Tag Archives: Booktopia

#Spotlight on Mikhaeyla Kopievsky of Resistance (Divided Elements #1)

MIKHAEYLA KOPIEVSKY is an independent speculative fictionML Profile Photo author who loves writing about complex and flawed characters in stories that explore philosophy, sociology and politics. She holds degrees in International Relations, Journalism, and Environmental Science.  A former counter-terrorism advisor, she has travelled to and worked in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Mikhaeyla lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia, with her husband and son. Divided Elements | Resistance is her debut offering.

  1. What’s Resistance about?

Resistance (Divided Elements #1) is the story of Anaiya 234 – a Peacekeeper of the Fire Element who patrols Otpor’s streets enforcing the Orthodoxy. In Otpor, a future post-apocalyptic Paris, Reistance book covverlife is a utopia – debauchery, security and stability are all provided by the Cooperative and maintained by strict adherence to the ruling ideology. Wrong action is termed Unorthodoxy and punished in a way similar to how crimes are dealt with in these days – retraint and detention. But, wrong thought – Heterodoxy – that is the real crime.

Only once has the crime of Heterodoxy taken place, and the original Resistor – Kane 148 – was Executed for it. But, now Heterodox murals are appearing on crumbling Otpor infrastructure, hinting at a new rebellion. Radical measures will be taken to find and take down this new Resistance, changing life in Otpor and Anaiya, forever.2.

2, Why did you write your book?

I started (and finished) writing this book for two reasons: 1) I needed to finally take my passion for writing seriously and commit to crafting and finishing a novel whose standard of quality I could be proud of, and 2) I needed to tell this story that calls into question humanity’s endless ambition to categorise society into us vs them, self vs other, familiar vs threatening. It is a theme that I am deeply passionate about – ignorance, xenophobia, intolerance and apathy are at the core of most of humanity’s problems. I believe if we focused on what we have in common, or on what our unique and individual skills, beliefs and perspectives can contribute, we would be that much closer to a more utopian ideal of humanity.

3. Who is the main character in Resistance?

Anaiya 234 is a complex and flawed character. Many readers find her unlikeable at the beginning of the story – which is not surprising since she is so fiercely and steadfastly dedicated to fulfilling her Peacekeeper role. As a Fire Elemental, she is conditioned to have only a limited spectrum of emotions, to be practical and stoic – a finely tuned instrument in keeping Otpor citizen’s compliant and the streets safe.

But, Anaiya has a shadowy legacy that follows her around. And when the discovery of new Heterodox murals gives her the opportunity to erase this legacy, she finds herself unable to say no. As the key player in the strategy to dismantle the Resistance, Anaiya is thrown into a new world where everything she has learned and taken for granted is suddenly called into question. Some of my favourite reviews of Resistance, talk about how much they love seeing the shift in Anaiya’s personality and the internal conflict she struggles with throughout the book.

4. Why do you think people should buy Resistance?

This book is for readers who love the dystopian and post-apocalyptic scifi genres, but who want a darker and grittier story than what YA books are offering. One reader called Resistance “Divergent’s bigger, badder, tougher, realer older sister”. While it will satisfy your need for the standard dystopian tropes, this book turns them on their head and puts them in a new context – in this story, the protagonist is not a hero, but a real and flawed character. And they’re not on a self-righteous path to bring down the Government, they’re actively fighting the Resistance while struggling with their convictions in doing so.

If you like stories with interesting characters and dynamic world-building that will challenge as well as entertain you, then I think this one is for you!

Resistance review blurb image

5. What’s your favorite writing snack?

I rarely snack when I write! I usually find that I get so immersed in the story, I either forget to eat or rush to pull together something very basic so I can get back into it! That being said, I do love to celebrate writing milestones with a nice dinner – my favourite is a local French restaurant (fitting, no?) where I could spend many a long, lazy Sunday brunch eating the charcuterie platter and indulging in a nice bottle of French wine!

