Book Reviews

Thursday, June 24, 2010

by Salman Rushdie

Malik Solanka is a middle-aged Indian man living in London. He finds himself overwhelmed by an uncontrollable fury and decides to leave his wife and son and move to New York City because he's terrified he'll hurt them. He gained wealth and fame earlier in life when he created a doll called "Little Brain" that became a sensation and quickly spiraled out of his control. Once in NYC he meets two other women he becomes involved with and begins to pursue a new creative venture.

I didn't have any attachment to Solanka and struggled to stay interested in the book. I really enjoyed Rushdie's writing though. He goes back and forth between social commentary and inner struggle. The story didn't work for me, but it has made me decide I definitely need to try some of his other well-known books. Any suggestions?

"Life is fury, he thought, fury: sexual, Oedipal, political, magical, brutal. It drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths. Out of fury comes creation, inspiration, originality, passion, but also violence, pain, pure unafraid destruction, the giving and receiving of blows from which we never recover."

The Matisse Stories
by A.S. Byatt

A collection of three short stories, each one resolves around a Matisse painting, by the author of the award- winning book, "Possession." One story deals with a hair salon, another with professors, sexual harassment and a student who hates Matisse, but the one that stood out to me was called "Art Work." The story introduces us to a family and their inimitable cleaning lady. Debbie, her artistic husband and her kids depend on their cleaning lady to keep their house running smoothly, but she has secrets of her own that they know nothing about. The collection is small, but interesting and it made me look up more paintings and information about Matisse himself, even though he is only a peripheral part of the book.

Tell Me the Truth About Love
by W.H. Auden

While most poems fly over my head, Auden's poetry has always made sense to me. It's beautiful without being too abstract and it always seems to strike a chord for me. Auden had a wonderful gift for conveying emotion in only a few lines. This sweet collection includes one of my favorite poems, "Funeral Blues." Here's one section from the poem...

"He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."

It just makes my heart ache. I also loved the poem "Lullaby," here's a taste...

"Not a whisper, not a thought, 
Not a kiss nor look be lost."


Hannah Stoneham said...

Gosh - what a interesting selection of books you do read - I have never read any Salman Rushdie but my husband loves all of his stuff. Have you read Possession? I think that you would enjoy it.

Bon weekend!


Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I have read Possession and loved some parts, while others lagged for me. It's one I would love to re-read when I have time to savor it. It was a fascinating story!