There are nice novels, and then there are magnificent novels. The Great Gatsby is a master act; deceptively appearing as a class critique really to diThere are nice novels, and then there are magnificent novels. The Great Gatsby is a master act; deceptively appearing as a class critique really to disguise an ethereal, almost spiritual core. Gatsby is a classic pariah: he doesn't belong anywhere socially or economically because he operates outside the realm of propriety. His motivations lie not in pretense, but an exceptional devotional love which dictates his every move and prevents him from truly participating in the garish world he creates.
Beneath the boisterous, profane picture of the American upper class in the 1920's, is a ringing act of truth and worship. Gatsby in his sincerity, pursues a divine love which he cannot consummate in a society driven by deceit and superficiality. This is why Gatsby is a beautiful, breath taking tragedy. Gatsby explores the inherent selfishness and worldliness of human motivations in juxtaposition with a simple, pure, obsessive and doomed desire. ...more
To be completely honest, it's not the best coming-of-age story. The narrator's voice was not appropriate; 15 year olds do not write the way Charlie doTo be completely honest, it's not the best coming-of-age story. The narrator's voice was not appropriate; 15 year olds do not write the way Charlie does, especially not someone who can have an opinion about The Fountainhead. Characters also lacked consistency: sometimes they were achingly brilliant, only to immediately fall flat a few pages later. Which is why it's strange when I say that the novel is definitely a winner.
The beauty of young adult literature, too often brushed aside in contemporary adult novels, is that the writing style does not usually carry the weight of the novel. Wallflower wins because like Charlie, it is sensitive, observant to a flaw, and wonderfully insightful. There are moments when I've reread the same sentence again and again, just because of how unexpectedly poignant it was. Yes, I wish I hadn't left with more questions than answers and that the story didn't depend so much on Charlie's interactions with other characters but the story has undeniable presence in the niche that Judy Blume, Katherine Paterson and other writers created decades ago.
Childhoods aren't rosy. They are painful, boring, exuberant, innocence-robbing, confusing and worth talking about. Wallflower, is a thoughtful addition to this conversation. ...more
The title is deceptive because this isn't Lily's story, this is her daughter's story; which is fine except the novel isn't much of an identity story eThe title is deceptive because this isn't Lily's story, this is her daughter's story; which is fine except the novel isn't much of an identity story either. Character development was sluggish and inconsistent, the title character was rather disappointing and not nearly as developed (nor unfortunately, as interesting) as other characters were. I left not entirely satisfied with character motivations, though I wonder if this was an intentional effect of the nature of the narrative.
I didn't have a problem with the non-linear narration and found it to be appropriate to the post-war theme, psychological disarray and a gradual return to some sort of normalcy. The novel itself slowly dissolved into short snippets and vignettes which sometimes lacked cohesion, but were often achingly poignant. Strength lies in the ability of the author to write with grace, sensitivity and profound insight. Overall, this is a pretty novel with a lot of heart, but lacking enough substance and form to be completely satisfying. ...more
Forget Easterly, forget Sachs. This book is a must for anyone studying "international development" and undergoing existential crises on a daily basis.Forget Easterly, forget Sachs. This book is a must for anyone studying "international development" and undergoing existential crises on a daily basis. Novogratz is one of my favorite people on the creative-approaches-to-aid scene because she not only asks the questions everyone is thinking, but she experiences them. She is angry, she is passionate, she is extremely intelligent but most importantly, she hasn't given up. After over 20 years of working on projects around the world and then founding one of the most innovative organizations in overseas-development work, she has the humility to refrain from calling herself an "expert". She is inspiring not because of her decades of work, but because she resists, persists, insists and continues to envision a world in which everyone can live a life of their own choosing....more
I liked Karl Marx better before I read The Communist Manifesto, mainly because my initial hyper-interest came crashing.
Fundamentally, a utopia cannotI liked Karl Marx better before I read The Communist Manifesto, mainly because my initial hyper-interest came crashing.
Fundamentally, a utopia cannot be created from the seeds of discord. Otherwise, as time has proven on numerous occasions, the oppressed and the oppressor change positions and a new wave of instability erupts. If humanity truly seeks peace, the Manifesto is not the way to go about it.
Brilliant propaganda, quite often leagues ahead of its time, but ultimately a 19th century document bound to its historical parameters. ...more
In a sea of uninspiring, cookie-cutter, hair-pullingly dull stories on the market, this book is refreshingly delicious. The characters are churned soIn a sea of uninspiring, cookie-cutter, hair-pullingly dull stories on the market, this book is refreshingly delicious. The characters are churned so well and Allen gives me hope that beautiful storytelling is still a craft that can be crafted. Granted, the plot is not incredibly remarkable. However this novel carries the same heart and spirit that this author is so well loved for. She writes like a pastry chef, with just the right amounts of sugar, care and comfort. Another lovely read from one of the finest sorcerers in contemporary magic realism. ...more