6. What’s your favorite writing beverage?

As most authors would attest, writing is a caffeinated sport I am one of those strange people that doesn’t drink tea or coffee, so I get my fix with Coke Zero – sometimes spiked with bourbon if I’m channelling my inner Hemingway… But I am also very partial to mojitos in summer and a nice Hendricks G&T while the sun is going down. When I lived in Sydney. I loved visiting the small bars and speakeasies. Unsurprising, then, that I created a Cocktail Companion Guide to Resistance that readers can download for free here: www.instafreebie.com/free/1q8wq8

7. If you were on desert island with just one book to read, what would it be and why?

That is a very cruel scenario! Without my library of ficton and non-fiction, I guess it would have to be “How to successfully escape a desert island and make it back to civilisation”

8. Who is your go to celebrity crush?

Now this is a MUCH easier question to answer Supernatural’s Dean Winchester has been the inspiration for many of my characters. Even Seth, a character in Resistance (Divided Elements #1) took some initial inspiration from the hunter with a saviour complex. Supernatural is also my go-to binge watching fix when I’m stressing out about writing deadlines or immovable plot problems. Now, if you were throwing the box set of Supernatural episodes or even Dean Winchester himself into the desert island scenario, I might not be so worried about reading that book…

You can keep in touch with Mikhaeyla @:

www.kyrija.com/mikhaeyla-kopievsky

https://www.facebook.com/MikhaeylaKopievsky/

https://twitter.com/MikhaeylaK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32719178-resistance

Get Resistance the ebook @:

Amazon: (global link) http://mybook.to/DE1Resistance
Kobo: 
https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/resistance-45
Nook: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/resistance-mikhaeyla-kopievsky/1124987737
iBooks: 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1168636508

Get Resistance the paperback @:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Resistance-Divided-Elements-Book-1/dp/0995421854
Book Depository: 
https://www.bookdepository.com/Resistance-Mikhaeyl-Kopievsky/9780995421851
Booktopia: 
http://www.booktopia.com.au/resistance-mikhaeyla-kopievsky/prod9780995421851.html

One last thing I forgot to mention –

The official online launch for Resistance takes place on Saturday 4 February. There will be excerpt readings, an author Q&A, and special guests to talk about the development of the book’s cover art and discuss the themes of the book. Mikhaeyla would love to invite ll of you to attend – you can RSVP here (it’s an open invitation, so feel free to share with friends and family!)

Book review by @FTThum – Second Life by @SJ_Watson

I read SJ Watson’s debut novel ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ when it was released in 2011, which was then made into a film in 2014 starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.  I enjoyed the book tremendously so when his second book ‘Second Life’ was released in February this year, how could I possibly resist?

 

second life book coverTitle:               Second Life
Author:          SJ Watson
Publisher:    Doubleday (2015)
ISBN:             9781922079251 (paperback)
ASIN:             9781921961472 (ebook)
Website:       http://www.sjwatson-books.com/
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/S.J.Watson.Writer
Genre:          
Fiction, Psychological thriller

 

 

What’s it about?

How well do we truly know another?

When Julia Plummer’s sister, Kate, is found dead in Paris in suspicious circumstances, she sets out to uncover the truth. This takes her into the world of internet dating and hook-ups where her sister was known to traverse. All this at the risk of jeopardizing her relationship with her husband and the life of her son.  It is gradually revealed that Julia’s 14-year-old son, Connor is actually Kate’s child, the result of a fling with an unknown man.  Julia, now a professional photographer, appears to be a respectable middle-class woman, a dedicated mother. Then her past returns to haunt her – her alcoholism from her days in Berlin. Julia is trapped in her mind – constantly questioning her own motivations and desires; ignoring her intuition and burdened with baggage.

While Julia is filled with pathos (complete with baggage), there is a lack of depth in comparison for the other characters, particularly that of Lukas, the man Julia met online. The same for her long-suffering husband, Hugh who is 10-years older encountering problems of his own.

Watson’s attempt at eroticism through Julia’s ‘online dating’ seems forced, although his portrayal of the dark side of internet relationships is horrifying. The voice of Julia is less believable than the voice of Christine of Watson’s first book. The ending is for me dissatisfying – abrupt and utterly convenient.

Simply put, this second book of Watson’s did not live up to his first.   Nevertheless, it is entertaining.

Recommendation:

This book is a well paced and easy to read psychological thriller with enough suspense to carry it through, yet containing loop holes easily identifiable if one is to go looking. So don’t. Just read for near-mindless pleasure.

