06 May 2013

The New York Trilogy ~ Paul Auster


All Hail the Emperor's new clothes!
But I can't see what all the fuss is about!!

I know, says the author, I will overcome this writer's block by just cobbling together this pile of random thoughts and call it a set of short stories.  That way I don't have to worry about the intricacies of plot lines, or character development.  Heck, I 'll just call my characters random colours or have them change their names multiple times.  It will fool readers into thinking that is something  special, esoteric, existential, high minded.  It will be paraded as deep and meaningful rather than pretentious drivel.  Who will dare to declare it has no substance!

I will, says this reader!

05 May 2013

Alex ~ Pierre Lemaitre

 *** LIKE ***

Over-hyped promotion but a good page-turner
A brutal crime thriller

This is not a brain-numbing psychologial dramaThere is a brutal plot full of twists and turns

04 May 2013

Z : A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald ~ Therese Anne Fowler

** OK **

ZZZZzzzzzz Yawn
"Golden Couple" more like pale yellow

For a story that could have, that should have, buzzed with the vibrancy of the Jazz Age, it was a bland and colourless.  What I thought was going to be a fictionalised study, based on biographical materials, could have been constructed from Wikipedia research.  The characters and the locations needed life breathed into them.  Historical facts and faces were there but they stayed on the page.

At times I thought it came across as a sanitised version of Zelda, portraying her as the champion of the feminist movement.  There was little emotional involvement with her breakdown.  Zelda just came across as a victim, controlled but not complicit.  The only "outrageous" thing I can remember her doing was taking off her panties and throwing them, and usually she was presented as a mother who would rather be at home playing with Scottie.  There was little sign of the bi-polar extremes of her personality.

03 May 2013

Tenth Of December ~ George Saunders

**** RECOMMEND ****

Shortlisted : National Book Award 2013

An unexpected pleasure
Short stories with poignancy and punch

Once I got into the rhythm of the writing style, I really enjoyed this collection.  Each story felt complete yet left you speculating about "what then?".

There were some great samples of stream of consciousness, varied points-of-view, voices in the head, dystopian corporatised futures, sci-fi realism and/or absurd surrealism.

02 May 2013

The Snow Child ~ Eowyn Ivey

** OK **

Fairy tale without the magic
Cold at heart ~ I felt no empathy

Lots of hype for this, and lots of award nominations, but it left me cold!  I love fairy tales and to a degree this was a good retelling but it didn't elaborate or develop the theme.  It plodded along in snow shoes and just didn't get anywhere.  There were some great descriptive passage - so good they were repeated a few times.

This was like a present wrapped to entice in beautiful packaging, but with nothing of interest inside.

01 May 2013

Mateship With Birds ~ Carrie Tiffany

** OK **

Mateship : friendship & sexual relations
Birds : feathered variety & female variety

As Aussie as they come, the setting was well constructed.  It breathed life into a rural landscape in the 50's.  The characters were also believably written, with observations of human behaviour as accurate as Harry's observations of the birds.

There were parts I thoroughly enjoyed : Hazel's nature diary, the school dance, the field study of the birds, the development of the relationship between Harry and Betty as they tip-toe around each other testing the waters.  But I found Harry's attempts to guide Micheal's sex education heavy-handed and repellent ... as was the writing of these sections.

The ending was abrupt but I was glad to have reached the end!