Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book review : Widow For A Year by John Irving

This is an interesting book. One of the best I have read so far and interestingly one I bought at a book sale, so really this book was a trial on the author book. However I did buy a book by the same author in another book sale before, called The Fourth Hand. It was an interesting enough book and I wonder why I didn’t purchase any other titles until this one.

A remarkable book with 2 protagonists, Ruth and Eddie. They first met when Ruth was 4 and Eddie 16. Eddie was working as a writer’s assistant to Ruth’s father Ted, who was a famous children's book writer. At that time Ruth’s parents were already living apart. Through Ted’s machinations, Eddie became Ruth’s mother Marion’s lover and the two had a passionate (on Eddie’s side. Marion’s feelings were not spoken of much ) affair. The sad thing was ( to me it is sad ) it made Eddie inclined to relationships with much older women. In fact, he only could fall in love with older women. At the end of that summer, Marion left leaving Ruth with her father.

The second part of the novel told how Ruth and Eddie met again after so many years. Both writers, Ruth a successful one and became firm friends. At this point I expected Ruth and Eddie to become lovers but they didn’t and I was not disappointed the book didn’t go my way. In fact I was very much intrigued and read on, curious what the writer has in store for them.

The final part of the novel described Ruth in her widowhood and when she found love for the first time. Eddie ? Well he got what he wish for ( no ending spoiler here ).

Although the book basically gave both characters happy ending but I was unhappy for Eddie. Here is this decent guy who is beautiful ( I imagined beauty like Tobey Maguire, the non-threatening like gorgeousness because Eddie is a decent guy and who is more decent that Spidey ? ) inside and out ( his character flaw is his nervousness and lack of confidence .. kinda weak really ) but his entire life is wasted on pinning for Marion. He doesn’t have children and none of his relationships lasted … well because by the time he was fifty. All his lovers were geriatrics !!

I like it because again the plot is different and yet the same. Different because it gave me a glimpse of a life without children ( by choice because they terrified Eddie and Hannah, Ruth’s best friend, just didn’t want them ) and without close family ties. It is also about a kind-hearted egomaniacal pervert cum adulterer ( yup.. that is how I describe Ted ), making me think.. WOW ! Not all perverts cum adulterers are all bad … ha ha…Well… not funny…. It has murder, love, right amount of tragedy and happy ending.

What a guy book. Anyway… read it…

PS :- I finally found the book I had been coveting for years !! I am reading it carefully, savouring every word and details, trying to make it last as long as I could. What a literary genius !! The review coming up next !

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Telly Review : Brothers and Sisters

Every Tuesday night at 10 pm ( okay I am very much confused with hari Isnin malam Selasa or hari Khamis malam Jumaat business. Just to keep the record straight, to me malam Selasa is Selasa itself. When I sleep on malam Selasa, I will wake up on hari Rabu ) Dan and I will be glued to the telly watching Brothers and Sisters on StarWorld channel.

It is great series about Sally Field and her 5 children and how they cope after the death of their father. The most intriguing part of the story is the emergence of their father’s mistress. Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths play the daughters and the lovely Rob Lowe is in it too.

What I love about the series is the honest portrayal of a real family. The drama is not exactly sugar-coated affair, as an escape from reality for the viewers but it is feel good enough for us to have some hope left. The writers and producers to me strike a good balance of reality and Disney happy-ever-after very well, sort of like there is a silver lining in every misfortune kind of thing.

It has enough romance and comedy and tragedy coupled with excellent acting to get us hooked.

I was having dinner with my family the other day when we realised that Brothers and Sisters would be starting in 5 minutes. We bid a hasty goodbye to catch the show and Shera too wanted to race home for it. My mother’s parting remark ? “ Keluarga ni dah cukup banyak borthers and sisters yang buat pening kepala semua, hangpa nak pi tengok pasal orang lain tu buat pa ? ” Yelah, yelah….
PS: Tapi tengok gak. Semalam punya best….

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Book Review : If Andy Warhol Had A Girlfriend by Alison Pace

I love going to book sales because those are the only times I dared to buy books from suspicious looking and sounding authors. Those are the times when I am allowed to not judge a book by it’s cover because the cover is cheap. This is the only time I could gamble my money to buy works by unknown writers.

I have been successful a few times and there were times when I just fling the book out and cross the author from my list.

Anyway during the recent Times Bookstore sale in PJ, I bought the above-mentioned book by the above-mentioned author and I was captivated. This is definitely one of my success stories. The book was wonderfully written, the language simple. I hate books where the author tried to impress readers with their vocabulary prowess and difficult sentence structure. Usually we ended up confused and had to re-read the same sentence over and over again, to make head and tails of what was going on ( especially crucial when you read a whodunit book ).

I totally could relate to the heroine as we share the same fears and wishes and hopes. There are some weird Christmas scene about a game that involved the family schnautzer, but it was just minor part and excusable.

The book tells the story of Jane who worked for an art gallery. Her boss is difficult and rude and some of her colleagues came to work armed with knives specially designed for back stabbing. On top of it all ( plus being unceremoniously dumped by her Texan boyfriend ) she was forced to travel for 5 months with the country’s newest art prodigy and was dreading it.

But of course, never think negatively of anybody unless you know for sure he is rotten and totally deserves it. The book predictably ends with a lovely lovey-dovey scene, but that is what we always hope for, ain’t it ?

PS : Saw Sumolah again some time ago. Somehow, I was not as impressed as I was before. I was rather blah to me, the second time around. Apa jadi yek ? Maybe because when I saw it at the movies the first time, I was 3 seats away from the screen and developed a headache halfway through ? Possibly…..