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Archer (UK)

Page: 1
by Eishes Chayil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering, 9 Aug 2013
This review is from: Hush (Paperback)
Seen through the eyes of a young Orthodox girl, life in the Orthodox community with her loving family and devilish best friend, was dreamily pleasant. While some things seem strange to the reader, it all had its own internal logic. As she gets older,things start to change, and she gets insight into the darker side of living in such a cloistered world. The horror of what happens is worsened by the absolute unwillingness of the adults to 'hear' her.
I found the ending a bit hard to believe, things wrapped up a bit too easily. I was also quite intrigued with her husband, introduced towards the end, and was disappointed that he ended up such a minor character.
It is a quick read, leaving the with some insight into both the beauty and dark side of that community.

Secret Daughter: A Novel
Secret Daughter: A Novel
by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Half the book was terrific, 9 Aug 2013
The plot is gripping. An Indian husband feels they can only afford a son, and will not allow a girl baby to live. The mother puts her in an orphanage in order to save her, but lives forever with the pain of separation. This woman is a very sympathetic character. She has strength and conviction and an ability to forgive. Initially her husband seems purely evil, but as the story develops he becomes more understandable and sympathetic, as well.
The problem was with the 'other' story, which was essentially half the book, and is told concurrently. That one is about the NY female doctor and her Indian husband, who adopt the baby. The writing in those parts wasn't as good. There was a lot of summarized back story, a lot of whining. I found the dialogue, in those sections, to be very wooden and sometimes trite. It didn't help that most of those scenes centered almost exclusively on either the pain of infertility or the daughter's pain at not knowing her past. The result is that those characters seem rather one dimensional. Somehow the author makes it work with the Indian characters, but not with the American ones. I found myself skimming through half the book to get to the scenes in India. So overall, great plot idea, and almost great execution. Three and a half stars? Stars are hard.

North River
North River
by Pete Hamill
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars NY in the 1930s, 1 May 2013
This review is from: North River (Hardcover)
Pete Hamill is a wonderful writer. This is a quietly lyrical book that gives a sense of the sights, smells and atmosphere of NY in the 1930s New York, so much so that you feel as though you are there. It also gives insight into the interrelationships of the Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants.
The plot was not as gripping as I would have liked. A middle-aged doctor, whose wife disappeared, is left with his 3 year old grandson, (temporarily abandoned by his 20 year old daughter who went to Europe in search of her husband). He develops a relationship with the grandson and the woman he hires to care for him, which brings him out of his doldrums.
It is a moving story, and yet somehow, though the plot involves gangsters and threats, the stakes didn't seem that high. The events that propel the doctor and the woman caring for the grandson into a relationship seemed a bit contrived.
Still, it was beautifully written, with such detail that the reader feels as if they have gone back in time.
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The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 1 May 2013
This review is from: The Sense of an Ending (Paperback)
Short but not a quick read. Every sentence requires thought. It's a bit like reading philosophy. Provokes uncomfortable thoughts about living a 'peaceable' life, and seems to both condone and condemn such a life. Great for a book club read. I'm still reeliing.

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