Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was a major disappointment. Believe it or not, I think Mr. Ishiguro did too good a job; his first person narrative, told by a thirty year old woman, was passive, repetitive, and a little clueless: exactly as Kathy, the character, would have written it, but neither exciting nor even particularly interesting to read. The short version: in an alternative reality to our present (or recent past, as the book takes place in the nineties and flashes back to the characters' schooldays in the seventies), post-war science developed cloning as a means to produce organs to cure many human diseases. Kathy and her friends are clones raised to be donors; the story traces their gradual comprehension of exactly what their lives mean.
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan. The events of eight months previous are behind Poke Rafferty and his little family, who are having a nice dinner out when an unwelcome visitor from Rose's past intrudes. The man--a farang named Howard Horner--is obnoxious, but Rose's reaction seems disproportionately intense and frightened. In a long and beautifully realized flashback the story of how Rose became a bar girl is told, up to how she killed Horner and escaped to safety. Hallinan's insight into and obvious affection for the Thai people--in particular the women and children--gives a richness and depth to his work that is often lacking in thrillers...which is not to say that The Queen of Patpong doesn't pack a serious wallop as a thriller. The final fifty pages or so are non-stop action, violent and bloody and utterly satisfying. Can't wait for the next one, Tim.
I have not started a new book yet...been prepping for a visit from Mom, who hasn't been out in over two years and has yet to see our new house. Let's just say that Becky's day-to-day standards of cleanliness do not align with Mummy's...
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell. The short version: fifteen year old Temple travels through a bleak landscape infested with zombies. Much more than just another post-apocalyptic zombie road novel, though, this novel is thoughtful and beautifully written, with fully realized characters and great insight into what it means to be a human being (and a good person). Read the full review here...and please, grab a copy of this book and read it yourself. You won't be sorry!
No book shopping this week.