Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Tre Noveller

En annan dag av Eva Holmquist (2/5)
Publiceringsdatum: 2015
Baksidan säger:
Bella är en android som finns till för att tjäna. Enligt människor är sådana som hon inte kapabla att känna, tycka eller vilja. Bella tycker dock en hel massa. Hon känner, hon vill och hon är förälskad. I Tom, som också är en android. Bella lever dagligen med verbala övergrepp från människor. Verbala övergrepp som måste accepteras eftersom hotet att skickas till förbränningsugnen är ständigt närvarande. Men en dag händer något som gör att Bella inte längre kan fortsätta på samma sätt. Hon måste göra ett val som kan innebära skillnaden mellan liv och död...

Jag säger: Jag tror att det främsta problemet för mig med den här novellen är att den är för kort; jag hann inte få någon känsla av vilka Bella eller Tom egentligen var, och kände därför ingen förbindelse till dem. Längden gjorde även att handlingen kändes forcerad vilket resulterade i att det inte alls var trovärdigt.


Anledningen till att den får 2/5 är att slutet kändes väldigt klichéartat och fånigt. 



Förhöret av Khashayar Naderehvandi (3/5)
Publiceringsdatum: 2014
Baksidan säger:
Kom in sa han, och vände sig om och gick bort till fönstret, där han brukar stå och titta ut, så han såg inte att tuppen kom in tillsammans med mig. Det blev jävligt skumt, jag visste inte vad jag skulle säga, alltså jag hade ju tänkt säga nåt i stil med kolla vad jag hittade på gatan och släpade in, men nu var ju tuppen redan inne.

Jag säger: En kort och ganska intressant historia, med ett lite oväntat slut. Tyvärr har jag lite svårt för den typ av svenska som berättaren talar, men det gick bra att ta sig igenom. Jag hade dock aldrig läst en hel roman som var skriven så här. 




Run, eat, repeat av Therese Widenfjord (3/5)
Publiceringsdatum: 2015
Baksidan säger:
Det dygnet runt-öppna gymmet är gammalt och slitet, men hon går ändå dit så ofta hon kan. Ju hårdare hon tränar, desto lättare blir det att glömma det som ligger bakom henne. Men mörkret som sänker sig kring träningslokalen visar sig snart ruva på mycket mer än bara obehagliga minnen...

Jag säger: Bra skriven thriller som höll mig intresserad till slutet. Lite smådetaljer i början fick mig genast att börja tänka ut slutet, och trots att jag föredragit att inte ha klurat ut vad twisten var, fungerade det ändå.

3/5 och jag läser gärna mer av Widefjord. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Washing Dishes in Hotel Paradise by Eduardo Belgrano Rawson (2/5)

First published: 2006
Original title: El mundo se derrumba y nostros nos enamoramos
Original language: Spanish
Translation to English by: Rosie Marteau, 2010

Page count: 97
The back says: A sailor makes his way along the Uruguayan coast of the Río de la Plata. Reaching the radio station Pacheco, a stopping point for all mariners wishing to contact the mainland, he places a call to his wife. When a male voice answers, and the line falls dead immediately afterwards, the seaman begins to wonder whether it is the technology or his wife’s fidelity that he must doubt.

Fusing wit, tenderness, disillusionment, and passion, the vignettes in this volume are united by Belgrano’s idiosyncratic and award-winning narrative style. Engaging with Argentinian popular culture and history, the author presents a cast of characters variously engaged in rehabilitation, subterfuge, affairs of the heart, and even, unwittingly, cinematography.

I say: I didn’t like this.

Not much at all.

There was something about the prose, the short sentences that almost felt like they were stacked together, that made reading uneasy; 

there was no flow. 

And I didn’t particularly like any of the stories either. It was a disconnected read that I can barely even remember now. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Jenny av Jonas Gardell (4/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2006
Antal sidor: 174
Baksidan säger:
Tjugofem år efteråt får Juha Lindström veta att något fruktansvärt hände Jenny den där sista fredagskvällen före skolavslutningen då han inte var med.

Jenny handlar om en enda försommarnatt i barndomen, den som aldrig kan göras annorlunda.

Jenny är den fristående fortsättningen på En komikers uppväxt och Ett ufo gör entré, böcker som lästs av miljoner svenskar.


