Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going out on a limb here.....

A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. It was awarded Time Magazine Best Book of the Year, and was the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and one of the Ten Best Books of the Year from the New York Times Book Review.

The author lives in Oslo, Norway and the book is set in Norway. It is told by a 67 year old man, Trond Sander, who, after his wife has died, moves to a remote cabin in the place where his father used to take him as a child. One evening he sees a man outside and realizes it is someone from his childhood and that begins to bring up many memories and questions for him.

I liked the book, but when I began reading other reviews of it, I got pretty confused. Was this the same book that I read? My impression of the book was that Trond's father was working for the Resistance during WWII, when he disappeared. Was that not correct? Did I miss something in the book? Others wrote about the others in that area being Nazi's, etc. Really? How did I miss that?

I guess at some point I will reread this book. It was a good story, so I am not opposed to reading it again. I hate to think that I read a whole book and missed the whole point.

Please, someone else read this book and tell me your thoughts!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Plain Sense of Things

The Plain Sense of Things by Pamela Carter Joern

The Plain Sense of Things is a series of 17 stories about the same family. I was hesitant to pick up this book, because I don’t usually like reading short stories, but since the stories were supposed to be all related to each other, I decided to give it a try. I think that was a mistake on my part. I had a lot of trouble remembering the characters. It seemed to me that none of the characters ever got developed enough to make them memorable for just the couple of days that it took me to read the book. I couldn’t keep them straight. That’s pretty bad. And I don’t think that it was me!

This is a story that covers about 50 years. In the beginning of the stories, the family is struggling living on the prairie in Nebraska. It seems that whichever family was being written about in any particular story continued to struggle through-out the 50 years. But I never really cared about any of them or their struggles, because one, I couldn’t figure out who was who, and two, the author never let me get to know any of them well enough to care.

Luckily, it was a quick read, and there may have been some good “lessons” or something in there, but I sure missed the point.