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2017 books: 1-4 - Hemlock B. Bootsalotta [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

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2017 books: 1-4 [Jan. 26th, 2017|04:33 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

Being back at the old job means I spend about twice as long on the bus. So I've already finished four books in the first month.


(The Bridegroom) by Ha Jin

I have no idea where this one came from.

A collection of short stories that all take place in China. They're interesting in that they completely don't follow the normal format that I expect from English language stories - there is often no typical "climax" to the narrative, the point of the story is embedded in unexpected places, the descriptions focus on aspects of the story that I find to be unusual choices. It was fascinating to read and I really enjoyed it.

It also really brought home how 1) cops are the same everywhere and 2) so is dealing with bureaucracy.


Tell Everything by Sally Cooper

This one is definitely mine, purchased with my own money and everything.

The main character is a woman pulled into a sensational trial due to her past relationship with a Karla Homolka/Paul Bernardo type couple. It takes place in Toronto and surrounding areas, so there are plenty of shout-outs to places I know.

I just love Cooper's writing in this, she is able to create an entire atmosphere with a few short sketches. And I found the story fascinating enough that I missed my bus stop twice while I was reading it.


The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi

This one I also bought, and I remember that I loved it the first time I read it, but for some reason I had trouble watching the televison show. Maybe it was all the sex. There's a lot more sex in this book than I remembered.

Anyway, the story is about a kid growing up in the suburbs of London with his Indian father and English mother. He's restless and bored and constantly looking for something to take the edge off. Meanwhile his Muslim father takes on the personae of spiritual guru, teaching rich white Londoners about the mysteries of the east. It takes place before Thatcher or Brexit, but there's still plenty of racial and class tension to go around.


Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa

The story of the partitioning of India to create Pakiston, as experienced by an indulged young Parsee girl called Lenny in a middle-class part of Lahore. She describes the gradual disintegration of the relationships between neighbours of different religions and backgrounds and the eventual eruption of violence that killed and displaced millions of people.

Apparently this book was originally called Ice Candy Man and is the basis for a movie called Earth.

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[User Picture]From: nimrodiel
2017-01-27 01:46 am (UTC)
Earth is a fantastic film as are fire and water by the same director.
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[User Picture]From: nimrodiel
2017-01-27 01:55 am (UTC)
Grr added too soon. Fire as boycotted in India when it came out because of it's portrayal of arranged marriages, a lesbian love scene, and wife burning. It really is a thought provoking film.

Water looks at child marriages, the caste system, and how widows are not allowed to remarry and live in a settlement of widows. Also thought provoking and very beautiful.
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[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2017-01-27 04:59 pm (UTC)
I've heard good things about all three, I didn't realize that the source material for one of them came from this book.
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[User Picture]From: shnells
2017-02-04 02:33 pm (UTC)
Earth was a a very difficult movie to watch and i can only imagine how intense the book is. if you liked that book i strongly recommend checking out Anita Desai's stuff. she is a fantastic writer. In particular i recommend "in Custody" (which was made into an merchant-ivory film i believe), "baumgartner's Bombay" and "cry the peacock."
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