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review 2016-08-13 01:44
Purity: A Novel - Jonathan Franzen

There are many forms of purity - Mind, Heart, Soul, etc...and most of the characters ruin the 'purity' of those they love, whether intentional or not.


Mr. Franzen creates great characters and his prose is fantastic. I never felt he hurried anything nor did I want him to. I just kept reading.


Near the end Mr. Franzen presents his philosophy regarding the internet and privacy and secrets. I do not agree with Mr. Franzen's assessment that the internet causes loss of purity. Nor am I sure I totally understand his philosophy regarding the internet and purity and secrets.


Mr. Franzen excels at writing couples hurting each other; they love each other but can no longer stand to be together. In Mr. Franzen's world love does not last forever; true closeness to another person exacts a price that must be paid.


And what is it with some of the characters having stomach/bowel issues? There seems to be a theme here but I can't figure it out.


I will certainly read "Corrections" and "Freedom". If for no other reason than just in case he creates another character like Purity Tyler.

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review 2016-07-14 02:22
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The story is about three brothers thrown out by their hate filled, selfish and decadent father at a very early age and as young men have all come back to their father's town at the same time.  Conflict arises between the brothers and father, the brothers themselves and the brothers and other characters.


The story is about Love, sacrifice, bitterness, redemption and forgiveness.


The story is a very good one.


The story is a struggle.


The narration is uneven.  At the culmination of the novel our narrator states he cannot remember every detail and everything said at the culminating event but 200 or pages earlier a brother is having hallucinations and the narrator has no problems spending 20 pages or so describing that event in too much detail.


The philosophical monologues in the first half of the book are long and overwhelming and I am not sure they add to the story.


At the end we have two minor characters summarize, another 30 or so pages, the entire novel.  I just read the novel, why do I need a summary?


Parts of the novel are funny, especially in the first third.  Mrs. Hohlakovs in particular is very amusing.


But in the end it was the little things that left me unfulfilled. Lise was involved with one of the brothers on and off for most of the book then just disappears.  Koyla was introduced near the end for no purpose whatsoever that I could figure out.


But, I gave away an onion.

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review 2016-06-03 01:25
The Facades - Eric Lundgren

Another time, another place I might have enjoyed this book.  But I read this too soon after "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" and "Aurora" and I'm tired of the existential BS.

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review 2016-05-18 01:34
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

An early and not very good work by Mr. Murakami. Everything is here to see what he would later do, but this fell flat for me.


An easy and straight forward story to read but if you are not up for insight into existential thought it may not be right for you.

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review 2016-05-18 01:32
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber

I have read a lot of Dickens and some Trollop too and this is perhaps how Mr. Dickens would write about London today; a lot more vulgar.


The first half of the book may be difficult for some readers as it is very pointed about prostitution. Not sex; but about prostitutes and prostitution. There is nothing erotic here.

The plot and characters are well drawn by Mr. Faber. There are no 'bad' persons in the story to drive the plot, just the characters, their circumstances, their choices and the consequences as they try to improve their situation.


The Narrator in book is an interesting device, but I feel the device either should have been used either more or used less. There were times in the middle of the novel when the story took over and was then interrupted by the re-appearance of the Narrator.

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