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ZebraMc's Achievements

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  1. Sunset Park is *very* different from PA's other novels. I have always found him challenging to read - the post-modern, self-referencing style can tie me in knots! This novel seems somehow more normal: story of a young man who has broken ties with his family after a traumatic event and his journey to understand his feelings. There are some of the usual Auster ways, such as common themes, characters struggling to write or be artists in other ways, but on the whole, it almost felt like it had been written by someone else! I know it wasn't as I saw him interviewed on the Culture Show before Christmas talking about it. Hey ho - if you've never read Auster and you enjoy this, you may be surprised if it leads you on to other works. If you're a fan, I would be really interested to know what you make of this one. Z
  2. Romantic zombies? Whatever next! Zebra
  3. I found The Accidental quite hard going and have never bothered with anything else - so not tempted by this. Z
  4. I finished Freedom a couple of weeks ago, but needed a ponder. I did really enjoy it, but not sure about *the* great American novel - far too much competition from Oates, Updike, DeLillo, Bellow and co. My favourite novels are always those which explore the motivations of the characters and where that leads. Some of the conclusions are a bit far fetched, but the characters are beautifully drawn, unsentimental and ring true. Patty's own childhood is inescapable and she is unable to form a close relationship with her own kids, despite being a stay-at-home-mom to do her best by them. Walter, her husband, is a complex character who is somewhat in the background for the first half, but comes to the fore later. The novel explores whether the freedoms that we enjoy are always a good thing and also takes a wider view of modern America. I shall be putting The Corrections on my Christmas list and look forward to reading more JF. Zebra
  5. Having recently installed book shelves across the wall of a previously unused bedroom, my mum arrived at the weekend with 5 large bags of books which had been stored at hers since I left university over 20 years ago - what a trip down memory lane....The new library chez Zebra is going to be known as the growlery! Z
  6. Loving A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
  7. I really enjoyed this book, although found that it was just when I was getting to know De Zoet that a whole new group of characters were introduced - but perhaps this is part of the author's art - to leave us wanting more! I liked the fact that I learned about the different groups and then they started to come together. I found the almost love story between JDZ and Orito heart-breaking: their different reasons for wanting to be together, and this definitely falls into the category of a satisfying ending - no easy "happy ever afters" here. The background to the book is fascinating too - the thought of being cooped up on a tiny island off Nagasaki and unable to communicate with home, except for once a year (if the ship makes it with your letters) is my idea of hell. The proximity to the Japanese mainland and lack of opportunities to visit was also interesting and challenges the image we have of Japan today as high-tech and kooky, but also global.
  8. Jonathan Franzen's Freedom - question is, do I take the publisher up on their offer of a replacement (correct) copy or finish it first? What a dilemma.
  9. Ditto - I am enjoying it, he is one of my favourites. We were teaching English in Japan around the same time (although I didn't know him) and have many of the same references. Z
  10. I enjoyed the book and found that I wanted to find out what had happened during her life: I cared about her and the cast of characters. Chuntzy, you've put your finger on why I did like Claudia: it was her lack of sentimentality. Even when she is staring into space grieving for Tom, it is unsentimental. I also liked the fact that I felt she acknowledged her own foibles. I did feel that it was slightly unlikely that she had such a conventional child, since we are the product of our parents, but decided it was Lisa's reaction to being foisted on her grandparents - neither Claudia nor Jasper seemed to be very involved in her upbringing, so I put it down to nurture over nature. Zebra
  11. Most of the way through The Girl who Played with Fire as felt I had earned a rest after Wolf Hall
  12. I made it to the end of WH after what felt like an age. I agree with others here who found it (variously) confusing ("He" - is he supposed to be God?), in need of a good edit - I thought it could have been a good bit shorter and in some places just plain hard work. I wondered about the title? Wolf Hall is mentioned but isn't prominent until the end. I am ashamed to say that I had to check that Jane Seymour was indeed Henry's 3rd wife. I am guessing that, taken with the ending, the title is meant to spell out the irony (probably not the right word) of all Henry's (and others') efforts for him to marry AB to soon move on to the next wife? Zebra
  13. Or just not enough hours in the day to read them?? Zebra
  14. I am just back from Sri Lanka and found many many lovely bookshops...I succumbed to Anil's Ghost which I hadn't read before - it would have been haunting without being in the country. I did, on the other hand, have to donate Catch 22 to DH (who *never* reads a book) and couldn't put it down!
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