The Golem and the Djinni

The Golem’s life began in the hold of a steamship.

With some books you don’t want to stop reading and definitely don’t want to reach the end either. This is one of those. With every page you get a brighter image of not just nineteenth century New York city, but of everyone’s pains and motivations, yet always teasing enough to make sure that you continue turning the page.

The story is, indeed, about a golem and a djinni. One is brought to live on a boat trip from the old world (Europe) to the new world. The other is unsure about his past, but has to adjust to a human life in the big immigrant city as well. One of them ends up in Little Syria, the other in the Jewish community.

Both are aliens, to humankind and to the country. Helene Wecker shows city history while braiding mythology and coming of age through it. Her descriptions of the city and its people are beautiful and brutal at the same time, painting a colorful but painful picture.

A simple story, but surrounded by so much beauty and humanity that you can’t put it away.

The Golem and the Djinni, Helene Wecker, Blue Door 2013

Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar

Colleen Corkle knew her son had star quality from the moment he appeared.

Julian Corkle is diffeerent in a way that makes his father furious and his mother squeal “Twinkle, twinkle” a lot. Julian is pretty sure about what he wants in his life, but Tasmania in the seventies doesn’t have any room for a sparkling, fabulous, dreaming-big (pre-)teen.

Julian being out there, colourful and different doesn’t make him a love-able protagonist right away.  He is selfish, judgmental and doesn’t want someone else to be better off than him if it means it will take something from him. He is a child with no proper role model, no support and no sense of reality.

Beside the sadness, there is some very cheeky (unintentional?) humour. The characters are absurd without losing a touch to reality and it’s definitely an unconventional way to learn more about Tasmania.

With a whirl-wind ending, Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar will leave you with a smile and a warm feeling.

Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar, D.J. Connell, Blue Door 2011

Sixteen Shades of Crazy

They looked like any other group of twenty- and thirty-somethings, living the salad days of their lives, organs plump and red and juicy like the insides of ripe tomatoes, minds crisp like iceberg lettuce, sex powerful and biting like onion.

De subtitel van dit boek ‘Went out, got pissed, same shit, different day’ dekt de lading heel goed. Hoofdpersonen zijn Rhiannon, Siân en Ellie, drie vrouwen die in meerdere en mindere mate white trash zijn en vast zitten in een gehucht in Wales. Rhiannon is wanhopig om jong te blijven, Siân wil het perfecte gezin en Ellie heeft een American Dream. De band van hun partners (The Boobs) en hun drugsgebruik houdt hen bij elkaar.
Tot Don Juan drugsdealer Johnny in het dorp komt wonen en alle drie hysterisch, gek en jaloers worden.

De hoeveelheid van white trash situaties is grappig en sneu tegelijkertijd, want dit is nu eenmaal de realiteit voor sommige mensen. Er is een reden dat deze figuren -karikaturen bijna- zo zijn geworden en die zijn stuk voor stuk zielig.
Toch wordt Sixteen Shades of Crazy nergens een klaagzang,Trezisehoudt haar afstand. De lezer mag zelf concluderen of het een happy ending is, of de hoofdrolspelers krijgen wat ze verdienen of ..hij/zij er gewoon geen mening over heeft en lekker ook toeschouwer blijft.

Sixteen Shades of Crazy, Rachel Trezise, Blue Door 2010