Hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.
Books completed this past week:
32.Solar*** by Ian McEwan UK 2010 (285 pages)
I'm always excited by a new McEwan novel and have never been disappointed, until now. I've read and enjoyed Amsterdam****, Black Dogs****, Enduring Love****, Saturday***** (my personal favourite), Atonement****, and On Chesil Beach**** as each was published. Solar is satire, so not cup of tea to start with. McEwan's writing is as good as ever and I generally don't mind unlikeable protagonists but I did not like this story. I'm glad I read it but I hope his next book isn't satire. The nice thing about his work is that each story is unique, he's not just writing a variation on the same old story like some.
In Solar he is satirizes scientists, their competitiveness, stealing of others' ideas, grants and wasted resources, greed, etc. It's been declared a very funny book by the bigger critics but I wasn't laughing. He also has a go at adulterous males, trendy artists who talk about solving world problems but don't do anything, and people with eating problems (which I was not pleased about). And there is no excuse for his use of an urban legend that would get anyone else laughed out of high school if passed off as creative writing. I hate to think he may have used it to mock another writer who claims to have actually experienced this incident, which was a hoary old chestnut when I heard about it thirty years ago. The main character is a Nobel scientist and McEwan's writing makes the science very easy to follow. But this man gets away with everything and nothing redeemed the story for me I'm afraid.
If you're a McEwan fan, or a completist like me ( I'm continuing to work on his backlist), you'll want to read Solar but this book is not worth the cover price. Borrow it from the library. And please let me know what you thought, leave a link if you review it. Maybe I'm off my trolley on this one.
33.Vinegar Hill**** by A. Manette Ansay US 1994 (240 pages)
Recommended by Dollycas who did a fascinating bio and review of Ansay's books for Roadtrip:Writer's of Wisconsin at Dollycas' Thoughts. I enjoyed this story, despite it being too close to home for comfort at times, and recommend it. I will be reading more of Ansay's work as soon as I get my hands on some.
34.Wild Dogs***** by Helen Humphreys Canada (186 pages)
I really enjoyed this story. Six people are brought together by the common factor of their missing dogs. Their individual stories unwind as they meet every evening in hopes of finding their pets again. Loneliness, trauma, loss of one kind or another are very well expressed here by the writer of Coventry***** which I also read and reviewed. Highly recommended.
Books in hand:
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon Canada 2009
It's about Aristotle taking in hand and trying to teach the boy who would become Alexander the Great, son of Philip, king of Macedonia. Winner of the 2009 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2009 Governor General's Award of Canada Finalist, 2009 Giller Prize Finalist. That's the three big ones in Canada. It's fascinating, I can only imagine the amount of research it took to make the story seem so believably real.
Darkness Visible by William Golding UK 1979
Yes, the Nobel laureate wrote Lord of the Flies, which I read in high school and hated. I've enjoyed his essays and thought I'd give his fiction another chance. It's about a boy who survived the London Blitz badly scarred and a social misfit because if it. I'm enjoying it though I haven't a clue where it's going. Reminds me of Ben, Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child somewhat but this young man is not evil.
Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti Sweden 1998
A humourous love story between two middle-aged Swedish loners that's just warming up. It seems like light fare so far.
The Butterfly Chair by Marion Quednau Canada 1987
Awarded the 1987 Books in Canada Best First Novel Award.
Breaking Lorca by Giles Blunt Canada 2009
2009 Governor General's Award Longlist - My son (37) and I have read and loved every book he's written.
Please leave comments or links if you've read or reviewed any of these books. I'd love to read them. What are you reading that's got you excited?