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[personal profile] defrog
As you can see, I only finished two books this month, and as it happens I have a great excuse this time – I moved to a new flat this month on rather short notice, which ate into most of my available reading time. It’s hard to get much reading done when you have to pack an entire house in a week, move it and then unpack to the point that you don’t have 80 boxes of stuff in the middle of yr living room.

Still, I hope to get back to a more or less normal pace from this point on. Then again, I’ve been hoping for that for most of the year. Also, it’s been that kind of year when I literally didn’t know I’d be moving until around ten days before the actual moving date. So who knows?

Anyway, here’s what I got.

The End of the AffairThe End of the Affair by Graham Greene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At face value this isn’t the sort of story I usually read – man has affair with married woman, woman breaks it off suddenly with no explanation, man stews and obsesses, etc. But I like Grahame Greene a lot, and it was on sale at a book fair, so it seemed worth the risk. I needn’t have worried. Greene populates the story with vivid characters, and manages to build up suspense as the bitter narrator Bendrix becomes involved with ex-lover Sarah again, hires a detective to follow her, and inadvertently discovers the reason she dumped him. Greene makes it more interesting by exploring the duality of love and hate, not only between people but between humanity and God – a central theme here, as both Bendrix and Sarah try to convince themselves there’s no God, yet constantly petition Him and complain to Him, and receive indications that He is listening. It’s not nearly as mystical as all that, but it amounts to an interesting exploration of the difficulties of faith and why people resist it, or at least find it hard to reconcile faith with the broken world around us and our own desires. So there’s a lot more meat to it than yr typical love story, is what I’m saying.


Midnight RobberMidnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hopkinson’s Report from Planet Midnight convinced me to read some more of her work. This is her second novel, a blend of SF and Caribbean folklore, and one that turned out to be more challenging than I imagined, as it’s written entirely in a hybrid Creole vernacular, which isn’t impenetrable but does take some effort. That said, it serves the story well. The narrative follows Tan-Tan, a young girl on the planet Toussaint whose father Antonio escapes a murder trial by exiling himself to New Halfway Tree, a less civilized alternate-world version of Toussaint, and takes Tan-Tan with him, after which things get even worse when we find out just how monstrous Antonio really is. Tan-Tan copes with her ordeals by developing an alter-ego of sorts, the mythical Robber Queen, although that turns out not to be quite the set-up for a superhero-origin story that it sounds like on the book jacket. So the story didn't quite go the way I thought, but that’s not a bad thing. And Hopkinson’s vivid and complex characterization kept me locked in to the end.

View all my reviews

Midnight Special,

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