Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Long Song by Andrea Levy


The life of July (such pretty name) is rather harsh. She is born a slave in Jamaica, and taken away from her mom to entertain the fat white mistress from England with 9 years. However the story takes place in the 1830's the chaos and end of slavery years in Jamaica.
Through July (and her son Thomas) Levy describes how chaotic and weird life was for everyone at that time. How everything changes within minutes, how white people panic (how could they possibly survive?) once a revolution starts.

I don't really know anything (take the really away, I don't know a thing) about slavery, but Levy gives a pretty authentic description of things...and checking the rest of the interwebs it's pretty accurately researched.

So it's well written (sometimes rather hard to read, though that's intended I think), interesting book. And we could all do with a little extra knowledge, right?!

One Day by David Nicholls


The story follows Dexter and Emma. They get together after their graduation 15th July 1988, with heads full ideas and plans for their future. The reader now gets to read what they do 15th July for the next 20 years. There is a lot of love, a lot of friendship, job success and massive failures on both sides. But somehow they manage to keep in touch, closer and further apart every now and then.

It's pretty cool because you don't just learn about the two of them but general feeling of the 90's, how lifestyle and life itself changed. They grow up (more or less) with all the common problems and joys. However there is a point within the middle ish end, where I wished it was a short story ... or at least would follow them for only 10 years, because there is not a lot left to say after a while. Though even the mini boredom, it picks up with a neat unexpected end (where again you wish it'd be over...there is no need for the last chapter, really there isn't).

Nice for summer I guess.

Oh there is going to movie with Miss Hathaway and lovely Mr Sturgess (the trailer gives a lot of story away though).

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel


Such highly popular and critically acclaimed novel ... and although I've read it months ago I can't decide if I liked it or not.

The story is relatively simple: Pi loses his family in an accident while travelling on a container ship to Canada. He survives together with a tiger, a hyena and a zebra. On a boat.

Once you got into the story (which took me 3 attempts and a lot of will power) the story makes sense for somewhat reason. And even though they are on a boat in the middle of the ocean it doesn't get boring.

Apparently it's the end that gets everyone (people have cried and laughed and fallen in love with the novel because of the end) but I just don't get it. I mean I do understand the story and the meaning and what he tries to tell ... but I don't get the hype around it. When I finished it I didn't really like it.
I couldn't stop thinking about it. For days afterwards I thought about the boy on the sea with his tiger. About his weird encounters with different fish and sharks and all that.

It's definitely worth the time for a read and worth all thoughts you may have about ... but I'm not sure if I thought it was that amazing.

Fatherland by Robert Harris


Fatherland is a crime novel taking place in the mid 1960's Berlin. Hitler is still alive and won the war.
The plot follows police detective Xavier March, and his investigation of the death of a high-ranking Nazi.  Soon March realizes that he is in the middle of a political scandal in which senior party leaders kill a certain group of people. He's supposed to be taken off the case.
However, March meets an American journalist, Charlie Maguire, who knows the case from a different angle. 

After both travel to Zurich together to check out the bank account of one of the victims, they uncover the missing details behind the murders.

Now though the plot may sound kind of interesting (which it really is!), it's the whole set up of the novel that gets the reader. Harris creates a Germany, a Berlin and a completely new history without going nuts on the amount of creative possibilities, but with a lot of research and sense. It's even more awesome if know Berlin and which areas of the town he's actually talking about.

The novel really does create an impression of Nazi Germany if Hitler had won the war. It also shows how European countries and in fact the rest of the world deal with it (or not). It shows how people live and fear, and you're never 100% sure if they follow their leader because they want him or because they have to. It also creates a new level to the question of knowing. 

And because the whole novel is so amazing, the end is almost too good to be true.