Thursday, 9 February 2017

January 2017 Reviews

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Louis De Bernieres
Vintage 1/6/1991 Paperback
Work book exchange

The second book I've read from De Bernieres, and the style is definitely unique to him, a slew of characters that can make things hard to follow. Nevertheless, this style in the end makes the reader feel like they know the whole town and that is a clever way of pulling us all in.
It is a brilliant read and very easy to get through, with just enough serious events to make it exciting overall and a huge amount of miniature drama to carry the story through.
There is something disappointing in the ending and as time moves on from the bulk time period of the story. It has that same trouble with if someone is relating a true story, the ending always peters out in a trickle.
Still, the realism of the characters' romantic relationships are my favourite of all, There are obstacles, there are mistakes and there are physical and emotional injuries to survive. Those realistic elements are what I look for in books, and it was pulled off well here.
The book is the favourite of at least three people at work and a copy is slowly making its way around the office at the moment as essential reading for the team.

William Shakespeare
Heinmann 20/11/2000 Paperback
Sister's library

There are so many reasons I enjoyed reading this. Part of that joy was because this was a book from my sister's a level days so included some gem marginalia. But as well as the colourful notes with her classmates, who doesn't love a quick Shakespeare?
How did I not know the story of Othello? I really know know why, but I enjoyed finding out from the original without knowing anything of the story beforehand. The characters, as usual for Bill, are all brilliant, even meek little Emila, who I thought wouldn't feature much at all after her white bread introduction to the story. Iago's trickery and double sided language throughout is hilarious, worrying and thought provoking in equal measure.
I would recommend reading Shakespeare if you don't already, it's not as impenetrable as you might think, particularly with edited editions that have page by page glossaries to help out. Plus it's the kind of thing that is part of culture's collective unconscious and it is never going to go out of style.

Playing With The Grownups
Sophie Dhal
Bloomsbury 5/5/2008 Paperback
Christmas Haul

Roald Dhal's granddaughter did well here, she has a readable style and the voice of her character matures with the story, which I thought was very well done. The story it's self was only a little unsatisfactory by the end (of the timeline), but I think by using snapshots of the future throughout the book, that it was the best possible way to handle that passage of time.
It's a sad chaotic story of the children of a creative and adventurous mother, with the safety of money behind it all. It's self destructive characters are relate able and pitiable.
Definitely one to pass around the office as a utterly respectable read, but nothing for the classics shelf. There's definite amazing writing, but I think the subject didn't really allow space to expand the style.

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