The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurty ~ Fiction Book Review

2116376I have some mixed feelings about this book by Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurty. On the one hand, it’s a powerful coming of age story. Raw and real and blunt. Probably a little scandalous, too. How do you resist that?

On the other hand, I wasn’t a fan of the writing. Parts just didn’t read well. There was an underlying awkwardness that was perhaps intentional. Regardless, when a sentence isn’t grammatically correct (incomplete is fine by me, especially as an agent of effect), but when it reads like a conversation you hear at Walmart and it’s narration, not dialogue, I get an itchy feeling under my skin where I just can’t scratch and make it go away.

So . . . on the scales of literary justice, the love and hate evens out to about a 4. A quick read good for a laugh, a gasp, and a WTF? I love books that reveal that depravity isn’t a recently grown branch on the tree of humanity. 4 stars.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld ~ Fiction Book Review

18142324This book! Powerful prose oozing with ominousness, the pages practically sticky with sinisterness! The timeline was a little jumpy, disconcerting at first, but the pattern is quickly established and I soon developed a strange appreciation for it. The chapters alternate present and past, with the present moving forward, the past lapsing deeper and deeper into days gone by.

The reader is filled with anticipation while being unable to pinpoint the cause of suspense, knowing only that menace lurks somewhere in the shadows nearby. It was literary without being dull or boring, the refined edges sharp enough to cut yourself on. I can’t say I understood all of the slang, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the main character, an Aussie living on a remote island off the coast of Britain. A quick read that portrays a perfect example of how to break the rules of grammar the right way. Impactful writing, eloquent imagery, a beautiful work of art. 5 stars!


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami ~Fiction Book Review

3646541This was by far the strangest book that I’ve ever read. I’m not even sure how to describe it. The best I can come up with is a book burrito with the works – part LSD trip, part existentialism, with some sci-fi, horror, romance, tragedy, and comedy, all wrapped up in tortilla that is deep and insightful.

Parts I loved, parts I hated, but by the last page it was clear that this is a book that will stay with you long after reading it. A haunting story, murky yet at the same time crystal clear. Translated from Japanese, I can’t hep but wonder how powerful it must be if read in its native language.

The writing is at times excessively detailed,  reading like a grocery list. The author leaves no stone un-turned or action unmentioned. At the same time, this book made me think in a way that few books have done, and none in a very long time. For that I give it 5 stars!

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