Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?



 
It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.
My comments are not meant to be recaps of the story lines as I include a link to Goodreads for their synopsis of the book. I am merely stating how I felt about the book without giving any spoilers.



51 COMPLETED READS TO DATE!
1 ABANDONED
1 not finished as it expired so I will have to borrow it again. The Nightmare


FINISHED:

Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey

Synopsis here.
 I enjoyed sharing the author's  vicarious experiences of meeting kind and  generous people, many of them random strangers inviting the foreign couple to their homes, showing them around town, or offering handfuls of food -- practicing the Persian custom of ta'arouf

However, I couldn't help but be annoyed by the author-narrator. She is a good writer, kept me entertained, but I felt she was always on the outskirts of her situations. 
I can think of several nooks about Iran that I preferred such as Reading Lolita in Tehran, recommended to my by an Iranian work associate. 


The Headmaster's Wager
Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English school in Saigon. He is also a bon vivant, a compulsive gambler and an incorrigible womanizer. He is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of the Chen Academy. He is fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, and quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, choosing instead to read the faces of his opponents at high-stakes mahjong tables. But when his only son gets in trouble with the Vietnamese authorities, Percival faces the limits of his connections and wealth and is forced to send him away. In the loneliness that follows, Percival finds solace in Jacqueline, a beautiful woman of mixed French and Vietnamese heritage, and Laing Jai, a son born to them on the eve of the Tet offensive. Percival's new-found happiness is precarious, and as the complexities of war encroach further and further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see.

For readers interested in recent Chinese and Vietnamese history and culture, this novel provides an excellent introduction.
Percival is reprehensible. Percival is obviously a gambler and a womanizer, faults common to many.
If you are looking to like your main character then Percival is not for you.
The writing is a little flat at times that I found myself skimming over some of it.
The history of this period kept me interested as did Percival's constant betting on life.

STARTED:
Dark Times in the City

Danny Callaghan is having a quiet drink in a Dublin pub when two men with guns walk in. They're here to take care of a minor problem - petty criminal Walter Bennett. On impulse, Callaghan intervenes to save Walter's life. Soon, his own survival is in question. With a troubled past and an uncertain future, Danny finds himself drawn into a vicious scheme of revenge. Dark Times in the City depicts an edgy city where affluence and cocaine fuel a ruthless gang culture, and a man’s fleeting impulse may cost the lives of those who matter most to him. Kerrigan’s new novel is his finest yet; a CWA Gold Dagger Crime Novel finalist, its gripping from start to finish, powerful, original and impossible to put down.



2 comments:

  1. The Headmaster's Wager sounds interesting. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do like the sound of the Headmaster's Wager.

    ReplyDelete