LWI Rating:

Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think:                   3/5
Overall enjoyment:             3.5/5
Readability:                            4/5
Recommended:                    3/5

Overall Rating:                    3/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback USD 19.88
  Paperback USD 19.88
  Kindle USD 9.99
Bookdepository Hardback Euro 19.47
  Paperback Euro 14.52
Booktopia Paperback AUD 25.50
  Ebook AUD 42.40

 

Happy reading!
– FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

Florence 2

Book Review by @FTThum – Adultery by @PauloCoelho

Right, I am not sure about this book. I have been a fan of Paulo Coelho since reading ‘The Alchemist’ some 20 years ago. So let me ramble as I sort through my feelings and thoughts…  🙂

Adultery

 

Title:               Adultery
Author:          Paulo Coelho
Publisher:    Penguin Australia (19 August 2014)
ISBN-10:       1101874082
ISBN-13:        978-1101874080
Website:       http://www.paulocoelho.com/
Pages:            287
Genre:           Fiction – General, Spirituality

 

What’s it about?

Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, ‘Is this it?’

A novel about discovering who you are, where you’re going and what matters to you most.

These first and last lines, on the back cover, coupled with the title ‘Adultery’ created a certain expectation even before I began. So, my expectation? A story of a woman who will or has been involved in an adulterous affair and, knowing Coelho’s writing, is grappling with her sense of self and the revelations which ensue.

So did it deliver? Yes and no.

A judgment-laden phenomenon, adultery I expected would invite a richly profound and complex study of the human psyche, at least of the protagonist. This I did not get from the book. Nor did I get depth of characters or the moral debate over adultery. Yet there is something in this book that appeals.

First, a little about the storyline:

The protagonist, Linda lives in Geneva with her husband and two children. Geneva is, according to Linda, a city that has everything but feels ‘sterile’ – like her marriage. All things good but a bit grey, boring. Her husband is the owner of an investment fund, madly in love with her and the ultimate provider, father and spouse. Linda herself is a journalist, who begins a destructive love affair with Jacob, a politician who was once her teenage sweetheart.

Linda’s initial obsession with Jacob borders on being stalker-ish while the affair that follows is fueled by more lust than real emotions, dissatisfyingly shallow. The word ‘adultery’ comes with a whole lot of baggage – judgments about the adulterer, the state of a marriage, whether it is ever justified for adultery to happen; and the whys and hows. Yet this book barely dwells on these; instead it proffers Linda’s depression and the affair as natural consequences of each other – a rather flippant approach at that. While the book has the potential to address many issues in greater depths, Coelho it seems has chosen not to do so.

The narrative written from Linda’s perspective, is easy to read, its spiritual messages simple. Such as “Come, You are heaven and earth, the wind and the clouds, the snow and the lakes” or “Wisdom and experience don’t change the man. Time doesn’t change the man. The only thing that changes us is love.”

The book contains quite a few of these ‘quotable quotes’, as they are to me, about love and living which were not given space to blossom.

The crux of the novel – that no matter how good your life is, sometimes you do have to lose yourself to find yourself again – is offered through revelations to Linda as the affair progresses.

Maybe I don’t actually love him. But I love what he has awakened inside me. He treated me with zero respect, left me stripped of my dignity. Undeterred, he did exactly what he wanted, while I strived, once again, to try to please someone.

Then,

Today I realize that yes, I was in love…that all married people always have a secret crush. It’s forbidden, and flirting with the forbidden is what makes life interesting. But few people take it further…a little thrill to make sex more erotic and hear “I love you” shouted out at the moment of orgasm. Nothing more.

There is no romanticizing the affair.

There is no debasing her marriage and the family that seems loving and functional. Here is a husband who stands by his woman, who tells Linda:

Everyone has days when they say: “Well, my life isn’t exactly lining up with my expectations”…Going after a dream has a price….But however costly it may be, it is never as high as the price paid by people who didn’t live.

And,

I controlled the jealousy I feel because of you…Because I always have to show I’m worthy of your love…I can’t stop you from leaving one day…I would never stop you from being happy.

Ultimately, this is about Linda – her depression and her need to find contentment or fulfillment in her life.

I can’t shake a sense of incompleteness in this simplicity. I wonder if the message is lost in translation – the book being an English translation of the original in Portugese. This is not to offend or criticize the translators but rather speak to the possible loss of the nuanced language it was originally written in.

