This is the second installment in the Clifton Chronicles. As the first one, Only Time Will Tell, it is a true page-turner – if you can say that about an audiobook? It’s a fast-paced read, the plot is full of twists and turns, and ends with a massive cliff hanger, and the characters are neatly divided into good guys and bad guys. And that can be very nice. It was a bit unrealistic from time to time – I won’t say how as it will reveal too much. But if you’re just looking for some good entertainment without making an effort yourself, this is the book for you.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is unlike anything I’ve read before. It was entertaining and nerve-racking, yet somewhat underplayed and even slow at times. It’s a damned interesting story, but also one of the most unpleasant reads ever. You know that feeling when you’re watching a movie where someone breaks into a house and then the person who lives there comes home and the intruder has to hide? It’s unbearable in a squirm-around-in-your-seat-kind-of-way, right? That’s how it felt reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. If I hadn’t listened to the audio, I don’t think I ever would have been able to finish. There was one particular scene that made me gasp loudly (while I was at the gym – not embarrassing at all!!! No no …) where Tom Ripley slips and is nearly busted. Insufferable!
The brilliant thing about this book is that you kind of get to like Tom Ripley, even if he is a creepy psycho. I actually found myself rooting for him – I wanted him to get away with murder. What’s even worse: there were times I could identify with him! That scared the shit out of me. It was just little observations on life and people. Like this quote:
Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.
That could just as well have been something I had said. Don’t get me wrong, I would never murder someone and steal their identity. Unless that person had a really awesome book & shoe collection.
No writer should be the same as another, that’s not art.
Marry me, Zelda. We’ll make it all up as we go. What do you say?
What an enjoyable and delicious read! I felt I was right there next to the Fitzgeralds. I danced at their parties, sipped their champagne, inhaled their cigarette smoke, looked over their shoulders as they wrote stories and essays, and took sides when they argued.
The audio did the story and period credit. It opened and closed with a little jazz tune – so atmospheric! The novel did really well in describing the Golden 20s. It’s an interesting time to read about and the Fitzgeralds are brilliant characters – ambitious and wild young people throwing themselves at parties, alcohol and drugs.
It’s a grown-ups’ playground, isn’t it?
It was wonderful getting to know Zelda Fitzgerald, the woman behind the Great Scott Fitzgerald. I loved her as a rebellious teenager, devoted bride in love with her brilliant husband, lonely wife and passionate artist and dancer. I enjoyed Zelda’s take on early feminism -it seemed honest and touching in many ways. She could see sense in feminism, admired these strong and independent women, but had no idea how to become one herself:
I considered how I might become more like the women I respected and admired. Surrounded as I was by ambitious, accomplished women, I couldn’t ignore the little voice in my head that said maybe I was supposed to shed halfway, and do something significant. Contribute something. Accomplish something. Choose. Be.
It’s always a bit difficult to read a novel about the wife of one of your favourite authors, though. I can’t help despising them a bit. Even though it’s part fiction and I don’t really know how much can be trusted, I feel like yelling “You selfish bastard! I’ll never read any of your books again! There!” I felt the same way a few years back when I read The Paris Wife, a story about Hemingway’s wife, Hadley. I love Hemingway’s work, but now he makes me frown! Reading this one didn’t help, as Ernest and Scott’s friendship were a huge part of the story. And both behaved awfully! Bad boys!
I’ve come to wonder whether artists in particular seek out hard times the way flowers turn their faces toward the sun.
But I’m always a sucker for a new story, and reading this one left me with a ton of other books I just HAVE TO READ! Well at least two: Scott’s [book:The Beautiful and Damned|4708] and Zelda’s [book:Save Me the Waltz|150104].
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I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.
You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet.
- Cher (from Clueless)
I would recommend this book to:
Any sucker for Jane Austen’s beautiful prose and clever remarks – and dedicated fans of Clueless
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
Oh, how marvelous it is to revisit the world of Jane Austen. I’ve been meaning to reread Emma for ages. I read it 10 years ago for a Jane Austen class, where we went through all six novels in one semester. I love Jane Austen, but reading all the novels in one go is too much. Emma was one of the last novels we read in the class, and I’d had about enough at that point. I’ve always felt that I would have to reread Emma again at some point. As I’ve said many times before, I like variety in my books – that’s why I’ve challenged myself to read different genres in 2014: to ensure variety.
