RichardDerus third thread of 2015!
Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.
Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.
And now back to our regularly scheduled
ETA just read final messages on last thread--you were ahead of me.
Nuf of that....it's so good to have you back. I hope your new abode is sufficiently innoculated against any coming water/weather events. Smooches.
(now I am imagining return to sender envelopes containing shredded paper!!)
Title: WHAT MAKES YOU DIE
Author: TOM PICCIRILLI
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: To see more is to find oblivion…
Tommy Pic’s hallucinations come and go and leave sticky notes for him during his bipolar swings. Coming out of a blackout in an unfamiliar psychiatric ward, Tommy Pic awakes to his missing childhood love, his dead brother, his alive family, and a message from his agent that his latest screenplay may yet be his ticket back to Hollywood fame and fortune. If only he could remember writing it.
Searching out the hallucinations that will write Acts 2 and 3 of the screenplay that will oust Zypho as his best-known work, Tommy goes chasing his kidnapped childhood love, a witch from the magic shop, the komodo dragon he tried to cut out of his gut on Christmas Eve.
… This is what makes you die.
My Review: This book is bittersweet because its author died of a brain tumor last July. His career output was good-quality suspense and horror fiction, and a brief note from his widow posted on Facebook suggests that there could be posthumous goodies.
Let no one speak ill of the dead, runs the Roman maxim, and I have no ill to speak. I enjoyed this read, found it compelling, finished it in a day or so. The problems that knocked a whole star-and-a-half off my rating were all about the cohesion of the events in the book. A man having blackouts and talking to dead people is bound to have a continuity issue or two in his brain. On paper, these come across more as scattershot than as planned and placed pieces of the one story: Tommy Pic's life.
It's a good book, give it a try, just don't expect too much formal structure and all will be well.
>7 tututhefirst: *applause, applause* I'll see what I can do about aiming BBs at you more accurately and temptingly. Because I'm evil like that.
>8 benitastrnad: Here's one.
>9 Ameise1: Awww! Barbara, that's so sweet. Thank you most kindly!
>11 mckait: Good. *smooch*
>12 luvamystery65: Howdy, Roberta! Ear schmoozles all around!
>13 jnwelch: *fantods* It...it...perfect...it...I...OOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOO
>24 drneutron: Ain't it always the way...and time is short for a 2018 launch...
>25 laytonwoman3rd: *offended silence* You have no idea how many naugas lost their hides to make that "monstrosity," madam. A little respect for their sacrifice is in order.
>26 ronincats: That's so lovely to hear, o castless one.
>27 scaifea: Hey Amber! Is tomorrow still library-volunteer day for you?
>28 msf59: Mine too, Mark, and when it gets to be too hard to organize my thoughts on a book, it's painful. So glad this nastiness is evaporating at last.
Title: HARD TO BE A GOD
Author: ARKADY AND BORIS STRUGATSKY
Rating: 4* of five
The Publisher Says: Don Rumata has been sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler, and a brawler, he is never defeated, but yet he can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play? This long overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience.
My Review: It's hard to review a world-famous classic. I have to think the translation is faithful because it captures a voice that lesser translators more often than not miss entirely. The standard adventure plot is fun. In common with a lot of SF written in that era, we don't get a lot of well-drawn characters; in this case only one, Don Rumata himself.
What makes this a classic, then? It would raise few eyebrows today, if it was a new publication. That it is 52 years old makes all the difference; that it is an excellent example of its niche solidifies the place History has given it.
But anyone not already caught in the tentacles of the SF Cthulhu monster might want to pass by without slowing down too much.
Title: HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA
Author: MOHSIN HAMID
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.” It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else: on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hope it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.
My Review: An internationally flavored mash-up of Death of a Salesman and The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.
I liked both of those stories, and this one too. I got tired of the second-person gag way early, and it took most of a month to read the book because of that.
>40 maggie1944: Hmmmmmm..."refreshingly candid" usually equals "mean but funny." I didn't mean to be mean!
Well, mostly anyway.
>41 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Glad to see you here. FINALLY.
>42 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe, it weren't much but it were sincere.
