Sunday, January 29, 2006

amazon book reviews

Here are my first two book reviews. I plan to write a review for every book I read from here on forth, either for Amazon or just here on my humble ol' blog.

Review of "A Multitude of Sins" by Richard Ford

A Multitude of Sins (Vintage Contemporaries) by Richard FordEdition: Paperback
Price: $10.40

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47 used & new from $0.29

The master's hand is revealed, January 27, 2006

Most of the stories in "A Multitude of Sins," particularly "Puppy" and "Abyss," ring true and authentic and resonate with feeling. I cared about the characters and they seemed real to me. But the rest of the stories seemed to be an authorial exercise exploring a theme, and it seemed almost like seeing a play where, just at the moment you've suspended your disbelief, right when you're starting to get into the characters and the dialogue, right when you're magically transported into their world, a stage hand rustles a curtain backstage and the moment is ruined. I like Ford's style, though. If he errs on the side of wordiness in over-examining his characters, his descriptions of them are often beautiful and lushly detailed. This was my first Ford book. I plan to read "The Sportswriter" next or maybe "Rock Springs." Reader reviews suggest these are better examples of Ford's writing than "...Sins."

Black Sun by Edward AbbeyEdition: Paperback
Price: $4.95
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clunky, but enjoyable read, January 27, 2006

I tore through "Black Sun" in a couple days. I find Abbey's dialogue, both here and in his more famous "Monkey Wrench Gang," to be a bit clunky, but his nature descriptions are spot on. The main character, Gatlin, is a ranger who works alone on a fire lookout tower in some unnamed western locale (though by the clues given it seems to be somewhere near the Grand Canyon). Gatlin's crisis: Can he leave nature for the love of a woman? For anyone enthralled by wild places, adventure, travel, or any other pursuit that supersedes relationships, this dilemma is remarkably prescient. Readers looking for the curmudgeonly environmental polemicist Abbey in "Black Sun" will be disappointed. Readers can expect an easy read, beautiful nature descriptions, and a simple, tragic, poetically elegaic love story. Abbey never was very good at portraying the human condition. He regarded our species as a scourge on the landscape. But "Black Sun" is the most human book he ever wrote.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Hi from NYC :)

Great pic.