The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

 

Description: Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors who came to the islands were financially and culturally progressive one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the states largest landowners. But now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control 10-year-old Scottie has a smart-ass attitude and a desperate need for attention and 17-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. His thrill-seeking and high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat racing accident, and will soon be taken off life support. The King family can hardly picture life without their charismatic mother, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them and spurs them into surprising actions.

Jonathan Davis narrates.

Book before film.

LATER: No film for me, it would ruin this story in the mind’s eye. The Descendants is not 5* perfect, however it is pretty darn fantastic debut, and so well read by Davis. I have internal film of all the family members, and that, right there, shows how finely wrought Hemmings has crafted them.

My one-liner sum up is this: Mr King, father to Valley Girls, new millenium style, has to grow thick skin in order to keep his family together in the aftermath of tragedy and amidst revelations of disloyalty.

Four and a half Hawaiian Islands

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The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen, Kenneth Steven (Translator)

The Half Brother
 

bookshelves: translation, one-penny-wonder, norway, families, epic-proportions, summer-2012, tbr-busting-2012, published-2001, teh-demon-booze, teh-brillianz

Read from April 13 to June 26, 2012

 

Translated from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven

Opening: Thirteen hours in Berlin and I was already a wreck.

Came across this author/translator combination in the menacing short story about a barber in The Norwegian Feeling for Real

Page 19: ‘Like a Sphinx,’ I replied. ‘Like a blue sphinx that has torn loose from a floodlit plinth.’

Page 29:  ‘Now I’ll tell you word for word what that wretched creature wrote! We, his close followers, now bow our heads at his death.’ (This refers to the afternoon edition of Aftenposten 7th May 1945.)

 

The Chocolate Girl pulls Arnold down beside her and puts her arms around him. Arnold grows in her arms and she explains just about everything to him.”

page 141:
Mundus vult decipi – The world will be taken in
Ergo decipiatur – thus it is deceived

Page 159: ‘He talks like a novel we once threw in the stove.’

 

Page 177: Røst ö, a fullstop in the sea

Page 179: 

‘And besides, they haven’t tarmacked over the Moskenes whirlpool yet.’

 

Page 239: “ Livin’ Lovin’ Doll – Cliff Richard Mum and Dad danced in the living room and for the remainder of the night they were equally loud in bed.”

 

Page 332: ‘Why is it called Greenland when there is only ice there?’ I asked. ‘Because the first people who reached it found a beautiful flower called convallaria, Barnum.'”

Page 335: I skipped supper and went to bed before ten, even though I wasn’t especially tired and I actually loathed the slow movement before you fell asleep, when you just lie there and time stretches like an elastic band, like round brackets, like a blue balloon.

Page 475: And Lauren Bacall looks at Bogart – she glows, glows in black and white, and her nostrils flare like an animal’s, the nostrils of a lioness. And she laughs – Bacall’s laughter – she mocks him, You’re a mess, aren’t you? And Bogart just answers, I’m not very tall either. Next time I’ll come on stilts.

 

Page 531: Sinnataggen, Frogner Park. Famous statue of an angry child.”

IMHO The defining moment of this story comes on Page 686: ‘What’s your favourite film?’

‘Hunger,’ I told her.

She smiled, pleased with the answer. ‘So your script is a kind of response to Hamsun?’

‘You could well say that,’ I agreed.

‘And your description of this farm, which is almost synonomous with a penal colony, is a kind of revolt against Hamsun’s fascism?’

 

The best summation I can come up with is that this documents the Norwegians return to Hamsun’s body of work in these years since he wrote that damnable obituary and this story is Hamsun-esque with a modern makeover. Truly astounding.

 

Eyrie by Tim Winton

bookshelves: published-2013, lit-richer, fraudio, contemporary, australia, midlife-crisis, teh-demon-booze, next, abandoned

Read from March 03 to 05, 2014

 

rosado mp3. Read by Michael Veech (sp?)

Description: Eyrie is beautifully written and wonderfully funny and marks the return of master storyteller Tim Winton. Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Zikes, the opening tips one straight into an overblown thesaurus session voiced by a whiny middle-aged self indulgent waster. Surely I must have to give it more than 10 minutes to be fair :O/

[not much later] I think this is where Winton and I agree that we are wanting to go to different horizons.

2* Land’s Edge
AB Eyrie

McX: A Romance of the Dour by Todd McEwen

bookshelves: paper-read, one-penny-wonder, published-1991, britain-scotland, fife, palate-cleanser, amusing, summer-2014, tbr-busting-2014, teh-demon-booze, racism, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, giftee

Read from March 04 to June 27, 2014

 

Description: A fretful inspector of weights and measures, McX is unhealthy, unsightly, unloved and, to top it all, he comes from Fife. His grim existence centres on the Auld Licht, a dank, maloderous public house haunted by the dank, maloderous and dreadful McPint; a man unstintingly devoted to beer, peanuts and pornography. McX, meanwhile, dreams of fair women and requited love in a rural idyll – a Scotland without rain, without repression, and without McPint. He resolves, quite simply, to escape.

