Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

"This is an evil spot, princess, and we must leave quickly"

I was filled with anticipation at the prospect of a new Ishiguro novel, having absolutely loved the fierce intensity of Never Let Me Go  and the quiet reserve of The Remains of the Day. As such, I was quick to purchase a copy of this gorgeous looking book. So good looking I had to share the back jacket with you. Then, something happened... I started reading it in a slow, halting fashion that reflected the difficulty of the task at hand for the two, ancient,protagonists taking their final journey towards the truth.
When the true character of the novel revealed itself in a haze of dragon fog and Arthurian legend, I was somewhat disengaged from it and found progress plodded along at a crawling pace. This is a tale of memory and forgetting, taking refuge under the spell of a dragon that fogs memories of a wretched war. 
It was only at the end of the novel that I began to look upon it more favourably. It seemed appropriate on ANZAC weekend to reflect on a novel about wars and memory and trying to get over the destruction that war creates by forgetting and living in denial as an intriguing, yet ultimately unlikely way forward. We remember things, so hopefully we can not make the same mistakes again. Yet, when we look at history we know this is not the case. The war to end all wars was only World War One and today conflicts continue on a daily basis across the globe. Would a spell enable us to go forward in peace. I doubt it. Like, the ancient protagonists of the tale, we would always seek out the truth, regardless of how horrific it might be.

So, in short, I didn't particularly enjoy this book, but I don't think that is its point. It raises interesting questions.

4 out of 5 hidden memories tend to become unearthed.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh

"As his keks drop and Auld Faithful springs from his pants like the one o'clock gun, he's happy to endorse the playwright's plea"

I was lucky enough to secure a pre-release ebook for review from the publishers and unfortunately it has taken me way too long to write this review. Whinge over, let's get back to the book.

If you are a fan of Trainspotting, this world will be familiar, albeit from a different bent. Welcome to the world of cabby, Terry "Juice" Lawson. He is a definite pants man, old faithful, as he calls it, is impressive enough to allow this otherwise average guy to star in skin flicks. He has very little impulse control and can be the life of the party.
Life, it seems, wants to get in the way of that.
Queue, health issues, evidence of a chequered heritage, managing a brothel and whiskey bottle issues with a famous tv star client.
Everyone has issues, especially Jonty, some of the necrophiliac variety. If you've read Welsh before, you will no doubt be prepared for some of the more jarring aspects of his work and this one is full of them. There is also an inescapable black humour, mostly through Terry, that is somewhat infectious.
I probably left a point off because I felt as frustrated with my circumstances as Terry in the second half of the book, now you'll have to read up to work out what that means.

In any case, this is certainly interesting reading. I like Welsh's ability to literally write in different voices. It brings an additional challenge to reading quickly, but I love a challenge.

4 out of 5 golden girls aren't like this.

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

"Will Rory be there this time?"

Neil Gaiman, how I do love thee, let me count the ways. You, who share my love for the Doctor and his Tardis and have so graciously included a who-vian extravaganza of a short-story hidden furtively in this intriguing and delightful collection of short stories. You,who consistently surprise and amaze, I apologise profusely for how long it has taken me to write this review.

Life, stress and a whole lot of crazy times have come between me and this review. A disappointing romance (low on the romance), a hilarious comedy festival outing with my amazing Melbourne friends and non stop work deadlines have cut a dent in my reviewing abilities. Fear not, I'm back!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us return to the subject at hand. This glorious, and mixed up offering of tiny tales from the master of storytelling. I was lucky enough to get a little teaser of one of the stories read out by the author himself, on stage, on his wife, Amanda Palmer's book tour. There is a little something for everyone here with a vast of array of genre and themes explored.

I don't want to spoil it for you! Grab yourself a copy and discover for yourself.

5 out of 5, sometimes good things come in small packages.