Guildford, United Kingdom | Member Since 2006
I must admit I have always been fascinated by the human facility to shape truth into whatever form we need to affirm our lives. Where is the line between faith and blind stupidity? How can the deeply sad delude themselves into remaining in desperate situations for a lifetime? How can you take a concept as majestic as God and use it to fulfil personal desires? You can approach this unusual novel on this level, but it is also a gripping read where 2 stories are juxtaposed against one another. A contemporary story of such outlandishness the modern reader might question the reality of the framework upon which it is written. Surely such things do not exist in modern America? And yet, research reveals, they do. The 19th Wife is an excellent novel as well as being a satisfying diversion. It has made me question the certainty of my own life, which to me is the mark of true art. But this book is also excellent craft, with realistic characters and a pair of interesting plots. I definitely recommend it.
I have rarely heard a better production made with more care. This book is an excellent narrative told from the viewpoint of a child born into the captivity of a 12 x 12 room. It also makes us look at the superficiality of our culture and the extraordinary things that ordinary people can achieve if beset by hardship. In this case a woman who is kidnapped and forced to live in captivity for 7 years. If I get snowed into my house for 2 days I start freaking out, so I do not really want to imagine what this character has had to endure before we end up meeting her and her wonderful son Jack.
Jo Nesbo rides the waves created by poor dead Steig Larsson. Norway is not Sweden, but close enough for the publishers to hope that the magic of one trilogy will stick to another set of crime novels. Nesbo writes improbable and convoluted plot twists I cannot help but think are meant to appeal to the throngs of jaded thriller junkies who need a constant stream of fiction in their lives but can no longer be surprised to a straight forward good read. Harry Hole (pronounced Huy-youler, not HOLE) is a drunk and I cannot fathom why his girlfriend Raquel puts up with him excepting underneath her competence she must be just as damaged as he is. Why does the murderer compulsively build snow people at every scene? Perhaps a more appropriate question is why would I care? One thing I will say is that with a Nesbo book it is impossible to figure out prior to the end of the novel who done it. Because there is such a mesmerizing array of twirling red herrings so as to confuse even the most seasoned fiction reader. There is a disjointed quality to Nesbo's narrative that keeps one reading until the end, but ultimately when you finish the last page and finally know who did what to whom, you can only snort to yourself, turn off the itty bitty book light and punch your bed mate in the kidneys until they scootch over to their side of the bed. I enjoyed the Larsson books but will definitely give the rest of the Nesbo books a miss.
The theme of this story could be that there is no justice and what happens to us is not a consequence of how good or ill we live our lives. Emma and Dexter meet at university and then for the next 20 years while they are best friends, do not manage to forge the romantic link we are meant to hope they will make. Dexter is shallow, pretty and a drunk. Emma is wet though principled and alternatively feisty and wimpy. Why would Emma yearn so for Dexter when he is so shallow? Dexter just floats along taking the advantages life throws in front of the attractive.
It's an easy read and no one in my book club shared my annoyance at this book, but if I'm going to read about people I want to read about characters I can identify with, love or hate. Not people that drift along. The writing is competant and the sense of time and place realistic, but ultimately why would anyone care about reading this book? Well, they are making it into a film so perhaps i am wrong...
I purchased this book after hearing the author interviewed on NPR by Leonard Lopate. There was something about him that intrigued me. And the book did not disppoint, though it was different to what I expected. This is a story about an intriguing character, Larry, his cousin, the author and how they take control of the situation to save Larry's life.
It's an account of their journey and the people they meet along the way. It's also about some of the ways that the people of China differ from the people of the West, and also how connections are made in spite of the differences. Often funny, I would recommend this book if just because Larrys are rare these days. He so reminds me of my father's generation, absolutely untouched by "political correctness" or deference. Larry makes no apologies for being who he is, and he is in many ways reprehensible. But why do I like him so much? Why did I root for him to succeed and survive? Please, listen to it and tell me!
We are being set up here for a sequel, I can feel it in my multidimensional bones. Well written, well read, there is a clean line between good and evil that makes this pleasant fiction, but not up to Gaiman's usual level of ingenuity. It would make a great animated movie. Would I listen to the sequel? Probably not. But keeping the attention of a 52 year old woman with this type of story is worth some kind of kudos.
Kudos to youdos Mr. Gaiman, Mr. Reaves
I would like to congratulate the producer of this excellent audio book who thought of paring the unique style of Neil Gaiman with the talent of Lenny Henry. The sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole, the book written with charm and wit, but Henry’s execution brings it to a whole other level. I just did not want it to end.
I enjoy a good yarn and joyfully anticipated listening to this historical recobble of the Pygmalian tale.
Phooee. Stinks like yesterday's diapers.
You are plunked into the middle of a purposeless mess where wooden characters bang randomly off eachother like a pinball game.
It's boring. It trite. The plot is predictible only because we've read this 100 times before. The characters do not behave like people. They behave like automatons going through the motions.
And the ultimate thing I can say about this experience is WHO CARES. You want to care about at least one of the characters. I am putting my money on the ancient retainer of the widowed aunt. He's got the most vim of the lot of them.
Would that they had an audio version of the 2 books Kathryn Harvey wrote.
Oh, yes. Finally. The woman they hired to do the reading. Her upper class English accent is punctuated by a New Jersey twang that sneaks through ever so often. That takes the biscuit.
Leave this one alone.
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