"If yesterday blindfolds your eyes, I'll bring you tomorrow."
【My prayers have been answered.】
As the title says, I hold tightly to the belief that this is the second-best book ever written. (The first-place winner is a matter of some contention in local circles, and I'm not going to spread the uproar to Epinions by saying what it is.)
In any case, "A Prayer For Owen Meany" will always have a high place on whatever bookshelf I have handy.
I've recommended this book to professors, relatives, friends, and total strangers.
No other book has ever had the same kind of impact on me, or taught me so much about the simple and paradoxically nigh-impossible nature of faith.
Focusing on such a small portion of Irving's finest work -- not to mention distorting even that into a saccharine mishandling of one of this century's best stories -- makes me so incredibly mad that I can barely speak when I think about it.
Owen's life served in part to lift the scales from his best friend's eyes, in that sense; as John himself writes, "Im a Christian because of Owen Meany."
This last time, I found myself admiring Owen's unshakable confidence in his sense of purpose: he knows beyond all doubt that he is God's instrument.
The older he gets, the less of an issue "cute" becomes, and the fear and respect he can muster from others comes less from his appearance or his "wrecked voice" than his mere presence. That presence always seems to be much larger than he is, even in his early years -- perhaps it's the much larger Presence for Whom he claims to be an "instrument."
In the face of that much presence -- whatever its nature -- who could find room to question their faith?
This is indeed the second-best book ever written, to me... because it succeeded where countless advisors and doctrinal theories failed.
It spoke to me in plain old American English rather than a distant call from the Mediterranean. It made God's servants seem more human, and less arrogant and rigid.
I, too, am a Christian because of Owen Meany.☆☆☆☆☆
【Excellent story of emotion】
In Widow for One Year, all of Irving's main characters are writers except one.
The issue of how much a novelist creates from his or her own experiences and characteristics is debated at length throughout the book.
No one could accuse Irving of drawing any of his characters in this book from himself, despite the fact that they are all writers. Irving writes that the humor of the comic novelist is inherent in the scenes and the exposition, not a quality that is deliberately imposed by the author.
Okay, but deliberate or not, Irving's humor is certainly inherent in his writing.
Widow follows four principal characters for forty-two years, with one big jump and a couple of smaller ones over that period.
Ted supports the family with his highly successful (four) children’s books, but he is primarily defined as a womanizer.
At this point, Marion is defined by her grief over the death of their teenaged sons five years in the past, Ruth is defined by being the child of these less than competent parents and Eddie is defined by his teenaged horniness. Marion and Eddie are having "an affair" engineered by Ted, who is more interested in pursuing unhappy housewives and obtaining custody of Ruth in the inevitable divorce than in writing.
That scenario drives the events of the rest of the book.
Okay, this opening section is odd enough, but in his inimitable fashion, which generally includes death and dismemberment, usually sex, but always absurdity, Irving expands the odd into the bizarrebrilliantly.
Along the way, he inserts numerous lessons in writing.
It is easy to create the need to see how a difficult situation will be solved by creating complex interactions; it is much harder to resolve them in a satisfactory way.
Irving wraps things up so neatly that it is easy to believe that he is playing with the reader, that he is engaging in a 592 page joke.
And when you come to the last line, you know that he is.★★★★★
【Irving's Book Of Ruth (Ed Grover WO)】
I might be able to mention that some of his previous obsessions, such as wrestling and the city of Vienna, have been replaced with a preoccupation with the sport of squash and the city of Amsterdam.
But what is most striking about this novel to me is the fact that Irving has finally found a female heroine to construct a story around.
And not just any woman, Ruth Cole is at once recognizable and leaves an imprint on the mind, but she is portrayed with her flaws, warts and all, in an open and honest manner... we are meant to enjoy Ruth, perhaps empathize with her, but not to necessarily want to spend time with her.
"A Widow" may be the most complex and intertwining storyline that Irving has developed in quite some time, and flows through certain passages with the same mechanics of a mystery novel.
The middle portion of the book will either be fascinating or mind-numbing to the reader, depending on whether they are emotionally ready to make the jump to a different era, continent, and primary characters.