Jag säger: Jag var lite dum som läste den här romanen innan jag läst
En komikers uppväxt och Ett ufo gör entré, då det stod att det var en fristående läsning och jag ju så gärna ville läsa den. Det var inte så dumt som det låter, men jag visste ju hela tiden när jag läste de andra två vad som skulle hända Jenny och ville hela tiden stoppa henne.

Juha reser tillbaka till Sävbyholm och i takt med fotstegen blickar han tillbaka på sin barndom och försöker hitta en förklaring på vad som hände Jenny, och hur det kunde hända. Det är nästan som ett försoningsbrev där Juha försöker förklara varför han var som han var, utan att bortförklara. Juha tar även kontakt med några gamla klasskamrater och vi får en liten inblick i vilken typ av människor de blivit.

Jag förstod ganska snabbt vad som kan ha tänkts hänt Jenny och blev sorgsen när det uppdagades att jag hade rätt.

Fy.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ett ufo gör entré av Jonas Gardell (4.5/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2001
Antal sidor: 315
Baksidan säger:
I Ett ufo gör entré återvänder Jonas Gardell till Juha och Jenny och de andra barnen i Sävbyholm, som vi lärde känna i En komikers uppväxt. 70-tal är på väg att bli 80-tal. Det är kärnkraftsdebattens år, discots och John Travoltas år, punkens och Sex Pistols år. Nu är de 15 år gamla och går snart ut grundskolan. Man åtrår allt som är vuxet, erövrar vuxenvärlden bit för bit: går med en kondom väl synlig för att andra ska tro att man gjort det, smygröker bakom gymnastiksalen, super sig medvetslös på ff-fester och ljuger sig blå om sina sexuella bravader. Man klär ut sig för att likna alla andra, men man kan också klä ut sig för att likna sig själv, för att komma sig själv på spåren. 

Jag säger: Åh, vad fint och mäktigt Gardell får till det.

Juha försöker till en början fortfarande att få de populära elevernas godkännande, och ibland lyckas han. Snart nog inser Juha att han trots allt inte är som alla andra och att det känns bättre när han slutar försöka och börjar vara sig själv.

Det är mycket mer ångest här än i första delen, och det hör ju tonåren till, och Gardell gör det så vackert att det gör ont.


4.5/5 då jag tyckte att det fattades något lite i början.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

En komikers uppväxt av Jonas Gardell (4/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 1992
Antal sidor: 247
Baksidan säger:
Tolvårige Juha Lindström är klassens clown. Att vara rolig är det enda han är bra på. Genom Juha får vi lära känna hans mamma Ritva, pappa Bengt, lillasyster Marianne och dvärgkaninen Prutten - och klasskamraterna förstås: bästa vännen Jenny, som har ett fult hårspänne i sitt fula hår och som Juha skäms för, den mobbade Thomas som har en galen tysk mamma, och de elaka Lennart och Stefan.

En komikers uppväxt speglar en generations uppväxt i sjuttiotalets svenska förort är en av de roligaste och samtidigt sorgligaste barndoms skildringarna i modern svensk litteratur.


Jag säger: I En komikers uppväxt träffar vi alltså Juha som, trots att han egentligen inte vill, är klassens clown. Han berättar uppträder ständigt på roliga timmen, något som ingen riktigt gillar och som leder till att fröken ofta lämnar klassrummet. Egentligen vill Juha bara bli accepterad och gör därför mycket som han inte vill och sedan ångrar.

Det är synd om Juha, men han är också väldigt självisk – precis som alla tolvåringar.

Vi lär även känna några av hans klasskamrater, och igenkänningsfaktorn är hög; det är väl samma barn i alla klasser i alla tider.  

Jag gillar verkligen Gardell och hans sätt att beskriva upplevelser på ett både komiskt och gripande sätt; jag skrattade och skämdes om vartannat.


4/5 och jag började direkt på del 2, Ett ufo gör entré.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Tarantula by Bob Dylan (3/5)

First published: 1971
Page count: 137
The back says: Music legend Bob Dylan's only work of fiction—a combination of stream of consciousness prose, lyrics, and poetry that gives fans insight into one of the most influential singer-songwriters of our time.

