**spoiler alert** What an interesting novel. There are shades of 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, with a population dulled by drugs and TV, a**spoiler alert** What an interesting novel. There are shades of 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, with a population dulled by drugs and TV, a regime that is brutal if you fall foul of it. But with these familiar ingredients, Walter Tevis stirs up some fresh questions. The setting is New York at an unspecified point in the future. Robots handle all the menial tasks, from serving food to building toasters, so there's no need to teach the humans anything useful. The population are educated, but in subjects with names like inwardness, going inside themselves. No one can read or do arithmetic. Books - and also recorded music - have largely disappeared, which strands the population in a meaningless existence where they have no sense of anything beyond their own narrow experience - no sense of history, no way to explore the complexity of finer feelings. Yet they still seem to crave something more from life. All they have to dull this yearning is drugs, but it's not enough to dull the desperation and many of them commit suicide. There is culture, but it's mainly pornography or TV shows that hypnotise the viewer to pass the time. There are laws to prevent friendships and intimacy, which are dressed up as privacy protection laws. And there are no children, but the population are probably not meant to notice that. In this intriguing world, three characters become bound together in an unusual love triangle. Eventually the reasons for the peculiar state of the world become clear - and it's a clever twist that you realise has been deftly plotted all the way. I had just one grumble - the reunion at the end seemed convenient and contrived. I would have liked the character to have worked harder to earn it. It hinges on a character going back to live in a place that she lived in before - which seems unlikely because she had a new baby and was now living with the robot Spufford. Why would she then go back to live in the zoo? Just so that Paul can find her easily for the plot jigsaw. Apart from that one slip, it's a very thought-provoking novel - meticulously imagined and deeply thought. It leaves us to appreciate how we feel connected to others, how much that matters, how much of our art is about that connection, and how much of our art is grasping at things we find hard to express but desperately want to experience. ...more
**spoiler alert** I started by liking this novel a lot. I was a little irritated by some aspects of the first narrator, the Nigerian girl, but as I ea**spoiler alert** I started by liking this novel a lot. I was a little irritated by some aspects of the first narrator, the Nigerian girl, but as I eased into it I warmed to her observations and spirit. In the other narrator, too, there was robust and very human humour, and also vivid and intriguing sketches of characters. I felt I was in good hands, and was enjoying where they were taking me. Then something changed. I'm afraid I'll have to give spoilers, so forgive me. I liked the set-up with Sarah and her marriage, the trials of Little Bee as she got out of the detention centre and left her friends, the funeral where Charlie got into the grave. I thought the revelation of what happened on the beach was awesome - it haunted me for days. But when Little Bee revealed she had seen Andrew commit suicide, that tripped a switch for me. I'm still trying to figure out why. It's a story with appalling violence, but it seemed violence wasn't initially the writer's interest. I felt that when Little Bee stalked Andrew and then watched him die, the plot had changed its interest. It had added sensational action instead of continuing with the line it seemed originally to follow, which was the very great difficulty of dealing with these aspects of humanity and inhumanity. It became like one of those films that have been creepy and disturbing and then suddenly become an orgy of fighting. I felt the same when Little Bee was deported and suddenly Sarah and Charlie are on the plane with her. Actually, I wondered if that was a dream, but that would be too naff - and anyway, not in the nature of the story's world. I was happy with the mechanism by which she was caught - that was unexpected and I believed it. But when they appeared on the plane, it was forced. And the ending was an action cop-out. Really, I think the story lost its way. There's some very powerful writing - especially where Bee hides under the boat while her sister suffers her fate. bit I think it was rushed. Several plotty things were put in that semi-worked with the logic, but didn't work with the deeper human levels of the story. ...more
The description led me to expect a chronological narrative from bullrider to advertising exec, which would, you must admit, make a helluva tale. InsteThe description led me to expect a chronological narrative from bullrider to advertising exec, which would, you must admit, make a helluva tale. Instead, this is like being shown around a house that's been lived in a long, long time, full of everything all at once, and all the better for the haphazardness. It's the found art of a life, about twists and turns and accidental threads, a long and convivial conversation about liking the things that make us who we are. His voice is a pleasure - erudite, kind, wise and always ready to see the joke against him. So settle in and let him tell you about what bulls and advertising have taught him, and also chickens, and also Harleys, horses, racism, jazz, James Dean, politics and publishing. ...more
