Teenage Wildlife

IMPORTANT: Use your registry nickname as your username when logging in to Conversation Piece!

Free for All
   >> Coffee Shop
Thread views: 5376 *Threaded Mode

Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)
(every nation's refugee)
10/20/04 10:20 PM
Re: Pick your own bookers! new [re: anisette]  

and you can't wipe your friend on the couch

show bush the door in 2004: please contribute to http://www.moveon.org

(electric tomato)
10/21/04 06:30 AM
Re: The God of small bookers is on top of it all new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

I loved Handmaid's Tale but other of her books have left me dry.

Have you tried Oryx and Crake? I mean, if you liked Handmaid's Tale... Because Oryx and Crake is also generally more scifi than any other of her books. Although I've got the idea she doesn't like either of those novels to be labeled as scifi... But anyway, if you haven't tried it, I think you should. I can't say it's better than Handmaid's Tale, because I think they're both really good (I just finished reading Handmaid's Tale the second time. This time in English, the first time a read it in Finnish years ago). They're both great novels, but quite different from each other.

And Ziggfried, I think you should include that in your to read -pile too It's a lot better than Life Before Man. I don't know about the Edible Woman, because I haven't read it.

Check out http://www.oryxandcrake.com Although you'll understand the popups only if you've read the book.

Hello humans can you feel me thinking

10/21/04 10:58 AM
Book Who's Talking Now new [re: LadyGravedigger]  

In reply to:

And Ziggfried, I think you should include that in your to read -pile too It's a lot better than Life Before Man. I don't know about the Edible Woman, because I haven't read it.

As luck would have it, I've seen hardback copies of Oryx and Crake going for bargain-basement prices in several bookstores, so it should be an easy purchase. Although it may be some time before I can get around to actually reading it, with that pile...Damn you Attwood/Sylvia Plath/James Baldwin/Tom Wolfe/Umberto Eco/George Orwell/other authors loafing around on my floor...Oh yeah, there's some Batman stuff there too. Hey, Batman can be very literary...

(electric tomato)
10/21/04 04:57 PM
Re: The God of small bookers is on top of it all new [re: LadyGravedigger]  

MMM, Atwood. I love love both Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake.

She was my aunt's college roommate- they're still in touch. One of the character in Cat's Eye (I think...) is described as looking just like her, and sharing some of her mannerisms

Andy, can you get me a cup of coffee? And a drummer?
1.Outside 1.die tO us 1.dO sue us 1.dO tie us

(electric tomato)
10/22/04 02:04 PM
Re: The God of small bookers is on top of it all new [re: Pythonis]  

In reply to:

One of the character in Cat's Eye (I think...) is described as looking just like her, and sharing some of her mannerisms

Cool Which of the characters? I've read that nove three times! It used to be my favourite and I've also written a short essay about it at school. Margaret Atwood is on the top on my list of people I'd like to meet. And my favorite writer.

Hello humans can you feel me thinking

(absolute beginner )
10/22/04 04:40 PM
Re: The God of small bookers is on top of it all new [re: LadyGravedigger]  

I've heard she's a bitch.

Look at me! I'm not wearing any pants!

(stardust savant)
11/14/04 10:53 PM
Odd Bod new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

1969 Something to Answer For, P. H. Newby (out of print)
1970 The Elected Member, Bernice Rubens
1971 In a Free State, V. S. Naipaul
1972 G.: A Novel, John Berger
1973 The Siege of Krishnapur, J. G. Farrell
1974 (tie) The Conservationist, Nadine Gordimer
Holiday, Stanley Middleton (out of print)
1975 Heat and Dust, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1976 Saville, David Storey
1977 Staying On, Paul Scott
1978 The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch
1979 Offshore, Penelope Fitzgerald
1980 Rites of Passage, William Golding
1981 Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
1982 Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally
1983 Life & Times of Michael K, J. M. Coetzee
1984 Hotel du Lac, Anita Brookner
1985 The Bone People, Keri Hulme
1986 The Old Devils, Kingsley Amis
1987 Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively
1988 Oscar and Lucinda, Peter Carey
1989 The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
1990 Possession: A Romance, A. S. Byatt
1991 The Famished Road, Ben Okri
1992 (tie)The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
Sacred Hunger, Barry Unsworth
1993 Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha, Roddy Doyle
1994 How Late It Was, How Late, James Kelman
1995 The Ghost Road, Pat Barker
1996 Last Orders, Graham Swift
1997 The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
1998 Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
1999 Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee
2000 The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
2001 True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey
2002 Life of Pi, Yann Martel
2003 Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre

2004 Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst

As you can see by my updated list, I have finished Oscar and Lucinda, by Peter Carey, the 1988 winner of the Booker Prize.

