The Murrays #15, Originally published in '07 this edition has a new cover, I love the new cover. I liked this one more than the last Howell book I read. This one was just fine to pick up and read even though I haven't read the first 14 books. I truly enjoyed how this one played out and the characters were well written. Three years ago James Drummond was accused of murdering his wife; cast as an outlaw he went into hiding biding his time before he can come back prove his innocence and claim his land and his daughter. Annora MacKay the poor relation who was born on the wrong side of the sheets was moved Dunncraig Keep to take care of her cousin's daughter.
Donnell MacKay is a selfish brute of a man who worries more about fancy living than the tenants of the Keep and village, his second is no better. Annora knows something is not right with Donnell's story and even though he tries to alienate her from the rest of the people they still like her and trust her more than they like Donnell. James needed access inside the keep to search for proof that he was framed. Under the disguise of a French woodcarver he easily gains entrance. With the help of Big Berta, the cook, James starts his search but Annora is there to tempt him. Once Annora finds out the truth about James she starts to help which pays off for they soon discover the truth but they still need concrete proof for the King's man to take action against Donnell. Their timetable is forced to move up when Donnell announces that Annora has to marry his second in command. James having already fallen in love with her won't let that happen.
Overall, it was a good read. I liked the characters and the plot. The romance between James and Annora pretty much instintaneous the sparks flew and by the time they gave in the chemistry between was combustible. Meggie, James' daughter, was adorable and wise beyond her years. Big Berta is a force to be reckoned with. It had a heartwarming and funny ending.
W dniu dzisiejszym chciałabym podzielić się z Wami opinią o książce, która jakiś czas temu ukazała się nakładem Wydawnictwa Alegoria. Jest to drugie wydanie powieści autorstwa Jacka Ślusarczyka „Zebra w barze… czyli Polak potrafi”. Głównymi bohaterami powieści są trzej młodzi mężczyźni, którzy poznają się tuż przed wyjazdem na praktyki rolnicze do Nowego Jorku, dzieje się to na przełomie lat 70tych i 80-tych.
Filip, Daniel i Jędrek ze względu na wykształcenie lub to czym parają się w życiu otrzymali od autora adekwatne pseudonimy i tak z każdą przeczytaną stroną poznajemy coraz bliżej perypetie Filozofa, Doktora i Mamuśki.
Obserwujemy ich zmagania z życiem na emigracji, które jak się okazuje nie jest jedynie kolorowym i słodkim zagranicznym snem. Jak w każdej przysłowiowej beczce miodu znajduje się również łyżka dziegciu… Śledząc perypetie bohaterów uświadamiamy sobie, że owych „łyżek” jest nawet znacznie więcej niż tylko jedna…
Niemniej jednak nie sposób pominąć także faktu, iż troje przyjaciół podczas pobytu na obczyźnie nabywa też wiele nowych, pozytywnych doświadczeń, które według mnie sporo uczą ich zarówno o sobie samych, jak również o ich wzajemnych relacjach. Ludzie, z którymi styka ich los są dla bohaterów często jedynymi w swoim rodzaju „lekcjami”, dzięki nim otwierają się oni coraz bardziej na nieznany im dotąd świat oraz odmienne od rodzimych ludzkie mentalności.
Atutem powieści jest spora dawka zdrowej ironii i sarkazmu, jakie niekiedy aż kipią z kart tej książki. Zaznaczyć należy też fakt, że chociaż na pierwszy rzut oka wykreowane przez autora postacie są dosyć mocno karykaturalne to, gdy przyjrzymy się im bliżej nabierają zupełnie innego charakteru. Okazuje się, że pod pozorem groteskowości Jacek Ślusarczyk ukazuje człowieka, który próbuje odnaleźć się na zupełnie obcym dla niego terenie, w nieznanym środowisku. Istotę ludzką zmagającą się z lękami i obawami, ale jednocześnie pełną wiary w marzenia, skrywanych pragnień oraz nadziei na ich spełnienie.
Jeśli macie więc ochotę na nietuzinkową i wymagającą od czytelnika odrobiny przymrużenia oka lekturę to „Zebra w barze…” będzie dla Was strzałem w dziesiątkę!
* https://www.facebook.com/Ksiazkowoczyta *
First of all, I need to tell everyone who plans to read this that the audiobook is painful - not figuratively but literally. It hurt my ears. The voice is sharp and barking, which is perfect for the character, but my ears couldn't take it, so go with the printed version if you believe anything I have to say.
Zebra (formerly Bibi Abbas Abbas Hosseini, AKA "Dame of the Void",) the main character, is quite a challenge, though she knows it so that makes her a bit more bearable. She's a nut, but a good nut. Zebra was born, quite literally, in a library among the books in Iran early in the war against Iraq. She is the last in a long line of autodidacts, all of whom pledge to “Love nothing except literature.” As an exile or refugee, it's hard to live and breathe literature. So they do it through memorization, and Zebra has committed to memory passages from every book imaginable. She takes her commitment to love nothing but literature very seriously, and she has no time to waste on people who don't share her passion for reason, which makes Zebra very alone if not lonely, with only an extremely crotchety bird making her life even more insane and helping to keep the people away.
Not only is she alone...perhaps, when she imagines her dead father counseling her against love, she is actually using literature as a defense against all of the crushing aloneness she's experiencing. (She, very reasonably, fears love, but she will never - ever - admit that, so she's built the most literate psychological defense system ever to avoid all the trouble that comes with people. Books are so simple compared to people, I think we can all agree.)
Beckett, Blanchod, Borges are her creed. She constantly runs through all the advice she's memorized to reason herself back into the perceived "right" frame of mind. She has to advance the matrix of literature, she has to experience the void to figure out "what is [my] role in my miserly, ill-fated life?"
I can relate to a lot of this. I'm sort of well-known in my therapy sessions for assiduously avoiding talk about feelings and other unmeasurable squishy things by citing research and getting very worked up about my theories and plotting studies that must be done NOW. Zebra was a lesson for me in exactly how annoying I am. Zebra is sure she can create a statistical formula for life, for literature, and eventually for love. She is almost sure she's an oracle - the last bastion of hope in a world that forgets all of her important things, like every single quote ever about anything. Sentimentality is bad. Reason and knowledge are good. People are morons and deserve every scolding she gives them. This is what she molds her life around...until she meets Ludo.
"A soul that knows it is loved but does not itself love betrays its sediment; what is at the bottom comes up." -- Nietzsche
So, Zebra has some very basic lessons to learn, and Ludo mostly deals with her running away from him, diving back between the book covers. All the while she stridently barks quotes at the reader until this reader was ready to either submit or give up completely. What I decided to do was set it down for a week and pick it back up. That break was what I needed. It didn't hurt that Zebra herself was in the process of being broken down too. She finally figures out, painfully, that perhaps home and people and love of something other than literature might be worth it. "Had I been waiting in vain for my life to become legible?"
As I said, she's a good nut.