in as well.
It's 304 pages long, but a very rapid read, and I finished it in one night. I was amazed at how much of the movie dialogue is identical to sections of the book. Jackson's presentation on screen is faithful, and even enhanced by introducing characters and concepts in this first movie that, in the book, just pop up out of nowhere.
But this is a book review, of a book written in 1937. I am sure I will be the first to review it. :-) But seriously, I can't drive myself to do a deep review because of how hugely popular and well known this book is, AND because all of the imagination has been stripped away from my mind by the movie. It's all been done, I'm sure.
Suffice to say it is enjoyable, and the story moves at a good clip, allowing you to ... if so desired... finish this in one sitting.(less)
I may not be the fairest reviewer of this genre, or this specific book. Pot boiler, Western detective novels are rare on my bookshelf (or Kindle), and...moreI may not be the fairest reviewer of this genre, or this specific book. Pot boiler, Western detective novels are rare on my bookshelf (or Kindle), and I've known the author for thirty-some years.
Those caveats aside, Bourn's daring choice to write in the voice of a short, Hispanic female turned what could have been a cliched bit of Tex-arcana into a pleasant character study of a powerful woman in a predominantly male profession, in a testosterone soaked state. He successfully balances the competing interests of Mickey Jones: solving the murder mystery, and resolving her own personal issues.
Writing an entire novel in first person narration is a challenge for any author to pull off, but Bourn shoulders the load and delivers. He writes Mickey Jones' character with a crisp, clear style, adding no unnecessary flourishes, parentheticals, or run-ons. A occasional anachronism, or slightly too formal word sneaks in, bringing the only hairline cracks to an otherwise well-crafted and inhabitable protagonist's voice. Early on I forgot the Anglo man I knew wrote the story, and was swept up in the detailed locations and wrapped comfortably in the folksy Texas aphorisms that pepper the story.
I've recently had the "pleasure" of reading friends' self-published novels, and I have to say that throughout "One Dead Ranger" my expectations were completely eclipsed and exceeded. This is a solid debut, and we can hope for more! (less)
In the heat of the 2012 Presidential battle, mired in debates with Libertarian friends, I sought a good read about justice, society, responsibility an...moreIn the heat of the 2012 Presidential battle, mired in debates with Libertarian friends, I sought a good read about justice, society, responsibility and humanity. My father recommended this to me when I was very young... too young to appreciate or desire this novel. But as a Nevada district attorney, I suppose he had some very deep connection to the story of Nevada Justice.
"The Oxbow Incident" is a meditation on the rule of law, the establishment of society, and all the personality types at play in the quest for justice. The specific part of human society that this book picks at until raw, is our motivation to act; our motivation to participate in pack behavior; our lust for power, and the willingness of some individuals to use the pack to attain that power.
Circumstances suggest that a man has been murdered and 40 head of cattle rustled. Justice must be served, and not at the slow pace offered by the judicial system. The town-folk of Bridger's Wells Nevada form a posse/lynch mob to find the pre-determined-guilty parties, and exact a rapid frontier justice.
The various characters serve as mouthpieces for and against a rush to judgment or action. Davies and young Gerald Tetley offer book-end assessments of human motivations, and it is hard to say who is more accurate, or who pays more for the beliefs he holds, in the end.
Some of the locals are "axe-to-grind", power hungry men whose motivations cover the entire spectrum EXCEPT for achieving justice in the case. I could not help but see, in this 1940 Western novel, an eerie parallel to modern times. Members of the vigilante posse hell-bent on lynching anyone for the murder of Kincaid, morphed in my mind to become the GWBush Administration and its cronies pushing America to war in Iraq. Circumstantial evidence; pleas to save society; appeals to machismo. A twist, late in the novel, makes this analogy even more apt in my mind... Without spoiling the novel (I hope) no WMD's were found in the Oxbow valley, either.
Elvis Costello writes on his 1988 album "Spike", "One day you're going to have to face a deep dark truthful mirror... and it's going to tell you things that I still love you too much to say..."
This novel is a starkly powerful mirror held up to our psyches, reflecting our willingness to stand up and do what's right, to "go along, to get along," to participate in sins of omission or commission. A Western American novel, no doubt, but also a timeless assessment of human nature, and the problems of power, justice, tribalism and fear. No reader can walk away from this novel and claim, in good conscience, looking themselves in the mirror, that they do not know the options facing them when a moral and ethical dilemma invites, nay demands their involvement. (less)
The title, "Bleak House" sounds somewhat off. As the main character is eventually named as the Mistress of Bleak House, she is very happy. Perhaps at...moreThe title, "Bleak House" sounds somewhat off. As the main character is eventually named as the Mistress of Bleak House, she is very happy. Perhaps at Dicken's time the word 'bleak' had different meaning than now? Perhaps Dickens novel is the source of the new meaning: desolate bereft, lacking in hope or options.
