Archive for the ‘Fiction’ category

The Death of a Beekeeper

When I get home, I look at the cover of the book—it’s a black and white photograph of a landscape that’s very typically Swedish: the flat, well worn rocks extend out to the sea; a spit of land fringed with birches and pines juts out into the water. It’s a calm scene and now that I have been lulled into stillness, images and thoughts that have been buried beneath layers of noise and activity float up into my mind’s eye.

And the Mountains Echoed

Bleak mid-winter is not, perhaps, the ideal time for reading this dark tale and reviving old ghosts, but my love (and dread) of a good story endures; the beauty of Husseini’s writing is compelling and his ability to tell a good yarn is spellbinding.

Pod Mocnym Aniolem

Wiem, że alkoholikiem może być każdy z nas, i profesor i lekarz i karmiąca matka i tramwajarz. Wiem, bo znam ich wszystkich. Otrzymują od społeczeństwa szacunek i podziw, a niejednokrotnie nie wiemy że są zwykłymi alkoholikami, którzy po powrocie do swojej własnej rodziny sieją lęk, strach i terror. Wiem, bo byłem członkiem takiej rodziny.

Under The Jacaranda

Home, of course, is where the heart is, but there is great comfort to be found, I believe, living where you don’t have to explain yourself; where an unspoken glance and even a shared silence is understood; where repartee and sense of humor is shared and the familiar is everywhere; where we blend in and belong.

Scorpion Soup

I feel a little irked by the lack of real delineation: each story has its own title, flush right in big letters, but that’s not really the beginning of a story. The real beginning is the beginning of the first story in the book. It’s a bit misleading, but there is something in it that delights me, too. It may be stringing me along in spite of myself, but if I have a goofy grin on my face the whole time, why should I complain? I’m being whisked off to places I’ve never seen before. It feels ungrateful to complain about not knowing where the magic carpet is going when I should focus on the fact that I’m flying on a magic carpet.

Stay Close, Little Ghost

In the last few breaths of his book, Serang’s voice arrests me. Until now, I’ve been aware of his adeptness at playing with the artifice of fantasy and fairy tale. He employs the imagery that these storytelling forms invite him to use but it’s when he allows this structure to fall away that his voice transforms…

Divisadero

Romantic love in German films is painful, and often fatal. French love is passionate, angry, and jealous. American love is cute and funny. The syntax of these fantasies is so hardwired in our brains that we’ve forgotten how to use our senses to truly observe love. We’ve forgotten how to read our interactions with others in a way that can allow us to understand what’s actually going on.

1984

I absolutely believe in equality in terms of our basic rights, and especially in terms of respect. Deep down, I think that is what we are all after, to not be walked on and to be spoken to as if we matter. I make an effort to that end every day. But I also believe in being recognized for our personal achievements in absolute honesty. I don’t want extra points just because I’m a woman. That is special treatment, not equality.

Bring Up The Bodies

The novel comes across to me, therefore, as a study of the role of those hidden, behind-the-scenes, unelected advisors and the power they can wield, with impunity, to great effect. Coming, as I do, from a background in human resource training and development and having a particular interest in leadership and human behavior, the book appeals on several fronts…

Choke

I really like Victor Mancini as a character, but I have a hard time caring about the situations in which he’s placed. He presents everything he does in this larger-than-life way, and it’s getting to the point where his narrative is just too grand to relate to. It’s as if the plot never quite finds its focal point. Sometimes Victor’s a sex addict. Sometimes he’s an actor. Sometimes he’s the angel…

The Conspiracies of Dreams

…we have two characaters named Isaac and Rebecca who are rehearsing Milton’s Samson Agonistes as the play’s lead roles, Samson and Delilah. Perhaps the book was written for people who didn’t go to Bible school every Sunday for the first eighteen years of their lives, but I’m finding the presentation of the character parallels heavy-handed. I would have preferred a bit more subtlety and the chance to have an ‘Aha!’ moment…

Bel Canto

How is love measured? Can it even be measured at all? Different people show love in different ways, so I would think it would be difficult to quantify. It’s easy for us to assume that ‘if someone loved us, they would do…’ but perhaps that isn’t necessarily true either, particularly if there are different kinds of…

For The Roses

I love how Garwood starts each chapter with a letter that the characters wrote to their Mama Rose for several years before the ‘start’ of the story. It gives me glimpses of the past without breaking the momentum of present events. Some are short and funny while others are lengthy…

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Because prejudice about working women with children still exists, I always felt it necessary when my children were young, never to draw attention in my working life to the fact that I was a mother of three. As a consequence, I secretly struggled, juggling the multi-tasks necessary…