logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: meta
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-04 23:59
Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield  for Deadlands
Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

[10/05/18  Edited to add: I managed to upload a bad picture of my bingo card.]

 

This is such a good book I want to be a better writer to do it justice in my review. Waiting longer for inspiration is just not on though: my memory will let the details blur and the experience fade. 

 

Setterfield is a writer who's greatest flaw is not being prolific. Actually, that may be the only flaw. She has once again crafted a work of fiction that has a convincing Victorian setting with a modern sensibility directing the reader's attention to characters and incidents that a true Victorian wouldn't, but logic suggests that they are all valid. She manages to tell quite a few stories and examples of the craft of storytelling within a greater story of amazing events. While many writers succeed at making a house a character within their fiction, Setterfield has made part of the Thames a character, nor was she stinting in permitting this character moods. Okay, on the winter solstice the usual group are sitting around drinking in the Swan, an inn distinguished by the storytelling within. The door opens, a man, his face a bloody mess staggers in clutching a large doll in his hands.

 

Over the course of one year we watch the repercussions of that moment: how it affects characters major and minor and also, this is the tricksy bit, we watch how those events become stories. Yes, many stories dependent on point of view, and skill, stories becoming more stories as that one event is observed (or not), in light of new events, and then, still later developments. The metaphor is well served: there is an attempt to trace the roots of the story back to the beginning, which you can't do any more than you can trace a river back, fractally there are always more branches feeding in.

 

There is so much: there are clever half-starved orphans, prosperous farmers, the family of innkeepers, the town midwife, the minister, servants and animals, wealthy distillery owners, thieves and blackguards, despite the extensive cast one never feels that the author is coasting by with stereotypes or with every character having the same voice. There is plot and pathos enough for Dickens, and despite the 21st century sensibility there's none of that business of giving a character clearly modern ideas.

 

There is, of course, a supernatural element as well as a few mysteries, dreadful crimes and moments of grace. Everything is here, told my a humanist in the Pratchett vein, but without the jokes and footnotes. It is a lovely, suspenseful book that I couldn't bear to put down in order to post updates. Read it soon: give it to yourself or someone you really like as a gift for one of the several solstice-adjacent holidays. Just the thing for long winter nights by the fire.

 

ARC from publisher

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-02-05 15:38
If on a winter's night a traveler
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler - William Weaver,Italo Calvino

An exercise in parody

 

 

You are about to read அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன review of calvino’s work. Ask your people not to call you for any reason whatsoever for next few minutes.
You are reading this since Calvino’s work interest you. You have read all his other works except this. You have read about it Somewhere vaguely, so you ought to find what I have to say about it or rather I have been pestering you to read it by sending u a link of my review for past few days.

 


At this point, you get bored that I have not said anything about the work. Somewhere in your mind, there is a mild thought that I may say something about this work at the 119th word of this post.

 


But you are mistaken to find and let down that I have still not said anything worthwhile.

Just when u think I am going to say something about calvino’s work you are called by someone in your house and you throw your mobile which refreshes the facebook page in a rare instance or in a fit of alarm you close your PC’s window.
You return to your device and continue reading this review, but you find you are reading some other book’s review by someone else.

 

 

You read first few sentences and have formed a liking for this new book not connected to அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் review.

Before this happens you have informed your friend ( who takes interest in Indian languages ) about finding my Tamil name in facebook and sending my profile link.

 

 

The person to whom this has been assigned is a person who considers himself a polyglot, but he is a more of a novelty seeker than a serious learner of languages. He Learns a bit in one language and switches to some other Language, after the initial high recedes. So goes his routine of language seeking.

So the person tries to find the keys in his google keyboard and mistakenly believes his strength in knowledge of Tamil rather than using Google’s English translator to Tamil equivalent. So the person comes up with ரவி கிரண் in place of அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன், sends the same to you.

 

 

You, when the message pops, stop reading the current review and checks the profile and confirms by the photo that it’s the same person and returns to the review of which you have been reading and finds the review to be quite different suddenly. Actually, the writer of the review at this point discusses the subplot of the work he is reviewing. It takes a while for you to understand this and finally you find this is a book by the same author calvino which you haven’t read already, called “Outside the Town of Malbrok”.

 


You are sad, but comes back to this ரவி கிரண் review to read the rest of the review, which you think அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் has written and find it completely a new book, but again by calvino, called “learning from the steep slope”.

This has made you further sad, you thought you have read everything by calvino except his “If on a winter’s night traveler”.

Just while this goes in your head you notice that this is not Aravindakshan’s profile, his profile photo was different and also, a simple common sense strikes you. How could he write a review other than if on a winter night’s a traveler ?

 

.

You confirm that this is not Aravindakshan’s profile by scrolling further in Ravi kiran’s profile and not finding Calvino’s “if on a winter night’s a traveler” review. Perhaps a double!(?), you think, since the face resembles Aravindakshan.

 

 

Now, you try to reorder your thoughts and your memory for a minute, slowly and understands it all started when u read அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் review of Italo calvino’s “if on a winter’s night a traveler”.

 


Actually, the truth was, your liking for the second review, is in a way as a connection to the review of the first which you have not yet sensed, both which in turn is connected to Ravi kiran’s review.

