Sunday, November 08, 2015

From the Archives: Fiction 2006

I began keeping a reading journal several years before I began blogging. I find it interesting to sift through my thoughts of books that I read back then. My reviews were often brief and contained little substance, but I thought it'd be fun to document them here on my blog as well as share them with you. Here are some of my reviews from 2006:


The People’s Republic of Desire by Annie Wang
Harper, 2006
Fiction; 445 pgs

I read somewhere that this book is like the popular American TV show, Sex in the City, but set in Bejing. I only saw the American TV show a couple of times. The main character was a columnist who explored being young and single in New York. The People’s Republic of Desire is much like that. Narrated by Niuniu, an American Chinese woman who returned to China after she has her heart broken in the United States, readers are introduced to contemporary Beijing and other major Chinese cities through the eyes of young women and men. The novel read like a series of vignettes and essays in many respects as Ms. Wang touches on various cultural topics regarding ethnicity, love, sex, money, and power. In exploring the lives and motivations of her friends and acquaintances, Niuniu also learns more about herself. I enjoyed The People’s Republic of Desire quite a bit. I found it entertaining and interesting. Because the copy I have is an uncorrected proof, I can forgive the multiple typographical errors. One thing I found particularly annoying in this novel, however, was that the author’s attempt to get information across through dialogue at times seemed more like a lecture and less like the conversation it was portrayed as being relayed through. This happened on at least two or three occasions. Fortunately, the book had many redeeming qualities. 


Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Dial Press, 2002
Fiction; 291 pgs

As Kate's nephew's 18th birthday approaches, memories of her life in Crow Lake resurface and at times overwhelm her. Orphaned at a young age, the Morrisons were forced to pull together to survive. Kate's two older brothers made many sacrifices for their family in order for the four siblings to stay together. Kate's recollections also took readers into the lives of the Pyes, another family in Crow Lake, whose fate seemed far worse than the Morrisons. No one in the Morrison family or even the others in their community truly understood just how bad it was for the Pye children or how their lives would eventually be connected. Crow Lake is a novel that delves into the heart of family sacrifice, community, disappointments, and family love. The novel started off slow but eventually found its groove. Kate is not the type of character that a person easily warms to. Her personality is on the dry side and yet it is hard not to feel empathy toward her and her situation. She has a lot to learn, both about herself and her family, in particular her brother Matt. I was most taken by the sacrifices her brothers made in order so that Kate, her sister and the two brothers could stay together in Crow Lake. The way the community came together for the family was heartwarming.


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

10 comments:

  1. Crow Lake is such a great book! It was one that had me sobbing at the end. Ugly crying as Kate realised the sacrifices made for her. I've read all Mary Lawson's books now, but Crow Lake is the best. The others are very good, but Crow Lake is the top.

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    1. Elizabeth - I am pretty sure the end had me crying too. This was the only book by Lawson I've read so far. I am glad to hear you like her others as well. I will have to check them out. :-)

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  2. Crow Lake sounds intense and like a really good read. I'm not so sure about The People's Republic of Desire. I'm not a fan of getting lectured in my entertainment!

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    1. Katherine - Yeah, being lectured in a book is not something I enjoy either. I honestly can't remember anything about the book all these years later--maybe that says something too.

      Crow Lake was good and I would recommend it.

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  3. I remember really enjoying Crow Lake when I read it way back when.

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    1. Diane - It feels like so long ago when I read it . . .

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  4. I haven't read or even heard of either of these, but Crow Lake sounds good. (Although I can never see the name Pye without thinking of the rather disagreeable extended family in the Anne of Green Gables books.)

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    1. Lark - Haha! I haven't read the Anne of Green Gable books yet, but I have heard of Anne's extended family. :-)

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  5. I'm not sure about The People's Republic of Desire; it doesn't really sound appealing to me. However, Crow Lake sounds like a good one so I'll probably check that out.

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    1. Melody - I must have liked something about The People's Republic of Desire based on my review. :-) I really can't remember the book now though. I hope you like Crow Lake if you read it!

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