It took me five years or so to read this book. I literally bought it the year it came out and it's taken me years to get through the painful reality oIt took me five years or so to read this book. I literally bought it the year it came out and it's taken me years to get through the painful reality of these characters. All of them are cruel and in this universe it becomes apparent just how important selfishness can be to survival. The entire novel revolves around the execution of a young girl from Muddy River, Shan. Her parents, her neighbors, the local news anchor, the casual lives of people left behind, all are negatively impacted by her death.
I used to open the book somedays and be so upset from what the characters were going through, or the coldness that they were forced to treat each other with. I finally got the gumption to finish reading it - and I just pushed through it and god it was sad but god is it an important book. My feelings are all of concern for the people we are, and how much responsibility we have to show kindness. The only altruism that does appear in the book is punished and all human connection is quashed - young families divorce, young lovers are separated, and old man hates his once beloved wife, a son nearly has his father killed, and everything is awful.
The book ends on the note about how heaven is a place that only be entered alone, but hell can entered even when one is holding hands.
Hell: a place where we take care of each other.
A scary, amazing book that digs deep into the political and cultural lives of villagers in Communist China.
Get this book and read it faster than I did. Or read it for years and think of it as a mission....more
Diaz's third book seems to take of where his first collection of short stories, Drown, ended. In fact, all three of Diaz's books have continuity withDiaz's third book seems to take of where his first collection of short stories, Drown, ended. In fact, all three of Diaz's books have continuity with the main character, Yunior, and I would say that where as The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao focused on a story Yunior was telling about someone else, This Is How You Lose Her is a story Yunior tells about himself.
Here's is How You Lose Me, Your Reader: You write a book about cheating without talking about any of the pros of cheating. I get that a lot of people will take issue to the subject and morality of the book and specifically the narrator. I wasn't out to do that - I knew this was a book about how cheating is Bad and It Makes Your Life Difficult. The problem was, it was nearly impossible to understand to *pros* of cheating when the narrator went on and on about poorly his life was going after he was caught repeatedly cheating on different women. That's a fine thing to think and wonder, sure! But the whole story constantly felt like the after-story, if you know what I mean. After love, after cheating, after women. It's difficult to understand loss when we don't understand what a fulfilling or happy or even okay relationship looks like for this narrator. And if his relationships weren't all that satisfying, then I have trouble connecting with his sense of loss.
I want to know how the cheating worked, what cheating looks like at it's best or most successful. I came to this book fully interested in understanding the mentality behind cheating, or at least fully understanding this character for whom cheating is a major part of their history.
I love Diaz, and I loved his other books, but this one left me wondering why Yunior won't tell us more.
Despite it's shortcomings this book is still better than 90% of the shit White Contemporary Literature is pooping out in my direction. Half-Assed Diaz > The Art of Fielding and everything like it....more
I found the text while researching the history of slavery in Latin America. It's a moving story, but more importantly, a piece of history. I think it' I found the text while researching the history of slavery in Latin America. It's a moving story, but more importantly, a piece of history. I think it's key to understanding the effect that slavery actually had on slaves. This book alone, this testimony, told me more about my history, about Latin-American history, about slavery, than any text book ever could. This is the "Diary of Anne Frank" for slavery in the Caribbean. Except it was written before that, by a slave, so stupid white girls on goodreads get to act like it's meaningless. ...more
**spoiler alert** I will start off by saying that I am a slow reader. I read this book for about a month. And the book fits that speed. There's someth**spoiler alert** I will start off by saying that I am a slow reader. I read this book for about a month. And the book fits that speed. There's something sad and leisurely about it.
The characters are all damned and everything seems to be going to hell at all times. Suicide, painful sex, rape, funerals, fires. I would be burdened to count how many characters die in the course of this book. It's always sad, but by the time I get to the last death and the narrator's reaction, I'm sort of shocked by his "I must go now into the wilderness and outskirts of cities to wander!" reaction.
I'm struck by how much more I liked this book than other pieces of Murakami's writing. I found some of his short-stories immediately sexist and womanizing. Although this book contains a surplus of sex (the narrator has sex with almost every speaking female character, or gets very close to), I guess I understood the narrator more as a person. Although I will admit I don't like that women are throwing themselves at him left and right.
The book is extremely problematic throughout, something about Naoko being a perfect innocent virginal character, and Midori being the big bad whore, really fucking bothers me. Another review said this a lot better than me, but essentially, we watch a bunch of women who in one way or another in need of men find Taru. And all of them like Taru.
Naoko needs Taru, because her boyfriend killed himself. Midori needs Taru, because she "has no one." Raoko needs Taru, because Naoko kills herself. Nagasawa's girlfriend needs Taru (but he doesn't realize it and does not fuck her, hence she later kills herself).
Any girl that wanders into the narrative at all whatsoever seems to on some level need Taru, and by that they mean, his dick.