Written in 1966, Tarantula is a collection of poems and prose that evokes the turbulence of the times in which it was written, and gives a unique insight into Dylan's creative evolution. It captures Bob Dylan's preoccupations at a crucial juncture in his artistic development, showcasing the imagination of a folk poet laureate who was able to combine the humanity and compassion of his country roots with the playful surrealism of modern art. Angry, funny, and strange, the poems and prose in this collection reflect the concerns found in Dylan's most seminal music: a sense of protest, a verbal playfulness and spontaneity, and a belief in the artistic legitimacy of chronicling everyday life and eccentricity on the street.

I say: I’ve never been a fan of Bob Dylan, mostly because I don’t particularly care for his voice, but I have enjoyed his lyrics. So, much like most people, I was surprised to learn that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.

Surprised and a little bit annoyed.

Having committed to reading at least one work by all winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, I quickly reserved his only novel and read it a week later.

I wasn’t expecting much, so it would be unfair to say that I was disappointed.

Confused, perhaps.

I understand appreciate what Dylan is doing here, but I don’t particularly care for it. This is not a novel so much as short chapters about the lives and forays into the minds of random people presented without much thought to punctuation (which drives me insane), some quite poetic, but most just meh; and if there was logic in there, I missed it. Although I did enjoy a few stories were interesting, I mostly just read to have read.

Each story ends with a little letter of sorts that’s signed humorously, which I quite enjoyed.


All I all, 3/5. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Let it snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle (3/5)

First published: 2013
Page count: 368
The back says: An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

I say: In The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, Jubilee is forced on a train to her grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve. Just before reaching Gracetown the train gets stuck due to storm and Jubilee ventures out into a Waffle House where she meets Stuart who invites her back to his house for Christmas.

John Green’s A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle chronicles three friends’ desperate attempt to make it through the snow to the Waffle House.

And in The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle, Addie tries to get over her broken heart and help her friend get a teacup pig.

I kind of enjoyed The Jubilee Express and read that in one sitting. Although Jubilee was a tad annoying in the beginning, once Stuart was introduced to the story, it grew on me. Johnson’s writing was witty at time and the story flowed along nicely.

The reason I wasn’t so keen on the second story is that I found the trio annoying. I had to put the book down about halfway through because I couldn’t stand them. They were meant to be funny and charming, I’m sure, but it all came across too forceful, and inauthentic, which is sad because I usually like Green’s writing.

The final story was the worst of them all due to a combination of an annoying protagonist and rather meh writing. I don’t mind stories about redemption, but this was so implausible it bordered on ridiculous.

The stories intertwined nicely enough, but in the end I was left feeling nothing.


3/5 mainly because of the first story. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Glasblåsarns barn/ The Glassblower’s Children av Maria Gripe (4/5)


First published: 1964
Page count: 150
The back says: Albert the Glassblower and Sofia are the loving parents of little Klas and Klara. Albert makes the most beautiful glass bowls and vases (unfortunately they are so impractical that no one will buy them), while Sofia supports the family by working in the fields. Every year Albert goes to the fair to try to sell his wares, and sometimes Sofia and the children go too. At the fair the family meets Flutter Mildweather, a weaver of magical rugs that foretell the future, and Klas and Klara come the attention of the splendid Lord and Lady of All Wishes Town, who have everything they want except for one thing: children.

I say: I read this in the original Swedish, but since it has been translated into English, I’ll review it in that language.

Technically this should be a re-read, but I haven’t read this since I was a child, and only remember the plot from the amazing film.

One thing that I found both amazing and frustrating with the telling of this story is the amount of foreboding. Even though I already knew exactly what was going to happen, the narrator’s constant comments about the way the characters behaved or what they said, got on my nerves as an adult, but also made me remember how exciting it was a child. The telling of the story is magical and beautiful, and I love the old-timey Swedish language.

Although there are a lot of plot holes, it still works because of the sentiment of it all.


4/5 because of the language that makes it feel more like a fairy tale than a novel. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Vill ha dig så illa av Gunnar Ardelius (3/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2014
Antal sidor: 204
Baksidan säger: Skolan är slut och en mörk hemlighet har lagt sig som ett kvävande täcke över sommaren. Gänget från gymnasier hänger kvar i stan, alla utom Channa som är försvunnen. Vart har hon tagit vägen? Och vad var det egentligen som hände den där iskalla nyårsnatten?

