Friday, May 22, 2009

Victims by Dorothy Uhnak

Dorothy Uhnak
1986, 1987, Arrow Books, London

A young woman is murdered on a quiet middle-class street in New York City. Her violent death is witnessed by a street full of people who watched the events unfold from their front windows, and yet did nothing to help the woman.

Victims is now a bit dated, but it was interesting to read what things were like in the city during the 1980s. Things did end up a bit far-fetched and I thought the characters were not that believable - their motivations seemed stretched. However, the story about a street full of witnesses neglecting to help a dying woman was an interesting premise, and I would like to have seen this as the focus of the story.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

e. by Matt Beaumont

Matt Beaumont
2000, HarperCollins, London

A book told in email-format. This is the story of the Miller Shanks advertising agency's London branch who are trying to land the Coca-Cola account.

e. is a hilarious book! I was a bit wary of the email format, but it really worked. Sarcasm is hard to get right in the written word, but Beaumont sure has a talent for capturing the passive-aggressiveness of everyday life in an office.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture by Daniel Libeskind

Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture
Daniel Libeskind
2004, John Murray, London

Daniel Libeskind is the architect who has conceived the master plan for the World Trade Center reconstruction. This book is a memoir of his life and his thoughts on architecture and the meanings of buildings.

This book is written as if Libeskind has sat down before you and is retelling the story of his life. He recounts parts of his life with no real chronology, but this by no means makes the book disjointed. Rather, it draws the reader into his life, and into his way of thinking. A very enjoyable book.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Ghatti's Tale: Finders-Seekers by Gayle Greeno

The Ghatti's Tale: Finders-Seekers
Gayle Greeno
1993, DAW, New York

A colonising expedition from Earth becomes stranded on a planet when their technology goes awry. Their society evolves to incorporate ghatts - mind-melding giant cats native to the planet - who bond with a human mate and together read the truth behind disagreements in court.

I haven't given the plot justice with that description, this truly is a brilliant story.

Finders-seekers is a beautifully written book. The author has a real way with words - a way of drawing a picture with her evocative prose. I was entranced by the story of the ghatti and their bondmates - it was a long book, but so finely honed unlike a lot of other longish fantasy. Every part of this book added to the story as a whole

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Automated Alice by Jeff Noon

Automated Alice
Jeff Noon
1996, 1997, Corgi, London

The 'third' Alice in Wonderland book - this novel sees Alice transported into the future (1998) through a grandfather clock. There she has to find her way back by collecting 12 missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle she had started in 1860.

What a weird and wonderful crazy book! Noon has captured Carroll's style perfectly ... this just reads like a Carroll novel except for the 'future-nods' such as cars, helicopters and Jimi Hendrix. This book is for adults who adored Alice as a child. I wish there was more.

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