I guess you can tell I have been candid all my life, blunt and to the point. Some people love me for it, some people don't, and some people get used to it and are more candid themselves as they see the value.
Ah, enough pontification for this Saturday morning. We're having a typical October rainy day here, typical except for the fact that it is warmer than we are used to in October. I'm looking forward to Halloween. A fine night for broom riding.
I am listening to The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy about JFK's father, and more. His time as Ambassador to Great Britain is very interesting as he and FDR did not see eye to eye, and yet he remained in England. I think FDR liked having him away from the political scene at home. Politics have not changed all that much, really.
Also, reading Riding Freedom, a kids' book illustrated by Brian Selznick when he was young. And I have The Marvels, a newer book by Selznick. Loving his illustrations. He is a master at pencil, or charcoal, or whatever it is that he uses.
I think I probably have gotten away with posting information which properly belongs in my thread. I'll go over there and finish my prattling along.
Great to see you here, and active, again. Yay!
I agree, but I cannot help thinking of a cartoon I saw recently on Facebook. A woman is sitting for a job interview before a panel of interviewers. One of the interviewers asks, "What would you say is your biggest flaw?" The woman says, "I'm too honest." The interviewer replies, "I don't think that's a flaw." The woman responds, "I don't give a damn what you think."
Title: MISTER BLUE
Author: JACQUES POULIN
Rating: 4.5* of five
The Publisher Says: By the Governor General Award and Quebec-Paris Prize-winning writer, a novel about a struggling writer and Mister Blue, his cat and sole companion until the day they discover a copy of The Arabian Nights in a cave along the beach. Tinged with melancholy, Mister Blue is at once playful, understated, and deeply human.
Jacques Poulin (1937-) is the author of twelve novels. Among his many honors are the 1978 Governor General’s Award, the 1990 and 2000 Molson Prize for the Arts, and the Gilles-Corbeil Prize in 2008. He lives in Québec City.
My Review: This book arrived in a surprise package from my sister, and we must be sharing some aetheric connection: Two days before I got the package, I was dithering between this Poulin title and Translation is a Love Affair to put in my Amazon cart for Money Day! Heh. Now I can read both!
'Books contain nothing, or almost nothing, that's important: everything is in the mind of the person reading them.'
If you were trying to find an idiotic remark, that one took the cake!
Thus speaks Jim, addressing an intimate audience, and self-talking his own, self-defined failure as a writer. You see, his (probably) imaginary love object won't show him her face, only leaving traces of herself in a riverside cave and a moored sailboat that slowly, steadily is repaired and painted and generally tarted up in the course of Jim's summer obsession.
By the end of the story, Jim's first novel-writing project has been abandoned, a love story that contains no lovers only friends. His second project, just begun as we leave the ramshackle house of Jim's youngest years, gains wind in its sails by his first, possibly first ever, emotional risk-taking act. It's not exactly a stunning shocking pearl-clutching shock, but it is amazing nonetheless. It is a pitch-perfect end to a beautiful chamber opera. I can't wait for the next one to arrive!
>54 Copperskye: It's worth moving up the list, Joanne. Such a lovely experience, reading and admiring how beautifully made it is.
>55 jnwelch: The look of all the Archipelago books is distinctive and lovely. They put effort into their well-thought-out designs.
Author: JEFF VANDERMEER
Rating: 4* of five
The Publisher Says: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
My Review: Winner of the 2015 Nebula Award for science fiction novels and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for horror novels, this novel earns accolade after award heaped on top of praise for a good reason: It is eerie, atmospheric setting plus glimpsed monsters plus the recrudescence of the inner evil in all humans. And it's very well written.
We're well into this short book before something truly scary happens; before that, it was all spooky suggestions. The first truly scary thing
One thing I must note about Mr. Vandermeer's work is that he seems inordinately interested in fungi and molds. **shudder** The shroom-o-phobic members of the audience are warned. Everyone else, I recommend the book with mild reservations, but only mild ones, about the SF-resistant ladies. I myownself would say try 50pp, for what that's worth.
