Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Dog StarsThe Dog Stars by Peter Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, I was eager to read this one as soon as I heard about it! I found this to be somewhat more hopeful than some of the classics of the genre (The Road comes to mind) which was refreshing. It took me a little while to get used to the way the story is written (no quotation and LOTS of fragmented passages, for example) but I became accustomed to it eventually. In fact, I think the language quirks added to the realism of the novel. And some of the writing literally made me stop and think WOW. The beauty of the writing, simple and quirky, really spoke to me and made this a special gem!

I really loved the characters - especially Hig and Jasper who stole my heart! I think the interplay of the characters and how they are all dealing with the aftermath of disaster was really interesting. This did seem to be a new way of approaching the end of the world subject in some wasy but didn't quite offer me all that i hoped it would. Perhaps it was just that my expectations were high and I didn't quite get them met? That is why I've given it 4 stars. It was a hard decision. However, it is definitely worth a read, particularly for those who love the post-apocalyptic genre!

The story and its themes have stuck with me over the last few weeks so its impact isn't necessarily fleeting. I'm pleased to say that Hig and his world have stayed in my mind - making me think and being a much more thoughtful book than it seems at first glance. Peter Heller is obviously a gifted fiction writer and I'm looking forward to more of his fiction in the future!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written and deceptively simple novel with a premise that seems a bit different than the usual literary fiction. I really enjoyed this very quiet and thought provoking novel. I don't think its what I'd call fast paced in any way but its very engaging.

What really stands out here is the writing ... wow. It's breathtaking in places. I found myself just taking in the words and feeling overwhelmed by the pure beauty of the language. Combine that with the fact that the novel lends itself towards opening up self examination for the reader and it had me hooked! The story is a bit old fashioned, as is the plot. I love this about it and think its one of the reasons that the book is ultimately so beautiful!

This novel is thought provoking and makes you examine your own thoughts and feelings about family, marriage, life & death, and how our actions impact others. I rarely highlight in my nook because I find it a nuisance but I was highlighting like crazy while reading this little novel!

I was quite surprised with how taken I was with this novel, its characters and its plot! There is a very refreshing sense of the old fashioned in this one yet its not dated in any way. I highly recommend it to anyone! It's definitely worth the read!

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