Jag säger: Sex vänner försöker klura ut vad de ska göra med sina liv och med varandra efter gymnasiet. Channa har försvunnit, men skriver brev om sitt nya liv till en av dem. De andra har både planer som de följer, och känslor som de inte riktigt vet hur de ska hantera.

En helt vanlig ungdomsroman, helt enkelt.

Varje kapitel återberättas av en av de sex. Det är korta kapitel som bara ger en liten glimt in i just den personens liv, och jag vet inte riktigt om jag gillar det. Det känns osammanhängande och abrupt. Jag får aldrig något grepp om vilka de här människorna är, och det känns hela tiden som att Ardelius vill övertyga mig att om jag bara läser vidare för att få reda på vad som hände på nyårsnatten, så kommer allt bli klart.

Men det blir det inte.       

Kanske är det jag som inte fattar, men när jag läst klart inser jag att jag inte riktigt bryr mig.

Och det är synd.


3/5 och jag läser gärna något annat av Ardelius; då gärna skrivet på annat sätt.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Run Rabbit Run by Barbara Mitchellhill (2/5)

First published: 2011
Page count: 221
The back says: When Lizzie’s dad refuses to fight in the Second World War, the police come looking to arrest him. Desperate to stay together, Lizzie and her brother Freddie go on the run with him, hiding from the police in idyllic Whiteway. But when their past catches up with them, they’re forced to leave and it becomes more and more difficult to stay together as a family. Will they be able to? And will they ever find a place, like Whiteway, where they will be safe again?

I say: I didn’t like this.

Perhaps it wasn’t Mitchelhill’s intention, but the underlying preachy tone of it all put me off it. Having said that, it was educational and I appreciated the note clarifying that Whiteway is a real place.

It was a quick read and although I tried, I couldn’t find any real interest in Lizzie and her family, so 2/5.



Monday, 17 October 2016

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (3/5)

First published: 2009
Original title: 掏摸
Original language: Japanese
Translation to English by: Satoko Izumo and Stephen Coates, 2012

Page count: 211
The back says: The thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo's crowds, stealing wallets from strangers, so smoothly sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. To him, people are a blur: a sea of nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections... 

But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears and offers him a job he can't refuse. It's easy: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of his safe. No one gets hurt. Only, the day after the job's done, the thief learns that the old man was a prominent politician. And after the robbery he was brutally murdered. Now, the thief is caught in a tangle from which even he might not be able to escape.

I say: This was a short and easy read that I’m not quite sure if I enjoyed. Parts of the story interested me, while others caused confusion. I understand that the flashbacks were there to tell his story, but what did his ex-girlfriend have to do with anything? All memories of her seemed superfluous. And if they were there to showcase some form of humanity in him, they failed.

The same goes for the boy.

It was all just so contrived.

I must admit that I lost interest in the story about halfway through, and when the consequences of the robbery appeared I read merely for the sake of finishing. Which is kind of a shame because I was enjoying Nakamura’s sparse prose.

3/5 because having finished I’m left with nothing more than a meh.

[Aside: there were two spelling mistakes in the book and that annoyed me more than it really should.]

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Stå ut! av Mattias Edvardsson (3.5/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2014
Antal sidor: 189
Baksidan säger:
Nike är nästan osynlig i klassen, hon är en sån som är duktig men som ingen kommer ihåg. Hemma bryr sig föräldrarna bara om hur det går på proven. Liam är hennes totala motsats. Han skolkar, syns, tar plats i skolan. båda har sina bestämda roller - åtminstone på ytan. Ingen vet att Nike på kvällarna blir Nicole, tjejen med den fräcka bloggen. Och ingen vet att Liams mamma har cancer och att det känns viktigare än skolan. Klassföreståndaren Christer har sina egna problem att brottas med.

En gripande och trovärdig berättelse om att växa upp och ta sin plats i livet, berättat ur tre olika perspektiv.