Sure, Charlie's working his usual magic, spinning characters in vivid detail, often with a tongue in cheek, oblique metaphor, rather than through direct exposition. Dickens, you know, can write!! But Jesus does this book drag. I was 40% into the book before anything resembling a plot point occurred. In a 1017 page book, that means we withstand 400 pages of excruciating character development. As with all Dickens novels, you know none of them will go to waste in the end, but the setup just seems too extravagant for the eventual resolution(s).
If you love Dickens, then by all means read this to either enlarge or temper your love. You cannot finish this novel, I dare say, without your opinion of Dickens being altered. But if you're a Dickens virgin, hie thee and away to some other more digestible option. This one is pure roughage.(less)
As I contemplate the futility of writing the 41,190th review of this book,I think I hear the Mockingjay sing "Poo Tee Weet". And so it goes. Collins h...moreAs I contemplate the futility of writing the 41,190th review of this book,I think I hear the Mockingjay sing "Poo Tee Weet". And so it goes. Collins has entered the company of Vonnegut, at least in as far as she has written an anti-war book. Quoth a friend of Vonnegut in "Slaughterhouse 5"... "you're writing an anti-war book? You might as well write an anti-glacier book."
That line has newfound irony in the age of global warming, and with the existence of Michael Crichton's ridiculous, anti-scientific "State of Fear." But I fear I digress from Katniss' plight and the capstone to the "Hunger Games" trilogy.
The Mockingjay is more adult in tone and writing style, and I found it to be an improvement over the first two installments. Nevertheless, the plot driven nature of the story exposes the generally monotonic character development. And, after reading all three books I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the first person story-telling employed here. Or perhaps I'm just not happy with Collins' execution of it.
***potential thematic spoiler below***
But when Collins boils down the purpose of this trilogy to a single sentence (and an epigraph/credits section thanking her father for lessons against war), I'm left even a little more empty, starved for literature. The sentence, near the end is (paraphrased), "What kind of society let's its children be sent off to kill one another?"
Uh.... every one since the beginning of societal conflict?
I know she wants to draw attention to the horror of war, but if one can read that as her intent (and I'd argue you can, quite easily) you have to say that she struck a lightly glancing blow with this arrow. Katniss would be disappointed. Vonnegut is rolling in his grave. Movie producers are licking their chops at the opportunity to get very wealthy glamorizing warfare.
I started to give this book four stars, as I had some kind of better feeling about it, in comparison to "The Hunger Games." But then I asked myself, w...moreI started to give this book four stars, as I had some kind of better feeling about it, in comparison to "The Hunger Games." But then I asked myself, why?
Did the characterizations become any deeper or more complex? No. Did the self-reflective, choppy first person narration by Katniss Everdeen improve? No. Did the author misuse the phrase "begs the question"? Yes. Did I notice an annoying pattern of character names matching the industry of their districts? Yes.. (Really, how contrived do we have to be in a post apocalyptic America? "Thresh" comes from the district with wheat fields? Twill comes from district 8, manufacturers of textiles? PLEEEEAASE!!)
I'm all for "willing suspension of disbelief" but this series is really asking me to choke down a lot of objections.
Fun, light, tolerable, exciting for the kids... just not great literature. In fact, it makes the entire Harry Potter series look like great literature.
And I don't want to throw any spoilers out there, but let's just say that I wouldn't be surprised to read something equivalent to "Luke, I am your father" in the next book.
Still, exciting enough to inspire kids to read, so I can't go below a 3 star review.(less)
A bird yammers outside my window as I write this review. Perhaps it is a mockingjay? I started reading this book on the heels of my son discovering it...moreA bird yammers outside my window as I write this review. Perhaps it is a mockingjay? I started reading this book on the heels of my son discovering it, and in anticipation of seeing the movie. I can't be harsh on the book. Anything that gets millions of kids reading is good, in my eyes, even if it is a transparent, predictable plot-driven hash-up of American Idol and Survivor (American Reality TV shows) with pretensions of being a character driven coming of age epic, involving rebels and dark overlords choking the freedom from the universe like none since Darth Vader have done.
Wait... maybe I can be harsh on the book.
