I am gradually reading through all of Bryce Courtenay's novels. Most have been riveting. This one is almost like 3-4 novels in one - all with the same characters. It is by far the longest of his very long novels that I've read. I like a long novel that continues to entertain. As usual, Bryce Courtenay educates while he entertains. I know there are some flaws in this novel, but I'd recommend it to anyone who likes an excellent, satifying tale that is very long.
I'm a big fan of DeMille and was looking forward to a long, fast paced mystery and thriller, only to slog through hours of essentially a travel log of Vietnam. DeMille is a good writer and kept me reading, despite feeling numb, by hinting that there were some fascinating secrets yet to be revealed. But after reading about 2/3 of the book, I couldn't walk through another Vietnamese town or rice field. I couldn't read another detailed description of places the main character recognized from his two tours of duty. Maybe, if Id ever been there I could relate. I may never know the ending to the book, but the slow grind just wasn't worth it. Although I can't finish this book, I'll certainly try again when DeMille writes another.
This story is so loaded with political correctness in the guise of being balanced, that I just couldn't finish it. It wasn't the subject of gay marriage that put me off, but the way religious people were portrayed as mean, crude, and thoughtless. This is the way many modern novels portray conservative Christians, and the ones I've met just don't look like this. The main characters are on two sides of an issue. While they both seem almost equally sympathetic in the beginning, by the middle of the book, one side gets all the mud while the other wears a halo. Ho Hum...
I am indebted to any author who writes a book that enlightens me on a topic. This book was not only fascinating, but it was an eye-opener. After reading this book, I find North Korea and it's future much more real and immediate to me.
Through the stories of North Koreans who have defected to South Korea, Demick exposes the reader to a society of people who are using every means possible to survive under a suffocating system of government. They are brave and creative, but every direction they turn for relief, they are pounded down. They are lonely and insecure in their lives because neighbors or friends may be informants. Even those who escape can't avoid guilt and frustrations caused by leaving family behind or adapting to a free society.
This is an interesting, beautifully written and read novel. I find it hard to believe that the book isn't being narrated by an actual 5 year old. It sounds so much like a child. This book is strange, fascinating, funny, and subtle. The matter-of-fact tone of the readers is very effective. It was enjoyable figuring out the emotions from the comments of an unassuming little boy, rather than narrators blatantly acting out the emotions. I don't think I'll ever forget Jack, a plucky, real little boy.
This book started out a little slowly. But it quickly picked up the pace, and, after that, I could not put it down. I think it is one of Flynn's best novels. George Guidall, the perfect narrator for a thriller, was excellent with his authoritative, trademark style. The ending came as a surprise, and although it was a well conceived ending, I wished the book could have gone on a bit longer.
I seldom pick up a book set in the 60's because they are always so loaded with sermons and guilt trips. This book is different. It is beautifully constructed, and it doesn't contain a single boring moment. It is an authentic story that seemed as real as my own life during the 60s. I was about the same age as Skeeter during that period, and our family had a maid. Maybe that's why I relate to so much of the story. More than most books, the dawning of the civil rights movement is portrayed as subtle and personal. People from any time or place will be drawn into this story of several brave women who had the courage to do what few people could ever do. I hope more books follow by this author with the same heart as this one.
John Hart has written a novel that tops his two previous books, and that's an exciting accomplishment, because his two previous books are excellent. The Last Child, told from the perspective of a young boy whose twin sister is missing, delves deep into the lives and minds of the characters that may have been involved in her disappearance. It is a warm, sympathetic investigation of people who are struggling to make sense of their own lives. This is a page-turner I didn't want to end.
Beautifully written, completely fascinating, even if you don't give a fig about dogs. This author is going to be great one day -- but this book has a fatal flaw for most readers (although professional critics will probably love it). But I could only give it three out of five stars.
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