Koontz manages to marry good and evil so masterfully in this book that I was creeped out on one page and hopeful on another.
The narrator is superb, particularly as Junior, whose view of morality is so inside-out as to be comical if the consequences of it were not so horrific. His self-righteous indignation comes shining through in his incessant and ridiculous self-talk.
The narrator's take on the children -- Bartie and Angel -- in this story is equally effective. Koontz perceptive dialogue is brought to life in such a way that I couldn't help but giggle and smile at their childlike conversations and simple truths.
As usual Koontz draws on some very interesting scientific theory to make this story work. A little quantum mechanics/physics adds an interesting dimension to this human drama/thriller. He doesn't overdo it, and somehow makes you want to believe it's all possible.
If you liked Angels & Demons, you might appreciate this Dan Brown novel, which offers the same sort of labrynthine mystery and mayhem but on American soil.
Whether you buy into the symbology/beliefs ascribed to the Free Masons in this book, the puzzle that Brown places in the nation's capital city is nonetheless fascinating.
If you are looking for American Gods revisited, this is not it. If you are looking for a good YA story, this is a good option.
It's a turnabout novel -- instead of ghosts haunting the living. The living is "haunting" the graveyard. But all the demons and ghosts are simply a backdrop to a coming of age story.
And, BTW, the author does a nice job of narrating.
I hate chick lit. So, with a title like the History of Love, you might expect chick lit. Not so. Does this mean dudes will like it? Probably not, but it's not that ridiculous self-obsessed Sex in the City crap. This is a very touching book about love and a book about love. (You read that right.)
I was charmed by both Leo and Alma. I was convinced of their ages and emotional states as much by the writing as the excellent narration. Alma's list-making was a particularly inventive way to tell her parts of the tale.
Although, it seems a small part of the story, the book within a book also has some imaginative prose/ideas.
I thought the author particularly bold in one instance to suggest that an obituary Leo has written is a superior and inspired piece of writing. We accept this as fact, forgetting that its author is not the fictional Leo, but Ms. Krauss. Suffice it to say, she is a talent.
So, if you appreciate a creative yarn that's well written with quirky characters and NOT chick lit, this is a good option.
I'm not a big short story reader, but this collection -- with its common themes -- was an exception. I liked the fact that there were different voices and styles (including one I would classify as a comedy). My favorite was definitely the last one. I wished that story was a full-blown novel. I hated to leave its concepts explored only at a surface level. The anthology's editor conceded that the final story's author was the most prolific in the idea dept and you can definitely see that in his story.
This is for you if you like sci fi -- not the stories set in space, but the ones that really get you thinking about the sociology and the human condition. Plus it's got some good geek stuff in it too.
Most of the recent King books I've read have been detailed in the extreme. This can work really well is some stories like Duma Key, but it didn't work so well in Lisey's Story or, I'm afraid, in Insomnia.
The beginning of the story plods along with seemingly unending minutia. The story does pick up, though it remains detailed. So, I wonder if it was a stylistic device -- start things off really slow when Ralph, the insomniac, is old and speed things up as he starts to encounter other "levels" of reality and his age is rolled back.
I could argue the case, but I still think this story could have been told with similar result with 25-50 percent fewer words.
The mythology in the book is interesting -- Purpose vs. Random -- so it's worth reading on that account. And, because I've not read many stories with elderly characters, I quite enjoyed that viewpoint. And, I found the narrator just fine thank you very much. You can tell all the characters apart and there was no lisp or whistle -- I'm really not sure what all the whining is about.
I had this book in my wish list for a really long time, always finding something (usually sci-fi) more to my taste. Finally, when I read Stephen King's review, I downloaded the book.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book where we get to know Pi, I kept wondering if I has misread the plot summary. Where was the boat? Was it just a metaphor?
The whole second part of the book is devoted to the boy's harrowing journey with Richard Parker. I found Pi endearing and ingenious. Whether his tale was fact or fiction, I was rooting for him the entire way.
The narrator captured his innocence an optimism perfectly. I can't imagine reading it myself and hearing the voice so well.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired or entertained in an entirely different way than the typical narrative.
Is Koontz a comedy writer now? I could see this one fitting into the Scary Movie genre.
Some of the dialogue makes me think that it was written with that in mind.
It's almost as if he were dared by a friend to write a story that included a circus clown and a baker as its main characters. He certainly did it, but the result while well written is just plain bizarre.
Not my favorite Koontz by a long shot.
I can't decide if I liked this book. There were aspects of it the writing/execution that were interesting, e.g. the justaposition of the DR culture and the nerd culture. It was always a welcome surprise to hear references to LOTR and other sci-fi/fantasy in the middle of this tragic story. And that's what this story is -- a tragedy. There are a few comedic moments, but these are very few. It's mostly heart-breaking.
While I found Oscar a sympathetic character, his mother was not. Nearly half the story focuses on her life and that of her parents, who brought on the family curse from which Oscar comes to believe he also suffers.
I found the preoccupation with sex monotonous, but it certainly is central to the plot. It's almost funny when it's to do with Oscar's prolonged virginity, but it's also a driving force behind the demise of most of the characters.
On the upside, I thought the narrators were excellent, so it's an easy listen. However, if your Spanish is rusty, there will be a number of asides that you won't understand or will have to glean from the context.
I don't read much nonfiction, but this biography had me hooked. I was so fascinated by Daniel's perceptions about numbers and language, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I shared all the really interesting insights about how Daniel's brain works with my family over dinner. They were equally surprised by the contrast.
I can't say that I relate to Daniel, but I think I understand him better and I appreciate the way he thinks and feel it could be beneficial to others who struggle with math or language.
I am looking forward to watching the documentary, Brainman, to find out more about Daniel and "see" the things he describes in the audio book.
Do I dare admit to not having read this book in high school? Wasn't it required reading? Anyway, it should be. It's as relevant as ever.
In the epilogue, Bradbury said he didn't change one word or the original manuscript for this reprinting even though stage plays have had additional scenes answering inevitable questions about pivotal characters.
Reading this in 2008 for the first time, I found the entertainment culture described in this tale to be eerily near to reality. Our flat screens are similar to Bradbury's wall screens. The constant input from TV, Internet, iPod, radio makes it so that you can almost completely avoid serious conversation or reading -- two of the things missing, sadly, in Bradbury's alternate and untenable reality.
I just hope that we all don't become so numbed like Montag's friends, that we can be unaffected by war and death ... oops, I think we may already have done that.
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