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review 2017-06-23 16:00
On Canaan’s Side ★★★☆☆
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “literary” novels, this seems to be how I most often feel, with the second most common emotion being impatient annoyance. The latter is most common in the ones that I’m not even able to finish reading.

 

On Canaan’s Side seems to be about grief and loss and the pointlessness of actually making human connections in life, when at the end everybody you loved is gone or has betrayed you in some way. There is some beautiful language and gorgeous descriptions of setting and emotions. The author chose to express some of these in stream-of-consciousness style of run-on sentences that literally went on as long as 1 ½ pages of text. Fortunately, these were mostly confined to the first and last few chapters, with the middle third of the book written in a snappier style that moved the plot and story (such as it was) along in a more tolerable fashion.

 

When I was a teenager, we had a saying that encompassed all the angst of that age: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”. That’s pretty much how I felt by the end of this book.

 

Hardcover version, purchased as a circulation discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoloy challenge, for the square Trains, Planes, & Automobiles 14: Read a book that involves overseas travel, or that has a suitcase on the cover.  There is a brief description of the main character’s overseas journey from Ireland to America, and two other characters journey overseas for the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

 

Previous Updates:

6/29/17 182/272 pg

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review 2017-06-23 02:48
If Walls Could Talk ★★★★☆
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

The only other cozy mystery series I’ve tried was not very satisfying, so I had low expectations coming into this one. But what a pleasant surprise! The author introduces each character with descriptions that drew a clear picture in my mind and also gave some hint of what was to come. I learned a little history and felt some of the MC’s enthusiasm for her work in restoring historic homes. The whodunnit was not especially difficult to figure out before it was revealed, but the journey to get there was plenty of fun.

 

Audio version, purchased via Audible. Although there’s not a lot of differentiation between her male characters’ voices, Xe Sands’ performance is very good in terms of pacing and emotion.

 

Previous Updates:

 

6/20/17 6%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573004/if-walls-could-talk-6

 

6/20/17 15% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573053/if-walls-could-talk-15

 

6/21/17 43%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573208/if-walls-could-talk-43

 

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text 2017-06-21 14:35
If Walls Could Talk: 43%
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

I'm really enjoying this. If the author is leaving clues about the murderer, I'm really not able to put them together. 

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text 2017-06-21 00:46
If Walls Could Talk: 15%
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

Well. This is unexpectedly gory for a cozy mystery. I like it. 

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text 2017-06-20 23:33
If Walls Could Talk: 6%
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

Preceded by a subtle fog of expensive perfume, the two women looked to be in their early sixties, blonde, well coiffed, and attractive. One tall and lithe, the other petite but with torpedo-style surgically enhanced breasts. 

 

 

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