"At Home" is more informative than fun, but not at all in a bad way. It is at times a bit contrived, more like a loosely-held collection of dispatches about this and that - but it is never less than entertaining. I ran to it, drove to it, walked to it and it never failed to keep me tuned in. Five out of five, for sure.
There isn't much I didn't know either from information or common sense. However, the case is strongly made and documented - and the most telling testimony, I think, is that the book has convinced me to start moving away from processed foods and cutting severely on red meat.
Wonderful, absolutely perfect narrator; endearing, lovable characters that I can't get enough of; masterful narrative structure.
Sure, the ending is a bit of a stretch, but it still goes down well. This series is one of my major addictions.
I loved her We Need to Talk about Kevin for its sharpness and laconic cynicism. Now I can't say I exactly loved Big Brother, but I did like it a lot. It's just as sharp and diamond-clear in its sparse style, and ** minor spoiler alert ** there is a twist at the end. It does explain away a lot of the stuff that seemed off-key along the way. And it is, again, a book of and for the times.
I may be impatient and superficial, but I just don't get this book. It's not that it's bad - it's just not going anywhere. Halfway through it, I've decided to put it aside and not bother unless there's nothing else to read. I understand it's a story about frustration and anger, but it falls short of almost every mark. It's too narrow in its focus - we don't know (almost) anything about her life outside her obsession, though life and affections exist on the fringes of obsession in every case. And I'm tired of the cliches on academics and the rarefied world they inhabit - and I'm also very suspicious of her reading of foreignness, which I find superficial and downright silly at times.
I'd been intermittently checking Audible for Martha Grimes titles, and finally they're here (or else I missed them when they first showed up...)
For someone who loves Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers, this is the next best thing. It's got great, well-defined main characters with no frills and not too much pop psychology, it's got great plots and atmosphere (yeah, so what if the author is American and these are British village murders?) and a good sense of humor. So what's not to love?
I hope more titles come up. This is a great series.
It's not bad. It's also possibly not very good. I finished it completely unattached to any of the characters, and, although I do understand Alderman's approach to this essential topic, it still feels like a less than rounded piece.
It's hard to tell why; I understand her attempt to take the emotions out of discussing the times surrounding a character we think may have been *the* Jesus of the New Testament. I also understand her demotion of the impact of his presence on his times and circumstances. I also like the idea of the Rashomon-like detour around various characters examining more or less the same events (or non-events). I also appreciate her circumventing final statements and definitive answers.
So I don't know why I don't like it more. I guess it lacks that "it" that sucks you in. The women are strong and vocal while apparently submitting to a male-dominated society; the good men are worse than you think, the bad men are better. They all work for small immediate purposes, under abstract notions. I guess it's such a politically correct circumvention of definitive answers that the thread is too thick and the weave ends up being unsatisfactory.
I had liked Belcanto and so I went on and read another one by this Barbara Kingsolver-cum-Sandra Brown author. I was very disappointed. Had this been written by Barbara Kingsolver, whom I don't especially love, but do respect, this novel would have made sense from a narrative and logical and emotional point of view. Had it been written by Sandra Brown, whom I neither respect nor like, it would not have pretended to be something it's not.
Written by Ann Patchett, it's a mishmash of doubtful science and implausible emotions mixed into a very creaky narrative. I did not buy the love relationship; I did not buy the guilt; I intensely disbelieved the revealing discussion between the older and younger scientist on morals and science and staying on in the jungle. I felt she had no idea what she was writing about, emotionally or scientifically or morally or from a strictly narrative point of view. There is no interest in the deeper layers of anything - morality, love, the Amazon, the tribe, humanity, literature... Shallow, pretentious, over-long fluff.
I wish she stayed away from attempts at deep psychology and relationship analyses, but as a thriller it's still among the best. Perhaps not as good as the first one in the series, still enough to keep me hooked.
I was fooled by the Pulitzer. This is a singularly uninteresting, charmless book about a topic that is currently newsworthy, but about which the author knows next to nothing. The glowing reviews must be coming from other innocent people who know even less about the topic. Very disappointing. Three stars because he got a lot of words onto a lot of pages and someone was patient enough to do a good job of reading them.
As with The Poisonwood Bible, you have to know to expect a certain amount of activism from this author. I was unaware with the first novel, but now that I know, although the dosage was so much higher here, I've been able to quite enjoy it.
Basically it slips pretty quickly into an anti-global-warming manifesto against the backdrop of a small-town marriage. I recognize the various cliches casually dropped now and again along the storyline, yet this is a warm, well-written book that I've quite enjoyed reading.
p.s. Kingsolver is not bad as a reader, either. She seemed way too dreamy for the first part, but then I either got used to it, or grew to think it suited the book - not sure which. That being said, though, I don't think it's a very good idea for authors to read.
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