Book Review | The Mountains of Parnassus by Czeslaw Milosz

mountains of parnassus.jpegPublished in Polish in 2012, The Mountains of Parnassus was completed by Nobel Prize winner Milosz in the early 1970’s. Though the novel is classified as science fiction, it is dystopian fiction and currently quite applicable. The book is broken into seven sections and introduces the reader to four distinct characters: an astronaut, a cardinal, an exiled man and a struggling man. Each character has a very different story, which allows for wider reader appeal.

The quality of the writing in this book is excellent. Milosz has set some feelings in words in a very touching way. Some of the characters were easier to relate to than others, and their stories combined well to form the novel. It is a quick read, more of a novella that can be read in a few hours. The text is thought provoking and considering when it was originally written, brings to mind the foresight seen in the writing of Ira Levin. This English translation is expected to be published on January 10, 2017.

I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the translator/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

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Book Review | Imagine Me Gone : A novel by Adam Haslett

imagine-me-gone-book-coverThe critically acclaimed new novel by Haslett, Imagine Me Gone, certainly lives up to standards. The story focuses on a family of five who move between the east coast and England as the children grow from small to adult. The father and eldest son are affected by depression, which at times renders them unable to function in traditional roles. The novel traces their struggle, as well as the reactions and effects on the lives of the mother and siblings.

Told using alternating narration from each family member’s point of view, the book spans decades and provides a unique perspective in examining a familial struggle. Each character narrator has a distinct voice and thought process that has been well developed. Some passages were thought provoking and reflective, really allowing for the quality of writing to shine through. A few sections were a bit long in their details, but as a whole, well done. This book will appeal to those dealing with a depressed family member or partner, those interested in social work or psychology and fans of literature revolving around family issues. Check it out from a library near you!

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball

a cure for suicide jesse ball book coverA Cure for Suicide begins in a utopian style village (think The Giver) where “a claimant” is being rehabilitated by “an examiner”. As the book progresses, cleanly focused on daily events and dialogue, the reader begins to understand the rehab structure. After a strong dose of brain erasing medicine, claimants are shipped to a numbered village with their assigned caretaker to relearn life skills and human interaction. The protagonist is a middle aged man who is revealed through the text at various times during his reprocessing.

I enjoyed Ball’s writing style and clarity. I see how his stylistic departure from the norm could be considered effective, but for me it didn’t enhance the text. Contrary to other reviewers, I found this book a bit flat. While emotional situations occurred, they were almost glossed over and left me feeling untouched. Though the novel held some original ideas, it seemed to be more of a melding of storylines that I’d previously ingested. I should note that this book was long listed for the National Book Award. Check it out from a library near you.