A suburban housewife in the late 1960s embarks on a love affair with the son of a friend, which upends everyone's lives. This might seem predictable, A suburban housewife in the late 1960s embarks on a love affair with the son of a friend, which upends everyone's lives. This might seem predictable, but it's totally absorbing. The characters are nuanced and real, written with honesty, insight and deep understanding. I thought I would romp through this and donate it to a charity shop (as I have a huge problem of overstuffed shelves) but this is a keeper. ...more
**spoiler alert** A very strange and inventive book. I liked parts of it a great deal, especially its characters who are grappling with the edges of h**spoiler alert** A very strange and inventive book. I liked parts of it a great deal, especially its characters who are grappling with the edges of humanity and civilisation. Some of the story elements are well paced and well used, but I felt it lost its way at the end. It seems to have tried for a schlocky horror ending, then an ending with a twist, then it does another thing again and fizzles out, which is a shame because before then I was enraptured. ...more
Thoroughly compelling. It goes to very dark places. The disintegration of her crippled mother is heartbreaking. Some reviewers have commented that sheThoroughly compelling. It goes to very dark places. The disintegration of her crippled mother is heartbreaking. Some reviewers have commented that she seems irresponsible and inconsiderate most of the time, but what would any of us be like after the experience she had? Grief has a tendency to destroy one's manners. I found it honest and beautifully written. ...more
We take sleep for granted until we can't get it, and then it becomes a process full of mystery and frustration. This is beautifully written and explorWe take sleep for granted until we can't get it, and then it becomes a process full of mystery and frustration. This is beautifully written and explored, the kind of writing that makes you feel you are being taken to a new frontier, in feelings that have rarely been described. I wondered how the author would bring it to a close, since it was unlikely that the sleeplessness would conveniently end after a year, but there is an ending and it is satisfying....more
This isn't so much a narrative as an installation in words. It's a scrapbook of stories and facts that might be apocryphal-the origin of the Goldberg This isn't so much a narrative as an installation in words. It's a scrapbook of stories and facts that might be apocryphal-the origin of the Goldberg variations, the building of a giant organ that causes an avalanche in a German town, the secret song the Rolling Stones only play to each other, a radio station that broadcasts fragments and static, the music that went on the golden disc in the Voyager spacecraft. You're never sure if what you're reading is true in fact, but it's true at a deeper, appealing level, adding up to a delightful musing on music and time. Mention must also be made of the translator. In the wrong hands, this would be sentimental or overblown, but the translatior - Fionn Petch - has created a version with the perfect blend of wonder and gravity. ...more
I enjoyed this but had a big problem with the ending. It cuts off, like the needle whipping off a record. This effect isn't helped by the blurb, whichI enjoyed this but had a big problem with the ending. It cuts off, like the needle whipping off a record. This effect isn't helped by the blurb, which reveals the ending, but makes you think it's part of the setup - namely that Webb was a successful songwriter, then took some drugs that literally blew his mind. I think, though, this indicates something interesting about the discipline of songwriting. It's not necessarily about narrative, it's about evoking a feeling, putting you in unexpected moments that take you to an emotional place. There are passages in this book that do exactly that - such as the friend who visited Sharon Tate's house just after the Manson clan had left. Parts of his book are as unforgettable as his songs. ...more
I wasn't sure how I'd get on with living in the mind of a person like Raoul Moat. But I found it gripping and fascinating. The author has handled the I wasn't sure how I'd get on with living in the mind of a person like Raoul Moat. But I found it gripping and fascinating. The author has handled the subject with a light touch, letting Raoul speak in his own words as much as possible. Occasionally he interjects to correct a misapprehension - eg Moat will claim he didn't hit his girlfriend and the author adds, in square brackets, 'you did'. This builds to a three-dimensional portrait of a man trying to justify what he has done, blaming absolutely everybody but himself, feeling a strong sense of persecution and victimisation, perpetually haunted by his actions too. There are glimpses of what he thinks he could have done if his life was different and if he was able to react differently, which adds to the poignancy. ...more
I really wanted to like this. But it seemed to be spread far further than the material could go. I didn't find I was curious about the characters, or I really wanted to like this. But it seemed to be spread far further than the material could go. I didn't find I was curious about the characters, or yearning for a reconciliation, or even intrigued... Sorry!...more
Good piece of suspense. Unlike Marnie, this novel is more interested in the plot than in the intricacies of odd characters, but it's well done with maGood piece of suspense. Unlike Marnie, this novel is more interested in the plot than in the intricacies of odd characters, but it's well done with many deft turns. ...more
When I found I had an unread Lissa Evans on my shelf, I knew I'd be in good hands. And I was.
