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We Need To Talk About Kevin
We Need To Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars frighteningly honest, 19 Feb. 2006
This book is, I think, one of the most important to have been published in the 21st century. Focusing on themes of great contemporary significance, namely the phenomena of school shootings in the U.S., it moves with great pace and shocking integrity. The narrator is the mother of Kevin, the protagonist of a high school massacre, and we learn through letters to her estranged husband the story of this suburban family and her strained relationship with her son.
What I found most intriguing about this book was the honesty with which Shriver deals with the decision to have Kevin. Any woman who has a successful career will easily identify with Eva's agonizing choice to have a child and the implications of this decision. Furthermore, those who have 'blamed the parents' in the past will find this book to be unflinching in it's depiction of life with a problem child.
The language at first appears pretentious but is completely in keeping with the character and each character in this story is well drawn and believable, their problems will stay with you for a long time.
I found it impossible to put this book down and having finished I can barely think of anything else. This is an important and necessary work and is wonderfully written. I feel that this book will be used to explain the early 21st century in English literature classes of the future. Immensely powerful and hauntingly moving, it will stay with you for a long time.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Hardcover

48 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a meander through a magical world, 8 Feb. 2006
A writer that expresses perfectly the isolation and loneliness of the modern world, Murakami's short stories are like peering through a dozen windows into a world where fantasy and reality mix, seperate and blend together again. His talent lies in the ability to take the mundane and make it fantastic, offering us a peek into ordinary lives sprinkled with the kind of surreal conversations and events that make you look around you whilst in the street or on the bus and wonder what all these people around you are really like.
I can't read any of his work without seeing the world differently afterwards, and this collection i could read over and over. Impossible to pigeon hole, each story has it's own distinct mood, but in each the atmosphere persists; that the world has a beauty that, if we just scratch the surface off the everyday, will be revealed.
If you're new to Murakami, start here or with The Elephant Vanishes, if you're familiar with his writing you will need no persuasion.

Dirty Havana Trilogy
Dirty Havana Trilogy
by Pedro Juan Gutierrez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars astounding, 6 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Dirty Havana Trilogy (Paperback)
From the first page this book sucks you in to a whirlpool of sleaze and depravity that leaves you reeling. It is a tale consisting entirely of stolen moments and passing encounters, reading like a modern On The Road and planting the reader firmly in the tropical poverty stricken centre of Cuba, complete with all the sights, smells and sounds of a struggling third world capital city.

I found this book absolutely exhilarating and would recommend it to anyone interested in the human effects of poverty. Although it is at times coarse and some may consider it vulgar this is exactly where its strength lies, in its ability to completely humanize the effects of social and economic phenomena that we all know about, taking them out of an intellectual and even ethical/moral context and placing them starkly in the realms of experience.

It is inspiring, beautifully written and impossible to put down.

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