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Spiritchaser's book reviews

Discussion in 'Member Book Reviews/Journals/Blogs' started by Spiritchaser, May 30, 2014.

  1. Spiritchaser

    Spiritchaser New Member

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    Greetings, here's where I will share my thoughts on books that I have recently read. I'll try my best not to spoil the plot so basically my reviews will briefly outline the book's themes, describe my expectations of the book as well as the overall intellectual/emotional impact it left on me.


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    Book Review 1: Cry, the Beloved Country (Alan Paton)

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    “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that's the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”

    So ever since I embark on my world literature exploration, I've wanted to read something from Africa and East Asian literature, two regions which fascinate me for their culture and history. So here's a book that based on the title and favorable reviews, gave me high expectations. Lyrical, poetic, honest - the kind of novel that transcends geographical boundaries but still retaining the authenticity and perspective of history. Often called the 'greatest South African novel of the 20th century', Paton's novel is an essential piece of work, considering that it touches upon the apartheid - a tragic stain on the country's history.

    An elderly priest travels from his village to Johannesburg in search of his lost son. The novel is a searing indictment of poverty, worker exploitation and native violence of his native land. It's prose is lucid and easy to understand, but powerful in evoking a sense of indignation. Paton's writing opens up a place that is inhospitable to living, yet portrays his characters with such humanism that despite it's heavy content, still manages to be uplifting.

    Rating: 3.5 / 5
     
    SFG75 likes this.
  2. Spiritchaser

    Spiritchaser New Member

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    Book Review 2: The Tunnel (Ernesto Sabato)

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    “And it was as if the two of us had been living in parallel passageways or tunnels, never knowing that we were moving side by side, like souls in like times, finally to meet at the end of those passageways before a scene I had painted as a kind of key meant for her alone, as a kind of secret sign that I was there ahead of her and that the passageways finally had joined and the hour for our meeting had come.

    A seemingly senseless act of murder. How can one bring himself to kill the one person he truly loves in his life? Shades of Camus. While Camus's disarming nihilism depicts the act as a mundane occurrence of which the person has no free will (in order words his act was driven by external forces such as time, location, weather, etc.), Sabato's antagonist is a perfectly rational man of considerable intellect, inundated by conflicting thoughts and emotions which he struggles to resolve in the events leading up to the final act. It's not completely senseless or aimless; but perhaps an act of utter conviction, when the person tries to find reasons for every insignificant gesture of his lover, and stumbles upon all the plausible justifications for committing it. Perhaps the only crime which he commits is the crime of reason, when too much reasoning becomes the unreasonable.

    As the title implies, the reader is sent hurtling down the metaphorical tunnel, the end we all know awaits us, but the means to which the end is reached remain mysterious and frightening.

    Rating: 3.5 / 5
     

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