Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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.

Finished this week (you can tell I'm in an isolated place in Nicaragua):

Tell It to the Trees
Recap is here.
It was an OK read, you saw it all coming. Enough said.

Faceless Killers (Wallander #1)
From the book jacket:
It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments. 

Unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecuter who has peaked his interest, in this case, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but soon comes to realize that it will require all his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.

It was good read with many twists and turns to keep you guessing. I have the second book in the series which I will get to eventually.

To Heaven by Water
From the book jacket
Now that his wife is dead, retired television news anchor, David Cross, believes that he is more himself than he has been for forty years. When Nancy was alive, he had secrets that he kept from her. Now he has a secret that he must keep from his children, Ed and Lucy, namely that he is in some ways happier now than he was when their mother was alive. To Heaven by Water is a touching and hilarious portrait of the Cross family, trying in their own fashion to come to terms with their loss. David knows that his children are perplexed by his increasingly compulsive behaviour while Ed's marriage to the lovely Rosalie, a former ballet dancer, is suffering strain, and Lucy is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. Both children worry that their father will soon find a new partner. Over all three of them hangs the memory of Nancy. The book opens as David is taking time out with his brother in the Kalahari Desert, re-living his tumultuous and uplifting memories of Rome where he worked on a film with Richard Burton. Back home in London, Ed is trying to balance his affair with a young woman in his office with his real love for his wife, who is unable to conceive the child she longs for. And Lucy, who has just been voted No. 6 in the Evening News section devoted to beautiful and brainy women, is a young woman in pursuit of her real self. To Heaven by Water is a wonderful story of friendship, forgiveness and of love that comes from unexpected directions; it is an exploration of what we might hope for from this life and. in particular. the possibility of transcendence. Into the beautifully observed and subtly composed texture of this tale of middle-class London life, Justin Cartwright weaves sudden shocks that tear it apart, moments of sex and revenge that appear from a cloudless sky to take the reader's breath away.

I loved this book!  I did not see some of it coming.
Symbolism: this book is overflowing with it! Even before starting the story, the title sets the ball rolling. The title refers to the ferryman, Charan, from ancient Greek mythology who ferries the dead across the River Styx to the afterlife. 

I really like the main character, David as he struggles as a retired TV celebrity who is also recently divorced. I can understand his search for some meaning to his life. His grown up children are also trying to find their way as "responsible grownups". 

The book  touched on some aspects of father-child, and child-father, and sibling-sibling relationships especially now as the main stalwart of the family, his wife and their mother is no longer around to be the glue to all family events.

The Gathering

From the book jacket:
Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. The Gathering is a daring, witty, and insightful family epic, clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is a novel about love and disappointment, about how memories warp and secrets fester, and how fate is written in the body, not in the stars.

This was a quick read and I found it annoying. Veronica's whole obsession with her brother Liam drove me nuts. 
I did enjoy Veronica's creation of a story around her grandmother's life interesting. I also enjoyed all the Dublin expressions.
I truly don't understand how it won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2007.

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