Friday, August 18, 2017

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an EndingThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sense of an Ending starts out with the reflections of a retiree, Tony Webster. He is thinking back to his days in secondary school: his teachers, his friends, and his relationship with his first girlfriend, Veronica Ford. Then the novel takes a twist when one of his childhood friends dies and Tony is forced to reacquaint himself with Veronica and the history they share. The Sense of an Ending is a powerful, psychological novel about relationships and memories that clash with reality. The plot and style reminded me of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, another novel I loved.

Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sirens Over the Hudson by MJ Neary

Sirens Over the HudsonSirens Over the Hudson by M.J. Neary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MJ Neary’s book Sirens over the Hudson follows the lives of a number of people with too much money and too little respect for themselves or others. The plot focuses mostly on the spoiled children of rich investment bankers and people who work in the media. Yet the adults have their own share of problems. Marital affairs are common, but less as results of broken marriages than as efforts to fight boredom or advance careers.

The story follows Gregory King, a high school student of partial turkish descent (a fact he takes pride in). Gregory climbs a tree to spy on his friend Stephen Schussler, a straight A student and accomplished athlete, while Stephen is having sex with his girlfriend, Cyntie van Vossen. Gregory decides he wants what Stephen has and Cyntie, who doesn’t appear to have much will of her own, goes along with Gregory’s wishes. Trouble ensues.

Although the book covers racism, assault, and islamophobia, among other controversial topics, its primary focus is on the problems faced by people who have everything except purpose. It’s a book that makes its readers think.

Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul


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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The North Water by Ian McGuire

The North WaterThe North Water by Ian McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The North Water is a violent, brutal novel, but also a beautifully written one. Here's a quote: The ache he feels is his body speaking its needs, talking to him—sometimes a whisper, sometimes a mumble, sometimes a shriek. It never goes silent; if it ever goes silent then he will know that he is finally dead...

The story is about Patrick Sumner, a British, army surgeon who lost his position due to a combination of bad decisions and bad luck. His options are so limited he signs up as a medic on a whaling ship with a crew that has more than its share of corrupt sailors. Henry Drax is one of the harpooners and a brutal man, willing to do anything for a chance at riches. What plays out is both upsetting and fascinating.

Steve Lindahl author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul


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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I almost gave up on Cutting For Stone. The beginning of this long novel had too many detailed descriptions of medical procedures and seemed to spend more time than necessary on the back stories of some of the characters. But once the twins were born, it became a great read. It is a story about growing up and surviving in Ethiopia during a time when the country was suffering from fighting among power hungry, ruthless leaders. There is a lot of information about the wretched conditions in Addis Ababa, which is fascinating, especially when set in a hospital. But this is also a story of love and ambition in many different forms. The mixture of politics and human emotion reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul


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