At the same time there were two characters introduced late in the novel that I expected to get to know a little better, but Irving chose not to develop them into much more than plot tools.
That gave me the impression that by the time he had reached this far into the story, he was ready to be done with it.
For the uninitiated, it is as good a read as you will find on the rack of any airport, and for those of you who have read every printed word the man has published, you should find many wonderful additions to your Irving memories here.
It leaves an impression, and that is what we should hope for from our investments in novels.
I'd like to be more specific regarding this, but the book has already made its way into my circle of friends for reading and will be a long time returning to me, and my memory is less clear on the particulars of these added pages; only the imprint of high enjoyment from reading them remains.★★★★
【A Prayer of Thanks...】
My father proclaims that the reason John Irving was put on this earth was to write this book.
It is an utterly engrossing and captivating novel about faith and destiny and friendship and too many other things to mention.
And gradually, over the course of the more than 600 pages, the reader comes to understand why.
There has perhaps never been a more diminutive, more quirky Christ-figure in the history of American letters than Owen Meany.
Owen's most striking characteristic is one that the reader must glean from the text alone and that is the apparently indescribable high-pitched squeal of a voice, the nearest approximation of which can only be represented by placing all of Owen's dialogue in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE TIME. No movie could ever capture the allure of this sound.
Irving weaves in and out between the present and the past, perplexed nostalgia and profound reflection.
At times over the course of the first three hundred pages, it seems difficult to appreciate how it all fits together, but the second half reads like an oiled toboggan speeding down a black diamond slope.
She just did not like the process, but when she was taking a cross-country trip she asked me what book she should bring with her, just in case the long days on the prairie got too flat.
Without hesitation, I recommended Owen, and to this day, it is one of the only books she has ever read from start to finish and one that she brags about to everyone.
It was literally impossible to tear her away from the last one hundred pages.
If you saw "Simon Birch", (which came nowhere near doing justice to the book) you owe it to yourself to read the original!
I cannot recommend a book more highly that John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany."
It is one of the lasting legacies of the last century and one that will endure for many years to come.
I have yet to meet the person who did not adore this book - and would not believe them if they told me.!!
【My Love Affair with Owen Meany】
If you didn't already hate Simon Birch without reading this book, you will afterward.
Many times while reading this powerful novel, I asked myself what they did to completely emasculate it.
And I came to this conclusion: they tried to film what is essentially an unfilmable novel.
However, I didn't write this to complain about the movie, but to praise the book.
But I want those who just saw the movie to realize that this book is a masterpiece, a mixture of comedy, drama and philosophy, with sharply drawn characters.
This book is about things, things like politics and power, predestination and faith, and unlike the movie, it provides insight on these things.
Time seemed to stand still, I was living Owen's life , as if we were one, facing all our tragedies & triumphs together.
The Vietnam War.
The cause of the death of our best friend's mother.
It wasn't all heartache though, we laughed hysterically many times, and began to see things clearly as we got older, we were serving our purpose, and every moment, every action, was creating a future that neither of us could fathom.
I can't bring myself to share the details with you, to reveal what is so private, it is crucial you live these yourself.
I have never regretted taking Owen to bed with me, though our affair is over, it never really ended.
I left our time together a changed woman, my life served a purpose once again, and I knew, what my mother told me my entire life, that everything happens for a reason, was true.
I had no more doubts.
I took Owen Meany into my heart, engraved him on my soul. I hope you can find it within you, to do the same.
Author's Note: There is no way to truly do a review that could do this book justice, which is why I chose the format I used.
It was not intended to offend. Give this book a chance, you can't go wrong.
And please whatever you do.... don't compare it to Simon Birch the movie, it was a loose, poor interpretation of the book,★★★★
【IRVING RULES! BOOZE OR NO BOOZE!!】
I have yet to read a John Irving novel that I didn't love, He is, I think, one of the finest living writers around today.
Irving is. literally, out on his own, I can think of no other writer to compare him with.**
His novels are comprised of tiny individual strands that are tightly bound together, to form a strong unyielding blanket, that submerges the reader in excellence.