So it's a mediocre, derivative book, in my eyes... why the cultural explosion surrounding it? I have never seen my local cinema's parking lot so full as it has been this opening weekend. There is something in the air, the zeitgeist, that is putting a lot of ass-kicking heroines on our movie screens right now: Think Lisbeth Salander, in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Are the women of the world yearning to have a role model that succeeds through strength and wit, rather than T and A?
I don't want to try reading too much into the success of this book (and movie) franchise, and will give it three stars for being relatively engrossing, enjoyable, and literacy inspiring for kids.(less)
To quote Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun", "I don't believe that just because ideas are tenacious that it means that they're worthy." And thank g...moreTo quote Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun", "I don't believe that just because ideas are tenacious that it means that they're worthy." And thank goodness Billy Beane does not either; or Bill James; or Voros McCracken; or Galileo; or...
"Whoa... WHOA!!! Let's not get carried away, Hoss! Billy Beane in the same sentence with Galileo? This is a damn baseball book isn't it?" Ostensibly, yes... and if you've seen the movie, it's also a father/daughter love story starring Brad Pitt.
But what this book is, at its core, is a piercing look at an individual's ability and willingness to stand, armed with data, to fight against a dogmatic, institutional resistance to science. It is a case study of human nature and politics, played out in the microcosm of Baseball. This book is about "religion" and "tribalism" (even in the form of a national pastime) and the ways that all human organizations opposed to science protect themselves, their power and position. This book is about cognitive bias and an unwillingness to change even when evidence contrary to your beliefs is clearly and consistently demonstrated.**
In author Lewis' indictment of the generally stagnant pool of talent in baseball management I hear echoes of interfaith ecumenism: "There are no real standards, because no one wants to put too fine a point on the question: what qualifies these people for this job? Taking into account any quality other than "clubability" would make everyone’s membership a little less secure."
Yes, as long as we don't point a finger at each other, we can all get along just fine. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. The fraternal protection of status quo vs. one man's willingness to fight for what he sees as a better way.
Lewis' prose is smooth and pleasant reading. It helps to be a baseball fan, but contrary to some critiques I have heard, the narrative arc is not overwhelmed by statistics and "inside baseball." The diversions from the plot, to establish Bill James, Scott Hatteberg and Voros McCracken for the roles they play in the overall drama, are tightly drawn character studies that support later chapters.
**How lucky could I be? What are the odds that I would finish Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and then dive immediately into a book that weaves a ripping tale about the very same cognitive biases (and resultant market inefficiencies) manifest in the world of Major League Baseball? I don't think I could ask for a better way to cement the lessons of Kahneman than the real-life story of "Moneyball."
As I read Kahneman's book I commented to myself that it could be a training manual for avoiding exploitation resulting from one's own cognitive biases, or it could be a recipe book for predators to use in ruthlessly taking advantage of them. Moneyball is about the latter group, looking at the horrendously inefficient, cognitively medieval way baseball was being run, and reaping the benefits of being willing and able to act on data rather than hunches.
Like baseball itself, 'Moneyball" is more than meets the eyes.(less)
In the last few years I have had two books that took me FOREVER to get through. The first was Daniel Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" and the secon...moreIn the last few years I have had two books that took me FOREVER to get through. The first was Daniel Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" and the second is Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow." What caused this? What do they have in common? Both books explain, in minute detail, simple concepts with immensely far-reaching implications, and both have been... after the slog... the most intellectually rewarding reading of my adult life.
Where to begin... I have a number of theories running around in my head, and occasionally I try to corral them on paper, organize, sequence and interconnect them in a way that will prevent my reader from meaningfully widening their eyes, in an aside, while winding their finger around one ear... ("Cuckoo!") Good writing about complex topics is very, very difficult, and Kahneman has corraled 30+ years of science, his career and all he has learned into a perfectly arranged sequence that leads the reader into a wilderness... provisioning you in each chapter with the tools you'll need for the next part of the journey.
The second most striking effect on me is the number of times I said, "Yes... YES!!! this is what I've been saying!" In my case it has usually been some sort of "intuitive"(excuse me, Mr. Kahneman... I mean "System 1") recognition of a pattern in my observations about the way we think. In Kahneman's case those intuitions have been converted into theoretical propositions, each meticulously researched in well designed experiments. Clearly, this is at least one difference between me and a Nobel Prize winning researcher.
So why does this stuff matter? In the context of broader discussions of free will, intention, choice and control over the directions our lives take, this book can provide some powerful insights that might currently be obscured by these "cognitive illusions" and the inherent limitations of "System 1/System 2" thinking.
