Despite quite beautiful writing, this book did not really engage me. I never warmed to the characters. Satyal seemed to be trying to intersect too mucDespite quite beautiful writing, this book did not really engage me. I never warmed to the characters. Satyal seemed to be trying to intersect too much - the immigrant experience, the gay experience, the friendship experience, the coming of age experience, the self-discovery experience. There were moments when the book became intriguing, like when the friendship between Harit and Ranjana deepened as he was able to finally tell someone the story of his sister. But the story would then veer off into other relationships, some of which were slightly bizarre, such as the relationship between Harit and his mother. There were also aspects that seemed a little far-fetched, such as Ranjana becoming a New York Times best-selling author. I am not particularly drawn to stories of Indian-Americans so some of my reserve about this story is probably tied to that. But the meandering of the story and themes contributed to my reservations about the book....more
What an amazing character Gail Honeyman has created! Eleanor Oliphant made me laugh, made me cry, and made me love her like no character really has siWhat an amazing character Gail Honeyman has created! Eleanor Oliphant made me laugh, made me cry, and made me love her like no character really has since Fredrik Backman's Ove. She's quirky and totally awkward socially. The book slowly reveals her story as you watch her transform in spite of a past that has left her scarred, both physically and emotionally. You watch the heartbreaking "relationship" she builds for herself with a two-bit rock singer as well as the heartwarming one she truly builds with the IT guy at work, Raymond. Raymond is a fantastic character himself - one that personifies the adage to not judge a book by its cover. It's Raymond that finally leads Eleanor to confront her demons and to let her memories break through to begin to heal herself. Just a truly wonderful book built around a unique character and a book that tackles a tough subject with subtlety, compassion and tenderness....more
There is nothing about Samuel Hawley's lifestyle that I can identify with - nothing except the love he has for his daughter. He's bullet-scarred, on tThere is nothing about Samuel Hawley's lifestyle that I can identify with - nothing except the love he has for his daughter. He's bullet-scarred, on the run, accompanied by an arsenal of guns - and his whole life has consisted of "jobs" done for shady characters and criminals. Daughter Loo has been ready to move on at a moment's notice her whole life. Finally as she approaches her teenage years, Hawley settles them in New England in the little fishing town Loo's mother was from. This settling brings entanglements for them both - and questions of the past and family secrets.
Tinti tells Hawley's story through the framework of the 12 bullet scars on his body. There's not much to admire about his past except his love for Loo's mother, Lilly. And even that gets called into question as Loo searches for answers to what really happened to her mother that day on the lake. Lilly was an excellent swimmer - how could she have possibly drowned on a lake she could have easily swam across?
The story and the characters make a wonderful read that has you rooting for Hawley despite his choices and flaws. The author and Loo cast no judgement on him and accept him for who he is. It is a testament to Tinti's writing that the reader can do that, too....more
I've read a few books that attempt to tell the backstory behind paintings that are familiar to most people - in the case of this book it is Christina'I've read a few books that attempt to tell the backstory behind paintings that are familiar to most people - in the case of this book it is Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth. It intrigues me to try to get a glimpse of what the artist was trying to convey through the story of how a painting came to life. Wyeth weaved in and out of Kline's novel but the real focus was on Christina Olson and the life she lived that was so shaped by a debilitating disease that was never diagnosed in her lifetime. At times I admired her courage, and at times I hated her stubbornness. That stubbornness led her to refuse medical help even as a child and to refuse help such as a wheelchair when she could no longer walk. The vivid image of her dragging herself throughout her home at the end of her life was heartbreaking. "I wonder, not for the first time, if shame and pride are merely two sides of the same coin."
As a young lady, Christina had her heart broken by Walton, that spineless Harvard man, and after that the farm and the house depicted in the painting became her world. "Sometimes a sanctuary, sometimes a prison, that house on the hill has always been my home. I've spent my life yearning toward it, wanting to escape it, paralyzed by its hold on me."
This is a quiet, slow-moving, character-driven story told with beautiful language. It left me melancholy, but moved, by the life of this woman as Kline recreates it in fiction....more
Taken as a whole, the Silo trilogy is spellbinding in that the world Hugh Howey creates is unique and compelling. This last installment ties up all ofTaken as a whole, the Silo trilogy is spellbinding in that the world Hugh Howey creates is unique and compelling. This last installment ties up all of our characters from the series - some getting their just desserts, some getting their rewards. And some suffering their unavoidable fates. The first installment (Wool) remains the strongest for me - maybe simply because it was my introduction to the world of the silos. But Dust was a strong finish and definitely kept me reading to the end....more
Oh my! One of the amazing things about Fredrik Backman is his ability to create characters that seem so very real, whether sympathetic or not. To creaOh my! One of the amazing things about Fredrik Backman is his ability to create characters that seem so very real, whether sympathetic or not. To create characters that you absolutely believe could be real in situations that are not necessarily unique on the surface but become that with the magic of Backman's writing. This book has a LOT of characters and the point of view shifts frequently and sometimes abruptly between them. But never was I lost because the characters are so unique and so alive. Benji, Amat, David, Kira, Maya, Ramona (who doesn't fall in love with THIS one!).... and more. Some do evil, but some do the right thing. And some lead you to change your opinion about them just like you do in real life.
Beartown is a hockey town - first and foremost. And hockey is as much a character as Kevin or Sune or the sponsors. The cold is palpable. The hope is visceral - the junior team will win the championship and the dying town will be rescued. Do I care a whit about hockey - never. But for this brief moment of reading time, Backman made me care.
This book is not a sports story with fairy tale ending - it's really not a sports story at all. It becomes tragic and dark and your emotions get all confused. You see the injustices coming and rail against them. But they come anyway. You invest your emotional being in them. And your heart lives in Beartown for the duration of this memorable story.
Backman stole my heart with A Man Called Ove. He kept a hold on it with Britt-Marie Was Here. He wrung all the emotion out of it with And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. He has captured some part of it that strives to understand human nature with Beartown.
All this in spite of a very lackluster narrator. The story just transcended the performance for me....more