Book Reviews


Sorry for this quickie again, I’ll get to replying your comments soon!

Here’s an online plea: Whoever borrowed my ‘Further Under the Duvet’ book by Marian Keyes, please-please-please could you identify yourself and return it to me as soon as possible? I’ve been looking for it for ages, and I wanted to pack it up and take it with me when I get back to Brighton. I’d hate to spend another RM40 on one book twice.

Thanks.

Sorry for the lack of addressing you lovely people who frequent my blog (I can’t thank you enough, because I definitely don’t deserve it, LoL). I shall refer to y’all properly in another post. =)

Here’s a picture of the book I’m currently reading: (I’ve finished The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles – needed for Literature – but that’ll be for another post as well). 

memory1

There are a couple of categories through which I sort out the basic review of the book: 

1. Back Cover Glimpse

2. Personal Thoughts

3. Sample Passages

Back Cover Glimpse

Families have secrets they hide even from themselves…

It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s twins is a night that will haunt five lives forever.

For though David’s son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down’s syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse. 

As grief quietly tears apart David’s family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.

Personal Thoughts

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. A really, really good novel, because the author manages to highlight the intricacies of human relationships while still allowing there to be a high level of mundane realism, in order for us gentle readers to read every slight happiness, every wretched feeling with a touched soul, and her descriptive language is appropriate at times when necessary (though Kim wonderfully holds it back when there’s no requirement for it).  

In all, it is a lovely book, with a good plot. It covers the time span of 20 to 30 years (not sure, haven’t finished the book yet) and Kim does this with a skill that facilitates the development of the story, and does not hinder the story even as she skips a few years. 

Sample Passages

“I’m not an invalid,” she protested each time, laughing. “I’m not some fledgling you discovered on the lawn. Still, she was pleased by his attentions. Sometimes he woke and watched her as she slept: the flutter of her eyelids, the slow even movement of her chest, her outflung hand, small enough that he could enclose it completely with his own.

He held the infant, forgetting what he ought to do next. Her tiny hands were perfect. But the gap between her big toes and the others, that was there, like a missing tooth, and when he looked deeply at her eyes he saw the Brushfield spots, as tiny and distinct as flecks of snow in the irises. He imagined her heart, the size of a plum and very possibly defective, and he thought of the nursery, so carefully painted, with its soft animals and single crib. He thought of his wife, standing on the sidewalk before their brightly veiled home, saying, Our lives will never be the same.

… but really it was his guilt that had kept him distant. He had handed their daughter to Caroline Fill and the secret had taken root; it had grown and blossomed in the center of his family. For years he’d come home to watch Norah, mixing drinks or tying on an apron, and he’d think how lovely she was and how he hardly knew her. 

*

I finished ‘Grotesque’!

Some books that I come across – they’re not worth reading. It may sound harsh but I’m only saying it like it is. Some books do not have a proper plot, a proper message, or even a decent style, and when you’ve just paid RM40 for it, you’d really be wanting to kill the author for not knowing what he or she was doing in the first place. Books like these are not very often found, but once, since I was feeling generous and wanted to give a new author a chance, I bought this book for quite a sum and then I forced myself to glue my eyes to its pages until I finished it. It felt as if the author was just taking her reader for a ride, sometimes with incessant descriptions that have no purpose at all. The ending was even worse – it wasn’t even a proper ending. It was just as if the author didn’t like her book either, so she decided to go ahead and wrap it up immediately.

‘Grotesque’ is another book altogether – it’s one of the best, one of the elites. It’s supposed to be translated from Japanese, and I caught myself trying to imagine what a particular phrase would sound like in Mandarin (I figured it was the only language I knew that came close to Japanese). The story is so brilliant that I wonder if the English version is better than the Japanese, or if the original version could possibly be greater. 

WARNING: Spoilers after this!

If you have not read the book but wish to read it, or if you do not want to know about the story for personal reasons, or if you don’t wish to listen to ramblings of yours truly, please stop reading this NOW. 

***

This story deals with a number of taboo topics that are not easily relayed to all readers alike. It portrays jealousy in its rawest form, the epic hatred that stems from overwhelming envy, the ‘kiasu’ attitude that grips certain societies, cruelty that begets severe consequences, the lengths some women stoop to just to feel a sense of worth, the twisted perspective of one-sided point of views, the lofty question of what we all work so hard towards, the complexity of incest minds, the puzzling ridges of mind control and the intricacy that different cultures/looks/skin colour/race entail. 

It’s absolutely brilliant. If you are hoping to read it, here’s a note: It’s vivid. Feelings, incidents – they are all described in exceptional detail. But if you are really going to read it, don’t listen to a word I say here – it will only make the surprises become anticipated twists, and there goes the joy of reading it all. 

The Times described it as ‘Cool, angry and stylish.’ From what I’ve read, that line summarizes it all, but I’ll add one word to it:

Brilliant.

TJ – Yes, cool.

Saras – You amuse me greatly. LoL

Sarah – *hugs*

Gitz – I have no choice but to keep in touch with this donkey, otherwise she might kick me. XD

Okay, I have a totally new obsession. Grotesque. (You may check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Grotesque-Vintage-International-Natsuo-Kirino/dp/1400096596/ref=sr_1_1ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230004240&sr=1-1) It’s a fiction book lent to me by Sarah The Almighty. It’s brilliantly written. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s getting more gripping as we speak. I was tempted to put it down a few times, I have to admit, but before I actually do that, there comes another chapter which interests me all over again. 

I definitely need to do a review on this. Once I’m done. Then I have to hit the other one Sarah lent, and yes, you guessed it – it’s by Jodi Picoult. 

XD