stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Exhibit C(i) in the Great Warnings Debate - proof that a sugary pink cover doesn't guarantee that the book is free of violence, rape, misogynistic slurs, etc. Although this does become apparent in the first few lines of the prologue, so one would be reasonably likely to work this out before buying. It's not like you're suddenly getting slapped round the face with it in chapter fifty-three, or whatever. And actually Koomson deals with the whole lot in a refreshingly sensible way, gives her heroine supportive friends, has no patience with apologists, etc.

Having got past the prologue, the main challenge was ploughing through the first few chapters, which were sunk in a quicksand of detailed and ineffective description. (If, for example, someone is snatching up a scarf to run out of the door in a panic, she won't stop to talk about how the scarf is stripy, will she?) This slowed the whole thing down, and it wasn't even funny over-description. Not a cerulean orb in sight. (There was a cerulean sky later in the book, though, so I wasn't too deprived.)

Overall, a sensitive look at a difficult issue, but could really have done with better editing.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6021939
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I nearly gave up on this half way through the prologue, fearing that I might die of a surfeit of adjectives. Happily, it improved massively once the actual plot started, and ended up very readable. A depressing examination of the tensions between class and gender within and between two Indian households, though ending with its own sort of hope.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10380304
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
To paraphrase Jonathan Coe's introduction, Rosamond Lehmann's last novel that's actually readable. Something of a disappointment, considering how much I enjoyed 'Dusty Answer'. I think I was slightly misled by the blurb, which implied that the novel was centred on two sisters, Madeleine and Dinah, following the death of Rickie, Madeleine's husband and Dinah's lover. Which it sort of is, but... An awful lot of the book deals directly with Rickie, who really felt like the least interesting character. I much preferred the tense scenes between Madeleine and Dinah, and there were several other characters I'd like to have seen privileged, particularly Dinah's husband Jo, who sounded absolutely fascinating and then just disappeared, and her lover Rob, who were the nearest Lehmann got to a lower-class voice. So, yes: less of Rickie, more of everyone else, please.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9968372/
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Loved this. All the things that Morrison does well - rich detail, fantastic evocation of time and place, horrors described in so matter-of-fact a way that one can't ignore them, and the importance, and joy and fraughtness, of friendship between women. Of shared but very different childhoods. The classic device of sending one girl away and leaving one at home - but it's rather more than that, because of what goes before, and because we never really learn about what Sula does at college and after, or about what Nel does at home in Medallion. A lot is left unsaid, a lot of what other authors might consider essential to the 'action', but one can take it as read.

I loved Sula herself, too - a free woman, escaping as far as is possible (which isn't very) from the expectations of her background, doing her own thing, and then coming back and doing her own thing again. I loved the way her entire existence is a rejection of the way women are expected to live (and I felt sorry for Nel, too, having to demonstrate the falsehood of that way of life). The resolution is perfect, and I only wish it could have come sooner.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6512128

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