The reader loses his/her head in Irving's deft execution of plot and character.
'The Cider House Rules' is another example of his brilliance.!!
It would take up too much of your time which would be better spent reading the book itself.
At the core of this huge novel is the orphan Homer Wells.
This book is his own odyssey through life.
He grows up within the walls of the infamous Cloud's Orphanage.
The Orphanage is where young women can go, to deposit their unwanted pregnancies and babies into the able and compassionate hands of Dr.Wilbur Larch.
Larch believes he is merely carrying out the Lord's work, which is an interesting euphemism for performing abortions.
Now, abortion is a touchy grey area for most people.
And before you reach for the soap box, let me hurriedly say that, in this case, your individual beliefs are irrelevant.
Irving isn't interested in forcing his reader to take a stand, one way or another.
The Cider House Rules is a complex tale which follows the lives of both the transient and permanent members of St. Clouds orphanage.
It is a lesson in "usefulness", and finding ones place in the world.
I wouldn't know where to begin even if I felt explaining the plot were appropriate for an epinion.
You are simply drawn into the lives and minds of the characters in a way that no other modern author can successfully ignite.
I laughed out loud at least ten times during the course of Cider House's 500 odd pages.
A book so wrapped in turmoil and tsouris, yet unbelievably light and appealing.
You can't go wrong.!!
【Don't Read on A Full Stomach!!!!】
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis has been much discussed, and highly lauded by critics and average readers alike.
American Psycho centers around Patrick Bateman, a young, upscale serial killer.
His days are filled with social ladder climbing, networking, and acts of sexual sadism.+++
The novel is written in present tense, first person point of view, which immerses the reader deeply into the mind of young Bateman.
He is one of many interchangeable people, with no ideas, personalities, or identities of their own.
The death of a social equal of Patrick Bateman is investigated immediately, but the death of quite possibly dozens of prostitutes and other young women is not mentioned after the death scenes.
The assault and death of homeless people is also largely ignored in the plot.
Critics of Ellis say that this makes him an obvious sexist pig, who doesn't care whether women live or die, but it's obvious that Ellis was trying to point out something about the American social structure.
Another important element is the portrayal of just how superficial Bateman and all of his equals are.
They put all of the emphasis on where they're eating, what they're eating, what they're wearing, and who's with who in bed, and they ignore completely the actual people that they are around.
The implication of this is, as the quote at the beginning of the novel reads, "As things fell apart, nobody seemed to notice."
Bateman is not only going insane, and shows drastic warning signs at the beginning of the novel - he actually tries to tell people that he is insane, and almost nobody listens. Even those who do take the statements of insanity as a joke.
The real horror of American Psycho is the level of conspicuous consumption, and the way in which individuals are subjugated by status and ownership.
The novel pushes ever forward to its terrifying conclusion, which will leave you gape jawed and shaken.*****
【American psycho, stay away from me!!】
"American Psycho" is a frightening, engrossing story of a time when the extraordinary, the shocking, the horrible, became commonplace, and nobody noticed it.***
The book's main character, Patrick Bateman, works on Wall Street and makes almost $200,000 a year.
And he describes the murders in explicit detail throughout the book.
He'd get caught, if somebody cared about the crimes he's committed and wanted to investigate.
The point the book is trying to make is this: in the materialistic world of yuppies, who cares about murder?
So the book is essentially a criticism of materialism.
My problem with that is this: it's fine that the author criticizes materialism as being spiritually corrupt, as long as he suggests some alternative to materialism.
Otherwise, it's a rather unoriginal message.
Something that I do like about the book is that the narrative ends up being rather nihilistic and bleak.
The main character commits all manner of horrible crimes, is insane and getting worse - just like the world where the book is set - and we know that he'll continue to kill.
The book is also not without its dark humor; in fact, the humor is a major part of it.
There are all kinds of scenes that made me laugh, even though I laugh very rarely when reading a book.
The chocolate-covered-urinal-cake scene was especially good.!!
And there's lots of ferocious hallucinatory intensity.
