Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Can you summarize such a novel with a snappy title?

Finished.  This was a far quicker read than Mr. Norrell, which continues to sit next to my bed.

It has been a while since I have felt the urge to underline quotes in a novel. There are some truly profound moments in this novel. How does one go about summarizing a novel such as this? It did leave a mark on me.  It is an often brutal and prosaic novel that has been skillfully crafted.  It is engaging, right from the beginning.  I remember my own friend that had a smile that would light up rooms.  This is a story about love, and hate, and survival.  It is a story about forgiveness, and a story about hope.  In short, a true epic novel.

With works of art, it is interesting to learn a bit about the artist, and GDR truly comes off as quite the articulate character.  I think sitting around at a Leopolds and listening to the stories would be an unforgettable experience.  This was a totally different tale about Mumbai/Bombay and it did sweep me away.  I didn't expect there to be so many foreigners here, or to have the beauty of the slums revealed.  There were several times that I had to pause and reread some passages.  There were some elements of this book that I enjoyed more than others, and I think that this story ended as it should, coming in a full circle in a sense.

This was an interesting quote -

"Sooner of later, fate puts us together with all the people, one by one, who show us what we could, and shouldn't let ourselves become." (p. 471)

What a closing speech!

"For this is what we do.  Put one foot forward and then the other.  Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more.  Think.  Act.  Feel.  Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world.  Drag our shadowed crossed into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day.  With love:  the passionate search for a truth other than our own.  With longing:  the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved.  For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.  God help us.  God forgive us.  We live on." (p.933)

Lin was an imperfect hero - flawed, but loving.  He fell, was picked back up, and found the ability to carry on.  He carried his past as much as he chose not to speak of it very often.

I can't say this book is for everyone.  I know that my book club loved the beginning and lost there way with the parts about the Afghanistan war... I found that this was a profound novel, and at times I grouched about the length, but I was entertained, I did learn along the way, and perhaps my perspective also shifted a bit.  So, taking all of that in to consideration, for me, a great read.

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