Perhaps the simplicity of Coelho’s writing is analogous to the need to sometimes take things as they are, not to over-think and to judge but to feel and go with what is, however painful. Perhaps there is a need to ride through the storm, as Linda did, and emerge with greater awareness. Therein lies a journey that each of us may need to traverse.

Or am I over-thinking? 🙂

To get a sense of Paulo Coehlo, whose spirituality is so evident in his previous books and his astute business mind, here is an interview he gave just prior to the release of ‘Adultery’.

Recommendation:

‘Adultery’ is an enjoyable light read though not the book I had expected from Coelho, whose previous writing has been filled with spirituality and wisdom.

If you enter without expectations, you will enjoy it.

LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think: 3.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 3/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
 

Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback USD 15.26
  Paperback USD 6.99
  Kindle USD 9.40
Bookdepository Hardback Euro 19.73
  Paperback Euro 13.25
Booktopia Hardback AUD 33.25
  Paperback AUD 23.95
  E-book AUD 11.99

Florence 2 

 

 

 

 

@FTThum

MeaningsAndMusings

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#BookReview @FTThum – Straight Jacket by Adrian Deans

This book was published in 2013, I read it at the end of that year…and re-read it recently.

It deserves a review. Why? Read on.

straight jacket

Title:             Straight Jacket
Author:          Adrian Deans
Publisher:     High Horse Books (7 August 2013)
ISBN-10:        0646906259
ISBN-13:        9780646906256
Website:        http://www.adriandeans.com/
Pages:           Paperback, 278 pages
Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/StraightJacket242
Genre:            Fiction – Crime

 

What’s it about?

“If God is too indifferent, or too non-existent to take care of His creation, then clearly it’s up to Me.”

This is Morgen Tanjenz, a lawyer with a God complex, or maybe Devil complex… or simply misunderstood? As he intervenes in the lives of those around him, his life intersects with Detective Sergeant Peter ‘Blacksnake’ Fowler who has problems of his own not least the woman he loves is having an affair. With a serial killer on the loose, Fowler is under intense pressure, and the pressure valve is sure to explode when taunted by the likes of Morgen?

This is an edgy crime novel set in Sydney – dark and interspersed with moments of humour. The protagonist and other characters are quirky and believable, a twist from the usual crime novel characterisations.  And what’s with the cicada on the book cover…and the reference throughout to these insects prominent in the Sydney-scape in summer?

Deans once again has enthralled his readers with his dark sense of humour and unusual perspectives. A book for those willing to explore difference and open to the less than beautiful side of life – its sexual overtones and drugs usage. Morgen is not a lovable character, I don’t think, but captivating.  I want to be on his side. Compelling read as I begin to invest in Morgen’s life – curious to know what happens to him, not wanting anything negative to occur to him. Persuasive writing.

Definitely a worthwhile book to read, especially if you enjoy intense dark crime novels with drama and humour.

LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5
Readability: 3.5/5
Recommended: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 5.27
Bookdepository Paperback Not available at present
Booktopia Paperback AUD 21.25
eBook AUD 4.50

 

Florence 2– FlorenceT

@FTThum

MeaningsAndMusings.WordPress.com

 

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#BookReview @FTThum – All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness @DebHarkness

The ‘All Souls Trilogy’ by Deborah Harkness consists of:

 

discovery of witchesTitle:               A Discovery of Witches (Book 1)
ISBN 10:        0670022411
ISBN 13:        9780670022410
Publisher:       Penguin USA
Publication date: 8 February 2011
Pages:             592 pages

shadow of night

 

 

 

Title:               Shadow of Night (Book 2)
ISBN 10:        0670023485
ISBN 13:        9780670023486
Publisher:       Penguin USA
Publication date: 10 July 2012
Pages:             592 pages

book of life

 

Title:               The Book of Life (Book 3)
ISBN 10:        0670025593
ISBN 13:        9780670025596
Publisher:       Vikings Books
Publication date: 15 July 2014
Pages:             561 pages

 

 

 

Genre:            Fiction – Fantasy
Website:        http://deborahharkness.com/all-souls-trilogy/
Twitter:         @DebHarkness
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahHarkness 

 

What’s it about?

