Oh, how this book made me cry. The prose is luminescent, the love is transcendent. It should have been a faster read as it’s not a long book, but Lillie’s heart-wrenching slide into forgetfulness and despair is overwhelming and I had to take breaks. I felt like I was cheating, too, because people living with Alzheimer’s, either as the patient or someone who loves the patient, would be immersed in it, no breaks. A beautifully written, eye-opening read.
“So we find ourselves in the strange position of not knowing what happened? said Hammar severely.
“Not all that strange,” said Kollberg. “I personally hardly ever know what’s happened.”
There are actually two fire engines that disappear, but that title wouldn’t be quite as catchy. This is another delightful Story of a Crime mystery from the Swedish husband and wife writers Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Infinitely readable. I can go through one of these books in a single lazy day, but they are not easy so much as they are compact. Words are not wasted in these novels. The humor is wry; the action moved briskly along; our hero detective squad peopled by cops whose personalities are finely sketched and not always likable. My favorite in the series is still “The Laughing Policeman,” but don’t pass this one by.
This is almost a wonderful book, but I felt like I was reading a draft. There is so much potential here, and all it needs is smoothing over from a couple more rewrites. The omniscient narrator is difficult to pull off and I felt there was frequently more telling instead of showing. Lots of typos, misplaced or missing paragraph breaks, punctuation errors, things like “loose” instead of “lose.” I acknowledge that I am pickier than a lot of people about the mechanics, but I personally dislike stumbling over things like that. It pulls me out of the story.
BUT. ..there is a lot of good stuff here too. I really like the characters, quirky and half-crazy. I love the lion dog and the Dutch nudists. The sense of place is wonderful. I’d look up from reading and think, wait a minute, I really need to be camped out by a falling-down old farmhouse in the French countryside .. what the heck am I doing on this metro bus in downtown Seattle? The story itself is original, nicely plotted, and as enchanting as the spring of Maraval. I’m interested to read more from this author.
I received an ARC through NetGalley and Cameron Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
|Some of my favorite trees. Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods
State Park, California.
Time, and judgment, stand still.
I often feel more at home in an Anne Tyler novel than I do in my own life. She has confirmed in a BBC interview that this is to be her last novel, so it’s not just a horrible rumor. Well…she’s been writing superb studies of family and love and home for 50 years, so I guess she’s entitled to retire, but it still makes me sad. That’s the only way in which this last book disappoints. She is as poignant and lovingly funny as always, her characters so finely drawn I feel I know them better than I know my own family. If you’re looking for high drama look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for the extraordinarily ordinary that most of us live, you’ll be right at home in these pages and in the Whitshank house.
“The evening’s the best part of the day.” Not always, in matters of the heart. This is one of the most deliciously ironic and bittersweet books I have ever read. Ishiguro does a masterful job of telling a story between the lines.
“Everyone struggles against despair, but it always wins in the end. It has to. It’s the thing that lets us say goodbye.” As it did to others, the book’s title had me thinking of an idyllic English shire. I was surprised to be reading a present-day Iliad. Eugenedis’ writing is clear and cool like a running stream on Olympus. Excellent modern epic.
|Mike Licht, Flickr/Creative Commons|
And…and…I was disappointed that this didn’t happen around National Novel Writing Month…but I’m just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo! It’s a sign from above! S’mores for everyone!
I don’t understand all the praise. This book is awful. Flat, stereotyped characters. Jerky timelines and POV’s that switch suddenly and clumsily. I keep having to backtrack to check where we are in time and whose head we’re in. How exactly do you smack yourself in the head so hard that it “reverberates in the empty room” (that we’ve already been told isn’t empty) or tremble so hard somebody can’t hold on to you? Take a minute and picture those things, seriously. Hamfisted, overdramatic, contrived. Yes, I get the story, I really do get it, it’s about prejudice and power and the moral choices each of us makes, and had the story been told well this could have been a Truly Important Book. Campbell is capable of a good turn of phrase –describing buildings in a depressed part of town as “the color of bathtub rings” was evocative. As it is, it comes off as a sophomoric soap opera. Life is too short for bad writing, but I have to finish this because it’s assigned reading for an MCS class. At least I can sell it back after the quarter.
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first Ash Rashid novel, but I see it is #4 in a series.
It started out well, but at about the 50% mark it seemed to get loose, like somebody stopped halfway through a rewrite. For example, another detective tells Ash they picked his family up for protection, but a few pages later they’re right where they had been and Ash picks his daughter up from school. In another spot he makes sure there is a round in the chamber, and then a couple of paragraphs later he chambers a round. Little things that made the story not quite tight and pulled me out of it, and I don’t know how much of that is due to final proofing not being done yet. The final chapter was disappointing. The author stopped showing and started telling, issuing a clinical wrapup with no real life in it, more like a closing a case file than ending a story. The outcome of the city-wide attack wasn’t very believable.
I liked the peeks into the life of a Muslim family, giving me some understanding of customs and beliefs as well as the prejudices they face in America. The inclusion of Santa Muerte was also a treat, although I wish she wasn’t strictly associated with criminals.
Overall, though, an enjoyable police procedural mystery; I’ll check out the first three in the series.