Friday, 15 February 2008

888 book reviews

I have now read a couple more of my Triple Eight challenge books and they were both very strange!! The first one that I finished was 30 Days in Sydney: the writer and the city by Peter Carey.

The premise of the book is that a Sydneysider returns to Sydney from New York for thirty (!) days and then writes about his experiences. It is a small book so you'd think that I finish it fairly soon, but I started it, put it down, and didn't pick it up again for ages as I just couldn't really get into it!

But then I thought that I had really better finish it since I am off to Sydney soon. Anyway - a strange book, more about Peter Carey's friends and what they got up to rather than about Sydney itself. Despite the fact that there were some interesting bits I didn't think that there was much structure to the book, it just didn't flow or seem to have any clarity! Then again, that's just me, I am sure that other people enjoyed the book, but I very much doubt that I'd try and read it again!

The other book was Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin and although I have put it in the romance section it is not your typical romance, in fact, it is not your typical novel! At first I wondered what I was letting myself in for by the time I had read a few chapters as it is quite a peculiar book with it's own language (much like fantasy books though so I should be used to it!). What was intriguing was the way the author would start a new chapter with new characters and events without making any connection between characters, so the whole books is a bit more like a collection of short stories that in the end all merge to form the one story.

My biggest criticism of Winter's Tale is that the blurb at the back of the book is misleading in that it suggests that the lead character deliberately sets out to travel through time to bring back the woman he loves after she dies. This is not actually the case, Peter Lake does not set out to do this, he does mourn her, but doesn't intend to go back in time to bring her back.

Nevertheless this is an intriguing story that took me a while to get into and even when I closed the book at the end, I was still puzzling over quite what it was all about! I think that the in the end the reader simply has to put his or her own interpretation on the story and what it all means.

And now I am reading the biography of Alistair Cooke - so far so good, it is interesting reading and is thus far well written! I shall be back at some point to tell you about that one!

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