Had an interesting time listening to this in audio format. I mean, I was sketching and coloring like demon-possessed by the last third in.
Characterization-wise, creepy dolls are creepy (though it's a nice zig-zagging there), cool old ladies are awesome, and the friendship aspects were beautiful.
That arm-bursting scene! My God *shudder*
And it was sad and tragic as all hell. La lotería indeed. But who wants such balls to align as these
(couple of examples)
Like it happened to me with the two previous novels by this author, this book happened to me also. As in, there I was reading, and the gorgeous writing caught me and carried me through the pages.
The starting issue is difficult to read and heartbreaking. Mixing of cultures, a despicable man and a sweet, naive girl. Reading Nigel's though process was forever icky, and, like I mentioned in some progress update, an abridged manual for abusers. It is startling and scary how accurate many of his observations on human behavior are, and how he uses normal expectations and disbelief as a refuge in audacity (at one point he observes how he's being over-the-top in his villainy, and how it's to his advantage, because who would believe such a discourse happened in real life).
Once Betty enters the stage to stay, it becomes more like the standard Hodgson Burnett fare. Much like Sarah Crewe, she's a plucky, resourceful angel. It's one of those unbelievable characters that one still can't help but love and be charmed by.
It is a lovely book that tackles a thorny issue in a somewhat rosy but insightful way, and I liked it very much.
The title for the grouping of these Balsac's novels is proper indeed. There was this mix of drama and farce, character study and social critique that entertained as it pained me.
I quite liked the style, and found it easy to read. I shall be attempting Pere Goriot soon, and might add Scenes from a Courtesan's Life to my tbr pile (yeah, it never shrinks *grin*)
"And is there Hell, or do we make our own on earth?"
"The dead don't stop"
“Poison spreads like ink in water.”
"This isn’t some half-assed morality tale."
Said the devil.