Jag säger: Nike och Christers berättelser och röster kändes trovärdiga, medan Liam kändes som en fullständig kliché. Egentligen kan man väl säga att även Nikes berättelseark var lite banalt, men det var något med hennes sårbarhet som fick mig att bortse från det som jag visste skulle hända till slut.

Det som alltid händer när folk låtsas vara någon de inte är...

Romanen alternerar mellan de tres röster vilket gav tillfälle att se dels hur de såg på varandra, men även hur lite de egentligen visste om hu de verkligen var.

Och varför.

Egentligen är detta en ganska typisk ungdomsroman, men det är något med sättet handlingen presenteras som gör den lite mer speciell. Synd bara att omslaget är så fult. 

3.5 och jag läser gärna mer av Edvardsson i framtiden.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Vox by Nicholson Baker (2.5/5)

First published: 1998
Page count: 176
The back says: A man and a woman, strangers to each other, residents of distant cities, have both called an adult party line. Finding each other's voice attractive, they soon switch to a private, "one-to-one" connection. Their seduction-through-conversation begins hesitantly and then becomes erotic.

I say: This was a quick and pretty ok reed; nothing too risqué or even really interesting. The only reason I read it was because it had a blurb on the front that this was the novel Monica Lewinsky famously gave Bill Clinton.

*shrug*

Two strangers talk about themselves and their sex life and it was all rather meh, to be honest. I barely remember anything other than the man ordering some pantyhose for some woman at some point, and the woman sharing some fantasy about the men packing up the pantyhose.


2.5/5 because whatever it was, it wasn’t for me.

Friday, 24 June 2016

True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole by Sue Townsend (2/5)

First published: 1989
Page count: 163
The back says: Adrian Mole has grown up. At least that’s what it says on his passport. But living at home, clinging to his threadbare cuddly rabbit ‘Pinky’, working as a paper pusher for the DoE and pining for the love of his life Pandora has proved to him that adulthood isn’t quite what he hoped it would be. Still, intellectual poets can’t always have things their own way …

Included here are two other less well-known diarists: Sue Townsend and Margaret Hilda Roberts, a rather ambitious grocer’s daughter from Grantham.

I say: I don’t have much to say about this since I found it pretty lacklustre. Some of Adrian’s musings were a little bit humorous, but on the whole he’s a smug and boring person who thinks more of himself and his writing than there is.

Perhaps that’s his charm.

Why Sue Townsend and Margaret Hilda Roberts’ diaries were in there, I don’t even care to understand. They gave me nothing.


2/5 as the most redeeming factor was that it was short and required little effort other than rolling my eyes.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend (3/5)

First published: 1982
Page count: 272
The back says: Adrian Mole's first love, Pandora, has left him; a neighbour, Mr. Lucas, appears to be seducing his mother (and what does that mean for his father?); the BBC refuses to publish his poetry; and his dog swallowed the tree off the Christmas cake. "Why" indeed.

I say: I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I found some of Adrian’s musing mildly entertaining, but on the other hand he was utterly wearisome. I couldn’t understand why he did most of the things he did, and perhaps I am too old and far removed to enjoy it, because it did nothing for me. 

3/5 because it was well-written and even though I never laughed once I can see where others would find this level of humour entertaining.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Aldrig förlåt av Mårten Melin (2.5/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2014
Antal sidor: 7
Baksidan säger:
Anton har tagit över storasyster Lenas rum. Hon tycker inte om det. Hon är rastlös och orolig och går runt hemma i huset. 

Varför ligger hennes saker nedpackade i kartonger? Varför blir lillebror Anton så rädd när han ser henne? Och varför verkar hennes föräldrar inte ens lägga märke till henne längre? 

Utåt förefaller berättelsen vara en vanlig familjehistoria, men det finns något i bakgrunden som stör. Och det är klart - storasyster Lena är ju död... 

Boken är ett slags rysare och handlar om vad som kan hända när någon dör i en olycka där en anhörig är förövaren. Inte förrän i slutet nystas det upp vad som egentligen har hänt. 

En fantastiskt fängslande historia med ett mycket oväntat slut. Allt berättat på mindre än 20 sidor.


Jag säger: Superkort och, i min mening, inte alls någon rysare. Man förstår ju direkt att Lena inte vill Anton något ont. Kanske frågan är varför hon kommit tillbaka och enbart Anton kan se henne...
 

