Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quick Thoughts

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Christopher Moore

Supposedly a comedic re-imagining of the gospels, but I'd argue that there's really not that much actually re-imagined. I was going to write a long ranting review of this book, but I just cannot muster the energy. Just for starters, there is an incredibly infuriating rape scene. Plus, your typical rank misogyny and racism. I am so over comedy that seeks to uphold and reinforce existing systems of privilege rather than help dismantle them.

The Good Muslim
Tahmima Anam
The Good Muslim
Covers the rise of radical Islam in Bangladesh as experienced by one family.

There was nothing really terrible about this book, and I know a lot of people have really liked it, but it just wasn't for me. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, and there wasn't really much going on plot-wise, until the rushed-feeling climax. It kind of reminded me of Thrity Umrigar - lots of internal dialogue, focus on female characters, South Asian setting. Unfortunately, I'm not really much of a fan of hers, either - but if you are, maybe this book is for you. I didn't realize that it is actually the second in a series, so perhaps reading A Golden Age before this one would have at least helped me appreciate the characters a bit more.

(On a side not, when Zaid goes to the madrasa, it reminded me of clients who think their driving on a suspended license charge is no big deal, until they get sent to jail. It's like, wow, this is NOT GOOD.)

The Sense of an Ending*
Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending
I have the feeling that if I'd sat down and read this in one sitting I would have had a completely different reaction to it. I loved the first portion that I read. I was completely wrapped up in this remembering of the past. I put it down, went to bed, and when I picked it up next the magic was just gone. The more I read the less I liked it. The concept is good - what is memory? who am I? who are these people I once knew? - but not particularly original. So basically - meh.

*Sent to me by the publisher

Have you read any of these? Think I've got it all wrong about your favorite book? Feel free to tell me about it :-)


Heather said...

I had the same reaction to The Good Muslim. I just couldn't get into it and connect with the characters. Then I read A Golden Age and it all made much more sense. A Golden Age is a very good book, and I wish I'd read them in order.

The Christopher Moore book sounds seriously frustrating. Ugh.

I LOVED The Sense of an Ending. It seems to be one of those books that people either love or just don't care about, though. I was pretty taken by it.

Anonymous said...

The Good Muslim sounds like a book I'd enjoy, even though it didn't work for you and Heather. Is A Golden Age the prequel? Maybe I'll add that to my list instead.

I had to smile about your comment about clients who don't think driving while suspended is a big deal until they end up in jail. As a police officer's wife, I can relate. He finds people driving while suspended who've already been caught 5 or 6 times. Yet they always seem surprised that they get arrested. What's up with that?

MJ said...

@Heather: I probably should have read A Golden Age First, but I didn't even realize The Good Muslim wasn't a stand alone novel.

@Stephanie Ward: Yes, The Golden Age is a prequel. Oops.

And I have no idea why people don't think driving on a suspended is a big deal! It's a crime (at least where I am)! Don't do it!