Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Orchid & The Wasp: A Book Review

Appropriate somehow to tackle a book with poetic prose as dense as ULYSSES with Bloomsday just behind us.

Caoilinn Hughes is a poet, and her prose has the lyrical quality of poetry. It makes for a difficult read, however, not unlike walking through a thick swamp of words that string together so prettily but confuse the reader when it comes to telling a story.

Gael Foess is a product of the Celtic Tiger and the crash that followed, wandering in search of the right hustle. Her family is not entirely supportive, and she turns down what help is offered by a father in the financial game. She protects, or tries to protect, her younger brother with mental health issues, using perception to finagle quite the payday out an art scheme she concocts for the money that's in it.

At least I think that's the gist of it. The narrative doesn't quite flow as smoothly as you might like for a relaxing read, and the prose itself is so intriguing that you read without gaining any context. Not a book for everyone, but for those who like the stylings of James Joyce, this is worth considering.

Thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Eagle & Crane: A Book Review

I want to finish this, if only to discover what exactly is the mystery in this piece of historical fiction, but I can't seem to get through the pages.

EAGLE AND CRANE is built on the bigotry faced by the Japanese in the American West during the Second World War, using the old contrivance of friendship made and broken and strained between ethnic groups. The problem I've encountered is one of repetition. How many times must I be told by the author that Japanese-American Harry is wild about Harry (Houdini) and Louis comes from a long line of hardscrabble farmers?

I got the first few times, honestly. Quite clear.

The narrative winds through the Great Depression era of aviation barnstormers while intertwining a World War II tale of Japanese incarceration and the fate of Harry, possibly murdered by his fellow barnstormer Louis. There's the love interest to complete the triangle, but I've gotten too bogged down in extraneous backstory. Does a reader really need to know how Harry's family came to arrive in America? Or how Louis' kin chose the US of A? The enmity between the families could have been explained in far less than two-three chapters.

I'm bored. Time to read something else and maybe finish this some other time.

Thanks to Penguin Random House for the use of the review copy.