INT. GOLDEN PALACE
Ever since you were a boy, you’ve dreamt of being Kung Fu Guy.Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu, Vintage Books 2020
I don’t really know how to review it and this time that’s a good thing. It’s original and awkward and confrontational. With racism and hate directed at Asians (in the diaspora) it’s also very, very relevant.
And in between: fun. Throwing you off balance, not being what you expected. It’s not something I experience often, and for that alone I’d recommend this novel.
Oona stopped trusting the mirror years ago.Oona Out of Order, Margarita Montimore, Flatiron Books 2020
Very like my previously read novel. This review, not the plot. This also felt repetitive and a bit cookie cutter with an element that could have been really weird and eerie.
Oona time travels, but she never knows in which year of her life she’s going to end up in and after a year she’s gone again. She also doesn’t know why this happens, and can’t get used to it.
Which, okay; kind of understandable. But I don’t have to go through that as a reader at the start of every chapter? Whatever happened to Show, Don’t Tell?
At the very least, Margarita Montimore shows New York City very appealingly, and – just as with the previous read novel – leaves you with a tinge of satisfaction because of that one Life Lesson.
Netflix doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to original films, and I’m old enough to be disgruntled by plenty of YA tropes.
So, I chose to watch a Netflix original based on a YA novel. I’m a logical thinker.
Of course, yes, there could have been easy adjustments made to improve this story about a female teen recognising the stupid rules and habits of a patriarchal system. For starters, shifting the point of view to the black girl.
But I was surprised by how few adjustments I could come up with. Plot? Not always as subtle as it could be, but perfect for the audience. Scrip and lines? Surprisingly without any attempt to be “down with the youths”. Characterisation and love interest? Nice, cute and wholesome.
Honestly, I think I’m still surprised.
Therefore, I’m going to keep it at that. No deeper digging, not reading the original material.
Oh, but the fun we had.
Varya is thirteen.The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin, G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2018
I was ready to write this one off until the last couple of pages still got me. Which makes me grumpy, because a book shouldn’t score on just a couple of pages.
In The Immortalists four siblings learn their death date. All four lives are followed, as is the impact of this knowledge on them. Around the second sibling it starts to feel a bit cookie-cutter: character aggressively denies this reality, gets destructive, wants to outrun it and [spoiler] doesn’t manage to; one way or the other. But were they running towards what they feared while thinking they were doing everything to escape it? Chloe Benjamin doesn’t give you any hint in that direction, nor room to interpret the characters’ actions like that.
Any thoughts about fate, goals in life, final destination you have to come up with on your own because the novel only provides character sketches of the people suffering.
As said before: except for the last pages, they delivered an emotional sucker punch. Could have done so a tad sooner, to turn this into a recommendation.
One day God decided he would visit the earth.The Bestseller, Olivia Goldsmith, Diversion Books 1996
Olivia Goldsmith is also the author of First Wives Club, if you were wondering why the name is vaguely familiar.
With The Bestseller she wrote another ‘The Upper Circles Can Have Issues Too’ and it’s delicious (you know I have a soft spot for that). It also made me never ever want to attempt getting anything remotely related to a novel published. Because oof. And this is publishing in the nineties.
In this novel the reader follows the stories of different authors. New ones, old ones, unwilling ones, suffering ones etc. While you get a slice of their (sad) life, you also get plenty of insight into the publishing business. It’s not good. It’s not about stories, creativity and adding something to culture: it’s about money, the bottom line, and PR.
It’s 1400 pages as an ebook and I flew through it in less than three days (okay, I had days off, but still). It’s entertaining, aggravating dramady in which very few people look good. After a few duds, this was all the fluff I needed.
Ze keek naar de lucht.De kat en de generaal, Nino Haratischwili, Meridiaan Uitgevers 2019
Ik geloof dat het andere boek dat ik van deze auteur las op elk “Best of” lijstje kwam dat ik dat jaar heb opgetypt, en door deze zinsopbouw is misschien al duidelijk dat De kat en de generaal niet hetzelfde effect had. Deze keer waren het maar een schamele 700 pagina’s, maar ik denk dat ik langer over De Kat heb gedaan dan Het achtste leven.
Misschien omdat er minder geschiedenis is? De vorige keer kan ik me herinneren dat ik zoveel leerde over de landen rondom de Kaukusus, en dat ik verrast was dat ook daar het gewoon zo’n zooi is/was/was geweest. Deze keer is er minder aandacht voor geschiedenis en meer wat voor impact het op het heden heeft.
Kat is een actrice die wordt ingezet door een duister figuur om nog duistere figuren te vangen die iets naars hebben gedaan in het verleden. Het duurt enkele honderden pagina’s voordat we leren wat dat naars was: daarvoor is het vooral het leven van Kat en de duistere figuren die mogen laten zien hoe ze zich door hedendaags Berlijn bewegen.
Er waren meerdere momenten dat ik dacht van “laat maar” en alleen doorlas omdat de auteur mij eerder zo’n geweldig boek had gegeven. Helaas kwam De Kat voor mij er nooit bij in de buurt, verre van.
Short documentary – existing almost completely out of talking heads – about an art scam I’ve never heard of before. Yeah, I’ll take it.
Made You Look shows that you don’t need much or a long running time to keep someone’s attention. I wasn’t invested in this story nor its characters and yet (maybe because of that?) I was suddenly down ninety minutes.
Of course, maybe it’s a commentary about inflated worth in the art-world and how some people will believe everything for clout, but I mostly just had fun because of greedy people and stupid decisions.