Archive for October, 2015

Fates and Furies

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

61X4KnqQS4L._SL75_By Lauren Goff

The Short Take:

This intense novel explores a marriage from the differing perspectives of the husband and his wife. It is powerful, surprising, and beautifully structured. The first half is a mite slow, but the second half more than makes up for it.

Why?

Love is often built on perceptions and expectations. This beautifully written and carefully crafted story illustrates how love can prevail and stay true even when those perceptions and expectations are largely false.

The title — with the Fates for him and Furies for her — is just part of the nod to Greek mythology and plays. But don’t feel you have to be well versed in those subjects to fully enjoy this book.

The first half, written from husband Lotto’s perspective, moves at a slow, more deliberate pace while it creates a portrait of this perfect marriage, despite various challenges. The second half both strengthens that portrait and tears it to shreds as you learn what truly is in the mind of Mathilde, the wife.

I found myself going “Wow!” more than once in the second half, as thoughts and actions were revealed that totally changed your perspective. However, this is no “Gone Girl” type story. It’s much richer, more nuanced, and more human. These are two characters you can respect and relate to, in both their goodness and their foibles.

A Little Plot:

It’s love at first sight and a union of totally honesty for Lotto and Mathilde. He sees her as beauty personified and is terrified she will leave him at some time. She seems to glide through life unperturbed.

Or so it seems.

City of God

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

51kPMILGhiL._SL75_By E. L. Doctorow

The Short Take:

This book was engrossing, thoughtful, challenging, brilliant! ┬áIt really made you think about religion, faith, science, film, philosophy, music, and more. It’s some 15 years old — written as a millennium opus — but is just as relevant today.

Why?

The above should be enough. Plus, it’s all wrapped around the story of an Episcopal priest who is trying to shore up his wavering faith, a pair of Jewish rabbis endeavoring to determine what is essential in their own religion, and a bronze cross mysteriously stolen from the former only to wind up with the latter.

Then there’s the interspersed story of a child growing up during the Holocaust (father of one of the rabbis). Not to mention sections supposedly narrated by Albert Einstein and others. Even the title is intriguing — the same as St. Augustine’s religious/philosophical classic.

It’s a feast for the mind. So glad I finally read it.

A Little Plot:

See above. That about covers it.

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