The world of this novel is London and St Albans in the BWhen I found I had an unread Lissa Evans on my shelf, I knew I'd be in good hands. And I was.
The world of this novel is London and St Albans in the Blitz, the scams, schemes and small-time villainy that proliferated in the chaos of the time. There are people who thrive on these dodgy opportunities, and there are others - like Vera Sedge - who have not other way to make money, but are not terribly good at lies and subterfuge. So Vera reluctantly takes in an evacuee, Noel, for no other reason than the government money she gets for looking after him.
Thus begins a beautifully paced story of mishaps and mischief, full of characters who are flawed and vain and tragic and infuriating and absolutely believable. Her descriptions and dialogue sing with authenticity and life. An incidental character is, she tells us, called Win, which is short for 'Winchester Repeater', 'the biggest bore in Hertfordshire... the man would send you crackers in fifteen minutes'. Every detail creates the reality of the Blitz - Noel walks into an air-raid shelter, 'down a corridor of knees'. And the hardships - Noel spends the night trying to sleep on an escalator, then the next morning, all the families get to their feet, walk up the escalators and go to work or school.
It's written with immense wit, humour and warmth. As the characters bumble and battle through, trying to keep their spirits up and survive another day or week, a deeper quest emerges, and the poignancy creeps up most satisfyingly.
I have mixed feelings about this. I found the language and the poetic vision were exquisite and well controlled. It works very well as a meditation onI have mixed feelings about this. I found the language and the poetic vision were exquisite and well controlled. It works very well as a meditation on what we are made of and asks puzzling, intriguing questions about our ancientness, as beings who are made from the materials of this planet. That's lovely. Also the author is able to use these meditations to subtly 'explain' what is going on. She never has to say outright that Leah has been reclaimed mysteriously by the sea, that she went too deep and this triggered an unstoppable natural process. We understand it. So I see the poetic point in these aspects, and I find it appealing and intriguing, but I don't see it in others. I think it didn't have the mileage to be a novel. The pacing drags. Quite often, I felt I felt I was reading the same scene or idea repeated, and not in a way that enhanced the poetic and emotional effect. I know that grief can be repetitive, but the author didn't seem to be directing me to look at that. It seemed more that she had to get the book to a certain length, and sometimes had to keep one character treading water (literally or not) while the other could get to something that needed to be at that point of the narrative. We see stretches of Miri and Leah's relationship before Leah went away. Although these seemed realistic and true to life, I found myself unmoved by them. There was not enough interesting human truth to make them worth reading about, either as individual people or as a relationship. It looked as though they were put in to pad the book to length. Similarly, the details about Miri's mother. I felt the author wasn't interested in these aspects of her book, she seemed most interested in her poetic thesis of humans as constructs of salt, water and other substances. That's fine, but it means we read a lot of generalised relationship material that didn't interest her. There were some moments I really liked. Miri, the wife left on land, finds online groups of wives who pretend their husbands have gone into outer space. I hoped to see more of this as it's a wonderful idea - they might be fantasists, they might be truly in that situation. This is a whole character thread that could be thoroughtly explored, but it isn't. I liked the fact that it isn't explained, though - it's just the strange, unreal territory of grief that Miri finds herself in. But, like most of the emotional material of the book, it's very static. So... I think this material was forced into a length that didn't suit it. There's only so far you can take a meditation on what we're made of, and the mysterious world we find ourselves in. For this to move the reader, it needs a closer interest in humanity too. But I enjoyed Julia Armfield's writing and will look for more....more
**spoiler alert** I devoured this in three fascinated sittings. These are men who work in realms that exist for most of us only as enigmatic names - B**spoiler alert** I devoured this in three fascinated sittings. These are men who work in realms that exist for most of us only as enigmatic names - Brent, Piper, Tern, Ninian and Tiffany (which sounds like a poodle but is a rig that is 'rotten to the core'). The work is physically gruelling, the routine requires three-week rotations, crammed together with other men. For leisure, they argue on Facetime with their families at home, flirt on Tinder, jostle for space in the gym, or binge on box sets. If they're on an old rig with double rooms, they have to hope their room-mate allows them enough personal space. It's pretty much like a spell in prison, just with high pay, and the added dangers of a hostile and dangerous environment. At one point, an offshore worker makes the point that he is sitting on a floating bomb. When they get home on three weeks of leave, they're expected to rejoin normal life - families, wives - when they're actually