After my amazing luck with John Boyne’s The Absolutist last year, I decided to always keep an eye on Other Press releases and I’m glad I did. I requested a copy of this book directly from the publisher and I quite enjoyed it. This is my honest response and I received nothing in return.
To start, I’d like to say that the only other review on Goodreads is worthless (to me, at least). Why bother reviewing a book if that’s all you’re going to say? The person has, in essence, re-written the synopsis of the novel (on the back cover), without any additional insight or synthesis and it came across as snide to me. If you didn’t want to read “frothy froth about rich French people and their angst,” then why’d you read it? It never pretended to be anything else and that’s why I appreciated this novel. It’s times like this when I wish I could give half stars on Goodreads because it’s not quite what I would consider 5 stars, but not quite as low as 4 stars. Now on to my response.
This novel is everything that it claims to be, an amusing inside look at the codes, manners, and morals of high society, and it’s nothing more.So if you don’t want to read a comedy of manners, then don’t. It’s sort of what I imagine Austen’s works were like when they were first published and reactions were similar to the Goodreads reviewer’s.
It may have taken two weeks to read this book, but it was completely worth it. I don’t know the last time I’ve spent this much time basking in the beauty and wonderment of a novel. 1Q84 counts for my 2013 Mount TBR and Tea & Books challenges. Now on to my response, which is jumpy and hardly all-inclusive, but hopefully it portrays some of the wondrousness this novel is. Let’s just say I can’t wait to read more Murakami, regardless of if it’s a mind f*ck like Kafka on the Shore or like 1Q84, which is also technically a mind f*ck.
How does one even begin to classify Murakami. From the two books I’ve read the only things I can definitely say are that he defies genres and bucks trends, is incredibly well versed in classic literature and music and popular culture (films and music) and his descriptions are so vivid you don’t have to strive to imagine things because you see them completely formed in front of you. What I can appreciate is Murakami usually drops a line into his books which perfectly explain the books (so far, again I’ve only read two) and this books is (NOT A REAL SPOILER, but maybe skip the quote if you don’t want to know anything – the rest is okay though.), Click here to continue reading
This is Coelho’s second book I’ve read and although it wasn’t as good as The Alchemist, it was still incredibly well written and moving. I do have a couple more of his books on my shelf and plan on saving them for when I need a break from other books. However, I might need to read the other two books in the ‘trilogy’ (according to Wikipedia) Veronika Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prim sooner rather than later.
Deepika, over at Purplebooky reviewed this book and there’s really not much more to add. It’s a deceptively simple love story with religion interwoven and provides a lot of lessons on love, life and faith. Compared to The Alchemist, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept lacked some impact (the love was definitely there, it just wasn’t as powerful) and the story is a bit less monumental. This is definitely not a bad thing because the simpleness of this story is part of what makes it so beautiful.
You’ll have to excuse the language, but this book was a mind f*ck. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean it was bad, it is actually one of the best written books I’ve read this year, but my brain hurts trying to process the novel.
A friend in the UK recommended this book to me and I only just now got around to reading it and thus it counts for my Mount TBR Challenge (22 of 25).
I did a brief cursory search to see if I should save this novel for the Literary Others event in September and I should have with the amazing character Oshima, but I’m glad I didn’t. At one point he says this and it boggled my mind at how awesome he is. I mean there were a lot more awesome things, especially as to the reveal which happens pretty late in the book, but still definitely a great character.
“In other words, you’re daring to get personal and ask about the antisocial romance that colors my warped, homosexual, Gender-Identity-Disordered life?” (296)
Seriously? How awesome is that sort of a comment to anyone?!?! So on to my (random) response to Kafka on the Shore. Keep in mind that the two major things I’ve taken away from this novel are actually only tangentially related to the novel.
Doctor Zhivago counts for three challenges, and actually wraps up one of my 2012 Challenges! It counts for the Back to the Classics Challenge (6 of 9), The Classics Club (12 of 100), and is my final book for the Tea and Books (8 of 8) challenge! I will do a wrap up post for the Tea and Books challenge early next week. For the Back to the Classics Challenge, this book was the novel from a place I realistically wouldn’t visit. After reading Doctor Zhivago and Anna Karenina I can say my aversion to visiting Russia is less, but I still would list it as not likely to travel to.
One thing I’ve learned that is vitally important when reading a classic novel is that you have to read the introduction. Sure it might tack on 20-30 extra pages, but they are there for a reason and they reveal so much information that is incredibly useful when reading a book, not to mention they give you a head’s up of what to look for as you read. For example, in the introduction to Doctor Zhivago, the following quote points out how the novel is written.
“Pasternak’s vision is defined by real presence, by an intensity of physical sensation rendered in the abundance of natural description or translated into the voices of his many characters.” (loc. 146)