I really enjoyed this. While reading I felt calm and completely relaxed. The characters, even though there is a confusing amount of them, were entertaining and I think the description of the tourists behavior is a very realistic one. Also, I enjoyed the humor.
1) THE SMALL ASSASSIN: omg. I will never have children. Ever. So creepy!
Otherwise the rest so far (I’m at “The Lake”) was kinda predictable… mh.. I shall read on.
Now, more than one year later, I’ve managed to finish it. The thing is…it’s not really my genre and I don’t like short stories (for no apparent reason. There is only one of Neil Gaiman’s short stories that I like and I love his writing to death).
What I liked about it is, how ordinary people and events are turned into creepy occurrences. The stories were mostly a bit creepy and I love Bradbury as an author. I just don’t like short stories and I guess that is why I struggled.
I loved this. It is a wonderful look into the life of not the icon, but I think, the woman. The idea of having those pouches (for lack of a better word), which hold prints of photographs, letters and so forth, makes the book personal. It is like a treasure and I have to say, I was teary eyed at the end.
So if you like Audrey Hepburn: buy it. 🙂
I put in on hold. I’m in page 106. So far I think this:
– Why does the protagonist, who is an archaeologist and who tried to find the oldest human remains, not investigate the monster, its origin etc?
– Why is the protagonist’s personal drama more unrealistic to me and harder to buy than a monster, which lived in a lake? Or a ghost? I think this does tell you something about the character’s motivation and that it was just constructed to add some drama I don’t think necessary.
– I fail to see why I should bother about a 30-year-old behaving like a 16-year-old? There are condoms and other means to prevent pregnancies. Please have no Mary Sues, but women who can actually decide what they want to do with their own body, namely have a child or not. Also, there is something like speech which is used by teenagers and speech which is used by adults.
– excuse me: Monster. In lake. Please investigate? React like real people would: freak out/ investigate/ take pictures / run like hell / start a religion revolving around the monster. Or act like people in a fairy tale/fantasy novel would: find its family and start talking with it. Whatever.
– Run the wife over with a plane? Seriously??
– Question: You are really really sick. You feel really really crappy and in the end it turns out to be lupus. But you do not go and see a doctor despite the fact that you have felt really really crappy for 3 months? Really? (Random drama anyone?) Will the lupus pay off in the end? Is it vital for the progress of the plot or the character arch?
– The whole: mom isn’t telling me who my dad is this is unfair but to me and not to him as she states – thing… uhm… yes, that is how people react.
Not to be unfair or harsh to a novelist or anything, but will these things make sense? I need a break from it right now, because it angers me because there is potential and I see it wasted. Is it supposed to be a fun thing, because then it lacks the humor. Should I take it serious, which I can’t because it needs to be more realistic (not real).
I liked the bits between Quasimodo and Esmeralda, even though i think she is a little brat. There was no character, except Djali and Quasimodo that I liked. Which was probably the intention if the metacontent is that one should not judge a book by its cover and so forth. But if that is all the novel is about, I’ve read novels that got the point across in a more interesting way. I thought that long passages of the novel could have been edited out (really not that interested in the use of architecture or kings and so forth) and that there should have been more focus on Quasimodo. After all he is on the title.
But all in all it was a nice read but it took me really long.
Love! I expect from Neil’s books to be the following (because he spoilt me since the first one I read): magical, fun, entertaining, captivating, a warm comfy blanket, happiness, a smart narrator and story and the hope that it’ll never end. I got it again with this one.
I always wonder whether I could rate them and usually “The Graveyard Book” ends on position one but “Neverwhere” follows up so closely that it is almost up there on the same spot and then I’d rate them all on spot 3.
Anyway: much much love! More please.
Again I need something between one and two stars… because obviously the content and language made me hate it. Whereas read in a post-colonial view and considered as an insight into the white male Gaze, it is quite potent.
Narrator 2, Marlow, is deeply racist. I am not going into the meta-fictional aspect of his narrative because I find that rather unnecessary in this case.
So we have a racist narrator, a man of his century. We have Kurtz, who is a dictator to say the least. Everyone else embodies the white male gaze (I am thinking of the question of Alterity), which assures the White Man that his actions are justified and he is ultimately superior. Marlow’s description of Africa reeks of hate. I cannot keep wondering if the readers of the first publications found their deepest fears of the Other justified and whether the novel played a big part in influencing and convincing people that everything and everyone foreign was a threat to their civilization and identity. If that was the case, and I sort of can imagine it, I would no longer wonder how all the stereotypes came into being that in some aspects are still employed.
In reading this novel today, the reader relives the horrors of colonization. If Kurtz is the heart of darkness, it is not because he is the symbolic heart of the dark continent it is because his heart is dark and vicious. He is described as a noble man who fell in a way ill due to his experiences in Africa. I however think, that Africa as a place not governed by a law Kurtz would accept as concerning or applying to him, rendered him ultimately free and in his freedom, his morality was soon lost and his true character revealed. It thus makes sense that his most prominent feature is his voice. His body is failing, his voice is not. Deeds are horrible. But words used a certain way can overthrow and restructure a civilization. We have seen it all happen. It often starts with words.
There is also a bit of sexism in it because the only women are 2 of the three literary types of women of that age: the saint (in Kurtz’s intended) and the barbarous whore (in the native woman who is described by Marlow as exhibiting a “tragic and fierceful aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain”), yet she is fascinating. I assume she is the only African who can be “magnificent” because she only is a woman and since women came only by an inch before Foreigners of non-western societies in the great chain of being, she was no threat anyway to the male supremacy. Every other African is seen as a dog or worse.
To conclude, I think if you read it not as a story that is supposed to entertain you but use it as a means to get some insight into thought and understanding of colonization and the views exhibited at the time, then the novel is worth a read. It is disturbing yet intriguing, especially because the lack of the African voice is so prominent. I longed for it but the absence tells you more than had it been there. So all that remains in the end are the illusions and justifications of the conquering people, which the reader can see through and take for what they are: smoke, wrong, fleeting. But I would like to emphasize that reading the novel in a purely entertaining and unreflected can be disastrous because the language alone is racist and disrespectful.