tiistai 15. toukokuuta 2012

Pätkiksiä, part 2

Osan kirja-arvosteluistani olen kirjoittanut englanniksi, jakaakseni lukukokemukseni myös ulkomaalaisten kirjaystävieni kanssa. Vanhemmat olivat suomenkielisiä.

V.S. Naipaul: Half a Life (Tampere, 01/2002)

I enjoyed this novel very much. The story is told in several segments, going back and forth ("I must go back"), and forms small, beautiful stories of Willy Chandran's life. First there is the story his father has told of his past, then Willy's early life in India, then his account of life in London, then the story of his life in Africa as told to his sister.

Each story is a separate entity, a rendering of a confused, half of a life. At the very end Willy finally finds himself and his own will and takes charge of his own life. This means leaving everyone's expectations behind and starting to live his own, yet uncertain, life.

Naipaul describes the dusty India, chaotic hippie London and wild Africa with a richness that makes one feel as though having actually visited the place. Willy is an unexperienced young man who meets odd people from all corners of the world, but always assumes that others know the secret of life. Yet they all lead half-lives, pretending that the world will forever stay the same.

Due to form this seemed like a very small book, filled with beautiful images and vague encounters. I will want to read more of Naipaul's works in the future.

Nick Hornby: About a Boy (Portugal, 08/2002)

Why do they all want to tell me how hilariously funny this book is? I did laugh out loud a couple of times (on a crowded beach, even), but mostly the book just made me sad.

How sad and lonely we all are: alone in this world, trying to survive by all means we know how. Some will resort to gathering as many people as possible around them; some will make up stories about their lives to make them seem more interesting; and some... well, some find no way to cope and try to kill themselves.

Of course this can be seen as funny: how pathetic and crazy we all are. I just can't see the humor in misery and desperation.

But I did enjoy the book and love the characters and I look forward to seeing Hugh Grant blink himself through this character. And will Marcus be exactly like I thought: Bobby in King of the Hill?

Bitter sweet, ironic, revealing, touching - those are the acjectives I would use to describe this novel.

Allison Pearson: I Don't Know How She Does It (Barcelona 06/2003) 

Reading the book on airports and on the airplane towards Barcelona I could not help laughing out loud (evoking strange looks from fellow travellers), as well as crying my eyes out (evoking compassionate glances from persons sitting next to me). Later on I found myself explaining angrily to friends what it means to be a working mother these days! [Note: my kids were born in 2008 and 2010.]

Kate Reddy's life is terribly busy, she's creating list after list to cope with daily stress, but never gets around to items on those lists, trying to handle the chaos at hand. After reading about her life in the evenings and worrying about mine when about to take 3 days off from work, in the morning I could not tell whose stress I was experiencing! However, among all the catastrophes around her, Kate manages to convey some crucial truths about life and makes the reader think very hard about her priorities.

Kate has tough choices to make in order to have it all: career, family, fulfilling life. But she manages to make them, although the outcome may turn out to be a surprise.


"Man announces he has to leave the office to be with his child for a short recreational burst and is hailed as selfless, doting paternal role model. Woman announces she has to leave the office to be with child who is on sickbed and is damned as disorganised, irresponsible and Showing Insufficient Commintment. For father to parade himself as a Father is a sign of strength; for mother to out herself as a Mother is a sign of appalling vulnerability. Don't you just love equal opportunities?"

E-mail from a friend: "Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle. The frog hopped into the princess's lap and said: Sweet Lady, I was once a handsome Prince, until an evil witch cast a spell on me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper young Prince that I am. Then, my sweet, we can marry and set up house in yon castle, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so. That night, dining on a repast of lightly sauteed frog's legs, the princess chuckled to herself and thought: I don't fucking think so."

Explaining her choices to a young female colleague: "Children are the proof we've been here, [---] they're where we go to when we die. They're the best thing and the most impossible thing, but there's nothing else. You have to believe me. Life is a riddle and they are the answer. If there's any answer, it has to be them."

3 kommenttia:

  1. Löytyykö vielä lisää? Näitä on mukava lukea :)

  2. Kyllä nämä olivat nyt tässä, mutta kiva kuulla että pidit. Omia vanhoja tekstejä on nostalgista lukea, kun tietää kulloisenkin elämäntilanteen ja näkee miten se on vaikuttanut lukukokemukseen.

    Ja Hugh Grant oli aivan loistava leffassa. Kuten myös se pojan esittäjä.

  3. Lempparileffojani. Hugh Grantin ja pojan lisäksi myös Toni Collette loistaa masentuneena äitinä.