There were better things in this book, and I admit, I liked reading it, because it's written beautifully, but the point - what is the point of this book? The sadness, the stupidness, that Taru must pick one. It's Midori right? He doesn't seem too happy about that. And frankly, in a world of one-dimensional female characters, I'm not happy either. ...more
I really enjoyed this collection of stories from Moore's life. They were honest and really direct, and surprisingly literary in quality despite MooreI really enjoyed this collection of stories from Moore's life. They were honest and really direct, and surprisingly literary in quality despite Moore normally depicting himself as a country boy with no really literary inclinations....more
There are better stories set on college campuses - but honestly, a bunch of well-to-do white kids bitching and moaning and longing over their excessivThere are better stories set on college campuses - but honestly, a bunch of well-to-do white kids bitching and moaning and longing over their excessively privileged lives makes me want to salt my own eyes with lemon juice. There is literally nothing that makes me feel sorry for any single person in this novel, nothing - they're all attractive, they're all rich, they're all graduating, - none of them seem to have debt despite going to Brown - and to top it all off they all seem to be brilliant, not just smart - but the smartest kids who ever went to Brown! One character is even noted by his professor to be "the only student of his kind" and is offered help to go to Harvard Divinity School. Really? This book is more fantasy to me than a smattering of irritatingly privileged wizards going to private school in the UK. Although I could never be a wizard, there's something especially tasteless in how much I'll never be a wealthy white youth with prospects and no debt....more
3.5 Stars. It's actual 5 stars if you just don't read the second half of the book, which is a religious letter to himself. The letter to Bosie, that a3.5 Stars. It's actual 5 stars if you just don't read the second half of the book, which is a religious letter to himself. The letter to Bosie, that awful and apparently attractive bastard, there's the source of so many inspiring sentences. ...more
This book opens with what seems like a spoiler, and explains itself away throughout the rest of the 350-something pages. “My father is a bigamist,” aThis book opens with what seems like a spoiler, and explains itself away throughout the rest of the 350-something pages. “My father is a bigamist,” a girl tells us. And at first sight, that sentence told me what I needed to know about men in this book, and about the women – sisters and wives – who were being kept secret in each her own way. The story is divided in half, just like everything and everyone else in the book. Each half is narrated by one of the father’s two daughters, first Dana, then Chaurisse. Every single character here is torn, and yet there’s nothing similar or predictable about the voices we get to hear from. And what’s even better, the sisters and all the women in this book, even though they are set up to be rivals, really stick together. I was worried, when I saw that first line, about the stereotypes I expected to come, of fighting catty women and the pain of sharing a man of any kind, father or husband. No, although these women are in a mixed state of either knowing-but-not-caring, or knowing-and-in-pain, the main characters do reach out and take care of each other. And even worse, you manage to feel sorry for the bigamist, the daddy. James is a sad and ultimately pathetic man, who keeps one family in secret (a family who knows everything about him), and another family in public (a family that is missing a few crucial facts about their father). The idea of knowledge as privilege and simultaneous disadvantage plagues both halves of the novel. At first one might expect Chaurisse, the legitimate daughter, to benefit the most from having a known-father she lives with, but there is a sadness entering her half of the novel knowing something she doesn’t. How can she love a daddy she doesn’t really know? And Dana’s story, more frustrating in its nature, is having a father who is ashamed of her and will pay a high price to keep her and his mistress quiet.
Like most of Jones’s work, this book is set in Atlanta, Georgia, and it follows the lives of black young women in the 70s and 80s. I am not tired and will never tire of Jones’s characters struggling in a way that hits so close to home. Silver Sparrow ties in the weight of the civil rights movement still controversial in the south, and sheds light on yet another dark spot of American history, illegitimate and alternative families, and the women affected by them. It is also a story about women of colour in which the characters have promising futures, and it touched me to see that although the sisters finally meet and the secret is found out, they have not lost hope even when few if any of their problems are resolved. ...more
Just as beautiful as it is horrifying, Angelou tells her story compellingly. There's such a quiet acceptance and sense of understanding in this memiorJust as beautiful as it is horrifying, Angelou tells her story compellingly. There's such a quiet acceptance and sense of understanding in this memiore, that the most frightening consequences of segregation and racism and sexism don't hit you as hard until you realize you have read one of the saddest and truest memoires of the 20th century. Evey American should read this....more
I love reading Yiyun Lee's writing. All her characters are real, and she is the definition of word economy. These are village stories, written from thI love reading Yiyun Lee's writing. All her characters are real, and she is the definition of word economy. These are village stories, written from the perspective of the characters and the world they live in, totally inconsequential to the reader - and yet they are incredibility compelling almost precisely because of personal the stories are. The plots are simple and the characters are simply complicated. I really can't give enough praise to Yiyun Li's writing. A quick, painful read. Don't be surprised if you miss your stop on a bus while reading this. ...more
Damn this book makes me feel good, good about my life and reading and everything WOC need to get through in this world. I am so grateful there are womDamn this book makes me feel good, good about my life and reading and everything WOC need to get through in this world. I am so grateful there are women like Sapphire writing about everyday women like us out there! I feel like I am one of them, one of the girls, and it makes me so happy to see them succeed....more