As bad as it makes me sound, part of me identifies with Emma. This is difficult for me to admit, as many – as well as myself – consider Emma Jane Austen’s least likable character. Rereading Emma felt like looking at my worst sides when I was in my twenties.
Better be without sense than misapply it as you do.
Do you prefer “fashion victim” or “ensembly challenged”?
- Cher (from Clueless)
I’m not totally like Emma: I don’t try to match make and I don’t interfere with people’s life decisions (unless they’re clearly making a mistake.) But I do sometimes have a bit of a know-it-all attitude (I’m working on it!) even though I don’t have a clue (which I’m not working on, I might add). And I can be a bit manipulative (but only when it’s really important). And finally, throughout my teens and most of my twenties, I was certain that there was no man in this world I would ever want to live with. Boy, was I clueless!
My being charming…is not quite enough to induce me to marry.
I must find other people charming – one other person at least.
Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.
And speaking of Clueless: I love doing these comparisons between Jane Austen novels and popular books and movies. For instance, Bridget Jones is based on Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones the Edge of Reason is based on Persuasion, and Clueless is based on Emma.
Let’s try to list the similarities:
• In Emma, our heroine befriends the poor Harriet Smith and teaches her how to be more ladylike – in Clueless, Cher befriends outsider Tai and tries to make her popular.
• Emma manipulates Harriet into refusing a marriage proposal from the man she loves because he’s just “a simple farmer” – in Clueless, Cher tells Tai to not have anything to do with the skater boy she adores.
• Emma convinces Harriet that she should set her heart on Mr. Elton – in Clueless, Cher convinces Tai to go for Elton.
• Emma paints a portrait of Harriet, which Mr. Elton frames, not because he’s in love with Harriet, but because it’s painted by Emma – Cher takes a photo of Tai, which Elton puts in his locker because Cher took the picture (“I’m having a Twin Peaks experience“).
• Mr. Elton proposes to Emma in a carriage on their way home from a dance – Elton makes a pass at Cher in a car on their way home from a party.
• Emma thinks she’s in love with Frank Churchill, but he’s engaged to another and they become friends instead. In Clueless, Cher throws herself at Christian who turns out to be gay. They become friends.
• In Emma, Harriet Smith is attacked by gypsies and rescued by Frank Churchill – Tai is attacked by some boys at the mall and rescued by Christian.
• At a dance, Harriet is left with no one to dance with, when Mr. Knightly saves her by dancing with her. In Clueless, Tai is alone at a party when Josh rescues her by dancing with her.
• Emma discovers that she’s in love with Mr. Knightly when Harriet declares that she’s in love with him. Cher discovers that she’s in love with Josh when Tai declares she’s in love with him.
I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.
There’s no doubt that Murakami’s writing is excellent. And when you read a book you really like that’s so long, it almost becomes part of your life and you miss it when it’s over. I’ve been listening to 1Q84 on audio for more than two months. And it’s been two great months where the audio has been my great companion on my way to and from work, at the gym or when I was just hanging out at home. My boyfriend would sometimes listen in if he was in the same room or had the door open, and he often exclaimed, “This is really good.” And it was.
That being said, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much, had I read it instead of listening to it. It would probably have been too long-winded and there are many repetitions. But I tend to be more patient with an audio where my focus is not 100 % on the story and where it doesn’t matter that some things are repeated.
I’m won’t describe the plot here. I tried once to explain what the novel was about. It took 40 minutes. So we’ll just skip this part. But I will repeat what I always say about Murakami’s stories: his stories are well-written, thrilling, fun and touching with interesting characters and captivating plots. But I didn’t get it. I always enjoy his stories and I always have the feeling that I’m just about to fit all the pieces together. But I never do. And like the sucker I am, I keep coming back for more.
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