This book had a lot of promise. It had to be written on a computer, which can recognize misspellings but not incorrect word usage. Where are the editors? Where are the proof readers? If you are an avid reader, sentences like "Their was something so fragile about her..." and "Their was a sweetness between them..." or "They could here the sounds..." (there, hear) are almost offensive. The plot dragged through most of the book, but I stuck with it, eager to see the lovers reunited in the end. Instead of a sweet reunion, it was written like a dream sequence with lots of pointless words and run-on sentences that made NO sense to the plot. BIG disappointment! At one point,the main character shoots and kills a man in cold blood, but we never know who it was or why he did it. I cannot recommend this book, nor would I read another one from this author. D.
It is time for Leo Demidov to retire, and go away. This is the third and highly anticipated book in the Demidov series. The first two were incredibly tense, dealing with the Cold War period of the USSR. This was told in more recent times, i.e. the war in Afghanistan. Because it is now familiar to us as a current event, it is much less tense. Because he is in a foreign country, it is less mysterious. Leo becomes an opium addict after the sudden loss of his wife in NYC. He is forbidden to go to America to solve her murder. Instead, it takes well over 400 pages of effort and war to get through. Many chapters felt irrelevant and could have been left out entirely. I agree with the previous reviewer: this book was too long and too slow to get to the point. Will still look forward to reading this author, however. His prose is smooth and descriptions thorough. You feel as if you are right there with the characters. Hope he can now move on to new territory and leave the Soviets completely. Just sayin'. D.
This is a gentle and surprisingly modern parable about a young man who seeks his personal destiny. He learns about life with each day he gets closer to his goal. With every experience he is taught some truth about life. An easy read, but also one that provokes thought. D.
The story is based during WWII with the focus on the French Occupation and the liberation of France. It follows several young lives from early childhood, and how they are changed forever by war. Beautifully written - indescribably sad. D.
A strange book. Very, very strange. Hard to get into, even harder to describe. Yet I came away from it with a deep sense of satisfaction. The writing was excellent, the story very descriptive and detailed. Full of American icons, i.e. fast food. Suspend all belief in reality and let the plot wash over you. D.
It baffles me how this book earned more than 4 stars! I found it really boring. The only reason I continued to read it to the end was because I thought I was maybe missing something that would make it exceptional in later chapters. NOT so! An okay read at best. D.
As usual with this author, this was a sad, sad tale. At times difficult to follow, when he switches to completely different characters without transition, and you are left to keep reading to find out who the narrator is this time. However, each character is thoroughly covered by telling his own side of the events for the time frame, and eventually the facts of their lives are rounded out. D.
Meet Owen Archer, possibly the world's first undercover cop. Long before DNA, before "caught on tape", even before fingerprints, Owen Archer is asked by the Archbishop to investigate two suspicious deaths at the abbey outside the town of York. It is the fourteenth century, and all he can rely on is questions, reactions, and deductions. He must pretend he needs employment, and becomes an apprentice under Lucie Wilton, who runs her husband's apothacary during his illness, and is herself an apprentice. What really happened at the abbey? Why is Master Wilton so ill? Who was the pilgrim who died first? What really happened to the Summonor? All the characters are well fleshed out and the intrigue continues right to the end...great Medieval mystery! D. (gardngal)
This author can make the history of medicine read like a great novel. You can't help but empathize with the patients who are the people she writes about, and their doctors who struggled to help them in light of a brand new, unknown affliction. The symptoms that are manifested AFTER a person recovered from sleeping sickness are incredibly bizarre. To this day, it is not known what caused this epidemic, nor what might cure it.
Truly a forgotten disease, she wrote this book based on her observatitons of her grandmother, who contracted it as a teenager. Thoroughly researched, it is told on a case by case basis. A fascinating, easy read and a great follow up to "American Plague" by the same author.
Unlike another reviewer, I did not like this book. Initially I was very excited to read another book by this author, having just finished The Life of Pi, and even bought it new. It was a big disapointment. Perhaps it should be read with a group in a book club and discussed as it proceeds. It was hard to get into, and plodded along without much action so that it was tedious to read. The main character, Henry, meets a taxidermist who has written a play. It consists of the conversation between two animals. It is a parable of sorts for the Holocoust. This author seems to use animals in his books to portray his ideas. Then towards the ending, he describes severe, horrendous torture of one of the animals so graphically that it sickened me. If you are sensitive about the suffering of animals or graphic violence, do not read this book. Just my opinion.
Loved this book!!! Tense, psycological thriller that kept me up until 3 AM to finish it. Sincerely hope this author writes more - I checked and this is her only book - :( It is creepy, scary and wonderful. D.
A group of girls in a private school during the Civil War help an injured soldier. Each character tells a part of the story from her own perspective. The book is well written and a good plot. The stylized prose of the period, with it's unfamiliar stiffness and formality made it slow for me to get through. After just a few pages, I was the one who was "beguiled"...it put me to sleep every time. It took more than 125 pages to finally get moving, past all the discussion. I liked it, but couldn't recommend it. D.
Easy to read and easy to follow the characters. This book reminded me of People of the Book, in which an ancient Hebrew manuscript is preserved throughout the centuries, but this is about a Bible. A dying Confederate soldier gives the book to the man who shot him on the last day of the Civil War. This Bible then travels from Pennsylvania to the Gold Rush in Californina, to Egypt, to Belgium and beyond. Each of the people entrusted with it are to "save lives and give life" as predicted by the first person. How each fulfills that prophesy before passing the book to the next person is a fascinating tale. The plot moves along smoothly. It is not difficult to follow the characters, as they all are connected by this particular Bible. Excellent story, excellent writing! I really enjoyed this book. D.
This is an excellent look at the Old Testament, a part of the Bible that is not easily understood even by the author. He studied it extensively and came to conclusions that make it easier to relate to from our modern perspective. He reduces certain books to their simple solid form and explains how they can be meaningful to us and how they relate to our belief in God.
Like The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil, The Bird's Nest is about the many hidden personalities in the mind of a young woman. Unlike those stories, which are told from the perspective of the therapist who discovers the condition of the patient, this one is told from the perspective of the many characters who people the book, not only the personalities themselves, but including the treating doctor and the aunt. How the personalities force the girl to behave, think and act while they are "in charge" makes for very fascinating reading. A fast and excellent read - very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is the most powerful book I have read in quite some time. Liesel is a small girl of nine, on a train with her mother and brother to meet her foster parents. She will live with her Papa and Mama on Himmel Street in an impoverished suburb of Munich from 1939 to the end of the war. She is initially illiterate, but Papa lovingly teaches her to read. To relieve the boredom and for the shear love of words, she takes to stealing books - her most precious possessions. The story is narrated by Death, but not in a morbid or morose way at all; instead, Death is rather bemused by humans, and is an observer of the way humans interact. He will even state, "He didn't deserve to die like that."
What this girl learns and experiences during the next five years of her life, as she moves into adolescence during the war in Nazi Germany, is a moving story of love, hardship, compassion and survival.
I must add a note about the writing itself. The author uses words and expressions that are very unique, and I found reading his book delightful.
Is there a possibility that children who are diagnosed with autism or adults who seem to have schizophrenia actually are misdiagnosed? That instead they are victims of this rare and hard to track disease instead? This book shows how the author had all the symptoms of madness and was on the verge of being admitted for mental illness. The doctors who persisted in finding the true cause of her sudden onset of illness had only recently discovered this brain inflammation...and brought her back to her self again. An amazing story of her lost month. D.