Since it was all started by the first reviewer you scroll to find his review again to see whether he has finally said anything about the book at the “god knows what word by now”.
You couldn’t find it. The post is lost amidst the sea of posts churned out on facebook.

You ask your friend to check whether he as turned up with the right profile. Even though it has hurt his ego he checks and realise his mistake but while clarifying to you, he points the mistake to the linguistic peculiarity of Tamil rather than accept his own mistake.
With the new exact Tamil words for Aravindakshan, you search
Facebook, but it says the profile cannot be found

 

.

Aravindakshan meanwhile, after clicking the share button lost his interest in virtual life and once for all decided to do away with all this virtual imagery.

You try to check Ravi kiran’s review which couldn’t be found either since the owner of both Profiles is created by a person called Srivatsan and he has deactivated both the accounts.

 

 

You feel lost. He has set the wheel in motion and now he has vanished. You return to the other reviewer’s post(the unnamed reviewer) to find the connection between the two reviews to his. You stretch your memory to think of the earlier reviews and place this other review to form a whole but you cannot do, since this reviewer at the end of his review points to another review, which he says the book’s plot is mainly centered on.
It reads a review of Calvino’s “without fear of wind or vertigo” by Gullu.

 

 

You are tired, but you still follow the trail of reviews centered on Calvino. You are half way at Gullu’s review, by then you are sure that all the review is of a different story, separate books, but from the same author.
You feel salty by all this and also thirsty. You feel it whenever you read something for too long without any proper direction.

 

 

You feel betrayed by the author because you were thinking he was the only author you have read extensively.
Now it’s all a dream, he has been writing in private and holding all the books from the public but to his own favorite readers and you are not one of that favoured readers.
You sleep dejected and cry the whole night.

 

 

Now, Aravindakshan having started this act of knotting this textual thread has been lost in the maze of his own and struggles to get out and finish this. In effect, understands the greatness and difficulty in writing a piece such as this. Comes out appreciating Calvino’s Magnum opus further, even though he did feel boring in the middle of the book.

 

 

But the story doesn’t end here. Aravindakshan or ravi kiran or Srivatsan reactivates his fb again in some days as is always the case and sends you, being a dear friend of his, this review, with a line saying it’s a classic by Calvino.
I leave it to you how you might have reacted.

 

 

Post factum :
You decide to buy “if on a winter’s night a traveler” to prove Aravindakshan how better admirer you are of Calvino's work and find these separate titles are all from the same book to your surprise, relief. You feel it’s more dizzying and original than most post-modern lit.

 

 

Post scriptum :
It was later found that the unnamed reviewer above is a profile named Preethy sweety chicy which is one of Aravindakshan’s hidden profile to befriend female profiles, Rather sheepish act you say, I concur with you.

why he didn’t deactivate all of his profiles including Gullu’s is a question that is still unanswered and whether this hints at something about the Calvino's book is a matter of serious discussion among this review readers.

 

 

Originally posted at my blog: https://diffusedmode.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/book-review-if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler/

 

                             

 

Source: diffusedmode.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/book-review-if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-30 20:12
Hah!
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

That was awesome!

 

No wonder it caused sensation when it was published.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-15 20:59
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back So You Want to Be a Jedi? - Adam Gidwitz

 

This book is a retelling of The Empire Strikes Back and a guide to becoming a Jedi. It is told through Luke Skywalker's point of view, and follows the original book's story line very closely. In between chapters Gidwitz talks directly to the reader giving lessons on meditation and self-control. Gidwitz tells the reader that he (or she) is Luke, so when he tells some parts of the story he says, "but you know this because you are Luke" (or something like that).

 

If you read my other review of A Tale Dark and Grimm by Gidwitz, then you might remember he was scheduled to visit our school on September 12th. Well, Irma had other plans for that week. I'm not sure when or if his visit will be rescheduled. But, I really hope it works out; it would be fun to meet him.

 

Our librarian has been reading the meditation lessons to the students. It is interesting to see how the different children respond. The first lesson involves closing your eyes and counting to 10, while trying to keep your mind blank. It is funny how many students either miss the instructions or can't sit still long enough to even count. And then there are the students who take it so seriously - very cute.

 

The librarian is not a fan of Star Wars, but she enjoyed the book anyway. (I am a huge fan.) When she tells the students that this book is about the most famous jedi, they almost always guess Yoda, and some of them say they would rather be a sith lord.

 

I loved the book. I remember reading The Empire Strikes Back (many years ago), and reading this version brought back so many memories. There are three books in this series. I am going to go back and read the first book (A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy) and then the third (Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side) which are both written by different authors.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-30 14:18
Art and Max - David Wiesner 
Art and Max - David Wiesner

Wiesner does the most amazing things with the picture book format. I'm dazzled by his virtuosity in so many styles. I'm awed by the humor he manages to imbue every picture with. If you haven't checked out any of his work, it's probably because you're an adult who doesn't read picture books, because they're for kids. Pish, tosh. There is a narrative here, but like the best cartoons, it's going to sail right over the heads of children. Go, get a stack of his books and just wallow in the artistry. And laugh. And shake your head, and then you'll grab someone and say, "you've got to see this."

Library copy

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?