There is something very memorable about this story, and the characters in it, so I wanted to finish the trilogy even though I have no idea what this book is really about. Don't expect to get to the end and go "of course". This novel could benefit from a Poirot style final explanation in a handy appendix. But whilst the sub-plot is largely incomprehensible, I enjoyed the superficial surface story about a young couple and their search to find each other in the face of ...........er........in the face of...um.... some sort of jolly troubling adversity. If you are cleverer than me you will appreciate the hidden depths and perhaps fully understand the nature of that adversity but if not this is still an engaging, enjoyable (but long) read.
Friday, 17 February 2012
A fanciful, slightly ridiculous but enjoyable novel about a childless middle aged couple living in Alaska who may or may not conjure up a daughter from snow. Quite. This book is easy to read and the plot is compelling but, as my first sentence suggests, it does wander into silliness at times. Overall I think this book just avoids the complete absurdity of other "I-would-never-have-read-this-book-if-I-knew-the-title-was-meant-to-be-taken-literally" novels (e.g. The Time Travellers Wife and The Girl With Glass Feet). It is saved both by the plot's own uncertainty as to whether the girl is real, and by the quality of the writing, which is very good, particularly the descriptive style. That said, I would still suggest it is avoided by the more incredulous reader.
An unusual book about a family of artists who create bizarre scenes in public places in order to record the reaction of the general public. This novel is interesting and humorous but also quite a complex analysis of the influence of one's parents on one's personality and life experiences. The characters are a little unrealistic but likeable and intriguing and the writing is very good.I really enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it. If I were a completely different person I would write "this is so good I missed my tube stop!!!!!!!" but this is an unacceptable sentence for anybody with and IQ above 45 (and to be honest I was a bit hung-over and may have missed my stop even if I had been reading The Still Point - which, as a reminder, is shit).
A novel about a family in Nigeria who are forced to move out of the city and into a compound in the country when the parents divorce. I very much enjoyed this novel which is an excellently written exciting story about family relationships as well as the Nigerian political situation. The characters are well drawn, believable and often humorous. There is some violence in the book but it is not dark and is surprisingly positive. A great read.
1880s France and a young man from the country is commissioned to clear Les Innocents cemetery in Paris. Loosely based on historical fact this novel is dark but very enjoyable. The writing is incredibly descriptive and whilst this is often adds to the charm of this book, it is a little cumbersome at times. The plot is engaging and unusual although it tails off a bit towards the end.
As this is an ostensibly French novel one feels able to bring up the thorny gender issue. If I were French and in charge of that sort of thing (which surely I would be if I were French), this book would be 'le'. It is masculine. So whilst I enjoyed it, I imagine a man would enjoy it more. And this isn't sexist - it's just French grammar.
A novel about two girls who work as secretaries in New York in the 1930s. The novel follows their relationship with a set of upper class debutantes and bachelors. This book is about challenging social assumptions and prejudices but is also a straightforward, easy to read story about 1920s society. The writing is good but the plot is a little slow at times. I enjoyed this novel but it is not particularly memorable and for me it did not have the impact promised by a lot of the reviews (real reviews. By actual professionals. Trust them)
A well written written but depressing novel about the aftermath of World War I. This book is quite heavy and examines the nature of relationships as well as the impact of serious trauma on the young men fighting. I enjoyed reading this novel because the writing is fantastic. But at the same time it is a difficult read because the plot is really quite depressing. I can appreciate that it is an excellent commentary on the effect of war but it is a tough emotional read. This book should definitely be on your reading list, but it's not going to cheer you up.