Saturday, 14 February 2015

murderess?

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996)

Grace Marks was just 16 in 1843 when she was first sentenced to death, then life for the murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear and a housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. James McDermott, who also worked on the estate, was hanged for the murders. Grace is placed in an asylum, where she does work for the family who runs it. There she is having conversations with a young doctor, Simon Jordan, who wants to examine her psyche.  Did Grace really partake in the murders?

Based on real events, Atwood has given life to Grace and painted a picture of her life before and in the asylum. And it is definitely interesting, I enjoyed the story and all the details. There are so many fascinating minor characters like Jeremiah the Peddler, Jordan's landlady and her servant. I also got really interested in Susanna Moodie, so I need to read her account of migrating to Canada.

Despite being so good, it took two months to read this one. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because the book is so rich in details and prose. Atwood is still my favourite to win the Nobel prize and I'm glad I still have many books yet to read by her.

I'm left with some questions after finishing the book. Was she really guilty or not? If you have read it, what do you think?  And what really happened after she finally was released from the asylum? There's a historic mystery waiting to be solved.

This was December's read in Line's 1001 books reading circle. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

psycho bitch.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)

Nick Dunne comes home on the day of his 5th anniversary to find the door wide open, the living room in disarray and no trace of his wife, Amy.  What has happened to her? The police quickly find evidence of foul play, and they also react to Nick's bizarre behaviour. Would you be smiling if your wife was missing?

Nick is desperate to prove that he is innocent, but every time he uncovers a new clue, it all leads back to him. In between Nick's narratives there are diary entries from Amy from the time they first met and until things started to fall apart. And then BOOM! Plot twist.

The plot twist is what I liked best about the book, and the ending is certainly the worst. So... pointless? I had to see the film right away in case they had done something better concerning the ending, but no. I really enjoyed the film, but the book is perhaps slightly better as you get more insight and it's interesting to read the diary. I'm also disappointed that they cut off the part with that crazy stalker chic from the film.  Another thing that really irked me about the book was the overuse of fucking bitch . I did a search on my Kindle, and bitch has been used 82 and fucking 99 times. I mean, I get it, but some variation? Please. But, nevertheless, nothing is better than reading a fast-paced mystery when you're in need of a little escapism, and I have the two previous novels of Flynn saved on my Kindle for a rainy day.

“I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen first hand that I didn't immediately reference to amp is of a TV show. You know the awful singsong the blasé: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

in the midnight hour she cried more, more, more.

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

 “Who what am I? My answer: I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each ‘I’, every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you’ll have to swallow the world.”

Saleem Sinai is born at the strike of midnight when India gained its independence, and then he is switched at birth. He discovers that he has a superpower, telepathy. He can communicate with the other children with superpowers whom are born in the midnight hour of India's independence. Saleem's life is influenced by the events that shape India's history.

The book is high up on the list of the most difficult books I have read. I spent nearly three months on the 650 pages, and many pages had to be read over and over so I could decipher some meaning from it. But it was definitely worth it! There's a myriad of characters, a large dose of magic realism and you will learn a lot about the history of India.

 It's one of those books which are impossible to explain what it is about and why it is so mesmerising. I guess you have to read it yourself to discover what's so great about it. I'm actually proud of myself for finally completing a Rushdie. I tried years ago to read the Satanic Verses, but I was way too young. I still don't think I'm ready for that one yet, but I also have more to choose from on my shelves (and a new one to be published this year).

This was the November read(!) in Line's 1001 books reading circle.
 “I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I'm gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”

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