I rarely read nonfiction and even more rarely go out of my way to read nonfiction. However, when I saw the cover to the right I HAD to request a copy of this book to read. I requested a copy from the publisher via Net Galley. The response below is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return for reading the novel.
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is two-for-two for wonderful books I’ve read so far! Comet’s Tale was an endearing read and touching read, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Art Forger, which I read earlier this year.
Now the reason I requested to read a copy of this book is because of the beautiful greyhound, Comet, on the cover. I currently live with a greyhound and she constantly baffles me with her joie de vivre and just her lovable personality and I wanted to know if she was unique. Blogging world, meet Olivia:
How can you not love her adorableness in that photo? Tom took this photo one day after everyone else had left for work and it definitely made my day. That is pretty much how she spends her days lounging at home. I think it’s hilarious that she’s so sprawled out and always tease her about how she should be more lady like, but it means she’s comfortable and loves us. Olivia is about six years old and is a retired racer (tattoos and all) and she definitely shows a lot of the same characteristics as Comet from the book. The way she plays, the way I know she judges me and her higher-than-thou look she gives you when she thinks you’re being an idiot are just a couple of examples.
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.
Sorry everyone, I needed to take a few minutes and vent a few things about the book blogging community and blogging in general. As I was writing I realized some of it was just me being petty, but part of it is a larger issue that I just don’t want to be the one to raise.
You aren’t supposed to be able to read what I’ve written (except for the last two paragraphs) because I used the NaNoWriMo Word hint to hide what I wrote. I did this to 1) get this off my chest and allow me to step-over-it and 2) so that I didn’t offend or upset anyone.
There is one thing – I will ‘vent in public,’ if you will. Just keep in mind this is a personal opinion (and stems from my work with social media/technology in my professional life), so don’t everyone line up to take pot-shots at me. When you’re writing your blog, try and remember that REALLY long blogs are difficult to read. I know I’m guilty of doing this on occasion so I’m clearly the sinner casting the first stone. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I read at least 100 blog posts a day and honestly I lose interest quickly. Just a tip from experience if you find something really interesting and find yourself writing and writing and writing, try breaking it up into a series – or creating a page for a longer/in-depth look.
Thanks for letting me vent even if I couldn’t share all of it publicly – sometimes you just have to write something out to get some sort of closure.
I searched out this novel after reading Howard’s End is on the Landing and thoroughly enjoying Hill’s writing style. And after finishing The Bird of Night I’m even more convinced of her amazing writing style and ability, it’s no wonder the novel appeared on the Man-Booker shortlist in 1972 and won a Whitbread Novel Award (now called Costa Book Awards), and it’s definitely no surprise I found it stirring. I will definitely have to check out more of her work.
The Bird of Night is a story of love and madness. The narrator of the story, Harvey, looks back on his life and his time spent with Francis, the poet, and Francis’ rise to fame and coinciding decent into madness. There’s no way I can even begin to grasp everything in this compact novel, but I can definitely appreciate the beauty of the language and the intensity of the story. The quote below sort-of sums up the novel, or at least what I got out of the novel.
“And if he is mad, it is because one man’s brain cannot contain all the emotions and ideas and visions that are filling his without sometimes weakening and breaking down. But he will be perfectly well again, he is generally well. When he is not he is in despair and when he is fit he dreads the return of his illness. What can that be like to live with?” (149)
Let’s start this review on a high note. It is rare that a book makes me fall in love with a character, and Francie is one of those few characters. The character was perfectly written and there was something about her that just made me fall in love. From her book obsession to her fierce pride and quick wit – Francie captured my heart and imagination. Even at the end when she started into her teen years and came across as somewhat hostile she kept her innocence and I just wanted to give her a hug.
There is a quote by the Federico Fellini that I believe Francie embodies, “Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that life is and things will come your way.” (Full disclosure – I found this quote via the film Under the Tuscan Sun.) Definitely check out the quotes at the end to get an idea of her character.