The Trespasser

06/05/2017 at 12:09 PM (Books, Mystery, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

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This was my first experience reading Tana French and my negative reaction to it is attributable to a mistake on my part. Had I been introduced to the main detective earlier in her Dublin Murder Squad book series, I might have found her sympathetic. However, this was a pick up from a local bookshop after reading the following blurb.

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?”

Due to my lack of research into reviews of this book and expectations of fast-paced story, when I realised it was the reverse I found the descriptions of police procedural rather tedious because it seemed to border on the excessive. I enjoyed her writing and her characterisation was very well done but personally I think this book probably didn’t make for a very good stand-alone read. The mystery was interesting enough in its individualistic way but the paranoia exhibited by Detective Conway grated on my nerves. My favourite part was when a certain arrogant character got his comeuppance from an unexpected ally but I disliked the brow beating of the primary suspect in the murder mystery. I was coming in expecting a psychological thriller so I was disappointed despite the motivations of the murder victim.

All I can say is if you are a Gone Girl fan, don’t go for this type of book. It’s not the type of psychological thriller you are looking for. For me this particular reviewer’s assessment of The Trespasser is spot on. For a positive perspective on the book, try this review.

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Mao’s Last Dancer

08/05/2010 at 4:59 PM (Books, Fable, Inspired) (, , , , , , )

Having finally received the overwhelmingly popular Mao’s Last Dancer from the Port Phillip Library in St. Kilda, I started to read it and having gone in with optimistic expectations (although this is a practice I tend to avoid with a writer/director unfamiliar to me in most situations) ended up rather underwhelmed despite its obvious merits. Even the movie of the same name by Bruce Beresford seemed to lack the fanfare it could have had even though both the autiobiography of Li Cunxin and film adaptation were compelling and heartwarming.

It just seemed to touch on things that seemed to be unnecessary waffle since it could have been more engaging than it already is if it had not drifted from new topic to another so fast but considering the sales figures of global success and print runs, all’s well that ends well.

Source: Penguin

Source: Penguin

Perhaps the story was not exotic enough to me. I used to take ballet until I hit puberty and grew a generous-sized bust (Have you ever seen a ballerina with an ample chest – I didn’t think so) .Meanwhile I also grew up in a country full of poverty, political conflict and corruption so even though my homeland had nothing to do with communism, the story of the boy plucked from obscurity to be a ballet star that then found an escape in the world of te West touched on common themes and should have resonated but while i enjoyed the recollections and fables, I didn’t even shed a tear since I was not emotionally moved as I’d be by any Thomas Hardy classic.

Maybe they broke the mould when I was born or maybe its the fact I’m far too familiar with  government systems of leadership which claim to be democratic but are manipulative enough to control and confine the lives of citizens to achieve their own ends.

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The Alchemist

01/11/2010 at 9:51 AM (Adventure, Fable, Spiritual) ()

The Alchemist

Facing a long V-Line journey to Traralgon, I decided to travel from the comfort of my seat to the deserts of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

It was definitely an interesting take on spiritual reading but I think what made it so successful was the simplicity of the language and its attempt to answer the questions everyone is searching the answers to but is afraid to listen to through the travels of an Andalusian shepherd boy.

What did I learn from it?

Everyone has dreams to follow but feel held back by love, the fear of change and conditions of adversity. There are prices to pay before reaping rewards. Patience is an important skill.

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Suite Francaise

01/07/2010 at 11:30 AM (Adaptations, Books, Holocaust, Movies, Romance, War) (, , , , )

On one of my frequent jaunts around Borders, after looking for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with little success, I ended up purchasing Suite Francaise.

I guess in a way it is fortunate that the author’s daughter decided it was time to read what had laid dormant for fifty years because otherwise the book I bought would probably still be unpublished.

Suite Francaise

The storyline was quite interesting at the beginning but I felt too confused and muddled by the sheer number of characters by its conclusion. It did reflect on some interesting questions regarding living in an occupied country especially about what is seen on the surface and what goes on behind closed minds. However basing a work on the Fifth Symphony by Beethoven is a huge endeavour and it was a shame the manuscript had to end so suddenly in an appendix.

To be fair, Irene Nemirovsky didn’t really have the time to refine her manuscript thanks to her Jewish ancestry and the horrors of Auschwitz while her life merits being a novel, or rather a biography, in its own right.

Update: In 2014 they have made a film based on the book.

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