Friday, January 28, 2011

Quickie Reviews

  So I have a stack of books on my desk that I've read and meant to review, but time passes and, well, the stack just gets bigger.  So in the interest of getting them off my desk, here are a few quickie reviews:

Purge by Sofi Oksanen:  A novel set in Estonia in the early 1990s with flashbacks to the post WWII era, it is about a young girl and and and old woman and how their lives connect.  A bit on the dark side, and not what I expected, but it was interesting to read about a country that is not often featured in novels.

The Homecoming Party by Carmine Abate:  A novel set in Italy about a family separated by economic necessity and the effects this has on the children, especially the son of the family.  "The future, for a child, is an empty word", Marco laments as he tries to comprehend the explanation for his father's absence.  I didn't love it, but enjoyed its descriptions of Italian country life.

Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King:  This is a description of Michelangelo's work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Even though he did have assistance, the amount of work that Michelangelo put in for this commission despite external threats to its completion is remarkable.  After reading this book, you can't not want to go to Rome and see the real thing up close. 

The Debba by Avner Mandelman:  This novel is about a man forced to return to Israel after the brutal murder of his father to fulfill his father's last wish -- to publicly perform a play he wrote many years earlier which stirs up Palestinian-Israeli emotions.  I didn't quite "get" this story as I found it had too many side plots.

  Have you read any of these books?  What were your thoughts on them?


  1. I really want to read Purge and The Debba, and have read so many great reviews of both of them. I like the mini review format as well!

  2. I'd like to read The Debba as well. I have read Purge ( it is an excellent book and was one of my top 10 for 2010.

  3. I'll be reading Purge in a few weeks' time, together with another blogger. I'm not sure what you expected but if it's the same as me, then it will be different than I expect too.

    You don't sound too positive about the book - well, we'll see.

  4. I liked The Debba a lot but it's a weird book. I do want to read The Homecoming Party & appreciate your thoughts. These days I'll read almost anything Europa Editions publishes!

  5. As Judith is saying above, we're co-reading Purge at the moment :) It's quite a good read, despite its sometimes gruesome contents. I think the author did a good job giving readers an idea of the horrors of wartime and post-wartime Estonia.

    The other books sound pretty good! I'll definitely go and look up Europa Editions now...


What do you think? Good or bad, I'd love to hear from you (but be nice - I'm sensitive!)