Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Lover – Marguerite Duras

The Lover – Marguerite Duras

This was the last of the classic french novels for my historical fiction study group. I bought the Kindle edition and read it while I was out-and-about; waiting for appointments, or to collect children, so my reading was scattered and very unfocused. This was not helped by the style of the book, which jumped about a bit.

Here’s the blurb …

Saigon, 1930s: a poor young French girl meets the elegant son of a wealthy Chinese family. Soon they are lovers, locked into a private world of passion and intensity that defies all the conventions of their society.

One thing I noticed was that, despite the shortness of the novel (more of a novella), it packed in a lot. And the detail was vivid – the hat, the shoes, the ferry on the Mekong, etc.

This isn’t my favourite classic french novel (that’s Madame Bovary).

More reviews …

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/01/nnp/duras-lover.html?module=inline

On a Pedestal

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The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things

I first saw this novel on Mercy’s Musings and then when I saw it at the library I decided I had to read it.

Here’s the blurb …

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world…’

From the author of Under the Skin and The Crimson Petal and the White, the first novel from Michel Faber in fourteen years is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart

Peter Leigh is a husband, a Christian, and now a missionary. As The Book of Strange New Things opens, he is set to embark on a journey that will be the biggest test of his faith yet.

From the moment he says goodbye to his wife, Bea, and boards his flight, he begins a quest that will challenge his religious beliefs, his love and his understanding of the limits of the human body.

This momentous novel is Faber at his expectation-defying best. It is a brilliantly compelling book about love in the face of death, and the search for meaning in an unfathomable universe.

The plot of this novel is quite quirky – a foreign planet with indigenous inhabitants who want to learn more about Jesus. The planet, Oasis, is interesting – strange spiral rain (I think the cover is inspired by the rain), no big flora (there is a mushroom the Oasans use to manufacture all sorts of food for the humans), or fauna (apart from the Oasans, bugs and a strange duck thing).

There is an underlying sense of dread or menace – what happened to the previous minister? what are USIC’s plans for Oasis? that keep you turning the pages. It is beautifully written, full of detail that creates the new world of Oasis, but also show us the decay of the Earth.

It is about faith (and what that means), family and what we owe to each other as a community.

More reviews …

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/26/book-of-strange-new-things-michel-faber-review

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/book-review-the-book-of-strange-new-things-by-michel-faber/2014/11/25/143d099c-70fd-11e4-ad12-3734c461eab6_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fee0f10857a0

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