Review "The Tiger's Wife"

For my Slow Down And Read campaign, I'm slowly working my way through a list of summer reads. Some new, some classic, some literary, some popular. And some of the books I'm listening to as audio versions. This way I can read one book and listen to another. Here's my review of Tiger's Wife:


The Tiger's WifeThe Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I sorta don't get it. True, I did listen to the audio version and that can be different. I don't know. I just expected...more. I thought that there was some terrific writing in it (and the voice of the grandfather will give you chills) but it felt really fractured to me and the payoff wasn't what I was hoping for. The narrator is enjoyable. I think she narrated the Hunger Games series too and I like her style. I liked Obreht's blending of fairytale/folklore with aspects of the war, but all in all, the piece felt too disjointed for me to be left with much of a payoff. It is enjoyable and worthwhile. Maybe all the hype just made me think it was going to be something more than it was.

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Review of "We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver

For the summer, I've committed myself to my own plan to "Slow Down And Read" and I have a list of ten books I'm working on. They're a combination of romance, literary, mystery, historical, and just plain entertaining. This morning, I finished reading "We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. Here is my review (as posted on GoodReads)

We Need to Talk About Kevin (P.S.)We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a brilliant novel. I don't say that lightly. I mean it. It's brilliant. And I think Lionel Shriver is a genius. Her work is like reading a mixture of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Dorothy Parker. She is relentless, fierce, and writes about the underbelly of the psyche. She is also lyrical. "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is not an easy read. The subject matter is daunting (a woman reflects on the signs in her son's life that would lead him to committing a massacre at her school); the voice is ruthless (with lines like when my son was born "I felt nothing"); and still, the piece is utterly compelling.

It leads one to look at the root of evil. Is evil incarnate or is it created? Is a sociopath born or made? Should a child (essentially) be held accountable for his own monstrosity?

It also echoes fears every mother possesses from gestation to the adulthood of a child: What if I give birth to someone who is damaged? Is it my fault? How much of a child's behavior is because of the mother?

The novel plays on fears, but it also explores our own humanity.

A few years ago, I was booked to narrate Shriver's "A Post Birthday World". It was, like this novel, challenging but in the end, thoroughly rewarding both intellectually and emotionally. I haven't been booked to narrate another of her books (though I so wish I would be), so instead I'm vowing to read everything she's ever written. She is not a writer that makes you feel good. No. She challenges you. She gets in your face and makes you uncomfortable. She demands that you analyze your own life and your own choices. For this reason, I can't seem to put her work down. I'm completely, reluctantly, enthralled.

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Review: Bar Divani and the Elk Cove Wine Tasting Dinner

Last night Kealoha and I went to the Elk Cove Wine Tasting Dinner at Bar Divani. Bar Divani is a sophisticated (but not stuffy) restaurant nestled next to Hop Cat and a series of other bars. Walking in, it feels sort of like you’re walking into a place that’s pro-corduroy. Some people hate corduroy. For me that’s a compliment. I mean, that when you walk in it’s all soft and moody and warm feeling, the way corduroy makes me feel without that vvvvvvp vvvvvvvvp sound when you walk.