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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 160

post #2386 of 3276
Clockwise counting 05/50: Edward Wilson - The Envoy (2008)

The first of Wilson's espionage novels is excellent. It describes a cynical world with morally flawed people involved in constant double dealing. The protagonist, Kit Fournier, is CIA Chief of Station in London in the 1950s. His job is to execute CIA's plan to disrupt the relationship between Soviet Union and the UK and to ensure that only US can set the Western world's foreign policy. There are no heroes in this story, only people playing deadly games of deceit and murder. It's exciting, well written and tragic.
post #2387 of 3276
12. The Ox-Bow Incident- Walter Van Tilburg Clark 1940

Examines the pathology of mob justice. Set in (my favorite) the Old (American) West. First 100 pages were pretty dull, but the rest of the book more than made up for it.
post #2388 of 3276
Clockwise counting 06/50: Donna Leon - Death at La Fenice (1992)

Leon is an American author who lives in Venice, Italy and writes crime novels about the Venetian Police Commissario Guido Brunetti. This is the first in a series which to date already has more than 20 titles. The world's most famous conductor, a German with a suspect past called Maestro Wellauer, dies from cyanide poisoning between two acts while conducting La Traviata in the Venice opera house.

This is a classic whodunit with a pleasant Venice backdrop, a sympathetic investigator and a kind of orderly, civilised, methodological narrative without any particular surprises. It's decent entertainment but pretty tame compared to many more exciting and unusual crime writers that you can waste away your life on.
post #2389 of 3276
13. Where Angels Fear To Tread E.M. Forster 1905

LIST

I ordered this book thinking it would be about soldiering. Instead it was about snobby Britishers, La Dolce Vita Italians, and an avoidable tragedy. It wasn't awful, but I wouldn't recommend it.
post #2390 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

12. The Ox-Bow Incident- Walter Van Tilburg Clark 1940

Examines the pathology of mob justice. Set in (my favorite) the Old (American) West. First 100 pages were pretty dull, but the rest of the book more than made up for it.

Glad you liked it. Read Shane as well.
post #2391 of 3276
14. The Lover Marguerite Duras 1984

LIST


A fifteen year old white girl in the waning days of French Colonial Vietnam becomes the lover of a much older rich Chinese man. Both families are horrified by the fact and refuse to confront it. Divergent paths bring about its end.

This was a excellent read- I did it in one sitting.
post #2392 of 3276
List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan

 

7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan

 

Tim Cope (the author of this novel), rides a horse from Mongolia to Hungary. Along the way he meets a lot of people, and learns a lot about what it means to actually live nomadically. The novel follows his journey, but also contains significant amounts of history of the regions his travel (Mongolia, Kazahkstan, Russia, Ukraine and Hungary), discussing the history of the regions on the Khanate, and also under the more recent USSR intervention, as well as reflecting on the ways that his journey is changing him.

 

This is a great book. The prose is rarely eloquent or beautiful, but the raw and open nature of the writing, combined with the spectacle of the journey itself was amazing.

 

I really enjoyed this, I was worried that, at 500 odd pages, it would be repetitious, but I was pleasantly surprised!

post #2393 of 3276
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes

4. Lost and Found

Lost and FoundLost and Found by Brooke Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Lost and Found is a quirky first novel from Australian writer Brooke Davis. It’s a essentially a “road movie” plot, peopled by some pretty bizarre characters: Millie - an abandoned child obsessed with death, Agatha - a widow raging at the world, Karl the touch typist - a compulsive widower bemused by life, and Manny - a department store mannequin.

Davis spins her story by shifting the focus between her main characters (other than Manny; sadly we never learn his opinions on life) and revealing their individual stories. Agatha and Karl combine to help Milly track down the mother who has abandoned her. They head from Perth to Kalgoorlie to catch up with her in Melbourne; I’m still not sure why they would do that.

The book is amusing and original, but I kept getting the feeling I was in a Wes Anderson film script. In the end I didn’t like it that much. I think I would give it four stars, except that I found Agatha a really obnoxious and off-putting character and her every appearance annoyed me. I think Davis was trying to engender some sympathy for Agatha, but she fails to do so - the character is just too much of a grotesque.


View all my reviews
post #2394 of 3276

I love Wes Anderson - I'm grabbing that book.

post #2395 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

I love Wes Anderson - I'm grabbing that book.

Plenty of people rave about it, that’s for sure.
post #2396 of 3276
15. Hour Game David Baldacci 2004

Another King and Maxwell mediocre, muddled thriller. I have only 1 more Baldacci to catch up with all his books.
post #2397 of 3276
List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible

 

8. Holy Bible

 

Set in 1991, in Ballarat (that's Australia for those of you not familiar with rural Victoria) this book chronicles the lives of a family living within an extreme Christian sect, who are excitedly awaiting the end of days (they believe Jesus is returning, due to the Gulf War). Initially following Tranquility Bloom, a teenager aspiring to be a nurse, the novel meanders its way through the three female members of the Bloom family, and in doing so sheds light on their background, their feelings about their religion, community and place amongst it.

 

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't condescending, smarmy or rude - although there were some brutal parts. Vanessa Russell is, I believe, debuting as an author with this book, and it is excellent. The writing is to the point, the characters are balanced, vivid and engaging. The minor characters serve their roles well, and she writes effectively about belonging, community, family and pressure. She avoids making the book a judgement of those who belong to super weird religious societies, and I think it's stronger because of that.

 

I really enjoyed this - it's charming and enjoyable.

post #2398 of 3276
That sounds good Matt. I have family in Ballarat, and some of my ancestors were there in the Gold Rush days. (Family legend has it that we are related to Peter Lalor).
post #2399 of 3276
Clockwise counting 07/50: Edward Wilson - The Darkling Spy (2010)

With this book, I have concluded my reading of Edward Wilson's novels - four spy stories and one about the Vietnam war. In this book, British spy William Catesby is introduced and he will later also be the protagonist in Wilson's two most recent novels. Catesby is a sympathetic character, full of doubt about his profession and the game of deceit which he is involved in. The story takes us from London and Berlin to Budapest during the Hungarian uprising 1956 and it ends on a small East German island in the Baltic Sea. It's a complicated story and in my view not as satisfying as Wilson's other spy novels. Nevertheless good entertainment and well written.
post #2400 of 3276
Tough one this. I only got 3 right, and I read a fair bit of crime fiction. Maybe some of you guys can do better.

Quiz - name the detective from the description
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