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review 2018-04-19 23:21
there's delight in every sentence
A Long Way From Home - Peter Carey

It's been a long time since I've found such delight in a story's every sentence.

 

The telling is all fine wordsmithing and sharp phrase-turning and frank soul-searching, neither sentimental nor cynical nor pretentious, and thoroughly engaging.The story is also satisfying and among the best I've read, and it's not the only Peter Carey work to earn that status with me.

 

It's told in first person, primarily by two narrators, each nearing 30 and introduced as neighbors in small-town Bacchus Marsh. The woman, Irene Bobs, is married to car aficionado and would-be Ford dealer Titch Bobs, and they're raising two children. The man, Willie Bachhuber, is a school teacher and quiz-show whiz, who left his wife and child over a misunderstanding about the child's parentage. The latter leads to much of the story's depths and surprises, and takes the reader into the thick of Australia's troubled racial landscape. The narrators wind up in a car called a Holden (Ford's Aussie competitor) in Australia's 1954 Redex Trial, a cross-continent auto race over much grueling outback.

 

Irene is my favorite narrator, but I've grown very fond of both voices. Irene, who considers herself little more than a pretty decent mum, turns out to be a bad-ass driver. Willie is her spot-on though occasionally delirious navigator. Their personal journeys progress apace with the race, eventually along separate but criss-crossing paths, never stereotypically and always with great heart.

 

Here's a taste of the telling, from Irene's perspective:

 

"The smell of a rally car, the stink, the whiff, the woo, you will never find the recipe for this pong in the Women's Weekly but ingredients include petrol, rubber, pollen, dust, orange peel, wrecked banana, armpit, socks, man's body. I drove into the night on the ratshit regulator. My headlights waxed and waned depending on the engine revs. Beneath us was bulldust, two feet thick. It was always smooth and soft-looking but the Holden banged and thudded like an aluminium dinghy hitting rock. It is a miracle our suspension didn't melt. Sometimes I saw the shock absorbers of a car in front, white hot, glowing like X-rays. Cattle loomed from the blackness and if I had rolled or hit a roo, if I killed us all, what then?"

 

What then, indeed. It is well worth the read to find out.

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review 2018-03-21 15:43
Just Filler and Boring
The Long Way Home - Louise Penny

Long story short, I forgot to post a review about this book when I read it right after book #9. I was too irritated to do much besides be super aggravated by the nonsense going on in the Armand Gamache series and this latest was just more of the same it seemed to me. The story was way too long and drawn out for the terrible payoff we get in the end. I was wondering about reading the next book in the series, and a friend said she thinks I will like that much better, so I will. But, I wanted to post my review of book #10 before I totally forgot about it.

 

"The Long Way Home" has Chief Inspector Armand Gamache retired and living in Three Pines. I still don't get why he and his wife relocated there after all of the insanity that seems to befall people in this village, but they do. Gamache goes to a bench everyday and reads a book (until a certain point) and seems to be waiting for someone or something to come along. Eventually, the someone does come along, Clara Marrow finally talks to Gamache about the promise that she and her estranged husband Peter made back in "A Trick of the Light" when she finally realized that for all of the lip service he was making, Peter wanted to see her do badly. The couple agrees to go their separate ways for a year, with Peter returning at the end of that year to see if they could move forward or not. Now it's more than a year and Clara believes that something truly awful had to have befallen Peter for him not to keep his promise.

 

"The Long Way Home" has Gamache team up with his former protege Jean Guy Beauvoir in trying to track down Peter's movements. Gamache's wife is concerned about him being pulled back into anything resembling an investigation that will leave him injured after the events in "How the Light Gets In." I really don't get why Gamache even agrees to help Clara with this besides his own curiosity. The reveal of what was going on with Peter was pretty much a letdown.

 

Jean Guy is blissful as anything cause he finally has capture, er married Gamache's daughter. I have already said repeatedly I don't care a bit about this romance and that still holds true here.

 

I ended up not liking Clara much throughout this book. She was aggressive and didn't listen one bit to what Gamache was saying. And honestly if she had listened, the events that transpired at the end of the book would not have occurred.

 

We do get to see Peter's messed up family a bit in this one, but I thought Penny did a disservice not showing them in the ending of the book.

 

The writing was typical Penny, but honestly I was bored. I just didn't care to read the symbolism behind everything that Peter was doing. The insights that everyone had while looking at Peter's artwork and figuring out his cold trail made me laugh. I don't know if maybe Penny had included drawings of "Peter's work" or something that would have helped us readers see what everyone else was looking at. But it's hard to read about what other characters are seeing when you don't see the artwork in question. I started skipping over stuff like that in this book just to get through this. I would think a look back at Clara and Peter's history and the art world in general would have been way more intriguing than this, but honestly after reading "A Trick of the Light" I just cannot anymore with the art world in Canada.

 

I had a hard time with the overall mystery that was solved here and how Peter was worked into that plot. It didn't make a lot of sense and the villain reveal in this one was done really badly. I liked what another reviewer said about this being a backwards mystery and honestly it was a backwards mystery. I wish that Penny had just decided to not loop in two mysteries for the price of one in this book since neither one of them were carried off very well.

 

The flow was not that great either. We have Clara, Mryna, Armand, and Jean Guy bouncing from location to location and meeting tertiary characters who I am sure will appear in future books. I just didn't care enough to pay that much attention to them.

The setting of this one is a little bit of Three Pines and other locations. None of them really stayed with me at the end of this book.

 

The ending was such a slap in the face though. I don't know how I feel about it besides cheated. I did feel like I wasted all of my time to just get this ending that pretty much thumbed its noses at the readers. I would say that this book is pretty much filler and you can skim it to get the bare bones of the story and can skip to the next book in the series.

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text 2018-03-09 09:37
Tea's TBR Thursday - March 8, 2018
The Long Way Home - David Laskin
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
The Darkness Knows (Viv and Charlie Mystery) - Cheryl Honigford
Celtic Myth & Magick: Harness the Power of the Gods & Goddesses - Edain McCoy
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Mistress of Rome - Kate Quinn
The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue - Michael J. Tougias,Casey Sherman

*Bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader

 

Books added to my personal TBR:

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (NOOK)

2. The Long Way Home by David Laskin (NOOK)

3. The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford (NOOK)

4. Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #1) by Kate Quinn

 

Books borrowed from the library:

1. Celtic Myth and Magick by Edain McCoy

 

Books put on hold at the library:

1. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Young

2. The Finest Hours by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias

 ********************************************************************************************

Books Read:

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (personal copy)

2. Danger in High Heels (High Heels #7) by Gemma Halliday (personal copy)

3. Deadly in High Heels (High Heels #9) by Gemma Halliday (personal copy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-11-05 23:41
Finished it!
The Long Way Home - Louise Penny

Hmmm, this one definitely isn't my favourite in the series.

 

I mean the art stuff was very interesting and all, but please can Gamache come out of retirement. I want more police procedural and less relationship angst. Especially when it's Clara who's suffering.

 

 

and I never liked Peter Morrow anyway, so I can't say I was that upset about what happened to him.

(spoiler show)
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text 2017-11-03 00:06
Reading progress update: I've read 9%.
The Long Way Home - Louise Penny

I requested this from the library yesterday and was expecting to wait for a while before it became available. So it was a bit of a surprise when I got notification I could download it onto my Kindle tonight.

 

Not that I'm complaining mind you.

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