Hereby I’d like to share the recent mini-reviews I recently wrote at goodreads – and I think it would be a series, as recently I read a lot and these are often relatively new books. I have quite a couple still to be reviewed – The Japanese Lover and Ilona Andrássy’s war diary for instance – but three of them are ready.
I read quickly by default, but I this was finished in one day.
First pages were the least interesting part, but about 20. page I felt hypnotized and just could not put it down.
The characters ring very true which is probably the strongest part of this book – and the setting is very good as well. Story is exciting, really nicely written, and in my favourite historical fiction genre. The relationships are not obvious and pretty elaborated, the tension fluctuates and the ending is okay. I really liked the way the characters are constructed. They are real people, you love them and get angry with them, feel sorry for them and feel happy about they joys. And that applies to the main ones, for Vianne and Isabelle, but also for German soldier and Jewish boy, even American pilots you meet for a while, one page, one paragraph. Everyone is very human. Actually this is the reason that actually made me read it in one day, as I generally prefer literary characters to real world people – given that they ring true. The characters in Nightingale do.
I would not give it five stars because of some minot clichés and predictabilities. Overall I enjoyed it a lot though.
This one is actually difficult to review. Extremely predictable – this is not my main problem with Memory of Violets though. The worst are flat characters and some improbable circumstances that would never ever happen back then. There are two pairs of sisters – Florrie and Rosie are true and likeable (yet personally I could not stand Irish accent in writing – and I love it spoken), but I felt bored by Tilly and Esther – so melodramatic and pale. Not to mention the romance part and very forced father’s letter. Oh, and I find the idea of naming almost each and every character after some flower quite ridiculous. Why do I still give it three stars? I liked the setting very very much and my soft spot is magical realism, I actually enjoyed the magic part. There were some secondary characters who sounded more real than main one, such as Queenie. Generally speaking it’s a wonderful idea for a book – but I had a feeling that Hazel Gaynor was slightly impatient to have it written – and what a pity.
And the winner is… yes. I am one of the millions of people that loved this book.
A field of dying sunflowers. Hypnotizing Frenchman on the radio. Siege of Saint-Malo. A house – in the house. Town – in the town. Paris in Paris. Sound of wood carving and smell of cigarette, and sugar bowl in the middle of the table.
I started to read it because my friend told something like “I am reading a book and there is a blind girl and in my mind it is actually played by you”. I am not a blind girl, but I got curious. After the first two pages I was enchanted. First of all, I absolutely loved the way it is written. Second, though equally important, is the story – which is fantastic, unfolding like a flower, woven with many different threads that create complex and exciting fabric all together. Third, still equally important – the book is not crowded with characters, we have a handful of finely drawn main ones, all of which are made from flesh, blood and soul – and the others, that together with great setting create well balanced background.
Another great thing: the ending. Really, it was difficult to avoid cliché, and still Doerr did it. I truly recommend this book to anyone.