Friday, October 30, 2009

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
By: Dai Sijie 4.8/5

Set in the 1970s of communist China, two young adult boys, 18 and 19, are sent to a small remote village to be “re-educated”. The Re-education is a passed law by the communist regime. The re-education through labor system has been in place since 1957 and was subjected to minor reforms by the Chinese government in 2007. This books takes you on a travel through the process of the educated people of China, to learn the basics of camaraderie in hard manual labor. It is only fit that the two sons, best friends, of doctors would be sent to carry excrement up a mountain. During the communist era in China, like in many other places, religion, books, art, music, and any culture, were banned, as this was a form of individual thought.

While exiled, with no hope of ever returning home, they learn the hard life of manual labor. The musician and the story teller are re-educated in their own way understanding the meaning of friendship, love and the hardships of life. They learn of a secret of a pile of books, that are forbidden and it entices the boys to steal them. In the meantime the boys befriend a lovely teenage girl, the seamstress, where with his story telling charms, Luo charms her. Thus begins the process of re-education for the little seamstress, an unconditional love of Balzac.

The story is a great historical fiction, incredibly fast read. It teaches you a lot, and can really take you back of communist China. Not different than the communist life I lived. Granted Romanian communism was the renaissance of communism. So while families weren’t re educated there was the idea of no intellectualism, and everyone on the same plane! OF course the most uneducated was the dictator and his wife. The ending wasn’t what I expected but it does take the surprising turn which I love. I always wonder had I read Balzac if the book would have taken any different or secret meanings!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

By Chuck Palahniuk 4.4/5

Having never read “The Fight Club” and only experiencing Chuck Palahniuk through a movie, I didn’t know what to expect of this book.  The books is fast going, and explores the possibility of ultimate power. What can ultimate power do to different personalities and how it will affect them.  In the case of Helen Hoover Boyle, a strong minded, strong willed woman, the power over took her not wanting to share it. In the case of Carl, the journalist, he ultimately feels guilty about the control he has over people.
The book is an adventure of trusting people, what can change and damage that trust. Do actions really speak louder than words? What would I do with that ultimate power? The book is about a “culling spell” that leads people to extreme relaxation and then death. It explores how holding someone’s life in your hands affects you, and what if everyone had that power? It is a great book, I wasn’t disappointed and would like to read more from this author.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An additional image to the Book!

The Woman in White
By Wilkie Collins 4.5/5 1.

‘This the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.’ (p 3)  I love this line! I think that can show of the patience of any woman in the book, from Laura and Marian, to Mrs. Clements, Eleanor, Mrs. Catherick, etc. They each had dealt with their own struggles of life, and accepted what was given upon them. In the end I think that patience eventually does pay off and the women win. Laura was given her life back, Marian was happy the Count was put in his place, Mrs. Clements got her closure on Anne, Eleanor got rid of her conniving husband, and Mrs. Catherick got payment with Percival. The Man’s resolution is fast and acting, but it does persevere if put under the right circumstances.

 The Heroine of the novel can only be Marian, as I found Laura a little too girlie and too “woe-is-me”. I felt like she wasn’t a really strong character and had no back bone. How can someone that has not followed on any actions be considered a heroine? Laura was the damsal in distress saved by Walter and by Marian. She would still have been in the asylum had it not been for Marian’s wits. If there is a true hero it is Marian for selflessly loving her sister.

Sir Percival seems too stupid to know what to have done. He is the puppet of Count Fosco. Fosco is the brains behind the operation of what happened. While he did not intentionally kill Anne Catherick, he was smart enough to proceed with getting the money from Lady Glyde. That is why without a doubt Fosco is the villain of the story. I can not account for the strange behavior of Mr. Fairlie, but if looking at Laura and her character that we are safe to say that the Fairlie family is week of mind.

Now in regards to critics calling Laura, Marian and Walter being called a ménage a troi, I can only say that the arrange is very strange. Obviously at first Walter thought she was good looking, and Fosco apparently adored her. I don’t understand how Marian gave up her entire life for Laura. That is very strange in deed. My suspicion lies in the fact that Marian loves and adores Walter, and maybe that is why she sent him away the first time, a little woman jealousy of her sister. Now living together, how can she leave?!?! It is strange and bizarre and a free nanny to JR.

 The fact that the story is told in many different view points, is a great way to play into the novel, because it gives you thoughts, feelings, and emotions through different peoples eyes. At one point you can even assume Fosco is innocent due to Mrs. Michelson’s testimony of what she saw. IN the end who is to say that what Fosco confessed to was 100% correct. The general impression of the books is that it is a great Victorian Romance/Mystery and would not have assumed that was what the book was about going into reading it. Great book and a must read!