There are many scenes of great visionary power in this book: it's too bad that the author ends up using them toward such an unoriginal message.
It's actually sort of sad that Ellis is such a good writer, but uses his powerful writing the wrong way.
The book essentially doesn't have a plot; there are parties, meetings, and concerts, but these ultimately don't build toward anything.
To sum up, "American Psycho" states an unoriginal message in a ferociously original way.
By the way, my friend Amanda wanted me to say that she noted, "It's quite grody."★★★★★
- American Psycho AMER PSYCHO （Vintage Contemporari...
- 2,692円 税込、送料無料
- ショップ: 楽天ブックス
【Dressed to impress on a trip to nowhere】
Bret Easton Ellis "American Psycho" is one of those books where you just can't take the middle road.
It tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young, good looking financier who escapes the gross materialism that has invaded Manhattan of the 1980's by taking drugs, having sex and what else . . oh yeah killing people as graphically as possible.
Most opinions will involve either the word "boring" or "genius".
Other opinions might begin with "eeew gross" or "stylish."
No matter what the opinion you either love this book or you hate it, there's just no stradling the fence.
Unless your personality is a bit off, you won't be able to finish this book.
You will either be bothered by the extreme levels of violence (Ellis redefines "rat trap"), or you won't be able to wade through the first very slow moving beginning.
If the violence bothers you, there's nothing I can suggest.
Go read Judy Blume, or get that donation to Jerry Falwell in the mail.
Unfortunately I have heard people say the book is too slow moving in the beginning.
They just can't wade through Bateman's droning about clothes, shampoos and restaurants.
"Who cares if he likes Phil Collins?" the masses ask. "What does Donald Trump's car have to do with anything?"
Come on people, that is the actual satirical part of this satirical novel.
It is a commentary on the "Me Generation." Ellis takes aim at the financial capital of the world and hits the people that make it go with both barrels.
Although this book has an ultimately depressing message about the nature of modern (or post-modern) life, it is also one of the most darkly funny books I have read in a long time. (Patrick's enthusiastic ravings about some of the worst music ever produced in the eighties are particularly comical).
All in all, I reckon you should brace yourself for the carnage, prepare to come away knowing more about skin care routines (and 80's synth pop) than you should and give it a read.★★★★★
【It's a keeper!!!!】
Barbara Freethy has acquired a new fan.
This story was touching but not saccharine, fast-moving but fleshed-out, sensual without being too graphic, and mystical but not far-fetched.++
While the ending was a bit rushed, the loose ends all coming together conveniently, it was still a gr8 introduction to a talented author, and worthy of any reader's "keeper" shelf.
This book hooked me from the very beginning.
I couldn't put it down.
I loved the San Francisco setting, and the bakery felt so real I wanted to go there and sit down awhile.
I think that Ally McBeal's creators had a very clever device for integrating a lot of terrific music into their productions each week.
Hanging out in a club with an "open microphone" kind of policy made it easy to have the actors and their characters take a turn, and we saw a lot of terrific musical talent along the way.
I don't think we saw virtually any musical talent in "The Sweetest Thing" but it was nice that they just let the exuberance of the characters justify them all breaking into song from time to time (the "we need to help Jane relax her throat" excuse was too thin a gag to really justify that song, but what the heck, they threw it in anyway).
Music and comedy are natural companions as any Broadway producer will tell you.
It wasn't up to the standard of Barbra Streisand or Anne Murray, or even of Robert Downey Jr.'s turn at the mic in Ally McBeal, but it was all in fun, and for the most part, we all enjoyed it.
Ms. Freethy has a way of latching on to your emotions, and never letting go.
This story will stay with me for a long time to come.
Characterization was strong and vivid, the writing was evocative and emotional, as is the case with all of Ms. Freethy's books.
I started reading it as soon as I brought it home and couldn't put it down until I was finished.
A great read for the spring holidays!!
The characters were wonderfully appealing.
I highly recommend this one!!!!
【A Silly, Raunchy, Smutty, Amoral Comedy -- but There's Some Truth in it Somewhere!!】
Ms. Freethy is at the top of her form with THE SWEETEST THING.