>59 maggie1944: buuuuy it buuuuuuy the book
Hi Karen44! I do encourage acquisition and perusement of the book soon.
>60 benitastrnad: We spent this past weekend ordering the shelves and fronting seasonal books. They're all gone now. User population of under 100. For what that's worth....
Saying that... I recently had my 3rd bounce back on post. Pls could you pm me your address so I could send a book (albeit 2nd hand and now VERY well travelled to you?)
Title: TRANSLATION IS A LOVE AFFAIR
Author: JACQUES POULIN
Rating: 4.5* of five
The Publisher Says: A quietly affecting modern fairy tale told with humor and warmth, Translation is a Love Affair is a slender volume of immense humanity. A Quebecois novelist with a bad back and his vivacious translator discover a stray cat with an SOS attached to its collar. They embark upon a search for its owner, and when they discover a young girl with bandaged wrists they are drawn into a mystery they don't dare neglect. The world Poulin creates is haunted by dark memories, isolation, and tragedy, yet it is one in which languageand love are the most immediate and vital forces, where one human being hearing a cry of distress of another is compelled to shed one's own inhibitions to respond.
My Review: What a joy it is to discover such a famous novelist, he said with irony dripping onto his keyboard. In a properly order world, Poulin would be as well known in the US as in Canada, and just as justly celebrated.
This tale was a joy to read from "Naked as a trout, I was stepping out of the pond..." to the last spoilery paragraph. I finished it in a few hours, and read about half of it a second time. I am a sucker for stories of made families, as opposed to birth families; I love the idea of the love affair consummated by the intimate connection and tender caring actions of both people despite the long lifetime's difference in their ages. (Well, I would, wouldn't I, being a single mumble fiver now?)
After work he often called me to talk about this and that, or because he'd forgotten a word or the title of a book, or to ask me a question, such as: 'How can I keep brown rice from tasting like shrimp shells?'
Simple and direct, no ornamentation, a short passage sums up the flavor of a deep and cherished connection. That is fine philosophizing as well as deep thinking.
It's cold here, not much over 40°, sunshiney and barely breezy. So wonderful!
Oh, and HI RD!
You'll be pleased to hear that I am tapping away at my latest essay, getting in as many words per day as my slow-moving brain will allow.....and it's not even NaNoWriMo yet!
>68 richardderus: what was that you said? I couldn't get the mumbled part ;)
(see, I was reading your review)
I have missed you this year and have had my own spell of absence with life related crud, only just getting a semblance of my old enthusiasm back. It is not the same tearing up the threads without trying to hang onto your coat tails at the same time.
I was merely giving my age, inattentive lassie. Of course, it is a bit difficult to follow for the uninitiated when expressed as a ratio of the ogee curve to the golden mean.
>75 PaulCranswick: We have both had such challenging years, and I think we're both lucky as marshmallow duckies to be standing at the end of all this mishegas. Let's just call this Samhain "New Year's Day" and skip the rest of this miserable year. Okay?
Title: THE GOOD LIFE ELSEWHERE
Author: VLADIMIR LORCHENKOV
Rating: 4.5* of five
The Publisher Says: The Good Life Elsewhere is a very funny book. It is also a very sad one. Moldovan writer Vladimir Lorchenkov tells the story of a group of villagers and their tragicomic efforts, against all odds and at any cost, to emigrate from Europe’s most impoverished nation to Italy for work. The Good Life Elsewhere aims to present the complexity of a new Europe, where allegiances shift but memories are rooted in place. The book integrates small-scale human follies with strategic partnerships, unification plans, and the Soviet legacies that still hang over the former Eastern Bloc. Lorchenkov addresses the vexing question of what to do when many formerly pro-Soviet/pro-Russia countries want to link arms with their Western European brethren. In this uproarious tale, an Orthodox priest is deserted by his wife for an art-dealing atheist; a mechanic redesigns his tractor for travel by air and sea; thousands of villagers take to the road on a modern-day religious crusade to make it to the promised land of Italy; meanwhile, politicians remain politicians.
