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Saturday, August 27, 2016

****Human Acts By Han Kang

South Korean Literature ARC

Told by different characters using varying perspectives, Han Kang has written a searing portrait of South Korea’s Gwangju uprising. Despite the violent subject matter, Kang’s writing is beautiful, poetic and introspective.  She effectively illustrates the dichotomy of human nature - one that allows man to both savagely murder, yet show compassion through acts of human kindness.  Kang does not attempt to resolve this complex issue. Instead she uses her unique and powerful voice to honor those lives lost and ruined by this horrific event.  An impressive novel.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

****The Cauliflower, by Nicola Barker Early Review
Australian Literature 

Quirky, stylistically unique and varied, the author combines fact with fiction in her attempt to understand the development of spirituality, how it gains momentum and becomes a part of a culture. Barker uses the Guru, Sri Ramakrishna, as her vehicle for examining this subject. The narrative is not dry and dour, but a fresh and inventive approach to a complex issue.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

****Who Will Catch Us As We Fall, by Iman Verjee Early Reviewer's
African -Kenyan - Literature

Verjee’s narrative is straightforward, yet rich and compelling. It tells the heartbreaking tale of a beautiful city, Nairobi, fraught with rampant racial bias, poverty and unethical practices - especially by those who should be protecting it's people and communities. This is not a story about solutions, it is about hope, a hope that its people can see beyond the dirt, poverty and corruption and realize the beauty in its land and diverse blend of people. The moral is in the story itself without the need for moralizing. It hits the reader hard as one contemplates the formidable injustices.  This is a powerful novel filled with multidimensional characters whose lives were developed from the experience of one who was born and raised in Nairobi. It is a commendable work of literature.

Post note: The above review is based on an ARC edition. In this review I left out my opinion of the author's first and last chapters, which is not favorable. They lack the depth and character of the intervening 400 approximate pages. I do not know whether these parts were edited for the final printing. They were weak enough to warrant mentioning, yet not enough to effect the novel's overall value and rating.