Rating: 3

Transatlantic

2013 Longlisted: TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

TransatlanticRating: 3
TransAtlantic
A Novel by Colum McCann
Audiobook Narrated by Geraldine Hughes
2013 / 10 hours 46 minutes

If I had to describe Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic in one word, I would call it melancholy.  If I was not involved in the Man Booker shadow project, BookerMarks, I would leave my review at melancholy, lament over the fact that the book just did not speak to me as his award winning Let the Great World Spin did and pick up another book to read.  Alas, I am participating in BookerMarks so a review I must do!

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Book Review: 2012 Shortlisted: Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse (Review #7)

Rating: 3
The Lighthouse
A Novel by Alison Moore
2012 / 192 Pages

Well, that was tragic.

I’m trying to recall a novel that oozed loneliness as much as The Lighthouse.  The characters were lonely.  The plot was lonely.  The symbolism was lonely.  The book’s prognosis was lonely.

I needed a hug when it was done.

In the midst of his wife leaving him, “Futh” decides to go on a walking holiday in Germany.  The trip is supposed to be restorative.  It’s supposed to offer healing.  Futh brings little, expects little, and is prepared for little.  The trip will unquestionably unearth his past, and cause him to reflect on his present.  Will he like what he uncovers?   Will he permit the shards of his memory permanent residence in his mind?  Ultimately, will this well-intentioned holiday feed his soul?

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse (Review #5)

Rating: 3
The Lighthouse
A Novel by Alison Moore
2012 / 192 Pages

For my part of the Bookermarks Collaboration, I finished 6.5 books – all of the short list (except for the last half of Umbrella) and not counting the long listed Teleportation Accident in which I will finish sometime in the near future. The fourth book I read was Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse. Finishing it over a month ago, I still have not written the review for it. Why? Because I just don’t know what to write about. I liked it – but I just wasn’t impressed enough with it to discuss it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. (more…)

Book Review: Shortlisted: Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis (Reviews #4 & #5)

 Jackie’s Rating: 3
 Penny’s Rating: 3
 Narcopolis
 A Novel by Jeet Thayil
 2012 / 292 Pages

Get ready for a drug induced ride!! Narcopolis is a novel that begins with a 7 page run on sentence that will likely scare off many a reader! It takes place in the underground world of opium dens in 1970’s Bombay, India. It chronicles the lives of some of the patrons and employees of Rashid’s– renowned for having the “best smoke on Shuklaji Street”. This book has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and is therefore part of our BookerMarks collaborative. We’ve done the podcast (which you can listen to here) and have been singing Men At Work’s Down Under ever since! This will be another Jackie and Penny  joint review.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis (Review #2)

NarcopolisRating: 3
Narcopolis
Jeet Thayil
2012 / 292 Pages

I have just emerged from Jeet Thayil’s drug-ridden nightmare, and I have to say that I’m pleased to be back.

Longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker prize, this novel is an unflinching exploration of the underworld of Old Bombay.  Hookers, pimps, street vendors, pushers, artists and eunuchs litter the filthy streets.  Dogs run in packs, murderers prowl dark corners, and opium dens are routinely busy with varying sorts of clientele.  In short, life on Shuklaji Street is a misery, but its residents know no better.  There are no loftier expectations.

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Book Review: 2012 Longlisted: Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden Of Evening Mists (Review #3)

The_Garden_Of_Evening_MistsRating: 3.0
The Garden of Evening Mists
A Novel by Tan Twan Eng
2012 / 350 Pages

Having been slightly disappointed by the 2012 Man Booker nominee Communion Town, I was anxious to sink my teeth into something with a little more heart.  The Garden of Evening Mists made that promise, offering characters with remarkable histories and searing memories.  I was anxious to start the journey.

It’s Malaya, 1949, and your story pivots around Yun Ling Teoh, a character with a curriculum vitae that includes Cambridge Graduate, Prosecutor, Judge… and lone survivor of a Japanese wartime camp.  Yun Ling’s time in that camp shaped her career, and not surprisingly, her person.  In addition to camp memories haunting her every move, her left hand bears a story of its own, as it’s missing fingers.  The camp casts a long shadow over Yun Ling’s life.

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