Tag: Initial

Haruki Murakami – Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World | Review

Title: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 404

Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

This one’s a difficult one to review because it’s so bizarre, and indeed that’s something of a barrier-to-entry to begin with. It took me a hundred pages or so to get absorbed in the story, and I actually started it out as a bedtime book because I wasn’t too excited about it. But then I got hooked, and by the end of it I was enjoying it, although I still didn’t really know what was going on.

That’s kind of a good thing though, because it means you could pick it up for a second and a third time and find something new every time. But at the same time, it was also pretty good just on the initial read, and it almost reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, although King’s series is a lot better.

Part of the problem here might be the translation, which in this instance was done by Alfred Birnbaum. I’ve never heard of the guy before, but you could definitely tell the difference between Birnbaum’s voice as a translator and Jay Rubin’s voice, who I’m more familiar with. There were even a couple of typos here and there, which I quite frankly wasn’t expecting from a book published by Vintage.

 

 

The story itself is basically a magical realism story, and it’s a genre that I’ve not had much love for historically. To be honest, I don’t think this one has changed my mind, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Some genres you love and others you don’t, and it just sucks for me that Murakami wrote so much in a genre that I don’t care for when you consider that I’m hoping to slowly work my way through all of his stuff.

And so I guess that brings me up to the end of this review, and I’m just sorry that I don’t have more to say about it. I can also see why this is a popular book amongst Murakami’s fans, and I wouldn’t rule out re-reading it again in the future. But in the meantime, I need to work my way through the rest of his stuff, and so re-reads are out for now. Wish me luck, there’s more to come.

 

 

Click here to buy Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

 


Gertrude Stein – Three Lives | Review

Title: Three Lives

Author: Gertrude Stein

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 262

Rating: 3*/5

 

Gertrude Stein - Three Lives

Gertrude Stein – Three Lives

 

I feel a bit harsh about giving this only three out of five, but the truth is that while I could appreciate Stein’s brilliance, it just didn’t excite me. Her work, which was revolutionary at the time, still feels innovative, but it struggles to compete with plenty of other modern classics. It’s the kind of book that you ought to read if you’re serious about literature, but which you need to be a real Stein geek to fully appreciate.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, though. It actually flew by, and this is a rare example of when a book’s introductory essay actually added a lot of value to me, as a reader. It helped to place the work into context, and it forewarned me about some of the stumbling blocks that put people off, like Stein’s repetition of language.

But that’s kind of the point of it, and Stein uses this book to effectively create the literary equivalent of a realist painting. Sure, there isn’t much plot – but it does a great job of bringing fictional people to life in your mind’s eye through the language they use alone, and that can only be a good thing. The truth is that there isn’t much like this on the market, even now – 100 years after its initial publication.

So should you read this? Well, it sort of depends upon whether you like to read classics. But if you do, you should!

 

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein

 

Click here to buy Three Lives.

 


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