03 March 2010

Honolulu ~ Alan Brennert

My Sydney read during Alphie's surgery
Interesting enough ~ mindless enough

Written by the same author as "Molokai" (which I preferred). The man does his research ... but seems unable to put it into a fictional account, to weave the facts through the narrative in natural storytelling ... way too much bald exposition. Characters are very one dimensional and are often just mouthpieces to pass on the information he has complied.

This was an interesting take on the development of Honolulu as it looked at it from a Korean perspective. The story is told by Jin, a Korean "picture" bride.

02 March 2010

The Elegance of the Hedgehog ~ Muriel Barbery

Not for me ... in spades
Boring philosophical twaddle

A recommendation from someone who described it as "life changing". The whole story line was (Plot Spoiler Alert) : Life's A Bitch And Then You Die.

The characters were not quirky ... they were self indulgent and pretentious. The chapters of "profound thoughts" ... ditto.
The devotion to Japanese culture as the epitome of taste ... ditto.

The "hedgehog' is the concierge in a Parisian apartment block (born poor, self educated genius hiding her light under a bushel). Another resident is a teenager (born rich, genius, wants to die because ... drum roll ... no one is up to her standards). A more deserving pair you could never meet!! Both are overwhelmingly judgmental and narrow minded and superior to all (except perhaps the aesthete who moves in a recognises their uniqueness)