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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3434


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I think I felt it was inclined to drag occasionally, but parts of it made me roar with laughter, and I think one has to salute its ingenuity.


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm afraid that I have been unable to finish Adam Fould's recent, and prize-winning, novel about John Clare - 'The Quickening Maze'.  I had to force myself to keep reading. Some books are like that.


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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 731



PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri, I love 'Tristram Shandy' too! It always makes me laugh. I once tried to explain it to my daughter's French boyfriend: the only quick summary I could come up with was that it was the story of the subject's life from conception to babyhood. He found this so inexplicable, that he assumed my French was at fault and said 'Oh, you mean from birth to death'. But it is so totally beyond description, that it almost covers the whole span of life.

Sterne was so completely before his time that it is hard to believe that 'Tristram Shandy'  (or some of it, anyway) was first published 250 years ago. It is certainly not a novel that I have ever had difficulty in finishing!


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wie has a French translation of Tristram Shandy. From what little I remember of my French, it’s funny even in translation!


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spidernick



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 107


Location: Fareham, Hants

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished but didn't enjoy Tristram Shandy.  I wish I hadn't bothered finishing Cold Mountain nor The Little Friend.

I can only think of two books I never finished reading: the first was Engels' The Condition of the Working Classes in England, which I stopped reading, meaning to start again and never got around to doing so. The second was Last of the Mohicans, which I found turgid, especially (and this will make me sound bad!) after the Daniel Day Lewis movie version, which I loved.



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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 3569


Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alongside Lord of the Rings, I have been reading Bridge of Sighs, a novel by Richard Russo.  I have been meaning to read something by Russo for a while, in the hope that he would be another author to add to the great canon of recent and contemporary male American novelists I love.  Sadly this one has turned out to be utterly boring!  It is not the one I would have chosen, from reading various reviews, but I saw it in the library and thought I would give it a go.

It is narrated by a 60-year-old man who lives in a small town in New York, the town he has lived in all his life.  He reminisces about his childhood and his boyhood friend, who is now a painter living in Venice.  It all sounded quite promising, but the interminable descriptions of the narrator's childhood are just tedious - I was hoping there would be some background and then we would get on to his adult life, but there is very little about the adult world and constant chapters on childhood.  The bits in Venice with the adult painter are better, but few and far between.

Anyway - I have given up on it.  I will try Russo again, and hope this one was just an off day on his part.


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John Q



Joined: 05 Apr 2010
Posts: 47



PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A book I was very pleased to loan from the library recently was Howard Jacobson’s The Act of Love.  I had enjoyed reading his Kalooki Nights earlier this year  and felt sure I would enjoy this too.   But about one hundred pages was all I managed before crying ‘enough!’   The novel is a first person narrative by an antiquarian bookseller called Felix.  Hmmm…Does not sound very auspicious does it?  But get this,  an antiquarian bookseller with a staff of four.  Yes four!   I mean, my local McDonalds does not have a staff of four.  I could never quite get over this aspect of the book  Is  Jacobson trying to be ridiculous or just failing in imagination ?   The actual plot of the novel involves Felix actively encouraging his wife and a man he knows to have an affair or that seems to be the way the book was heading as he finds this is a final proof of his wife’s desirability ..or something.  A lot of ‘man of the world’ reminiscence  on the nature of love and women and  the unpredictability of desire from our old roué of a bookseller.   But by the time all this was coming out I was only  a semi detached reader, looking for an excuse to put it down. I didn’t really need one in the end, I just couldn’t read another page.  Yes there is the problem of what authors are often trying to do with first person narratives, but whatever they are doing the reader still has to read the prose and  that I could not do any more in this book.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Q wrote:
A book I was very pleased to loan from the library recently was Howard Jacobson’s The Act of Love.  I had enjoyed reading his Kalooki Nights earlier this year...  

Chibiabos83 and I enjoyed KN (there is a review on this Board) as well as The Mighty Walzer - have you read that one? Jacobson's situations and humour may take a bit of getting used to so I must give TAOL a try.


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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 3569


Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been meaning to read China Miéville's The City and The City for a long time, as it looked and sounded interesting.  I recently got it from the library, enthusiastically started reading...and gave up after about 50 pages.  Life is too short.  The book isn't...

I was a little suspicious when I read the review from the Times that said that Orwell and Kafka were worth comparisons...as if Orwell and Kafka are in any way similar writers, but also they are two of the finest writers of the last century - names that are easy to bandy about when anyone writes something vaguely imaginative, but I should have known we were on thin ice here.

Neither of those (and I have read Kafka in both German and English) were capable of writing a sentence as inelegant as the last sentence in this short extract:

Quote:
'Immediately and flustered I looked away, and she did the same, with the same speed.  I raised my head, towards an aircraft on its final descent.  When after some seconds I looked back up, unnoticing the old woman stepping heavily away, I looked carefully instead of at her in her foreign street at the facades of the nearby and local GunterStrasz, that depressed zone.'


Is that experimental writing, or just bad writing? I chose the latter, as I had to read it several times before I was sure I'd even worked out the syntax, and after 50 or so pages of similar prose I gave up.  Sorry to the fans of this book...


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3374


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

China Mieville often writes like that. It's his 'thing'.



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