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Search tags: old-stories
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review 2018-08-13 11:54
Far Away and Further Back- Patrick Burns

      This memoir is one of little vignettes set in different times and places as Burns’s life took him around the world. At times the stories are very ‘familiar’ to one of my age and relative privilege, as we baby-boomers have seen the world open out under the blast of the airline jet engine. However, they should appeal to a much wider audience. Burns is good at drawing one into his observations of times and places, now changed or changing, so helping one appreciate the ups and downs of living his sort of middle-class, often-relocated, lifestyle.

      Nowadays, travel seems to be ever more routine and ever less exotic, and of course it never has been all fun. Burns spares us from many of the mundane difficulties, the personal psychology, of constantly moving a family from one short foreign posting to another, a burden that anyway regularly falls heaviest on partners and young families.

This is a book of twenty random assembled short stories taken from a full and industrious life, that began with a childhood centred in Rotherham, England, and eventually encompassed locations as scattered as Buenos Aires, Ann Arbor and Guangzhou.

      Increasingly, as the world shrinks, the world-wide business career is conducted from one, tacky, noisy, communal space, in Milton Keynes, or Santa Clara, and/or from the home-based ‘office’. Foreign postings may well be becoming a thing of the past for all but the most select of ‘business’ managers. There will always be economic migrants, but probably these will decreasingly be those in the cadre structure of international firms that once relocated so very often. The experience of this businessman posted so far and wide may well soon read like distant history, even if politics and strife should allow us to continue our addiction to distant ‘package’ holiday travel.

      If you like memoir and particularly short, pithy stories snapped from personal histories, you should love this book. Patrick Burns has had a life full of interesting anecdotal incidents, which he has penned in this entertaining and personally modest script. One feels that he never strays from simple, honest, unexaggerated truth and thus created these edifying glimpses into his personal history. This isn’t autobiography designed, and so often failing, to be awe-inspiring; this isn’t look at me, aren’t I special, this is look at the special, often extraordinary people, I have been lucky enough to journey with. This book is one of those rare memoirs that easily holds my rapt attention.

AMAZON LINK

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text 2018-08-09 18:43
Reading progress update: I've read 244 out of 297 pages.
The Complete Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) - Truman Capote

A passing reference to a character that might possibly have been inspired by the same person who inspired Boo Radley...

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text 2018-08-08 23:16
Reading progress update: I've read 240 out of 297 pages.
The Complete Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) - Truman Capote

Among the Paths to Eden: not sure why I find this story so delightful.

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text 2018-08-08 17:24
Reading progress update: I've read 230 out of 297 pages.
The Complete Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) - Truman Capote

An encounter in a graveyard.

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review 2018-08-07 21:50
Purr M for Muuuuuuuurder
Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery - T.C. Lotempio

Well, my dad means well when he sends me stuff. And usually he gets me. He sent me a Golden Girls collectors magazine once, and a cat shirt, and a book about a cat saving Christmas. But this book is just...wow. 

 

I don't read mysteries, for one. And I really don't do cozy mysteries because I find them campy and easy to figure out. But the 52 pages I read of this was like a bad Lifetime movie. Or maybe Hallmark. 

 

I mean, we start out with a conflict with the cat rescue and Baddy McBadguy.

 

 

Rich white Southern man in a 3-piece suit, Italian loafers, and a pit of money for all I know. Beak of a nose, beady eyes, weaselly fellow. Hates do-gooders and only worries about money. Wants to shut down the rescue. It was so straight out of a cookie-cutter Disney Channel movie I couldn't believe it. 

 

The McCall sisters are more of the same stereotypes. One is a jilted former New York exec. The other is the hometown bomb shell who stayed behind to run the family businesses. 

 

All we needed was a motorcycle riding Michael Shanks to show up and we would have a made-for-TV movie there, but I digress. 

 

 

Mmmm.

 

Wait, what? Oh, the book.

 

Anyway, the writing was stilted and stiff. The author didn't have a grasp of modern technology, and the dialogue was forced. The McCall sisters made immature decisions for grown business women, and that's what made me hang it up. When a book places characters in unrealistic positions and has the characters do unbelievable things just to move the story in a certain direction, it shows poor writing. People act a certain way and have certain natural reactions to things, and I am finding more and more that authors do not get that. And I am an author. Like this story: these ladies go to confront  Baddy at his business, they can't find him, it's way early in the morning and dark in the building. Normal people would effing leave. Not these brilliant ladies. They wander inside, using their cellphone as a flashlight, and proceed to just snoop. I closed the book when they had found the office, turned on the lights, saw nobody was there and decided to OPEN A LN ARMOIRE FOR NO REASON. They were there to see a person, not spy. There was no reason to spy, yet the author thought it was a great way to make the women end up caught in the murder web of the book. But do grown women really act this way? I certainly don't. 

 

Two stars, but subtract half a star for the cellphone flashlight stupidity.

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