Like many great satirists from Voltaire to Gogol to Vonnegut, Lorchenkov makes use of the grotesque to both horrify us and help us laugh. It is not often that stories from forgotten countries such as Moldova reach us in the English-speaking world. A country where 25 percent of its population works abroad, where remittances make up nearly 40 percent of the GDP, where alcohol consumption per capita is the highest in the world, and which has the lowest per capita income in all of Europe – this is a country that surely has its problems. But, as Lorchenkov vividly shows, it’s a country whose residents don’t easily give up.
Russian critics have praised Lorchenkov’s work, calling this novel “a bleeding, wild work, grotesque in every twist of its plot and in every character, written brightly, bitterly, humorously, and – paradoxically, as we’re dealing with the grotesque – honestly.” In The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov shows himself to be a fearless critic, an enduring optimist, and a master stylist. And he does it all “in vivid colors, with a pamphleteer’s spite, and a good-humored smile.”
My Review: When I was a tot, I loved the Warner Brothers-Merrie Melodies cartoons. My mother, vigilant on the subject of what and how much TV I could watch, wrinkled her nose and pursed her lips like last night's prune whip was disagreeing with her, but ultimately gave in.
Joy! Unrestricted access to the Meep-Meep Duck!
"...the...Meep...Dick, what have you been telling the boy? And what does that mean?"
As everyone my age knows already, it was the Roadrunner, and how I loved those gravity-defying falls Wile E. Coyote took, the razzberry the Roadrunner invariably blew at him, and of course MEEP MEEP!!
The entire book, I felt like the Moldovan people one and all were the collective reincarnation of Wile E. Coyote. "All the poor bastard ever wanted was some lunch," was my father's summation of the cartoons. Yeah, I thought every time another hare-brained scheme to get to Italy failed, all the poor bastards want is some food!
And somehow, through some collective karmic deficiency, not one success story leavens this heavy dough. But the icing of absurdity and dreamy impracticality kept me smiling and turning pages.
I wanted to send the poor guys contact information for the Acme Corporation, but couldn't figure out how.
*smooches* from your own Horrible
(I'm just starting Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling - it's hammock swinging weather here in central NC!)
Happy weekend, dearie!
ssri's don't limit my readings no more, but sadly the morphine does the job now, not as bad as the seroxat did, but have to keep it at rather simple books...
loved the last review, wrote down the title, no dutch translation yet, but might be worth to wait for :-)
Tomorrow I am trying a totally new experience: standing in rain to watch 10 year old kids play "football". Yikes, I'd rather be reading but Logan REALLY wants me to watch him😃
I will go home and bury myself in a boo!
Title: THE HEART OF A DOG
Author: MIKHAIL BULGAKOV
Rating: 4*of five
The Publisher Says: A new edition of Bulgakov’s fantastical precursor to The Master and Margarita, part of Melville House’s reissue of the Bulgakov backlist in Michael Glenny’s celebrated translations.
A key work of early modernism, this is the superbly comic story of a Soviet scientist and a scroungy Moscow mongrel named Sharik. Attempting a medical first, the scientist transplants the glands of a petty criminal into the dog and, with that, turns a distinctly worryingly human animal loose on the city. The new, lecherous, vulgar, Engels-spouting Sharik soon finds his niche in governmental bureaucracy as the official in charge of purging the city of cats.
A Frankenstein fable that’s as funny as it is terrifying, The Heart of a Dog has also been read as a fierce parable of the Russian Revolution. It was rejected for publication by the censors in 1925, and circulated in samizdat for years until Michael Glenny translated it into English in 1968—long before it was allowed to be officially published in the Soviet Union. That happened only in 1987, although till this day the book remains one of Mikhail Bulgakov’s most controversial novels in his native country.
My Review: Anyone who's ever read The Master and Margarita already knows that Bulgakov is a rebel, an anarchist, and damn good and funny with it. His thoughts were, based on the novels I've read, contrarian in the extreme as well as profoundly sensitive to practical concerns:
“The rule apparently is – once a social revolution takes place there’s no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when this whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over them to prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from the front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases carpeted? Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov House in Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go round and come in by the back door? What good does it do anybody? Why can’t the proletarians leave their galoshes downstairs instead of dirtying the staircase?’
