Monday, November 19, 2007

Currently Reading

I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It was an amazing story that followed two Afghanistan women from the time they were children throughout their lives. I really enjoyed it - very powerful, and full of history. Here is a review from Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny—"There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten"—is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters. (May)
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I am about to start the book The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. I read The Lovely Bones by this author, and was blown away by it. I have high hopes for this book, but I have heard some negative things from friends who have read it. Here is a review from Publishers Weekly:

Sebold's disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator's statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair's voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to a life-long dream and smothers Clair, who had sucked the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year. After dragging Clair's corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend's 30-year-old blond-god doofus son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family's fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold's own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

What are YOU reading? =)

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Hey you! I've read The Lovely Bones and loved it too but I am curious about her new book so let us know what you think! Also, it sounds like if you liked A Thousand Splendid Suns you'd like Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni...it's one of my favorite books.

Arielle said...

I finished The Kite Runner, which was wonderful...and I've JUST cracked open A Thousand Splendid Suns. I'm really excited about it.

Arielle :)