Perhaps we're not as "free" in our decisions as we might like to think, if "priming" has such a stunningly reproducible effect. Perhaps we're not so determined, if activities that initially require "System 2" attention, can be turned into second-nature, "technical-expertise intuitions." I.e. learning and training MATTERS in our ability to detect and respond to events that... if untrained... might take advantage of our brain's inherent "blind spots" or weaknesses.
Perhaps childhood religious indoctrination is a very adept recognition of these mental tendencies/flaws, so profoundly (if intuitively/naively) expressed by Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, "Give me the boy until 7, I will give you the man." (paraphrased; forgive me)
Kahneman's discoveries and documentation of mental capacity and biases could form the basis of a "Mental Martial Arts" program: an alternative form of indoctrination, in which students are trained to understand the weaknesses of their brains, and learn to take stances and practices that eliminate or reduce the errors to which these weaknesses can lead.
This book will rearrange the way you think... about how you think.(less)
There are books which everyone says, "You simply must read this in your lifetime," and when I got a Kindle I found many of them available for free, in...moreThere are books which everyone says, "You simply must read this in your lifetime," and when I got a Kindle I found many of them available for free, including this Dickens classic. When my son was assigned it for his High School Literature class, I could not resist the chance to catch up on a classic while annoying a high schooler with my interpretations and questions.
Simply on the merits of topic, you should read this book. This novel serves as a reasonably good primer on the French Revolution, and I found the historical information fascinating. But I won't focus on plot, or give away any details.
One of my first thoughts is that Dickens is a man who can say with 100 words what it takes many only 10 to say. His sentences can be ponderously long, and of course they are also afflicted by the Victorian style of his day: That is to say, more formal and almost competitive in the use of little known adjectives.
But then you happen across a passage that is so perfectly formed, so minutely and attentively rendered that it still shines like a jewel after 150 years have passed. You have to forgive the excesses of Dickens' genius, in much the same way you have to ignore "I Heart Huckabees" if you want to love Dustin Hoffmann in the vast majority of his movies.
Now, I don't know the historical timeline of when the first thriller novel with interwoven plot lines was written. But surely this novel must be one of the best, first examples of a non-linear, complex narrative that weaves all strands together beautifully in the end.
I also could not help noticing how much of the imagery was pegged on an assumed knowledge of Christianity. Being thouroughly steeped in Christian mythology myself, I found the allusions and metaphors quite effective, but wonder what value will be lost to the non-religious, or non-Christian reader?
There is a lot of satisfaction to be found in this novel, and it is well deserving of a place in that list of books "everyone simply must read!"
I idolized different "heroes" than Dirk Hayhurst growing up, and yet it became clear midway through this 340 page romp of a book that he and I were ex...moreI idolized different "heroes" than Dirk Hayhurst growing up, and yet it became clear midway through this 340 page romp of a book that he and I were experiencing the same lessons in life. Heroes on pedestals are merely people. A glamorous career will not shield you from dealing with life. What you DO with the tools you're given is more important than the tools themselves. Father/Son relationships are... uh... challenging.
It is this expression of universal experience, cloaked in the rags of a rough and tumble personal life and the difficulties and disillusionment of seeing the guts of a supposedly-glamorous career as a Pro Baseball Player that makes "Bullpen Gospels" the gem it is.
As an erstwhile/putative/wannabe writer myself, I have often said "the hardest things about writing is to let yourself be emotionally naked so the truth can spill onto the page." Hayhurst achieves this in his writing, and it parallels how he achieves the same things in the arc of his life and performance in baseball. I can't help but believe that this master-stroke of writing is not a spill-over effect of the personal discoveries he made as a pitcher struggling to find out what baseball meant to him, who he was in the world, and why his heroes were suddenly mortal.
But in-between bouts of self-doubt, deep philosophical rumination, and an attempt to "inculcate his mantra" (it's funny in context) Hayhurst weaves a rip-roaring series of hilarious anecdotes that expose us to the realities of minor-league baseball, and a fair share of its participants genitals and gas problems. I teared up a number of times in the appropriate "emotional" moments of the story, but cried no harder than when laughing out loud over the story of how an "intellectually challenged" club-house assistant(annually) rooked the entire team into funding his loss of virginity.