Berättelsen känns mer som en katalysator för vidare diskussion kring det som hänt Lena, och det i sig är ju en bra sak.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre (4.5/5)

First published: 2015
Page count: 313
The back says: Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher.

Lara's life has changed radically since her father lost his job. As the eldest, Lara tries to keep upbeat, and the one outlet for all her problems is her diary where she can be open about how dire everything is at home, and worse, the fact that she’s being horrifically bullied at school.


And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot reciprocate her feelings... can he?

I say: I read this in one sitting and loved most of it. It was amazingly riveting and although I could see a lot of things coming, there seemed to be a twist around each bend that made me question the outcome.

The synopsis mentions the horrifying bullying that Lara is put through, but I was in no way even close to prepared for how intense it was. I grew up before social media, so the way these kids were using it to spread the bullying to everyone in school was beyond my emotional grasp.

Yes, kids are cruel, but to that extent? 

When it comes to Mr J and Lara, the way their relationship unfolded seemed plausible. However, this is where my adult brain kicks in and on the one hand felt troubled by Mr J reciprocating Lara’s emotions, and on the other hand understanding why Lara would do anything to get him.

Which leads us to that terrible ending...

I don’t want to call it insulting, but it felt abrupt and moralising. Perhaps this is where McIntyre was taking the story all along, however I wish it had been handled a little bit different.


Lara’s voice seemed authentic, and even though it was at times distressing taking part in her life, this is a book that I would recommend to any teen in my life. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Jag blundar tills jag finns av Marie Björk (3.5/5)

Publiceringsdatum: 2014
Antal sidor: 132
Baksidan säger:
Sandra drömmer om ett liv bortom Sörbyskolan och utan en pappa som förstör. Musiken och idolen Patti Smith räddar henne - med hörlurarna på hörs det inte om någon skriker och bråkar. En gång hade hon en bästis som förstod allt, Sara. Men Sara flyttade och Sandra vågar inte tro på att ensamheten ska försvinna. Det gäller bara att härda ut, tills hon har gått ut nian och hela livet kan börja. Men så kommer Cassandra, och allting förändras. In i Sandras liv kommer fester, killar och det där som absolut aldrig någonsin får hända. Men som ändå händer.

Jag blundar tills jag finns handlar om att skydda sig mot en pappa som dricker, om att förlora vänskap och hitta kärlek, utforska sin sexualitet och att handskas med det allra värsta. Boken väjer inte för mörkret, men är samtidigt full av hopp och mod.

Jag säger: Det känns som att Sandra går igenom allt som kan hända i tonåren på bara ett år – med lite annat som egentligen aldrig borde hända i någon ålder.

Bästisen flyttar, och en ny försöker fylla den tomma platsen. Eller rättare sagt, Sandra försöker fylla ut platsen med en ny person, Cassandra. Fester, killar och konsekvenserna av alkohol, allt medan hon försöker undvika en alkoholiserad pappa och en mamma som blundar för det hela.

Jag gillade Sandra. Det är sällan jag inte stör mig på en tonåring, men för mig kändes det som att Sandra hela tiden det bästa hon kunde och klara av.

Boken var snabbläst och skriven på ett trovärdigt sätt, även om jag inte vill tro att vissa situationer verkligen kan förekomma.  


3.5/5 och jag läser gärna mer av Björk i framtiden.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Point Omega by Don DeLillo (3.5/5)

First published: 2010
Page count: 148
The back says: Richard Elster, a retired secret war adviser, has retreated to a forlorn house in the desert, ‘somewhere south of nowhere’. But his planned isolation is interrupted when he is joined by a young filmmaker intent on documenting his experience in a one-take film. The two men sit on the deck, drinking and talking. Weeks go by. And then Elster’s daughter Jessie visits. When a devastating event follows, all the men’s talk, the accumulated meaning of conversation and isolation, is thrown into question.

Written in hypnotic prose, this substantial novel is both a metaphysical meditation and a deeply unsettling mystery, from which one thing emerges: loss, fierce and incomprehensible.

