31.7.12

bookpost: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, #5)First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have loved the first four books in the Thursday Next series, in which a literary detective in a decidedly more literary world than ours finds a way to enter books and works in Bookworld, where the stories are kept for reader to access.

I found this one to be too much science and not enough fiction. I don't really care how the whole thing works.

Also, the cliches about teenagers and politicians were tired the first time but are repeated too often throughout the novel.

There's still a lot clever stuff going on, but like so much comedy, it seemed to be overly self-referential for my tastes.

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bookpost: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (goodreads)

Life and Fate (Vintage Classics) Life and Fate (Vintage Classics) by Vasily Grossman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 800+ page novel is difficult to describe because of its scope. The setting is the Soviet Union during the seige of Stalingrad, but the dozens of characters deal with their place in the war, their relationship to Stalinism and/or Fascism, and their more basic human relationships. It follows dozens of characters and has an aspect of being a history, but it is also thoughtful and often poetic. In its dealings with the psychology of the characters in relationship to a totalitarian STate, it reminded me of Orwell's 1984, but it goes much deeper and gives a greater sense of the reality of that existence.

Don't let the Russian names or the eight page list of characters scare you off: this is a definite must read.

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