Here are some quick reviews of some recent fiction I’ve read:
State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett: 4/5 stars
This was an engaging book with a unique and well-constructed plot and interesting characters. It addresses moral issues and the complexities of human life without becoming preachy. Through out the story there was an underlying sense of something not-quite-right – a sort-of mystery. Given this sense, the ending was satisfying, even though it left some things a bit vague and open to interpretation.
Away, by Amy Bloom: 3/5 stars
I enjoyed Away, but for some reason I had a hard time getting as engaged in it as I hoped to be. The main character, Lillian, bothered me at times because she seemed passive – like things just happened to her. The funny thing is that if you look at her actual actions, they aren’t that passive, but somehow the whole tone of the book made them seem passive. I also felt that while the book was epic in scope, it didn’t really fill out into that epic-ness – various episodes passed too quickly, and the style was a bit odd. Each episode in Lillian’s life had different people in it that she never saw again, and the end of each episode in the book had a summary of what happened to those characters for the rest of their lives. Overall this didn’t really work for me, as it resulted in my feeling more detached from the book than anything.
13 Rue Therese, by Elena Mauli Shapiro: 2/5 stars
I did not finish this book. I really liked the idea of it – a story based around the few possessions left from someone’s life in the past. However, I just couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t bad, I just found it boring. The characters did not interest me. I have some idea that there is a twist of sorts at the ending, but the lead-up to it was so vague that it did not grab me or keep me wanting to know more at all.