Tag: Books: Commentary


Commentary: All Our Worldly Goods

Posted 14 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

All Our Worldly Goods
By: Irene Nemirovsky
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and the family patriarch, the tyrannical industrialist Julien Hardelot, provoking a family feud which cascades down the generations. Even when war is imminent and Pierre is called up, the old man is unforgiving. Taut, evocative and beautifully paced, All Our Worldly Goods points up with heartbreaking detail and clarity how close were those two wars, how history repeated itself, tragically, shockingly…

I first read this book some four years ago when I started grad school (review). It was my first Irene Nemirovsky novel; I decided to pick this book up after having heard wonderful things from both fellow book lovers and from her then-recently-discovered-and-published book Suite Francaise (review). I was going through my bookshelves recently and couldn’t remember too much about this novel so I decided to re-visit it. Contains some spoilers ahead!

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

Read More

Review: White Oleander

Posted 8 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

White Oleander
By: Janet Fitch
Format: Paperback; my copy

White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.

My first encounter with White Oleander was actually the movie adaptation from 2002; it was on the television but I always caught the latter half of the movie. Despite not seeing the first half of the movie (both times–only got around to seeing the whole movie a few years ago), I was always drawn in by Astrid’s narrative and Michelle Pfeiffer’s haunting and chilling portrayal of Ingrid Magnussen (I am baffled she was never nominated for this performance). I got around to the book a few years ago but re-read it again recently as I finally got a copy of my own of the book. I think this book is officially a favourite of mine now, it’s as evocative and haunting re-reading it now as it was when I first read it. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Mansfield Park

Posted 14 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Mansfield Park
By: Jane Austen

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

Mansfield Park is often listed as the least favourite amongst Austen readers. Although I haven’t read this book as often as the other novels, I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s not as sharp and witty as Pride and Prejudice (commentary) or as funny as Emma (commentary) but the characters and their circumstances are so multi-faceted, I love the dynamics that go on in this book. I saved it for last in my re-read of Jane Austen’s completed works if only because I know there’s a lot going on in this book ^_~ Contains spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Emma

Posted 27 January, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Emma
By: Jane Austen

Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

I’m going to be honest here: Emma is my least favourite from Austen’s books. I had the hardest time getting into it from all her books and when I finally got around to reading it from start to finish, it just dragged (and Emma honestly irritated me but a good half of the novel) until the last five chapters.

But here I am, re-reading it again (for the first time). Maybe I missed something reading it the first time; maybe I wasn’t in the mood for the novel then. Let’s see if this re-read changed my experience with reading this book ^_~ Contains spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Persuasion

Posted 26 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Persuasion
By: Jane Austen

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel.

Persuasion is hands down my favourite Jane Austen novel. It was the only novel by her that I found equally thrilling as well as touching, poignant and full of all sorts of feelings–I could not put the book down, I had to find out what was going to happen to Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth next. I love it so much that I’ve written two articles on the characters (one for Costume Chronicles, the other for Femnista). I also own and have watched the 1995 and 2007 adaptations of the book (review). It never fails to get me all <3 and I often turn to it if I’m in the mood of something lovely or a pick-me-up or something light or a change of pace. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More