Monday, March 29, 2010

Books! but only a couple :(

I only read three books this month, it was very traumatic. April will be better! I know there's two days left but I don't think I can finish another book in that time, so here go the reviews:

12) Émilie's Voice, Susanne Dunlap.
This book reminded me of The Wayward Muse, as an expert in the music field writes a fictional book about a real person, Marc-Antoine Charpentier. It was as far as I can tell factually true to life, like Rosetti in Muse, but like that book it just never really jumped off the page. All I wanted was a happy ending for Émilie, and I didn't get it. Not worth the time I spent reading it.

13) Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler.
This is the book I was reading while I was doing my orientation at my new job and the ironies of it made me laugh. This book is set in pre-World War II Soviet Union, which I feel is a missing part of history for many of us. Koestler compiled this book, a work of fiction from the real life situations his friends and colleagues went through while he defected to France and Britain.

The story is about a senior official in Stalin's regime who has outlived his usefulness and his "adventures" in a prison awaiting death. It is entirely fascinating and philosophical. I truly enjoyed the brain workout I got from this book. The ending comes as a relief and with a hint of sadness, and I feel that was Koestler's vision. Definitely find this one if you want a book with lots of thinking ;)

14) The Lazarus Project, Aleksandar Hemon.

Hemon's book was one I had anticipating being so good that I added his other books to my wishlist before I even cracked it open. And I wasn't disappointed. The reviewers compare him to Nabokov, who I have never read, but if he's like Hemon, I probably will.

Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian of Ukranian descent escapes Sarajevo before the war and moves to America. He marries a salt-of-the-earth Irish-American girl, and tries to live the life of a happy American and a struggling writer. He decides his new project is writing the (true) story of Lazarus Averbuch, who was a young Jewish immigrant/refugee from pogroms in Ukraine. Averbuch survived all that to end up dead at the police chief of Chicago's home, only trying to deliver him a message.

Hemon layers the book with dark photographs and interweaves both Averbuch & his sister's story with that of Brik and his friend Rora, a photographer who joins him on his journey through Eastern Europe. This is an adventure you do not want to miss, as nothing appears as it seems and you won't expect what comes around the corners. I'm excited to read more from Hemon.

Also, but unrelated:

(thanks Laurie!)

No comments: