Friday, November 23, 2012
The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
Tall tree. Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens. November 2012.
We, Yevgeny Zamyatin: one of the earliest examples of the dystopian genre. We imagines a totalitarian and conformative modern industrial society where free will is the cause of unhappiness, and that citizens' lives should be controlled with mathematical precision based on the system of industrial efficiency. A tricky read, but effective. B-.
The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers, Delia Falconer: Set a quarter century after the event, this novel imagines Captain Frederick Benteen remembering the destruction of Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at Little Bighorn. A meditative book, this is an exquisite eulogy for the ordinary soldier, alive and dead. Brilliant. A+.
Utz, Bruce Chatwin: A satirical portrait of life in Communist Czechoslovakia rooted in the idea that human nature is the same no matter what political winds are blowing. I liked it a lot. B+.
Ellen Foster, Kaye Gibbons: Thoughtful, funny, tender and - most importantly - rings true. Conveyed through the narrative voice of a neglected child, this book strikes a remarkably positive tone given the bleak subject matter. A+.