Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Men at Arms, by Terry Pratchett

Men at Arms (Discworld, #15)Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this Discworld instalment we return to The Watch, Captain Vimes, Corporal Carrot, and a host of other familiar and new characters.

As always Pratchett demonstrates his ease as a story-teller, married closely to wit, madcap humour and endearing moments. While not as many outright guffaws in this yarn about gun (or gonne) control, multiculturalism and destiny, certainly there is an abundance of escapism, heroism and whodunnits.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett

Lords and Ladies (Discworld, #14)Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett, is an outright giggle-fest. Can't remember the last time I laughed so much while reading -- certainly not a book conducive to inducing somnolence.

We returns to the witches of Discworld, Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat who is about to become Queen Magrat and finds herself in an identity crisis and bored to distraction. Boredom on Discworld, however, is never lasting ailment as proven by an attempting invasion by the Sidhe.

Full of screamingly funny romance, Pratchett's deft ability as a story-teller, with a touch of social consciousness thrown in. A great summer, or anytime, read.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: Season of the Rainbirds, by Nadeem Aslam

Season of the RainbirdsSeason of the Rainbirds by Nadeem Aslam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Season of the Rainbirds was Nadeem Aslam's debut novel, first published in 1993, and a dramatic, well-crafted novel it is, taking two literary awards, the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award.

There is an understated control to Aslam's narrative, chronicling the murder of a corrupt Pakistani judge and the seemingly unrelated discovery of missing postal bags of letters from a train crash 19 years earlier.

Within this mystery are two men, one spiritual, one investigative, charged with the protection of the village. Through their stories and their struggles, Aslam reveals the ambiguities of the interpretation of temporal and spiritual laws, of well-meaning perpetuation of ignorance, and the hopelessness of achieving any form of clarity or meaningful justice.

Not unlike Rohinton Mistry in style, Aslam's adept use of understatement and simplicity serve as counterpoint to a complex social order and society. There are no simple answers. The world is shaded in grey, despite attempts by leaders to clearly define and categorize a repressive regime and social system. And Aslam's use of evocative yet simple language and metaphor serve as deft strokes of shading and colour for the reader, creating an unforgettable yet bewildering image.

Recommended reading.

View all my reviews