The All Souls Trilogy centres on two protagonists, Diana Bishop, a witch yet to come to her full power, and Matthew Clairmont, a vampire determined to find the origin of species. It is set in our world with one distinction – daemons, vampires and witches dwell here too, hiding their essential nature, and unbeknownst to humans, have been co-existing with us since forever. If you are associating this with the ‘Twilight’ series, don’t. It is not. To suggest it is a thinking person’s ‘Twilight’ would do the Trilogy a great disservice. It is so much more.

Deborah Harkness is a professor of history and teaches European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California. Her vast scholarly knowledge is evident within the pages of these 3 books. The science is so intricately woven and the history exact. Of course there is literary or artistic license but then the reader will know where they lie.

Harkness’ depiction of the creatures and each character in this compelling tale is flawless. It is so believable that I can almost see demons, vampires, and witches living in this world of ours.

All Souls Trilogy is a story of acceptance and denial, of collaboration and division, of love and loss, of trust and betrayal, of family and enemies, and ultimately it is a story of acknowledging and being true to oneself.

Now, to each book in the Trilogy:

Discovery of Witches (Book 1)

I picked this book up in the local library. I was bored and thought to try something new – I am not usually a Fantasy book reader. I was hooked from Page 1 and finished the book in no time.

This first book touches the heart. It begins with Diana, an American and Yale historian over in Oxford researching at the Bodleian Library whereupon she attracts from the archives an alchemical manuscript of Elias Ashmole with missing pages of great significance. Diana is also a woman in denial of her genetic heritage, for she is a witch of potential great powers.

Then there is Matthew, an Oxford biochemist, whom Diana encounters in the Bodleian Library. A vampire fully aware of his power and on the search for that elusive manuscript. A man of apparent strength and intelligence is so attractive (okay, I was drooling :-)).

Bound by a common purpose, Diana and Matthew begin their journey of discovery of their history and their future.

Harkness has created multi-dimensional characters – of Diana and Matthew, and their family and friends – which makes me so curious to meet them, to want to know their depth, and Harkness did not disappoint as I delve. Each of Diana and Matthew’s strength and vulnerability are endearing. Their relationship of love resplendent with complex emotions yet so honest. This book is a page-turner and a surprise at every turn.

Rating: 4.5/5

Shadow of Night (Book 2)

This book begins with Diana and Matthew arriving in 16th century London, using Diana’s time-walking ability. Elizabethan England is a place which Matthew is familiar. So it continues, Diana and Matthew’s search for the manuscript with stunning revelations about the manuscript, and of Matthew’s and Diana’s history.

Of the three books, this book is especially captivating for lovers of history and science. Based primarily in Tudor London, we meet the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Kit Marlowe (a daemon playwright in Harkness’ world), Thomas Harriot (a daemon astronomer) and Sir Walter Raleigh (a human confidante to the Queen).

The progress of Diana and Matthew’s relationship creates new intrigue, as they cross the great divide prohibited by the Covenant, an agreement between the 3 species, daemon, vampire and witch, which have governed the way of being for centuries. The book canvasses the notion of what intimacy can be and how it can be demonstrated through these two different-natured creatures.

It just gets better and better, as Harkness explores the meaning of loyalty and trust, and tests the limits of love. Diana accepts the possibility of her immense power and takes steps to own it. Matthew’s vulnerability is exposed, his strength a mask behind which he has hidden for centuries from all that he has been and done.

Rating: 4/5

The Book of Life (Book 3)

The Book of Life was published some 2 years after Shadow of Night. It was too long a wait for me :-).

Diana and Matthew return to 21st century France, the location of Matthew’s ancestral home. Their fiery relationship continues to be challenged as Matthew wrestles with his past and attempts to build his future, with great implications. Matthew’s journey has tested his resolve, his sense of self.  Will he learn the ultimate lesson – to trust himself and others who love him? That love is not destructive but constructive, and all powerful?

Diane fully in control of her magic and confronting the Congregation is an imagery to behold. As she takes charge, it is clear she has travelled a long way from her mind to her heart, both in her relationship with Matthew and her past.

Harkness continues to weave a story of enchantment, heartbreak, and resilience into her amazing alternative world. Reading the third book of this Trilogy, it is clear the magic of Harkness’ writing is how she manages to insinuate the supernatural creatures and substantiates normalcy in the daemon-vampire-witch-human world.