I say: I’m not quite sure how to review this because although the majority of me thinks it was amazing, a small part of me is wondering whether I’m just in love with the way the story is told, rather than the story itself. Things happen, but their significance is only magnified by the fact that nothing really does happen.

Words fail me.

A man watches and installation of Psycho that has been slowed down so that the entire film plays over 24 hours at the museum. His thoughts about the film and time, as well as the people who come and go while he’s watching, were both interesting and at first confusing. We then switch to Elster and Jim out in the desert talking about life and time, and it’s philosophical in a way that I love. When Jessie enters I feel confused. What is her part in all this? Why has she been introduced? And this is where I feel as though thing happen, nothing happens at all.

The event that is spoken of in the synopsis in a sense a non-event; a plot device.

This is where my disappointment lies.

Disregarding that, the prose is beautiful and spellbinding. It flows seamlessly from one fragment to another, only interrupted by occasional conversation. I wanted to stop and ponder all that was being presented, but couldn’t because the language was pushing me forward; urging me to just let it run its course.

And I did.

But was sadly disappointed by the story itself.

3.5/5, and I will be re-reading this in the future. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy (3.5/5)

First published: 1888
Page count: 148
The back says: ‘I wonder,’ cried Rose, throwing herself into the breach, ‘what Mr. Lee-Harrison thought of it all.’
‘I think,’ said Leo, ‘that he was shocked at finding us so little like the people in Daniel Deronda.’
‘Did he expect,’ cried Esther, ‘to see our boxes in the hall, ready packed and labelled Palestine?’
‘I have always been touched,’ said Leo, ‘at the immense good faith with which George Eliot carried out that elaborate misconception of hers.’
‘Now Leo is going to begin,’ cried Rose, ‘he never has a good word for his people. He is always running them down.’
‘Horrid bad form,’ said Reuben; ‘besides being altogether a mistake.’
‘Oh, I have nothing to say against us all,’ answered Leo ironically, ‘except that we are materialists to our fingers’ ends.’

I say: I had no idea what this fairly short novel was about, and picked it up at random, as I had never heard of it before. In certain ways, I am glad that I did because I did quite enjoy it at times.

Even though it also made me uncomfortable.

Reuben Sachs returns to London after some time abroad and we follow him and his Jewish relatives over the course of some months. Much to the family’s dismay – though nobody speaks openly about it - Reuben is paying too much attention to his less fortunate cousin Judith, who reciprocates his feelings. In a sense, the novel is about these two simultaneously trying to hide their feelings and trying to defy convention by seeking each other out and being conscious of their impossible love. It’s about the choice Judith has to make, which, in the 19th century, isn’t really that much of a choice at all.

These are the parts of the novel that I liked; being a part of their romance and especially following Judith’s train of thought.

This novel is also about Jewish families and how they relate to each other, and this is where my discomfort was brought forward. There are quite a few quotes and opinions about Jews that I thought were a bit much, but may well just be tongue in cheek. Having finished Reuben Sachs, I learned that many had labelled Levy’s novel as anti-Semitic, as she does paint them as materialistic, jealous, petty, snobbish and intolerant of other faiths. It wasn’t just a few characters, it was mostly the narrator, who also quite annoyed me.

Apart from the women constantly crying out things and opinions (as demonstrated by the short excerpt above), the annoying narrator and the quips about Jews, the writing was fine.


3.5/5 mostly due to Judith and the ending. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (3/5)

First published: 2005
Page count: 282
The back says: In one of the most acclaimed and original novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkle skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Gohauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

I say: After absolutely loving The Remains of the Day and only hearing good things about this, I had ridiculously high expectations.

Unfortunately, they were all crushed by the prose.

The main thing that annoyed me to no end was the constant foreboding. Kathy is unable to just tell the story as it happens; she is constantly giving little hints at secrets and future troubles in a way that annoyed me at first, and towards the end made me a little violent. I found myself being bored with the story and my mind wandering because I couldn’t stomach all the allusions. An anecdote drifted into a separate story that ended with Kathy saying she’ll tell us more about that later on.

By the time I reached the end I couldn’t possibly care less about these people and just wanted it to be over, which is rather sad because it is a very good story. If it had been told differently I probably would have loved it. However, the prose kept me from making any genuine connection with the characters.


It was sad, but ultimately just meh.