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Thread: Recently finished books?

  1. #5161
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
    Ruth Ozeki: A Tale for the Time Being + Ambitious and somewhat uneven novel. The author definitely tackled many subjects in this novel ranging from bullying in Japan, to suicide, to WWII, to the attack on the World Trade Center. What I didn't like about the novel is how some of the characters sounded like they were filling in for the author instead of speaking like real people. For example, an email sent from a busy university professor to someone she hardly knows is extremely long and descriptive. Her voice sounds little different from that of the novelist herself. What I liked, the highly original, complex ,and interwoven plot. The novel also provided some interesting insights into the dynamics of Japanese family life - something that was of special interest to me having once lived in Japan for four years.
    I hated that she essentially wrote herself into the book as the second main character. It just seemed lazy to me. The character was so blatantly just her, the author. Nearly every part of her plot I found irritating. The island life paired with the ecologist husband just seemed too "millennial' to me. The parts with the Japanese girl were great for the most part but about 2/3s of the way through the book it just got too stupid for me to take seriously. The parts with the pseudo magical-realism where Ozeki dreams and somehow connects with the girl fell flat for me.

    I was also bothered by how blatantly the novel ignored the glaring differences in time between two the plots until the end where Ozeki "realizes" the girl's plot-line occurred many years earlier.

    3/5 from me as well.

  2. #5162
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    Oct 2009
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    Northern Minnesota: "icebox of America"
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    I also found the character of the author and her husband to be less than compelling. I thought the book started off strong, but then had too many ups and downs. Thankfully, the character Nao dominates the book. She kept me reading until the end. I also thought it was interesting to read how savagely Japanese soldiers were treated by their own officers. It mirrors the bullying problem that continues to plague schools even though the Japanese media has focused much attention on the issue.
    Last edited by Stevie B; 14-Jun-2017 at 05:30.

  3. #5163
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    I loathed the husband. Every time she talked about his trees and his art installations with universities (the specifics here could be wrong, I read the book years ago when it first came out) I cringed. At first I thought t was just some sort of cheesy ploy to appeal to "millennial" readers. Then I did some Googling and realized, no, that's literally just her and her actual husband and they really live on that island.

  4. #5164
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    Jan 2017
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
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    85

    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. +

    Tried. And tried. And tried. Couldn't finish. Got halfway through. It's very well-written but is really a political tract disguised as a novel. I found the novelistic trappings simply too thin to sustain interest. Even though I was sympathetic to his political message, I rarely felt like I was really reading a novel. Very disappointing.

  5. #5165
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    Dec 2016
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    Chicago
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    175

    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Same way I felt about Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook. There's just numerous political manifestos sandwhiched akwwardly around a nearly unrelated flashback story about living in Rhodesia and the main, present tense story, which was a low quality family drama.

    By all means write political works but at least try to make them into coherent novels.

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