Showing posts from March, 2015

Book Review: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Last Christmas, I was truly thrilled when I received this very thoughtful gift from a great friend: a first edition of Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea (1952). I'm sure this book has been reviewed countless of times in the past, including compulsory reviews in Literature classes. So I am not going to write a detailed one, but instead I will focus on the experience of reading an old print, which had stirred dormant memories and made me nostalgic.  The book, with its tattered cover leaf, its smell reminiscent of old libraries, and its large font size, transported me back to my childhood weekends of scavenging through old chests or the bottom rung of our bookshelf, in hopes of finding interesting reads. Sometimes I would be rewarded with great finds, including a hard-bound book of bedtime stories (one of the earliest books I've read independently), and over time the great finds started to include the likes of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', 'Catcher in the Rye', et

Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

  There is this common advice that says the best way to write is to write about something one knows. And I’ve always taken that to mean that one should also write from the same gender perspective; I have felt that a female author writing from the POV of a female protagonist would be more credible. And so far most, if not all, the novels I’ve read by a female author have a female protagonist. But having read Ishiguro, I have no more doubts that even a male author can go into the mind of a female protagonist and be credible at it. Never Let Me Go is the story of a group of students living in Hailsham School, a boarding academy in an idyllic corner of England. At first glance, everything seems ordinary, at least as ordinary as a boarding school could get, until many pages later when one learns that these students are far from ordinary. (If you haven’t read the book yet and are planning to do so later, then please know that there are spoilers in this post). That is, the st

Book Review: Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano

For my February read, I've chosen Patrick Modiano's Suspended Sentences, mainly to quench a growing curiosity about France's 'best kept secret' ever since he was announced as 2014's Nobel Prize winner. And as with the many books that I've picked, I was enticed by the blurbs and author endorsements on the back cover.  Suspended Sentences is a compilation of three short novels; each can stand alone, though together the three can be a seamless read because of common elements linking them like style, theme, character quirks, and nostalgia (such that the book is almost like reading Paris in sepia).  All three are similar in their tapping of seemingly dormant memories and how these continue to cast shadows into the present. Here are my thoughts:  1. Afterimage , the first novel, is the pursuit of an elusive photographer Francis Jansen. The narrator has volunteered to catalogue Jansen's work and in the process learns about Jansen's history and his r