‘But the proletarians don’t have any galoshes, Philip Philipovich,’ stammered the doctor.”
And the simple truth about revolution that probably contributed heavily to the book's suppression in the Soviet era:
“People who think you can use terror are quite wrong. No, no, terror is useless, whatever its colour – white, red or even brown! Terror completely paralyses the nervous system.”
He saw the terror around him, saw the results, and distilled a response into a short phrase. That's writing that's a joy to read.
But we can't leave revolutionary-era Moscow without hearing from the eponymous heart-haver. Early in the book, we're told the sad tale of an unwanted dog whose people-savvy beats that of most of the humans I've ever met:
Eyes mean a lot. Like a barometer. They tell you everything-they tell you who has a heart of stone, who would poke the toe of his boot in your ribs as soon as look at you-and who’s afraid of you. The cowards – they’re the ones whose ankles I like to snap at. If they’re scared, I go for them. Serve them right..grrr..bow-wow…”
All hail Michael Glenny, of blessed memory since dying in 1990. Without him, Bulgakov's banned and suppressed works might remain out of the English-speaker's reach.
Smooches for a Saturday from your own Horrible
Ooh! Just zoomed over to Amazon and got the Kindle edition of The Heart of a Dog for $1.
*quickly checks to see if it's not my own second-born son who these days is a bit of both of those*
Nope, all good :)
The Shetland series is one I predict will suit your serious reader side.
Hip hip hooray!
Anyway, it was sent in January!!! So it has been traipsing about the place between now and then, probably having the time of its little life. And meanwhile, I need a current address for you, pretty please. PM me if you are inclined. I promise to forward it with updated news :)
Long Beach Assisted Living
Richard Derus, Room 4
274 West Broadway
Long Beach, NY 11561
I shall prepare a handwritten letter forthwith! Some people may not know what they are, but I love letters :)
Bye for now!
Author: JEFF VANDERMEER
Rating: 3.5* of five
The Publisher Says: After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X--a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization--has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.
John Rodrigues (aka "Control") is the Southern Reach's newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he's pledged to serve.
In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Area X's most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.
My Review: We're not in Area X anymore, Toto, and therein the problem. Control, our PoV character, is hastily tossed together to provide a camera platform for the bureaucratic machinations and clandestine-agency wars.
It's so frustrating to read a good book that's encased in a less-good book. Like those canned hams from the 1960s, the meat is tasty but who put this weird spoodge all over it?
After much hither-and-thithering, not to mention an amazingly large amount of dithering for an executive, Control runs away from (almost) everything...and the ending makes up for most of the beginning. But really, editor, couldn't a few of those go-nowhere side trips have been pruned? (eg, Whitby's art project, Cheney's existence)
Eta spelling! Or, I should say, auto correct spelling :/
Title: THE HEN WHO DREAMED SHE COULD FLY
Author: SUN-MI HWANG
Rating: 3* of five
The Publisher Says: This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command, only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild—and to hatch an egg of her own.
An anthem for freedom, individuality and motherhood featuring a plucky, spirited heroine who rebels against the tradition-bound world of the barnyard, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a novel of universal resonance that also opens a window on Korea, where it has captivated millions of readers. And with its array of animal characters—the hen, the duck, the rooster, the dog, the weasel—it calls to mind such classics in English as Animal Farm and Charlotte’s Web.
Featuring specially-commissioned illustrations, this first English-language edition of Sun-mi Hwang’s fable for our times beautifully captures the journey of an unforgettable character in world literature.
My Review: Jonathan Livingston Seagull meets Babe. To compare the book to Charlotte's Web is damned near heresy. In every generation, there's another fable of Independence Declared by ____ and the Struggles of _____ to xxxx. This is the 21st century's international publishing phenomenon in the genre, which the provincial, smugly self-satisfied Murrikin Megapublishers got 15 years after most places did.
If you're 14 and a sad, lonely, misunderstood girl, this is ideal to stuff into your locker. Also a grandmother's ideal gift for same. Older folks who've just become grandparents, adoptees and their mommies, those who are sentimental as all get-out, queue up for your copy.
