Thursday, 23 November 2017

Holiday reading

I have been on Mallorca. It is a lovely place, all the year around, but especially in the autumn, where the weather here in the northern part of Europe is grey, rainy and depressing. We had a wonderful time, and apart from two days of rather windy shores, beautiful sunshine and t-shirt weather. We visited all our favourite places, since we don't know when we will come back next time.

I brought two books with me, already started, and thinking I would finish them. And so I did. It was Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd and Burning Bright by Trace Chevalier. Mostly read at the flat, but managed to read also in beautiful and favourite places.

I recently read Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd, highly recommended from my brother-in-law. Really loved the book, so eager to read another one. This I had on my TBR shelves. It is not in the same league as Brazzaville Beach. Totally different setting, this time starting in Vienna in 1913 where Lysander Rief, an actor, comes for a psychoanalytical consultation. His life in Vienna makes him consider his old life so far and he is thinking of staying. However, he is forced to leave. Once back in England he is drawn into the British secret service and the lookout for a spy during the First World War.

I really loved the characters and how they are described. However, the whole story is rather messy and a lot of meetings and coincidences are happening without realistic explanations to how they occur. It somehow kept me motivated until the end, although even the end is somehow over the edge.  Not the very best of his books I imagine, but I still like his writings and will look for more books.

The other book I read, Burning Bright was another book for which I have both good and bad feelings. I loved Chevalier's The Girl With the Pearl Earring, but was not so fond of The Lady and the Unicorn, although I liked it more than this one. I find that the writing is very good, very visible and you see clearly everything from the story in front of you. What does not manage to attract me is the story, or the lack of action in the story. Here we meet Jem who comes with his family to London from Dorsetshire. We see the difficulties they have to survive in the new environment and how they slowly adapt. Maggie is a local girl who has grown up in the vicinity and she takes care of showing Jem and his sister how to survive.

There is an involvement of William Blake in the story. I don't know so much about him, so have to read up. He was a British poet, painter and printmaker and was considered slightly mad during his life-time, but is now considered as one of the 100 Greatest Britons (place 38). How times change! In the novel he becomes a friend of Maggie, Jem and his sister, and Chevalier, through him, introduces some philosophical discussions in the novel.

We follow these characters and others around them for about a year.  It highlights the time during the French revolution and how it might effect England and a possible war between the two countries. The story seems very realistic in terms of how people lived and the harsh times faced by poor people. This is very well written and visualised.  I just waited for something to happen. Maybe, we are all spoiled that there should be a good 'action' story within. I could see this book being more interesting as a non-fiction story of the times.

That was a little bit of my reading lately. Most of the time goes for classical reading like Medea and The Odyssey for my literature course. Great fun it is.

I hope to be posting more in December. Thinking of making a Advent Calendar with something for each day up until 24 December. See there, a private challenge!

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