Tag Archives: Contemporarry Fiction

@FTThum #BookReview ‘The Dinner’ by Herman Koch

Interesting premise, as I read the ‘blurb’ on the back cover. So here goes.

the-dinnerTitle:          The Dinner
Author:        Herman Koch
Translator:    Sam Garrett
Publishers:     Atlantic Books, UK (August 2012)
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Pages:             320
Genre:           Fiction – Contemporary; Literary Fiction

What’s it about?

‘The Dinner’ is Dutch author, Herman Koch’s 2nd book published in 2009 and translated to English in 2012. It has been adapted for film (US), to be released in 2017 starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. I for one will be watching it. Why? Because the book is intriguing, and I do want to see if it has been translated well to screen and how the characters are portrayed in the film.

The plot appears simple. Two couples – brothers and their wives – meet at an upmarket restaurant for dinner. There is an issue about their children that must be discussed, but obviously such a difficult topic to speak of that they miserably avoided it through 2 courses and various interruptions.

So what is this “important matter” that must be discussed and resolved?

Internal monologue of Paul Lohman, the protagonist, offers readers insight into the psychological state of a younger sibling, never quite living up to a successful older brother, with a chip on his shoulder and repressed anger.  And through his lens, there is the arrogant older brother, Serge, the defiant yet helpless sister-in-law, Babette; and his loving and supportive wife, Claire who is most importantly his ally as against the other couple.

This story ultimately is about what people, and parents, will believe to protect their own psyche and as a defence to love. It provides a slice of the human condition – how we lie to ourselves and what we do when our very existence, as we know it, is threatened.

The story is told in a pace causing annoyance was necessary; the discomfort and unpleasantness evoked in me is testament of how well-written this book is, and portending the reluctance of the characters to name and acknowledge the “important matter” – the almost calm and matter-of-fact manner which belies the undercurrents of tension, fear and malice.

What are their motivations? Or their responsibilities?

Does it matter if the desired outcome is achieved?

How will it end for everyone concerned?

Would I recommend it?

An intriguing book definitely worth spending time on.

 

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

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 8.47
  Paperback USD 8.92
 Bookdepository  Paperback  A$11.10

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Grind’ by Edward Vukovic

When approached by Vukovic for an honest review, I could not refuse as I am an avid coffee drinker. The book cover is enticing, and in itself, pip my curiosity. Coffee grind reading…?

grind-coverTitle:          Grind
Author:        Edward Vukovic
Publishers:     CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 2, 2016)
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Website:         www.edwardvukovic.com
Pages:             398
Genre:           Fiction – Contemporary

What’s it about?

The story is a microcosm of the world at large, bound by the aromatic substance, coffee.  This is an entirely enjoyable and intelligent book, weaving multi-faceted characters through each other’s lives culminating in a powerful resolution.

We have Ziva, a young migrant woman, intelligent and trapped in a world of poverty. Infused with a talent for coffee-grind reading, she lives by her heightened ‘instinctive’ sense.

There is Simon, an angry direction-less man feeling victimised by life and its injustices; the only valuable thing in his life that which he thought could not be taken from him – his special coffee.

And Isaac, pub owner and a man atoning for his sins as he only knows how – the daily overcoming of the temptation of a former vice.

What of Michel, a homeless man by choice, oddly noble man avoiding his past and seeking in his own way to make amends.

Danielle, the young girl with a mentally ill father, bound by circumstances yet still hopeful for a better world.

Masterfully crafted by Vukovic, their lives intersect and will be forever changed, each character finding redemption.

I cannot help but associate the title ‘Grind’ with a different meaning, the grind that is life for the characters, each with a burden to bear. Will it lighten, I wonder…?

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely. ‘Grind’ draws the reader into the lives of its characters, reminding us that we all have our privates selves, that it is a priilege to be let into that private world.  We are the same – doing the best we can in our world – no matter the texture of our story; and interconnected – our actions have impact on others .

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think:                   3.5/5
Overall enjoyment:               4.5/5
Readability:                           4/5
Recommended:                     4/5
Overall Rating:                  4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 2.95
  Hardback USD 18.95

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

An @COLLEENCHESEBRO BOOK REVIEW OF “Trails in the Sand,” by @PC ZICK

Trails in the Sand

Title: Trails in the Sand

Author: P. C. Zick

ISBN: 1481255797 (ISBN13: 9781481255790)

ASIN:  B00ANVD6DE

Published:  January 10th 2013 by Createspace

Pages: 410

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama

Author Website: pczick.com

Do you like to travel? Then jump aboard, because “Trails in the Sand,” immediately propelled me into the Deep South to the state of Florida where mangrove swamps and the Gulf of Mexico beckoned and lured me into their mystique. Grab a fan, it might get hot!

The story begins with a mysterious death in 1956. It is that one single event which brings to the forefront long buried family secrets with roots deep in the sands of time, and laid to rest in the true southern tradition. These secrets reveal a pivotal connection to past and future events.

Caroline is the protagonist, an environmental journalist who left home as a young woman to pursue her dream of writing. Caroline’s sister focuses on betrayal with the love of Caroline’s life, Simon. The sister manages to marry Simon, instead of Caroline, who vows to never return because of her broken heart.

Years later after Caroline’s sister dies, Caroline and Simon are reunited in their friendship and love for each other. They marry, and revel in their new found happiness. Their lives are finally complete.

To complicate matters, Simon’s adopted daughter is resentful of her Aunt Caroline marrying her father. This leads to family strife and disagreements. However, nothing is as it seems in this tale of family intrigue. Those family secrets haunt the family and eventually lead them on a journey to discover the truth and to find acceptance from the past.

Throughout the family struggles that ensue, Caroline the journalist, is embroiled in the reporting of the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Her skill in writing about environmental disasters shows firsthand the death and destruction that was forced upon the wildlife in the Gulf area. At immediate risk are the endangered sea turtles whose existence is paramount to the survival of the species.


Author: P. C. Zick

I absolutely enjoyed how the author was able to weave current events into the story. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and the events surrounding the Massey Mine accident were integral parts to the telling of this story.

The survival of the sea turtles is a vital issue where I live in Pensacola, Florida. The rich descriptions and explanations of their plight renewed my interest in environment concerns along the Gulf Coast. Our own Gulf Islands National Seashore offer volunteer opportunities that I now wish to explore since my awareness of the issues that affect native wildlife.

The family struggle that was at the central heart of the book endeared me to the characters. I was able to identify with the crippling family treachery and how it almost destroyed them all. Beyond that, I found that I wanted these characters to succeed and heal from the toll the deception had on all of them.

I found that I could not put this book down. I wanted to keep reading until I reached the last page. I was woven into a web of deceit and scheming from the portrayal of the characters. I found it hard to pull away, I was so drawn in. It seemed as if the characters haunted me from afar. I literally read this book in about three nights.

“Trails in the Sand,” is part of P. C. Zick’s “Florida Series,” which includes the following books: “Tortoise Stew,” and “Native Lands.” I read all three books at the same time, and this was my absolute favorite.

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

Format & Pricing

Buy it at: Amazon
Paperback: $11.22 US
Kindle: $.99 US

Goodreads

 


 

 

 

@ColleenChesebro

www.SilverThreading.com