So the array of creatures is now bound by a common purpose to retrieve the manuscript and the secret to survival of the species. This final book of the All Soul’s Trilogy captures the imagination, speeding to a climatic end which comes full circle…”It began with a discovery of witches…”

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Recommendation:

Need I say more than, this Trilogy is a must-read?

If you don’t enjoy historical or fantasy fiction, step off and read something different…

And for Fantasy enthusiast, this Trilogy delivers on so many levels.

 

LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 4.5/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback  
  Paperback  
  Kindle  
Bookdepository Hardback
  Paperback
Booktopia Hardback
  Paperback

 

Florence 2

 

 

 

 

– FlorenceT

@FTThum

MeaningsAndMusings.WordPress.com

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#BookReview @FTThum – The Children Act by Ian McEwan

I had to read this book. Why? Because

  • I am a lawyer and am fascinated first by the title then its subject matter
  • I enjoy Ian McEwan’s writing
  • I am intrigued by the female protagonist, Fiona, a judge and a woman of a certain age

And the book delivered more than I had expected.

ian mcewan the children act review banner
Title:               The Children Act
Author:          Ian McEwan
Publisher:       Jonathan Cape, Random House, London ( September 2, 2014)
ISBN-10:        0224101994
ISBN-13:        978-0224101998
Website:         http://www.ianmcewan.com/bib/books/childrenact.html
Pages:             Hardback, 213 pages
Genre:           Fiction

What’s it about?

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.”

First, the title “The Children Act” refers to a piece of legislation in the UK which, in general, seeks to regulate local authorities and governmental entities in dealing with intervention in the interests of children.

Second, the protagonist, Fiona, is a female High Court judge, approaching the end of her sixth decade of life and potentially of her near 30 year old marriage.

Third, the child concerned, Adam, is an almost, but not yet, 18 year old male born and bred within the faith of Jehovah Witness.

In this relatively short book, Ian McEwan has woven a tale filled with conflicts and dilemmas.

“…Didn’t you once tell me that couples in long marriages aspire to the condition of siblings? We’ve arrived, Fiona. I’ve become your brother. It’s cosy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one big passionate affair.”

With this statement, Fiona’s marriage fractures. And soon after, she is confronted with the legal case involving Adam.

As Fiona struggles with the emotional upheaval, she is disturbed by the potential cliché of her marriage breakdown – that she, a highly intelligent woman with immense self-control, is nevertheless just a woman and susceptible to thoughts and actions, reminiscent of the parody of a woman ‘rejected’. The irony is the readers’ attention is also brought to the clichéd of Fiona’s life as a successful female judge – the cold, analytical, always busy, cultured and sophisticated childless woman. While this accomplished woman is reasonable and wise, she is also plagued by loneliness and shame. McEwan handles these conflicts with a deft hand, inviting much contemplation.

With the internal conflict of rediscovering a ‘new’ identity, Fiona is confronted with questions which cause me to lay the book down and ponder and wonder. This, for me, is the hallmark of a good book.

Who has the right to determine the life of an almost adult? The child’s parents, the religious elders, the medical profession, the law, a judge…the almost adult himself?

Is it ultimately about rights?

What is ‘evident’ truth? Is anything ever ‘evident’?

Is there such a thing as ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’? Can an act, such as Fiona’s decision, change the course of a life? Or does her later action reinforce the inevitability of destiny?

What is faith? What does it mean to the faith-ful? Who has the right to ‘remove’ someone’s faith, the meaning to a life? What is the consequence when no substitute is found for this faith?

Without faith, how open and beautiful and terrifying the world must have seemed to him…. she offered nothing in religion’s place, no protection, even though the Act was clear, her paramount consideration was his welfare… Welfare, well-being, was social.”

McEwan’s narrative is riveting, by the ability to convey so much with so few words. In essence, McEwan did not arrive at a triumph of science or the humanist perspective. Rather, the book highlights the fragility of human life, and how careful we must be to interfere with another’s well-ordered life.

A must-read, in my book :-).

 

Recommendation:
LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 4.5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback USD 15.00
  Paperback USD 11.77
  Kindle USD 10.99
Bookdepository Hardback Euro 14.62
  Paperback Euro –
Booktopia Hardback AUD 20.95
  Paperback AUD –

 

– FlorenceT

Florence 2

 

 

 

@FTThum

 

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