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review 2017-07-24 09:52
I don't think I'll be watching this movie
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard

I was trying to explain what this was about to mom on WA, alienation, communication through violence, descent to barbarism. She said "Ah, sounds like Dogville". I left about a third in on that movie, and I don't think I'll be watching this one. It sounds like I did not like this, and, well, uncomfortable as it is, I though it bloody amazing. It's just that the madness that slowly creeps in, and has you partially numbed by the time the heavy stuff crashes in, would not have time to come to full effect in the span of movie time, and would make the impact of violence unbearable.

I realize what I'm saying is creepy as fuck, just as I was aware reading that while the characters are slowly inured to the rising wilderness, the reader is inured to the rising level of brutality. And you kind of welcome it, because you wouldn't be able to cope with it otherwise. I found, about 30 pages from the end, that I had felt more of an impact by the bottle throwing (that first act of violence perpetuated) than what was going on by the last third. Familiarity breeds contempt and repetition indifference.

Yeah... creepy as fuck.

Also, the first third or so was masterfully disquieting. In the context of that first line, which, for the unwary and squeamish, is:


Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.


every little war waged inside a big building takes an ominous shade. I lived in a building much like the one in this book for three years while a student. It was waaay outside of my money-bracket (hell, my parents money-bracket) but the old land-lady let me share her apartment for peanuts so she could have some company. I can tell you all the petty disputes and territoriality are true to life. Though they usually don't get this bloody (except for suicides. Those were an issue on Friday evenings).

Lastly, the symmetry. 3 for each, then 2 for each, then 1 for each (though he kinda cheated at the end), and one for what's left. I don't quite get what was going on with that clean-up at the end, though. End of settling pains?

That's that for my horror roll. I think I'll pick some regency romance next.

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review 2017-07-20 01:04
I liked better than WoT
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind

This is the good stuff. Epic fantasy with about as much patience with the "wait for the answers while I hint you to death" bullshit as I have, an uninformed protagonist that refuses to carry the idiot ball nonetheless, funny and wise wizard, and heavy hitter female (though I got tired of her "let me die before I hurt you" thing waaay before the end). And of the main villain's three appearances (yeah, neat on the rule), the squicky ruthless first, and his eminently charismatic second were a wonder.

Even better: it is pretty much self contained. We are left a lot of issues to pursue in subsequent volumes, but the adventure we start on we finish (and thank god, given all those pages).

It wont be soon, but I'm likely to keep reading this saga.

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review 2017-07-17 21:43
Review: Keeping Her: A Dark Romance by Angela Snyder
Keeping Her: A Dark Romance (Keep Me Series Book 1) - Angela Snyder

What a roller coaster of emotions! One moment I was hating the characters, the next I was sympathizing with them, the next I was in love, and before I knew it was exasperated and then back in love. Crazy stuff! 

Now, I feel the most important thing I need to point out is that this is a dark romance and that there are some serious **** TRIGGER ISSUES **** that may make some readers uncomfortable so read with caution. 

The story, which was narrated in first POV by various characters, gave me that feeling of intense passion and angst. I think the author made a good job by portraying Lucian with so many emotional and character flaws, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to overlook his numerous acts of possessiveness and cruelty, even after a very important truth is uncovered and he has no reason to keep acting that way. Adeline is the sweet and innocent girl that captures his attention in a way that no one thought possible. And when I say innocent, I really mean it, and for good reasons too. Odd thing was that it was hard for me to connect with and understand her character but I think that was because of everything that happened in her previous life and her current situation. I just couldn’t relate to her in any feasible way. 

The story has a good pace and flow although I found the characters talking too much to themselves and at times I found their inner dialogue a bit repetitive. However one thing I liked a lot was that even though Adeline started as a victim, she never behaved as one and that made her a more realistic character. 

On a side note, I was totally blindsided by what happened towards end and the cliffhanger. It’s a good thing we don’t have to wait too long how this story ends as the next installment will be out in only a couple of months. 

I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.

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review 2017-07-05 23:04
Five for one
Las Armas Secretas - Julio Cortázar

I understand now why this one is classified as European lit all the time. I haven't researched it, but I'm pretty sure this one was written after Cortázar left Argentina, because the five stories in this volume are all set in Paris.

I was not that dazzled by this too much at first but then, my bar with Cortázar is "Bestiario", and that's a hard one to upstage in the wow (weird, awesome, uncomfortable, puzzling) factor.

Cartas de Mamá, leaving aside the historical parallelism that some scholar or other wants to saddle on it, was an excellent exercise on revealing the past through the present. Many authors could learn a thing or two about how to do back-story. Of course, back-story is the whole issue here: sins and regrets that turn into silences, and that end that is half fantasy, half delayed acknowledgement. And the great opening line:

 

"Muy bien hubiera podido llamarse libertad condicional."

 

Los Buenos Servicios was a very scathing look at how moneyed people use "the help", many times frivolously, and often callously, and how hollow the "throw money at it" approach is, which is more jarring  (and ridiculous) from the poised view of Francinet. She had more class than any of the cast.

Las Babas del Diablo is a POV nightmare. As it tends to happen when I read magical-realism, I enter a weird state where I'm paying close attention, but at the same time relax my mind and just go with it. Like suspension of disbelief, but I just suspend logic and sometimes even grammar. I find it pays off with many complex or weird plots, or speculative fiction too. Triggers galore in this one, and one VERY uncomfortable suspicion.

"El Perseguidor", now here is the jewel of the book, and the point where I started to love this collection. It was absolutely engrossing. I understand why it has been known to be edited as "El Perseguidor y otras historias". This one got to me, emotionally-wise, and I'm not even quite sure why. I guess it's that desperate search.

"Las Armas Secretas" you know how it's going to go almost from go. Or maybe it's that I've read enough Cortázar to understand the clues he leaves. Or, maybe more, this sense of having read one of his before, about a big house in San Isidro, that has similar elements, but I can't remember to which collection it belonged to contrast.

You know, the more I write, the higher I want to star this. I realize it made my brain jog, and my thoughts come back to it whenever I wasn't reading.

Not his best, but for "El Perseguidor" alone, so worth owning it. I predict re-reads.

 

And there it goes my 4th of July extra. I devoured it, lol

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review 2017-06-27 01:39
And it just ends there
Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin

I think I remember some comments about how the movie was a campy style of horror. It left me completely unprepared for this read.

This is horror alright. I'm unsettled while writing this, actually. I think it's that most of it is more or less plausible. You take away the supernatural bits, and it would still scare you white.

The young, naive, isolated wife, the selfish husband, all the subservient vibes she has going and the way he gaslights her. That conception scene that's bound to leave me with nightmares.

He drugs her! Let's someone/thing rape her while she's out of it, and then to cover the evidence says HE had his way with her because it was baby-making-night. He makes it as she had too much to drink, he excuses himself as him having a bit too much too, that SHE wanted a baby... So gross and disturbing.

(spoiler show)



Reading how the noose and net is slowly tightened, the way she's cut away from anyone that could help her, was harrowing. At some point I had to tear myself away to work and shop for groceries, and even though I was horrified, I did not want to.

It's an unstoppable read. And way better and scarier than I though it'd be. Cheers to Levin. He was always leery of the way the movie turned popular, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the quality of his book.

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