The illustrations are so very spare and lovely and evocative that I gave the silly text 3 stars. But my serious objection to the book is that the hen's one true dream, the longing of her soul, the reason she's ready to fight a weasel fagodsake is:
She want to become a real hen and hatch an egg.
So, in other words, Motherhood Makes the Hen.
This is not a message I think needs further spreading. It has metastasized in our various cultures to the point that rich first-world folks go buy themselves a baby girl at the Chinese Baby Bazaar, or spend absurd amounts of money doing medical hoo-hah and get themselves their very own genetic descendants.
With seven billion people on the planet, this obsession, this personal value marker, needs to be re-thought and revised.
I think I know a certain elephant who would beg to differ!
I am alive, and happy, and living this better-than-I-thought-possible life. And I thank you each and all for it.
Glad you're still in the world and this group
Still working on my letter....yikes. Before Xmas, surely!
Title: EUROPE IN AUTUMN
Author: DAVE HUTCHINSON
Rating: 4.5* enthralled stars
The Publisher Says: Europe in Autumn is a thriller of espionage and the future which reads like the love child of John le Carre and Franz Kafka.
Rudi is a cook in a Krakow restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he's trapped in, a new career - part spy, part people-smuggler - begins.
Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested, beaten and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.
With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him.
With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws, Rudi begins to realise that underneath his daily round of plot and counter plot, behind the conflicting territories, another entirely different reality might be pulling the strings...
My Review: If book 2 is out, I'm orderin' it for myself for Xmas.
This isn't a uniformly kinetic book. The characters, by whatever names their current legends require, (oh, and "legend" here is a term of art) are shown thinking, strategizing, reflecting on their world and its insanities as much as they're shown whizzing around with cool spy stuff and lots of ways to blow people up and steal their money.
My favorite piece of spyware in the book is a towel that rolls out into a computer. WANT. NOW.
Rudi, by various names, does many reprehensible things and feels...remorse is too strong...as if he's failed when he has to resort to reprehensibility to get what he's been sent after. He meets and re-meets many folks from his pasts. He is a darn good, fun hero-on-the-border-of-antihero-ness, and I want to see him in book 2, Europe at Midnight.
And now I'm going to do something really, really mean: At the end of the book, Rudi makes a complete worldview-changing discovery that is, at least for me, unexpected to the point of jaw-dropping. It makes some oddly rough, even poorly fitting, facts make absolute sense.
I really, really liked this book. I hope there's no let-down coming!
I am not the prevaricating poltroon who can't endure such calumnies! but I very much appreciate the wordsmithing. Good job Richard.
*smooches from your own Horrible*
Does anyone here know of which Christian churches are asking what and where is radicalization happening with Christians? Isn't the attack on Planned Parenthood an example of Extreme Christian terrorism?
I would suggest that you read Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. I learned much about the radicalism of Christianity in relation to the three other religions of the Book, as Armstrong terms them. Come to think of it, many of the books Armstrong has written are about this very subject.
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As an aside, it seems that in the last few days some media personalities are taking on the recent Trump tirade. This morning on NPR there was a piece by the reporter who is covering the Presidential candidates, in which he talked about why Trump is getting away with talking like this.
I just ran across this review today in Publisher Weekly. This might be the kind of book you are looking for.
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (Schocken, Oct. 13) by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explores the reasons behind religious extremism, calling people of goodwill from all faiths to confront it. Sacks writes, “Until our global institutions take a stand against the teaching and preaching of hate, all their efforts of diplomacy and military intervention will fail. Ultimately the responsibility is ours. Tomorrow’s world is born in what we teach our children today.” Discussing the book with PW, Sacks explained that a solution to religious violence could lay in a new reading of the Book of Genesis.
I also found that Armstrong has a newer title that I did not know about. Her book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence has just came out in paperback. In the book Armstrong discusses Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, including Sharia law, which she described as “counter-cultural.”
May all the joys of Yuletide be abundant for you and all of those you love.
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!
**smooches** from your own dear Horrible