Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book 14 – The Big Blowdown

By George P. Pelecanos

My final hand-me-down review, as Olman had already given a spot-on one back in January.

This is everything one could ask for in a meaty, hard-boiled novel: a stylish page-turner with a multi-layered back story, compelling characters and occasional bursts of sex, action and violence.

It’s also a richly detailed homage to D.C. when the city was coming of age in the 1930’s and 40’s. The part where the protagonist, Pete Karras, walks into a gangster-run bar in a black neighborhood looking for answers is enough of a reason to read this book.

I’m totally looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the Washington Quartet.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Book 13 – Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Yet another book pre-reviewed by a fellow 50-booker, Mount Benson, who pretty much summed up how I felt about it as well, thus saving me the bloody trouble (sigh of relief) for reviewing a book that was a compelling read, but didn't leave me going 'wow'.

This is the only Ishiguro book I’ve read, but from what I know of the author, he’s Japanese-born and British-educated, writes in English, so it makes for an interesting fusion of worlds. Although I agree that Ishiguro writes confidently and rather well, his prose does tend towards the stilted side, as pointed out by Mt Benson. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I feel it suits his stories about people with repressed, underlying emotions. I knew not to expect a true sci-fi or speculative fiction novel, rather, Never Let Me Go is more like a long-form first-person allegory.

Sadly however, I’m not very motivated (again) to write much further, so I’m providing this perceptive Guardian review, which I warn, discloses the true purpose of what the Hailsham students are being groomed for.