exploding from stress. What does this do to their relationships, their psyches? Tabitha Lasley spent six months getting to know these men. Indeed, she gets to know one of them rather better than she intended to, as she becomes his escape from the home life he can't cope with. But Lasley is a bit of a badass herself - and you need to be, to have the guts to drill into the reality of these people. It's beautifully written. She has an accurate and entertaining eye for description, especially of physicality. She is utterly honest when she examines the difficulties of the personal situation she finds herself in. There is a novelist's sensibility here too, with a subtle development of threads and arcs. Certain elements repeat in a pleasing way - such as the tale of a notorious and distressing suicide. Later we recognise the chat-up line used by her lover Caden, now being used, verbatim, by a completely different man who has never met him. It is as if they have a general and limited phrasebook for dealing with onshore life. That same man asks her about the book she's writing. Is it a thriller? he says. 'More of a mystery,' she replies. Yes, that's it absolutely. And a very fine one. ...more
I loved this book. It encompasses grief, science, the wonder of physicality and our lives as physical beings. Simon, the teenager who dies, is hooked I loved this book. It encompasses grief, science, the wonder of physicality and our lives as physical beings. Simon, the teenager who dies, is hooked on the thrill of surfing. One of the transplant nurses is a singer. The transplant consultant is an elite athlete. Meanwhile, a woman who needs a new heart can barely cross the room without becoming painfully breathless. This book is a celebration of ourselves as rooted in our bodies, full of emotion and sensation. It is also aware of our physical frailty, and so the book is also about the tragedy of this physicality as much as this joy. Another haunting aspect is the people who are caught in the frontier between life and death, whether experts or victims, making decisions, giving terrible news, being given terrible news. The book relies on a huge amount of research, and every detail is used with a poet's precision. I lingered on words, like the scialytic light used in the operating theatre, which eliminates shadows. With every sentence, every moment, there is a sense of witnessing a great mystery. The final line is masterful. Part of the marvel of this novel is its language, and therefore the translation by Jessica Moore. To translate this text, with its intricate scientific terms and its awareness of marvels and miracles, was clearly a work of great sensitivity. A note from the translator gives examples of the difficulties in just a few of the word choices. As a writer myself, I took great pleasure in the sense of care in the translator's note. It was the perfect afterword, a sense of people working from a deep belief in the material, which it absolutely deserves. A book I will read again. ...more
An intriguing and striking premise. In most respects the book is a masterpiece of economy, and full of difficult emotions. The final pages work beautiAn intriguing and striking premise. In most respects the book is a masterpiece of economy, and full of difficult emotions. The final pages work beautifully - and I won't say more because I don't want to give spoilers. I did find the early sections were a little slow, but I suspect that if I read the book again - which I'll probably do - I'll find more to appreciate in them. A rich and powerful character study. ...more
The story of a group of friends who first meet at summer camp as teenagers, when they're young and sensitive and trying to discover who they'll be. A The story of a group of friends who first meet at summer camp as teenagers, when they're young and sensitive and trying to discover who they'll be. A few decades later, they're still in touch, and for some of them, their lives are still defined by those heady times and the crises they weathered together. For some, it might be time to let go of those loyalties, but that's easier said than done. I found this so resonant. It reminded me of when I went to college and met people who were so unlike anyone I'd met before - talented, driven to make a mark in the world, and free to do it for the first time as they made new lives away from home. These are people who shape your life afterwards - either you want to keep up with them or you want to leave them well behind, but they will always be part of an unforgettable, formative time. The characters are nuanced and complex, the prose beautifully done. A book I'll read again. ...more
I galloped through this, and didn't want it to end.
I am a horse nerd, and would have happily read it just for the equestrian adventure, but it is farI galloped through this, and didn't want it to end.
I am a horse nerd, and would have happily read it just for the equestrian adventure, but it is far more. It is an inner journey too, a voyage to the very essence of wilderness. The Mongolian landscape is a vast space where you are just a speck with nothing around you but distance. The horses are Lara's main companions, as removed from human concerns as the land itself. She rides a different one for each leg of the journey, sometimes several in one day, randomly picked from whatever the herders have available. Some are co-operative; some are slugs; some are mad. All are magnificently themselves, creatures of the moment, full of physicality and instinct, a brief contact with Other.