I was concerned I might not like the book by its dustcover synopsis: Set in Australia in the 1860s, a priest defrocked for gambling and an orphaned young woman who owns a glassworks in Syndey build a glass and iron church for shipment to a desolate backwater town far up the coast.

However, Carey is a writer whose deft characterizations call to mind Dickens. Really, Carey is very impressive at his craft and so this novel was, without being thrilling, still a very engaging experience.

I will note that if you have absolutely no experience with, or interest in, Christianity then much of this novel will be a slog for you, but for me, the son of a fundamentalist minister, the character Oscar Hopkins, also a son of a fundamentalist preacher, and who, at age 16, believes God visits him with a sign to abandon his father's faith and join the Anglican Church, really resonated. That there are people who live believing in signs from God may seem incredible to you odd bods, but I was raised by a couple of them, so I relate!

Oscar's counterpart, Lucinda Leplastrier, is a young heiress who finds comfort in the late night gambling sessions at the home of her accountant and new friend upon her arrival in Syndey. Lucinda's gambling habit and ownership of a glassworks are, of course, considered unbecoming for a woman in nineteenth century Australia, and her eventual association with Oscar finally places the seal on their status as outcasts.

They conspire to build their glass church, each for their own convoluted reasons, and ship it up the coast to a small town, the home of a reverend who is a former love interest of Lucinda's, and who has been banished to this mean outpost by an Anglican bishop as punishment for preaching liberal sermons in Syndey.

Only an accomplished writer could pull this sort of story off, and I am mightily impressed with Carey. I'm now looking forward to reading his second Booker winner, True History of the Kelly Gang.

For now, though, I'm taking a little break from the Booker to read some lighter fare that's hanging out at in the teens of the NY Times best seller list, The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith, and one of the nominees for this years National Book Award, Joan Silber's Ideas of Heaven. Both look to be quick reads and I'll then hop back on the Bookermobile, probably with The Remains of the Day, and work forward through the 90's and 00's afterwards.

"Once in Germany someone said 'nein'!" ~ Jeff Tweedy

(stardust savant)
11/14/04 11:04 PM
Re: Odd Bod new [re: power2charm]  

The English Patient's not too bad. I read that one for my senior English class. A little slow-paced, and lots of flashbacks, but overall, pretty good.

"Mother, do you know what I'm going to buy you next Christmas? A big wooden cross. So that everytime you feel unappreciated for all your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it." - Kevin Spacy in The Ref

White Prism
(crash course raver)
11/15/04 06:52 PM
I am master of fluid prose new [re: White Prism]  

In reply to:

I'm now looking forward to reading his second Booker winner, True History of the Kelly Gang.

. . . which I read a few weeks ago. Also set in Australia, it follows a family of Irish immigrants, in particular the upbringing of Ned Kelly, who’s left trying to sustain his mother, brothers and sisters at the age of 12 following the early death of his father. Despite moving camp several times in the hope of finding better land to cultivate and to mitigate the lawlessness rife among neighbours and even family, the Kelly’s find themselves subjected to the dubious judgment of the corrupt police and judiciary, frequently spending short terms in prison and increasing the burden on their mother in their absence – a burden worsened by her succession of irresponsible lovers providing new mouths to feed and the impending Land Act.

One of the lovers, Harry Power, is bush ranger and highway man, and is arranged to take on Ned as his apprentice. Under his auspices Kelly learns key skills of self-preservation that would later become vital after he and his brother flee arrest following another spurious charge and, more devastatingly, after their mother is incarcerated following threatening to murder a policeman after she was provoked.

All rather intricate to provide an adequate synopsis. A ‘true history’ in the sense the Kelly’s existed; not so true in that obviously Carey provided Kelly with speech, but unlike the horror of American Scoundrel, gaping holes in Kelly’s history (esp. early years) are filled in speculatively with an account of a typical person of the time while remaining engaging and personal.

