Tag: Books: Literary

Review: Glaciers

Posted 11 June, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

By: Alexis M. Smith
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Isabel is a single, twentysomething thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.

Glaciers unfolds internally, the action shaped by Isabel’s sense of history, memory, and place, recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf. For Isabel, the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life. While she contemplates loss and the intricate fissures it creates in our lives, she accumulates the stories—the remnants—of those around her and she begins to tell her own story.

I honestly found out about this book from a Huffington Post article that appeared on my feed a few months ago. There’s plenty of great books that slip under the radar, and by the sounds of the article this book was one of them. Reading the premise, it felt like my kind of novel, so I immediately added it to my wish-to-read. After having it sit on my wishlist for some time, I finally decided to pick it up. On a related note, isn’t the book cover so cute? 😀

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Review: Paris

Posted 10 June, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Marcus Giralt Torrente
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Paris depicts a man’s journey through the labyrinth of his memories, a search for his origins that will uncover an old family secret and turn his world upside down. A mesmerizing and haunting story by award-winning author Marcos Giralt Torrente, a master craftsman calibrating nuance and impact with a true gift.

I picked this book up during a sale on Kobo. I never heard of the author or the book before encountering it on Kobo, but I quickly learned that the author is Spanish and, as someone keen on reading more literature by Spanish authors, I thought it would be interesting to check out this title.

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Review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Posted 27 April, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 12 Comments

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
By: Marina Lewycka
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear.

I read this book back in 2009 after learning that it had been longlisted for the Man Booker and I believe the former Orange Prize (now Baileys Women Prize); the title alone was a curious one. I had really enjoyed it then; it seemed especially fitting to read it as I was taking a course in Ukrainian history at the time and understood all of the historical events mentioned throughout the novel. I had been meaning to revisit this novel as I don’t remember much of the story, and had been wanting to put my thoughts down here at my blog somewhere.

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Review: The Wake

Posted 23 April, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Wake
By: Paul Kingsnorth
Format/Source: Galley courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

Everyone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next…Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world.

Written in what the author describes as ‘a shadow tongue’ – a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader – The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster’s world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.

I heard of this book in passing last year when it was longlisted for the Man Booker (first crowd-funded novel to be longlisted) but then it slipped out of my radar again. It caught my interest again earlier this year when I found out that actor Mark Rylance bought the film option for the book. I re-read the premise and what made the book unique, which piqued my curiosity. I was approved a galley copy of this novel courtesy of Unbound via NetGalley. This book was released on 20 March 2014.

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Review: 1Q84

Posted 24 March, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 12 Comments

By: Haruki Murakami
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre ‘proposal’ to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?

OMG guys, this book has been sitting on my to-read pile for the longest time now O_O He has two books published and translated in English since and I still didn’t start reading this book (despite telling myself year in and year out that I will get around to it), lol =/ I’ve read quite a number of books recently and tackled my TBR list considerably that I decided now is a good time to start reading it (or else I won’t get around to it at all again this year). Contains spoilers ahead! (because this is going to be a very long review; you may just want to jump to the “Overall” heading at the bottom)

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