Little know you of the hearts
I have hidden here. Hogg

Opening: Consider a long and famous river, it teems with salmon and story. Winds majestic through the most various of Scottish shires. Where it passes under several bridges and reflects a suggestion of Georgian elegance, sad tales begin.

Although this was published in 1991 it does read like an out-in-the-sticks 70s offering, I’m sure that the hugely offensive terms ‘wogs’ and ‘niggers’ had long been shown the door by everybody else’s 1990s.

Take no notice of the Aberdeen-esque chunterings from other dour reviewers, this is ladishly pithy, gloomily pawky, and a fat satirical prod at lowlanders in general and Fifers in particular: I’m sure Ian Rankin would have had a chuckle.

The sun is known in Scotland, but chiefly through myth and legend.[..] Appearance of chicken flesh at the first jerk of the thermometer: Scots in the sun. What need to brown yourselves? You’ll be roasting in Hell soon enough. Page 103

Good enough as a palate-cleanser.

The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys by Lilian Pizzichini

bookshelves: spring-2014, biography, under-500-ratings, published-2009, teh-demon-booze, mental-health, books-about-books-and-book-shops, sleazy, london

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from April 26 to May 03, 2014


R4x

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kcr2q

Lets see what Pizzichini has uncovered about this author-of-the-winge.

Description: Pooky Quesnel reads from Lillian Pizzichini’s biography of the author Jean Rhys, best known for the 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea.

Episode 1: Jean will one day lead a dramatic and colourful life in Paris, Vienna and London, but life begins for her on the Windward Island of Dominica.

Episode 2: Arriving from the West Indies at the age of 17, Jean is sent to a chilly girls’ school in Cambridge.

Episode 3: Jean becomes a chorus girl in Edwardian London and learns about love the hard way.

Episode 4: Now married but still penniless, things start to look up for Jean when she moves to Vienna in 1920.

Episode 5: It is now the 1930s and Jean has become an established writer, but it will be 30 years before she delivers her best-known work.

Flowery rendering made for a squirm-ridden encounter. It didn’t help Pizzichini’s corner that two superbly written biographies were on my desk at the same time:

The Valley
Wedlock

The Blackhouse

bookshelves: published-2009, tbr-busting-2014, series, winter-20132014, mystery-thriller, e-book, britain-scotland, gr-library, contemporary, first-in-series, medical-eew, religion, glbt, bullies, bedside, hebridean, zoology, teh-demon-booze, revenge

Read from June 19, 2013 to March 05, 2014

Here we go: They are just kids. Sixteen years old. Emboldened by alcohol. and hastened by the approaching Sabbath, they embrace the dark in search of love and find only death.

Excellent; looking forward to the next.

The Guga Hunt, Sula Sgeir. The chute used to drop the guga down to the boat.

3.5* The Blackhouse
TR The Lewis Man (Lewis Trilogy, #2)
TR The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy, #3)

Crossposted:
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Sugar for the Horse by H.E. Bates

bookshelves: published-1957, winter-20132014, radio-4x, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, bedfordshire, britain-england, amusing, bucolic-or-pastoral, teh-demon-booze, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, under-10-ratings

Read from January 27 to February 02, 2014

 

Description: H E Bates published two collections of stories in which Uncle Silas reminisces about the pleasures of a long life spent bringing joy to the deserving (mostly himself and the women of Bedfordshire) and confounding the undeserving (authority, mostly). Cowslip wine, poaching and very large pigs loom large, as does fruit: raspberries, gooseberries, apples are all described with a lushness bordering on the erotic. Well, not so much bordering on as indistinguishable from. The recipient of these tales is Silas’s young great-nephew, who moves from innocent faith in the old man’s every word – however outrageous the event described – to a realisation that his escapades are for the most part exaggerations, if not downright inventions. He doesn’t let on, of course: his faith gives way to secret admiration and delight in the endless inventiveness of a master storyteller. Edward Ardizzone’s pen-and-ink illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment to the text.

1. The Widder: The incorrigible Uncle Silas heads off to sup wine with a widow. HE Bates’ country tale is read by David Neal.

2. The Blue Feather: Loveable rogue Uncle Silas gets caught poaching.

3. Queenie White: Mischievous Uncle Silas recalls an amorous brush with a buxom publican’s wife.

4. The Singing Pig: The incorrigible Uncle Silas gets nostalgic over a melodic porker.

5. Aunt Tibby: A cunning landlady proves to be as resourceful as the mischievous Uncle Silas.

Trivia about the author, sourced from wiki: During World War II he was commissioned into the RAF solely to write short stories. The Air Ministry realised that the populace was less concerned with facts and figures about the war than it was with reading about those who were fighting it. The stories were originally published in the News Chronicle under the pseudonym of “Flying Officer X”. Later they were published in book form as The Greatest People in the World and Other Stories and How Sleep the Brave and Other Stories.

4* The Darling Buds of May
4* Fair Stood the Wind for France
2* Love for Lydia
3* A Little of What You Fancy
4* My Uncle Silas
4* Sugar for the Horse
3* Country Tales