The story, of course, follows familiar patterns. Lara is an experienced and competitive rider, as you might guess from her surname, but in this race she is the outsider. She entered on a whim, is impulsive and badly prepared, and her rivals have considerable endurance experience. It's no secret that she wins the race and sets world records as well, so the story follows the classic underdog arc. But that's hardly what matters. The nature of the journey - and its delight - is about this strange inner time, living moment by moment in wildness, on semi-wild horses, and the way this author can insert us so perfectly into every heartbeat of the experience, in language that is as direct and strong as her spirit. ‘He’s in tearaway mode. The wind blows hard and blocks our ears. His legs throttle as if dying to catch up with themselves, hooves flattening thousands of grass stems a second. He is a madman awakened. I love it, him, his intention.’
Her humour is incredibly likable too. Here’s just one example: she describes mutton pastries that are ‘so hardy you could send them round the world in the post’. When I finished, I went immediately on line to see if she'd written more books. She hasn't, yet. But I hope she can be persuaded to. ...more
A beautifully written, agonisingly honest memoir about the sudden and shocking disintegration of the author's marriage. Every line is rich with meaninA beautifully written, agonisingly honest memoir about the sudden and shocking disintegration of the author's marriage. Every line is rich with meaningful detail, yet expertly economical. Scott Gould draws us into his warm, nurturing family with an account of his elder daughter's orthopaedic surgeries, and we feel his disbelief that this home will soon be split. He and his wife become strangers, a process narrated in spare and striking details. 'These days she does not say if she is going for a run or to the store, she just leaves as if ths is rehearsing for the final exit'. As he struggles to move on, he returns to his wife's home town in Italy to write about an American fighter pilot, though he also has less noble intentions. He tries to integrate with her people with limited success (and enjoyable self-deprecating humour) and underneath is the unfathomable pain he is still reckoning with. He writes of the pilot: 'What does a man think as he glides to the end?' - his own predicament too. Highly satisfying. ...more
I so loved this book. After I finished it, I flicked through it again to savour the descriptions, gazed at the photos to drink in their bleak, beguiliI so loved this book. After I finished it, I flicked through it again to savour the descriptions, gazed at the photos to drink in their bleak, beguiling atmosphere. A spellbinding account of the wild places that lie just on the outskirts of our shores....more
**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed this to begin with. Gilgi is a complex, impulsive character with big ambitions, whose world is about to change. The**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed this to begin with. Gilgi is a complex, impulsive character with big ambitions, whose world is about to change. The glimpses of wartime Germany are vivid and stark, and we have to admire her spirit and determination. However, after she falls in love, I found her actions less and less understandable, and by the end I was losing my belief in the main character. ...more
**spoiler alert** There were moments when I really enjoyed this novel but it never really grabbed me. I didn't enjoy the main character's general pass**spoiler alert** There were moments when I really enjoyed this novel but it never really grabbed me. I didn't enjoy the main character's general passiveness, although I do realise that was an essential part of her nature. I did enjoy the characters who escaped from the dingy yellow house, and the glimpses they sent back of their much expanded lives. These were very affecting. Overall, though, it looked like an idea that was stretched too far. There was an ending that tied things up too neatly, and I didn't really believe it. ...more
**spoiler alert** The story opens with a startling moment - Stewart Detweiler, failed novelist, finds his twin brother hanging from a beam in a remote**spoiler alert** The story opens with a startling moment - Stewart Detweiler, failed novelist, finds his twin brother hanging from a beam in a remote lakeside house. But instead of reporting the death, he adopts his dead brother's identity. The narrative splits, to tell us about Stewart's life in the past, and his life from the moment he makes this heartstopping discovery. Stewart is also a creative writing teacher, and a jaded one, so the narrative is peppered with awareness that he is writing, references to cliches he sees too frequently in his students' work. Frequently, he tells us that we mustn't necessarily believe what we read. So duplicity abounds - both in terms of subjectivity and truth and in terms of duplication. Stewart is, of course, duplicated, but his dead brother is duplicated even more - he reinvented himself as a bestselling lifestyle guru and changing his name - a change that Stewart was unaware of until he saw a subway poster. Another angle on duplicity: Stewart feels like he has been fooled. With duplicities nesting into each other like Russian dolls, this is the kind of book that can become confusing, too