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Thursday, May 25, 2017

*Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

With all the great writers in this world, one must ask how a book like this winds up being published.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

***The Leavers, a novel by Lisa Ko


  • LibraryThing.com Early Reviewer's
  • American Fiction, 2017
  • Pen America Literary Award Winner

The Leavers is a timely novel that deals with immigration, deportation and the need for familial and cultural identification. It portrays the difficulties faced when children are born as American citizens, but their parents are not.  The story unfolds using alternating perspectives between the protagonist, a Chinese American, and his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, as they try to resolve the conflict experienced when she is deported and he is adopted by a Caucasian family at the age of eleven.

The overall story is important, especially considering today’s political climate. Yet its telling is a bit underwhelming. It reads like a dry journalistic piece lacking passion and creativity. In addition, Ko focuses on the protagonist’s featureless attempt at a musical career in excess. She uses this narrative to reveal the process of a struggling youth trying to self-actualize, yet it falls flat and feels like an overplayed muse.

Ko’s writing is practiced and competent; she is not an unskilled author. However, her novel lacks depth. I never felt invested; I plowed through the book hoping for something more that it never delivered. Leavers is not a bad novel, poorly written without plot or character development, it simply lacks impact. 


Friday, May 5, 2017

*****A Strangeness In My Mind, A Novel, by Orhan Pamuk


  • Turkish Literature
  • 2015 Signed First Edition
A Strangeness in My Mind is a love letter to Istanbul. It is a beautifully composed work of art that brings to life the ever changing streets of Istanbul between 1954-2012 and the quiet, yet powerfully meditative life of its protagonist and boza seller, Mevlut.  Pamuk is a master of the written word. His writing hits all the senses and illuminates the soul. The insightful development of his characters, particularly Mevlut, is fraught with beauty, angst, depth and symbolism. His bird's-eye time-lapsed view of Istanbul, as it evolves from year to year, is played out magnificently through his cast of varied characters. They serve as distinct counterpoint to Mevlut’s stubborn and complex relationship with past and present. Pamuk’s love for his city rings out as melodiously as the boza seller’s voice on his nightly odyssey through the streets of Istanbul. A quiet, yet powerful novel. Once again, Pamuk fails to disappoint his besotted readers.