27 September 2008

Review: The Keep by Jennifer Egan

The Keep by Jennifer Egan book coverWith a teaser like this: "In the wilds of Eastern Europe there is a mysterious castle that has stood for hundreds of years, steeped in blood lore and family pride" I just had to read it.

However I was disappointed to find that this 'gripping and ghostly gothic tale' was really not at all gripping. The story line was set up really well and had a lot of promise, however I think it became to surreal and I think Egan complicated the plot unnecessarily.

The ending was hazy and left a lot of unanswered questions, and I hate that!

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!
20 September 2008

Review: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne book coverI read some of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works at University, and I always wanted to read The Scarlet Letter. Published in 1850, I was eager to discover why this is such an American Classic. I found it to be a very rich and rewarding piece of writing, and an amazing glimpse into the daily lives of the Puritans living in Boston in the seventeenth century.

Hawthorne manages to paint the characters in such a light that the reader can see into their very souls, and I can't remember ever having such character insight before.

Hawthorne was also quite a visionary in terms of recognising the inequalities women faced in society at the time. The main character Hester Prynne was a sinner and therefore couldn't bring herself to be the Prophetess to bring about the change.

I enjoyed the language, with treats along the way such as: "His gourmandism was a highly agreeable trait". Ultimately I enjoyed this American Classic and would recommend it to anyone not afraid of tackling a level of rich and complex writing.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
07 September 2008

Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold book coverI'd seen this book around before but had never picked it up or knew what it was about until it was recommended to me by a friend.

The Lovely Bones is the story of a fourteen year old girl who was brutally murdered in 1973. What is different about this book is that the narrator is the little girl and the book begins with her murder and she takes you on a journey with her in the years following her death. She tells us about 'her heaven' and she watches her family members deal with her death and try to keep living themselves.

This was a very touching and moving book and so different from anything I've read before.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!