fond of its clever contradictions, too muddled and meta. This can make for sterile reading as it seems to tell the reader 'don't take this seriously, none of it is real, you fool'. Selgin's Duplicity doesn't. He is a writer with heart, and also with great craft - so while he is creating clever conundrums, they are totally believable. Selgin keeps you involved with the tormented human at their centre, even when his behaviour is embarrassing. Even when he is talking about tired writing and cliches, because he himself is tired of writing - somehow, Selgin tells us this with language and imagery that is fresh and inventive, which makes it real. It's a book that's interested in questions of twinhood, but ultimately, they aren't dry and philosphical. They're human - about the various people we are, how we disappoint ourselves, perhaps sabotage ourselves, perhaps become emboiled in rivalries that aren't reciprocated or don't exist. Thought provoking and involving. I received a copy of this book via the author and am reviewing it voluntarily. ...more
**spoiler alert** An interesting take on the apocalypse novel. Slickly assembled, as you'd expect with Robert Harris. Just the title alone is masterfu**spoiler alert** An interesting take on the apocalypse novel. Slickly assembled, as you'd expect with Robert Harris. Just the title alone is masterful and resonant. He deftly plants details from our lives now and shows how they've changed. Motorways are described with wonder as 'roads that were a hundred feet wide'. In London, a tunnel has been excavated at Blackwall. Plastics survive, though the metal of cars has long ago rotted. These recognisable artefacts are one of the joys of apocalyptic fiction: what survives, what doesn't, and what people think of it. And there's a mysterious structure at the top of a hill that has to be a bunker... I read in a screaming hurry, aching to know what was in that bunker. Consequently there are probably many details I've missed, and maybe a few questions I should have asked, such as why you'd get up in the middle of the night (between first and second sleeps), when it would be pitch dark and you didn't have electric light. But the charm of Harris's creation kept me going. ...more
**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed this. Jo and David Henniger are driving to a party in a remote part of Morocco when they run over and kill a young fo**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed this. Jo and David Henniger are driving to a party in a remote part of Morocco when they run over and kill a young fossil-seller, Driss. Thus begins a strange and gripping story full of moral grey areas and lies. A prevalent theme is longstanding, weary marriages. Jo and David are stale and distant, barely tolerating each other. Richard and Dally are more devoted to each other, but only because they keep themselves amused with flamboyant weekend parties, despising their guests while being lavish hosts. There are also the Bloodworths in Spain, who invite Driss to live with them, clearly to fill a void in their lives. There are also the servants, who are disgusted by the Western guests, while looking after their every need. Lawrence Osborne is at his best when he's writing about the complex feelings his people stir in each other. Attraction and revulsion, like and dislike, selfishness and generosity are constantly swirling in everyone's hearts. He uses this to sinister and chilling effect when Driss's father, bent on revenge, comes to the party and demands that David comes away with him. Just as sinister is Richard's behaviour - he'll happily throw David to the lions because he doesn't want troublesome neighbours. And actually, can you blame him? What else could he do? While David is away, Jo has a few awakenings and swears she will divorce David, that she is happier and freer and more real without him. When he returns, there is a moment when they notice great differences in each other, and we wonder if they are changed, perhaps even ennobled. Then old habits resume, they fall back exactly into their previous behaviours. The longstanding emotional ecosystem of their marriage is not so easily disrupted. Osborne makes much of the setting - frequently reminding us that the Sahara desert was once an ancient sea, full of fossils. As perhaps these relationships are fossilised, set in stone. Jo has several important experiences in water, while swimming. Seas are on Osborne's mind. However, I found the book could have done with a stricter edit. There were several times where I reread a sentence, finding that it contradicted itself, and in a way that didn't seem intended by the author. Quite a lot of times, he seemed to get tangled up in his pronouns - a 'they' would change its meaning. The ending is a little thrillerish, and possibly didn't need to be. But I'll definitely read more of him. ...more
How have I waited so long to read this? An enthralling tragedy, beautifully done. Flaubert's luch awareness of the natural world makes the characters How have I waited so long to read this? An enthralling tragedy, beautifully done. Flaubert's luch awareness of the natural world makes the characters themselves into forces of nature, no more able to change or resistdriven by urges they are unable to resist. The plotting is deft too. You might think you know where it's going, but it doesn't ... and yet it does. ...more