Famous for her heart-warming tales that give us just a touch of magic, this is one of her most ambitious works.
It's the story of a man who is suddenly thrown into the deep water of family relationships and the woman who can resist coming to his rescue only so long.
I absolutely wanted to visit Faith's bakery. The secondary characters were all interesting and their stories compelling.
I loved the trip to Arizona.
What wonderful depth this book had with all the family relationships.
I recommend it, especially to people who want a bit more than just one simple love story.
They say that drama is easy and comedy is hard. Admittedly, it doesnt take much more than some disgusting bodily humor to entertain your average male viewer.
The Sweetest Thing has more than its share of gross-out gags, but, when at its best, its an impeccable exercise in the classic screwball comedies of old.
Christina is immediately trying to hook Jane up with someone new, while Courtney is off trying to pick up a sexy stranger.
Despite the disdain that exists between them, Christina finds herself drawn to Peter, and the feeling is likewise for Peter.
He invites her to a bachelor party, which she assumes is that of his brother (Jason Bateman). Choosing not to go, Christina finds herself unable to think of anything but Peter. Therefore, she and Courtney decide to set out and find Peter, before its too late.
On their quest, they discover that its Peter who is the one getting married.
Now, Christina must find a way to let Peter know how she feels before he's gone for good.
This is a heart warming story whose only drawback is the flashback dreams that plague Faith but they are relevant to this story so we must endure them.★★★★
- A Tale of Two Cities TALE OF 2 CITIES UPDATED AND ...
- 871円 税込、送料無料
- ショップ: 楽天ブックス
【I Laughed, I Cried...】
At the time this was written, France and England had the same social conditions.
The aristocracy ruled, the peons suffered beyond suffering.
Then came the French Revolution.
Dickens was trying to point out that if major social changes weren't made in England, an English Revolution might break out.
Therefore, the comparison is: A Tale of Two Cities, London and Paris.
Dickens marvels me with this novel. Why?
Three things will win my heart (to a novel, that is): humor (not cheap, but clever), characterization, and plot.
You have to admit, A Tale of Two Cities (Saga of a Pair of Urban Areas as my former World History teacher once said), is funny, if you look into it.
Sidney's occupation "a ressurectionist" boy, what a way to euphimise.
Of course there is the part where his wife is praying for him,but I'll make you read that.
Characterization is awesome.
If you've read any of my book reviews Im sure you wonder if I can analyze anything but characterization.
The characters have to be believable.
That is a must. They have to be lovable "or at least make you able to sympathize (or is it empathize? I always get confused").
They have to elicit emotion.
They must make you delineate your feelings for them, then change those feelings.
What good is a "saga of the human spirit" if the characters are two-dimensional and flat?
Or if you hate them?
Great story. Lags in places, of course, but overall a true masterpiece.
I've basically told you what it is about in my character blurbs at the top, but it is up to you to learn who does what and why and what happens.
It is you who must fall into the wonderfully woven web of this story.
That the people are, as always, more important than impossibly epic events happening around them, and that once this is forgotten, as it inevitably is, then the cause is lost, and everyone suffers.****
- Oliver Twist OLIVER TWIST-ML （Modern Library Clas...
- 1,650円 税込、送料無料
- ショップ: 楽天ブックス
【Reflections of Society in Literature】
Dickens has always been a bit beyond me; I could comprehend the writing, but I couldnt enjoy it.
I did wrestle my way through David Copperfield; I got 2/3 through A Tale of Two Cities; and my lover read Great Expectations aloud to me a few years ago.
But I never truly enjoyed those books.
So, with much trepidation, I approached Oliver Twist.
Im glad I did.
I enjoyed this book immensely, even if it wasnt the most wonderful book Ive ever read.
It was worth the time I spent grinding through the slow parts, and crying over the sad parts. (Well, okay, I didnt actually cry, but I did sigh and shake my fist.)
The story of Oliver Twist is well known, even to those who haven't read the book and I do not intend to go through every detail of the plot from beginning to end here in this opinion.
The films and television series are, of course, magical and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, but nothing can ultimately compare with Dickens' writing.