Does everything wrap up too neatly? No one said this book is a straight line autobiography, and the denouement provided by Hayhurst (true or not) is one of the most well-written, compelling and touching chapters of a book I have ever read. It has some great lessons on overcoming self-doubt, and will no doubt one day be turned into a "classic" movie built around father/son struggles, a'la "Field of Dreams." I did not put the book down, and finished it in about 7 hours. A wonderful read.(less)
After spending 7 days in Albania with my brother, I wanted (needed?) to understand this odd culture a little better. Specifically, what's up with the...moreAfter spending 7 days in Albania with my brother, I wanted (needed?) to understand this odd culture a little better. Specifically, what's up with the whole "blood feud" thing? Kadare's brief novel very cleverly and delicately weaves together two very different stories of commitment and conformity to the norms of Albanian society. Gjorg must enact his part in a long standing chain of revenge between his family and the Kruyqeqe family. Meanwhile, city girl (?Name?) travels with her new husband/author, through the "Accursed Mountains" of Northern Albania on her "honeymoon." The protagonists lives barely intertwine, almost as a pretense to have the parties encounter different elements of the Albanian "Kanun" (canon law), its interpreters, its beneficiaries and its victims. So, while the plot and story are solid, the real value for me is a bit of a voyeuristic tour of forbidden, exotic lands and ideas. "Broken April" is a bit of a "Cliff Notes" on a small portion of the "Kanun of Leke Dukagjinit," the most well known codification of this 500-1000 year old set of social customs and expectations. On the bright side, the Kanun insists on the "guest and God" being the primary concern in a man's house. On the downside, it lists a bazillion ways you must exact revenge if your honor is in any way slighted, with the ultimate penalty being blood for blood vengeance, enacted with VERY limited options for terminating the feud.
I fear my personal connection to the country, my recent visit, and my generally morbid/obsessive fascination with moral codes may have led me to rate this book higher than it deserves, so please take your reading of it with that grain of salt. (less)
When a friend recommended this graphical story with Bertrand Russell at its heart, I anticipated some discussion of his very public atheism, with whic...moreWhen a friend recommended this graphical story with Bertrand Russell at its heart, I anticipated some discussion of his very public atheism, with which I am already quite familiar. How pleasant the surprise that the book deals more with Russell's involvement in the pursuit of a solid foundation for mathematics. How enlightening to get a cleverly woven survey of the great logicians of all time. What an enjoyable addition to my limited knowledge of Russell's role in the history of mathematic and logical thinking. Do you know of the Barber's Paradox? Why might you love this book? If you have a passion for seeking truth. If you are obsessive. If you harbor insanity in your blood lines. If you seek rational bases for ethics and human behavior... however futilely. A significant addition to my collection on the search for truth!(less)
Apparently, judging by the reviews on this site, if you've read Hamlet, you don't like this book. Thankfully I haven't read Hamlet, and I can proceed...moreApparently, judging by the reviews on this site, if you've read Hamlet, you don't like this book. Thankfully I haven't read Hamlet, and I can proceed unimpeded by expectations. (Does this mean when I read Hamlet I'll see it as a cheesy rip off of "Edgar Sawtelle?" Hey, it happened to me when I first heard the Beatles "Got to Get You Into My Life" and was angry that someone had made such a cheap copy of the "classic" by Earth, Wind and Fire. So young, so foolish.)
But seriously, after reading a surprising number of negative reviews, I found myself turning every page with the expecation that surely THIS will be the page where it stinks. Something was not rotten in Denmark however, and I blitzed through the book in 3 days, finishing the taut final 100 pages at 1:30a.m. Wroblewski is inspirational. If this is what a first novel at age 48 looks like, maybe I'll get my act together, too. He does a wonderful job of slowly, meticulously layering the characters before any real action starts. He places as much attention to the nuances of each player as Edgar Sawtelle's father put into recording the details of his dog breeding efforts. If it's going to be done right. If you're going to develop a BETTER breed, you need to be meticulous with the detail; and I don't think it is too much a stretch to see the Sawtelle method of breeding dogs as a metaphor for Wroblewski's writing method.
With no Hamlet in my hip pocket for reference, I came away from the book stunned by the way Wroblewski strung threads of a similarly famous Englishman's writing throughout the work. From the opening dedication, consisting of the final paragraph of "On the Origin of Species," through details of dog breeding and genetics, to discussions of the uncaring universe in which far more is delivered to you by chance than by planning, this book is suffused with the knowledge and thinking of Charles Darwin. There IS grandeur in this view of life... and random tragedy... and random grace... and humanity.
If you love rich, luxuriously detailed storytelling that takes its time maturing, yet keeps you enthralled throughout, you should find "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" a thoroughly rewarding, heartbreaking read. And if all you can get out of this book is some shallow sense of "been there/done that" comparison to Hamlet, I say "OUT, Damn Spot!! Be gone! In your clever, self-centered "knowing" that this book is based on a Shakespearean theme, you close yourself down to recognizing beautiful writing, telling a unique story, and to an author able to sublimate himself to the story, leaving the reader transported deeply, willingly into the lives of the characters.