Thursday, August 28, 2008
Isabel Allende, Portrait in Sepia. This is the first Allende I've read, and it was pretty forgettable. All the individual parts of this story were fine, but the whole thing was lacking. It was a little trashy, a little superficial, but the real thing wrong was that it didn't seem true. I enjoyed the early unraveling of the family history, but the latter half of the story was just hollow. The protagonist, Aurora de Valle, was a delightful child and you could see through her eyes as she moved between cultures and households and you loved who she loved. But she was unconvincing as an adult, as a lover and as an artist (as a photographer she seemed especially forced) and so she was an seriously unconvincing narrator. I lost interest in the characters by the end.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. These were wonderful. Rich and fascinating, full of adventure and anguish, at once thoughtful and exciting. Bredon lent them to me and I disappeared for the next few days. I loved the universe and I loved Lyra and Will. I was not even a bit disappointed (in fact they were at least as good as The Golden Compass) and I still think that I haven't read such great stories as these in years. It's odd, since the theological perspective is opposite, how much these reminded me of Lewis's Space Trilogy (these were more fun and more engrossing, though). Actually, they weren't theologically as far apart as you'd think, since Lewis's Satan and Pullman's Authority are remarkably similar (you could certainly describe both as bent). They also motivated me to go back and attack Milton again. I had just been attempting to reread him, but I'll read happily along for five or six pages and then realize I have no idea what is going on. Maybe I can try again now with more success.