There is a beauty in his writing that authors today could never recapture.
His every sentence takes the reader back to an era of gentile civility, although he is equally able to portray the tramps, rogues and orphins who abound at that time.
Dickens has put colour and life into every page and it is little wonder that readers during his lifetime waited with bated breath for each edition of his stories.
He can never at that time have imagined that so many years later his stories would still be bringing pleasure to people all over the world.
If, by any chance, you are one of the very very few people who doesn't know the story of Oliver Twist go along to your local library and get a copy.
It may take a few minutes to get into the style of writing, but once you do you will be taken on a journey back in time from which you will be reluctant to return.
Given the beauty of his work, it is little wonder that readers of the time said "Please sir, we want some more". ★★★★★
【QUITE A TWIST ON DICKENS】
It's a modern day version of Dicken's novel "Great Expectations ", there are some differences between novel and movie, but this is the first time I say see the movie, it's better than the book itself.
Finn sets out on the shores of the gulf to fulfill his dreams of painting and drawing for the rich .. Throughout his years of struggle, Finn encounters his future benefacator, which leads him to New York.. With love and lust in his mind, Finn sets out to make his dreams come true in the art world and in his own.. Throughout this movie you will see beautiful scenery and lush gardens.. The apparel worn in the movie is equisite and fitting.....
One thing you must notice is the choices of color picked throughout the movie.
Green has been chosen to dress every character at every moment of the movie.
From tints to shades, you will notice almost every spectrum of green worn at least once by a character in this astounding film.
Green was chosen to represent jealousy and envy.
Seperated from different worlds, Finn and Estella shared something in common with most the characters of the movie, which is jealousy.
Whether it is jealousy of wealth and control or just pure happiness, it is not only illustrated in the characters acting, but in the choice of clothing they wear.
Definetly take time to see this wildly romantic film.
It is soulful and enchanting, one of my personal favorites.
AN IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE: Dickens wrote two ending for this book.
His friends thought that the original ending was too downbeat and they asked him to come up with a different one.
It is the upbeat ending that is the official ending of the novel.
However, most critics agree that the original unpublished ending is better.
Most modern editions feature the unpublished ending in an appendix.
MAKE SURE YOU BUY A COPY THAT CONTAINS THE ORIGINAL ENDING!!
- Bleak House BLEAK HOUSE （Penguin Classics） [ Cha...
- 1,930円 税込、送料無料
- ショップ: 楽天ブックス
【Quite possibly Dickens' magnum opus】
This is Dickens best novel, the satire is very funny and the Characters are all very interesting.
He occasionaly falls into his normal trap of treating women as shallow air heads.
Besides being the best novel of all-time it is also the hardest.
I normally brezze through Dickens but it took me at least 4 tries to get through the first chapt.
You should definintly not read this if you have never read Dickens before.
And anyone who doesn't cry when Jo dies does not have a soul.*****
The one that sticks out in my mind though is Charles Dickens Bleak House.
Bleak House is one of the best novels I have read in a long time.
Dickens does a good job of keeping you into the story by introducing new characters periodically.
The story line/plot of Bleak House is very interesting and tells the tale of England's high courts.
Bleak house is about this orphan that lives with her aunt and after she dies is sent to a girls school.
While there, Esther became like one of the teachers to the girls.
She then finds out that she is to join Jarndyce at his home.
So Esther is packed up and moved to his home not even knowing who is.
Well to make a long story short not to take away from the story she moves in with him, takes care of his niece and nephew, and then he builds her a house.
The novel alternates between the first person narrative, told by orphan girl Esther, and a third person omniscient narrator.
Honestly, I enjoyed Esther's parts more, but the entire thing was moving and endearing.
Many moments brought me to tears.
The scope of this novel is huge, but each new set of characters seems to introduce us to yet another circle of Inferno.
The quality of the prose is astonishing, and the structure and organization of such masses of material masterly.
Others annoyed and angered me to no end.
Some parts were very humorous. And by the time I got to the end, I realized the value of this wonderful novel, which is beyond words.!!!