Also of interest is the manuscript Kelly tried to publish towards the end of his life to provide his own story. (He was villainized by the national press and sought to disclose the corruption of his oppressors.) Without giving away the ending, the manuscript survived and presumably still exists somewhere, though it didn’t make Carey’s bibliography and I’ve no idea whether it’s been printed. Still, interesting that Carey should take it upon himself to put his story in print (even though its been done before in numerous history books) – there are subtle questions raised about authorship towards the end.

A minor gripe that perhaps Kelly is a little too eloquent – his family seem too enlightened to be believing in crude religious folk law that is occasionally filtered into the narrative (the rat-charmer (?) if that was indeed his name) and the banshee, who presumably went Down Under to torment them specifically. Yeah, highly recommended. But not as highly recommended as . . .

In reply to:

Atwood, Golding & Lively.

Atwood was at some place else; Golding ransacked completely – but I’ve just finished reading Lively’s Moon Tiger. Actually very similar to the other novel of hers I’ve read, Oleander, Jacaranda, an autobiographical novel of her childhood in wartime Cairo, before she resettled in England, went to Oxford and matriculated in History. Tiger’s protagonist, the fuzzy-headed, dying Claudia Hampton did all of that, only twenty years earlier. She’s a maverick historian, unconventional and contentious, but on her deathbed attempts to relate her own position to the grand scheme of things, abandoning the linear view of history in favour of a number of brief snapshots plucked at random from her whole life. There are, I think, only one or two passages of solid historical facts, to place the characters within a certain timeframe (usu. WW2) but there are larger discourses on history: How do we relate to or digest history cosseted in our living rooms, many years after an event? To what extent is the objective, omniscient eye of the historian tainted by their own interpretations and experiences? And simply, later, how will Claudia be remembered and live on in the minds of others?

With all those questions constantly going on, the book almost borders on being didactic, yet fortunately (and the reason it remains highly readable) it’s personal, focusing largely on Claudia’s relationships with her husband, her brother, her daughter, various lovers. Coming from a wealthy background with good connections, she’s able to manipulate her way (helped by rivalry with her brother) into her childhood dream job of war reporter. She’s in Egypt during WW2, and after a venture to the frontline strikes up a relationship with a soldier, and together they try to develop their relationship around the duty and hindrance of war which after his dying in action (it says this in the blurb, so I ain’t giving anything away) has lengthy repercussions on Claudia’s personality. Indeed, after her subsequent marriage and divorce and the coldness that has always distanced her from her daughter, it’s to this that her thoughts turn towards increasingly as she lies on her deathbed.

Great stress on technique. Often snapshots are juxtaposed with those of different characters’ perspectives – it’s not just Claudia’s who speaks but anyone of any significance. Repetition is avoided by dredging up characters’ thoughts between the awkward pauses in conversation. Lively’s style is compact and picks up on seemingly throwaway lines. Benefits from close reading – we can see how Claudia’s train of thought develops on trivial references and can trigger an entirely different memory. Quite witty.

Next up: Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, which will be commenced sometime mid-December.

Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn to cry a while

(stardust savant)
11/16/04 11:23 PM
The Plot Against Twister new [re: White Prism]  

In reply to:

Next up: Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, which will be commenced sometime mid-December.

The competitor in me considered beating you to it, but the plot synopses and reviews I've scanned popped that balloon. I should probably stop previewing these novels cos it's all pretty underwhelming, yet I've enjoyed every one of the four I've read so far. Even the Brookner, a copy of which I ended up purchasing as a gift for a friend.

I appreciated your reviews, Mr. P. I'm going to have to try a little harder on the next few - I'm getting my hat handed to me.

In reply to:

How do we relate to or digest history cosseted in our living rooms, many years after an event?

This recalls the interviews that recently aired on the Lehrer News Hour with Philip Roth, whose work over the last couple of decades has focused on history-turning events' concurrent impact on ordinary peeps. His new one, The Plot Against America, is a speculative fiction from the perspective of a Jewish family dealing with the aftermath of a 1940 presidential victory by anti-semite and isolationist, Charles Lindbergh. Sounds corny, but I'm in for it!

"Once in Germany someone said 'nein'!" ~ Jeff Tweedy

Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)
*Threaded Mode
Jump to

Teenage Wildlife Davie Bowie | Email Us! Forums powered by WWWThreads v5.1.5perl

Teenage Wildlife Home Page Bowie's music Info on Bowie Other Media Have your say! Search the Site Help me!

Toolbar (Interact)

Etete Systems