The list below summarizes some adult fiction (and one script) I`ve read over the past 6 weeks. If I were to give a star rating, only one of these would receive 4 stars, one would receive 1 star, and the rest 2 or 3 stars. Sometimes, children`s literature inspires me more!
ENIGMA VARIATIONS André Aciman
WHY: The author`s novel Call Me By Your Name grabbed `my heart. This new novel has Italy and New York settings: How could I not read this!
VERDICT: Hit and Miss. The journey of a man named Paul seeking true love, told in five different `chapters` with settings both in Italy and New York. He lusts over a man, he lusts over a woman, back and forth. And in this back and forth, my feelings about this character fluctuated. Lucky Paul to have `found`love so many times. Aciman certainly knows how to write a story of infatuation and desire.
SELECTION DAY Aravind Adiga
WHY: Enjoyed the author`s previous novel The White Tiger. Am interested in stories set in India (though I`ve never been there).
VERDICT: The story of two brothers competing for fame and glory in the world of cricket. I know nothing about cricket and don`t care to learn more. I even turned to Google a to get a Cricket for Dummies overview didn`t help. This book was a slog for me but I persevered cuz from time to time I was interested in the brothers`relationship and the choices they had to make about seeking fame, being loyal to others, pursuing an education and being trapped by adolescent love.
BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE Frederik Backman
WHY: Loved the author`s previous novel, A Man Called Ove.
VERDICT: `Almost`as good as Ove with another cranky quirky central character (this one, a woman). Four Stars from me!
MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE`s SORRY Frederik Backman
WHY: I really loved A Man Called Ove and decided to read other titles by Backman.
VERDICT: I didn`t love this one as much as Ove and Britt-Marie. Being fond of good storytelling, I should have liked this novel a lot because it`s about a child and her grandmother connected by the stories they tell. But the stories are in the fantasy realm and I am often known offer a disclosure that I am not fond of fantasy. But the narrative flow of this one didn`t cut it for me. Sorry, Mr Backman. I know await your newest release this spring, entitled Bear.
A LINE MADE BY WALKING Sara Baume
WHY: I so admired the author`s debut novel, Spill Simmer Winter Falter. Some staggering wordsmithing and the story of a lonely man and his lonely dog touched my heart.
VERDICT: This sophomore book wasn’t as good as the first`by the author. The story of a twenty- something artist, frail at best, who decided to live on her own, and surround herself with nature, it reminded me a lot of H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Stories and images (photographs) of dead animals added an artistic frame to this meditative narrative. Again, some beautiful writing.
A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR David Grossman
WHY: Great review in NY Times. Curiousity of narrative presented as a continuous monologue in an Israeli nightclub.
VERDICT: Didn`t finish this one. Gave it a chance at 85 pages, but the `humour`escaped me and I had yet to experience the story of `loss of and survival`after almost reaching 100 pages. It`s OK not to finish a book and this one gets one star from Larry. If I was listening to this guy in a bar, I would have walked out!
MISTER MONKEY Francine Prose
WHY: a) a friend recommended it cuz it was recommended to her b) it`s centred on a children`s theatre production (and I like Children`s Theatre) c) the story is told from the points of view of different characters and I like this format.
VERDICT: Hit and miss. Didn`t like the first two chapters. Enjoyed the middle stories that seemed to have an authenticity. Story and interest in characters faded out. Didn`t enjoy the final chapters and skipped through them quickly.
THE GLASS MENAGERIE Tennessee Williams
WHY: Saw an intriguing, haunting, minimalist production of the play starring Sally Field so I decided to revisit and reread the script.
VERDICT: I tend to read this magical play every few years. This is certainly my favourite Tennessee Williams play, and probably one in my top ten list of dramas, whatever production I`m lucky to see.