Kazuo Ishiguro awarded the Nobel for literature

In its reaction to Kazuo Ishiguro being awarded this year’s Nobel prize for literature, The Guardian writes: The author is a worthy recipient of the Nobel prize for continually finding his voice – and discarding it for a new one.

Photo source:  Ben Stansall/The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images

The Remains of the Day

I have written reviews of two of Ishiguro’s books. On The Remains of the Day, I wrote:

It is those very words, used by the butler to reflect on his life and his work and to perform his duties to their utmost despite the extreme circumstances that assail him, that both convey the intimate fabric of the world at that time, and reveal by omission that which is steadfastly left unstated by Stevens, the underlying emotions that animate the staff and visitors in this stately hub of English society. ()

The Buried Giant

Writing about The Buried Giant, I said:

By a cunning use of repetition and returns to the past, Ishiguro, weaves a mist around the reader who, at the slightest moment of inattention, loses track of where she is and flounders in an undivided sea of impressions. It is in those moments, cut loose from time, that a panic seizes the reader leaving her grasping for familiar landmarks. ()

The Guardian | The Guardian view on Kazuo Ishiguro: self-restrained force

Secret Paths – Thoughts on Books | The Remains of the Day (a review)

Secret Paths – Thoughts on Books | The Buried Giant (a review)

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day, Faber & Faber, 2010

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant, Faber & Faber, London, 2015

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Einstein’s Dreams

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Read my thoughts about Alan Lightman’s book Einstein’s Dream. Here is an extract from that review:

(…) Much of the novel is about people rather than a person, it is about places rather than a given context, it is about multiple times rather than a time in particular. However, there are fragments of the singular, as opposed to the general, many of which are situated in Bern, Switzerland in the early nineteen hundreds, but none of them string together to make the story move forward. Instead they appear like bursts of life that flash into existence then blink out, leaving the reader delighted but perplexed about what binds them together. It is these rapid changes that give pace and rhythm to the narrative. (…) Read on.

Clockwork Magic

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Read my review of Natasha Pulley’s debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. A book well worth the reading.

Here’s a brief extract from the review:

(…) This novel is steam punk, without the steam or the punk. All cogs and wheels and clockwork in a battle between fee will and determinism, between the fundamentally human and the predictably programmable. (…) Read on.

A review of Boy & Girl

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A review of Boy & Girl by the author Leland Dirks.

This book is brilliant. I’ll be thinking about these characters and this plot for a long, long time. Building not just one but two worlds that are quite believable and complex characters to fall in love with in such lovely prose is a beautiful accomplishment. I have no idea how to categorize this book, and honestly, I think that’s one reason I love it. It could be “young adult,” but there is plenty for this older reader to be challenged by. It could be fantasy, but the characters feel so real and “normal” that it feels more like literary fiction. It could be paranormal (there is telepathy and other psychic phenomena), but it doesn’t feel strained. All I know is that the writer has crafted a wonderful story that I love, and I can’t wait to start reading the sequel. I heartily recommend this book. (…)

See the full review on Amazon.com.

Thief’s Magic

Thief's Magic

See my review of Trudi Canavan’s latest novel, Thief’s Magic.

As with many of Trudi Canavan’s earlier books like The Black Magician trilogy and The Age of the Five trilogy, I really enjoyed reading her new novel Thief’s Magic, book one of Millennium’s Rule (read on)

Noah, or the guiding voice within

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Darren Aronofsky’s rendition of the biblical saga, Noah, which I can highly recommend, explores the loss of the guiding voice within, the one that people attribute to God. Cut off from that creative life force, Noah clings to what he believes to be right. And in that unbending adherence to a rigid set of ideas he progressively becomes a traitor to life and the inevitable tragedy ensues. Ideas or principals when they are no longer anchored in life fuel hatred and destruction. The film ultimately has love, family and little children triumph. But that apparent resolution must surely be seen as sidestepping the challenge of connecting to our inner voice and, beyond that, the quest for spiritual connectedness.

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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

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Read my review of Rick Riodan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Here’s the beginning of the review:

Before I begin, let me say I enjoyed Rick Riodan’s Percy Jackson story. According to my local bookseller, Mathew Wake, the book has had quite a success with young people. I listened to the audio version twice. The gleeful helter-skelter of action kept the story and me as reader moving forward. But the book left me unsatisfied and I wanted to know why. (Read on)

Cruel Beauty

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Read my review of Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty.

Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty is a retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Divided into three parts, the first part deals with the period before Nyx, alias Beauty, goes to join her new husband, the ‘Beast’, ironically named the Gentle Lord. The second and most substantial part portrays the evolution of Nyx’s feelings for her monster husband. And the final part, unravels a number of complex threads and draws the story to a conclusion. (Read on)

Harvest

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Read my review of William Horwood’s book, Harvest. Here is an extract:

(…) The flow of time of the Hydden, the little people that live unseen at the edge of the human world in William Horwood’s Hyddenworld series, might seem laborious to us, accustomed as we are to rushing from one event to another without taking the time to stop and look and listen. Maybe it is this failure to pause and savour life to the fullest that contributes most to our inability to see and appreciate the Hydden and their way of life (…) Read on.

Seraphina

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Read my review of Rachel Hartman’s book Seraphina. It begins:

Reading Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina had me thinking about those ingredients of a story that appeal to me most, probably because her book pleased me so much. I really enjoy stories where people discover they have hidden talents or are finally able to reveal gifts that have long been kept secret, just like Seraphina, Hartman’s main character. And in so doing we share her joys and pleasures as well as her difficulties if not nightmares at having such gifts… (Read on)