Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Another book made into a disappointing film -- and, like "Children of Men," also features Julianne Moore. I'm sure that's coincidental. The problem with both is the poor adaptation.
José Saramago won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. This book, written in 1995, was translated from its original Portuguese, but I would not suppose, from how well the storytelling flowed and the gorgeous language used, that it lost anything through its translation.
Like most works by Saramago, the novel contains many long, breathless sentences in which commas take the place of periods. The lack of quotation marks around dialogue means that the speakers' identities (or the fact that dialogue is occurring) may not be immediately apparent to the reader.
Monday, March 15, 2010
...it seemed to him that midwife and patient were one woman and that he, too, was part of the pain and the labouring, not really needed but graciously accepted, and yet excluded from the heart of the mystery.
Friday, March 12, 2010
It's a definite departure from the other books I've been reading. The dystopia is present, but it's woven into the backdrop and is never directly confronted.
That does not detract from this beautiful story, though. The hints of what is wrong with the society blend in with the rest of the events, which take place largely at a boarding school in England. The majority of the book is the recollection of a "carer" (sort of like a nurse, but with a slightly darker role) and her time from early childhood to young adulthood.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I eat books like this for breakfast.
It has so many elements I revel in, the darkness, the difficulty, and an author who (huzzah!) was not overly protective of her characters; they suffer all manner of hardships.
I thought it was a little morsel of delight. I blazed through it in a couple of well-spent hours.
Told entirely in the first-person by a young girl, it describes her living through war-torn Europe, what she needs to go through to survive, and what she loses. The narration is perfect, youthful without being annoying, nothing hamfisted about the meanings or messages, when they exist. And the characters were strong, occasionally mystical, and the knowledge that we were seeing it all through another person's eyes was ever-present without being overwrought.
It was a lovely, dark breath of fresh air. And, finally, an ending worth reading towards! I loved it.
I wondered about the dystopian nature of the book, but then I made a decision.
I'm working by the definition of 'dystopian' given by Wikipedia, which says: "Dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor, or oppression. Dystopias usually extrapolate elements of contemporary society and function as a warning against some modern trend, often the threat of oppressive regimes in one form or another. It often features different kinds of repressive social control systems, a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions and a state of constant warfare or violence."
Alright then. It certainly qualifies.
This is Meg Rosoff's first novel, and it's very impressive. She has since written other books and, dystopian or not, I'm excited to read them as well.