this book was amazing, freaky, scary, frustrating and totally totally F'ed up.
this is a story of obsession and insanity, yes. but it's also a story of friendship and love, unhealthy love. of dependence and self loathing. of how decisions can stunt and haunt someone. it's a story of race and intolerance. it's a story of art and literature and beauty and freedom.
nora, a teacher in cambridge, is psycho. i mean...seriously. she becomes obsessed with a family -- not as a family -- but as three separate units. she's in love with all three of them, mother, father, son -- in unhealthy and insane ways.i truly do think that nora is clinically psychotic. but god, what a fascinating narrator she makes for this story. so...i will say without any doubts, i did not like nora. i think for all she pats herself on the back for being such a great person, friend, woman, teacher...she's really kind of an asshole. but i guess it all goes back to the fact that shes INSANE. and so, as unlikeable as i find her, i couldn't stop reading her story. of course in a book like this, i know upfront that i cannot trust her as a narrator and so i found myself doubting everything she said. at times, she even said as much...that she was telling these events as SHE perceived them...maybe not how they actually occurred. but how well Claire Messud wrote her perceptions....it's amazing. i reveled in hearing each moment she spent with the three members of the Shahid family (reza, sirena and skandar). i was excited for every new development that progressed in each string of the story...and how they all wove and intertwined with each other.
i've listened to a few books read by Cassandra Campbell in the past. i'm the first to admit that she is not usually my favorite narrator. there is something about her that irks me. and in this book -- that only lent itself to making her voicing nora's insanity strong and true. it sounds strange, but the fact that i don't love her narration worked for me in this story -- because i didn't like nora either.
i was on the edge of my seat this entire book, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and was horrified and amazed when it did.
loved this dissection of an American family in the aftermath of a tragedy and how each member copes (or doesn't) with it.
i think the characters were so strong...it was like i was living this story through them. i knew how each of them thought, felt, existed.
the way Johnston handled the thought provoking experience of losing (and finding) a child was really expertly done. i couldn't stop the story from running in my head -- and i expect to continue to think about it for a while.
i was surprised and extremely impressed with how this novel ended...really really liked it
i love how this novel jumped back in time to four generations of inhabitants of the hundred-year house. starting in the "now" and going back with so many secrets intertwining all three generations. every section answers questions, gives you more questions, and wraps you up in the secrets and lies and intensity of the house.
i loved the character development, even in the shortest sections -- i loved the interactions between the artists, the owners, the caretakers and the house itself. the house was the main character (obviously) and held all the secrets in its walls and under it's soil and in every part of it.
would read again.
ok. spent some time thinking about this book...and maybe the fact that I couldn't decide how to review it should make me give it a higher review..but i don't know, i just can't.
while the book is beautifully written...i just felt something was incomplete in the story. it is a very slow build and nothing in particular made me want to keep reading (though i did, to the end, so maybe it's sadness made me want to know how it ends). i guess i just felt like while there was some worthwhile prose and some interesting commentary on grief and how people handle it....but i'm not sure the book as a whole felt complete and i don't think i would recommend it to anyone.
i like the way Beukes writes. one of the better writers in this type of crossover genre that i've read.
this book in particular is extremely graphic and thrilling and very well done. all of the narrators are great...well thought out and have unique and exciting voices. i loved layla the best...but was also quite interested in TK's path in the story.
Really well written book. It made me sad to read, but kept me fascinated with the magic and history and characters. It's a book about secrets and more secrets. And as each of the secrets came to be revealed more and more trouble fell upon the characters. I truly didn't want the story to end...I could have followed these characters infinitely.
solid classic King story. i really liked the fact that this novel had a huge lead up to a really really scary payoff at the end. Jamie Morton was a great protagonist....he was your typical King lead male antihero, with a great back story and a wonderful voice.
Charles Jacobs was an awesome creepster. You knew from the start there was something...off...and of course when the apex of the story hits you're floored at just how off. The ending, though a bit rushed, comes out of nowhere and scares the shit out of you...in true King style.
I am a fan. I will always be a fan. I love his sick mind and am glad he shares it with all of us.
it's one of the best books i've read this year. definitely top 5 for 2014.
the emotional rawness of each of the characters
it's hard to choose a favorite scene...the book is full of tragic snippets of these two girls/women and each is devastating and beautiful and raw all at the same time.
the end of the book really made me rethink my notions of both characters.
Peter Heller is an amazing writer. he writes the most complex male characters. they are so masculine, but have fragile and empathetic sides...they are delicate and strong at the same time. they are smart, witty, full of depth. and they are full of violence and grief and something that you just love and root for. this book made me so unsteady...it was heartbreaking and shocking and sad...
read by Deakins, his characters become real and intimate and even more honest.
i think Heller is one of the best authors of our time.
this is a tough book to rate and review. i found most of the main characters so selfish and self consumed, it was hard to feel any genuine empathy or sympathy for them. both sisters at the heart of the story were horrid girls. i kept trying to convince myself they weren't so bad...that they were just teenagers...but i just couldn't excuse their behavior.
i think that parts of the story, the study of human behavior and misinformation at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, were quite interesting. i was too young when this story took place to know that this is how people reacted to someone with AIDS. it made me sad. it made me mad.
but the actual family this story revolved around, i didn't really care for or about, and so i have a hard time saying i liked this book.
this book was truly scary. i mean...what a well written story. i think it's supposed to be categorized "post apocalyptic" but really i think it's a horror novel. i was scared from beginning to end and i loved every word of it.
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