I read A Fine Balance (Amazon.com) (Amazon UK). I liked it and would read another of his. But the level of tragic events became somewhat farcical. To the point where I began to disengage, and by the ending it was more - yes, naturally, rather than poor people! I've been to India and know that some of this is very real.
Yet, if it could go wrong, it did. Dickens for the modern age. The tragedy and the caricatures. It wasn't predictable in specifics, just that after a certain point you knew that each event or idea was going to fail. You can't fault Mistry's pace though. Although I did put it down for a week, I can't say it was ever dull.
He handles characters very well. Despite there being a plethora of secondary characters, and countless stories within stories, there are only four main characters. So it manages to not get confusing.
My favourite aspect though, was that despite the tragedy, misery, and often truly horrendous stories, Mistry manages to inject humour throughout it all. So unless you miss the subtle comedy, it's never actually depressing, not for long anyway, and it never mocks where it matters. I do think this is a mark of genius in him.
Yeah, I do recommend it. But not as a Summer read or when you're down in the dumps!
Followed that up with The Book Thief (Amazon.com) (Amazon UK). At first, the format was a little annoying. Seems the author was tring too hard to be innovative. It didn't take long for me to get on board with it though.
You see, we're constantly told what's coming up, usually in a bullet-point fashion. I don't mind this as such, what happens to lead up to a climactic event is the real story, right? The bullet points seemed gimmicky, but I ended up curious as to how the next section was going to be outlined.
It's an easy read and suited to young adults. Difficult not to think of Anne Frank. What with reading and writing taking centre stage, Nazi Germany, hiding Jews, a found memoir. Except this time the young girl is a German, and the story is told by Death.
The language was intriguing. I often loved it - gorgeous play with words and imagery. I often cringed - too many contrived mixed metaphors.
For well-read adults it's all quite cliched, obvious, and occassionally monotonous. But even I found it lightly enjoyable and wanted to know the ending. I would recommend it if you can borrow it. I would be happy for a young adult I knew to read this.
Just can't afford to buy this month's Book Club titles. Let me know if you have or will read it, I'm interested in both.
The Wildflower really enjoys Hush! A Thai Lullaby (Amazon.com) (Amazon UK)
I like it as well. Lots of animals and animal sounds to make (some are not usual to American or British sounds). Plenty of repetition and interesting art work, which looks like rice paper collage. I highly recommend this one.
Just thought I would throw in the last thing I listened to...
Don't mind me a littl' blue grass now and then.
We're sloooowly moving boxes up to the new house. *GRIN* But pleeease universe, could we get just ONE plumber to come and do the final fitting! argh
You'll cross your fingers for us right?