Monday, June 15, 2015

Making use of recovery

I'm now into my third week of convalescence. Chaffing a bit. Feeling bored with baby steps and caution and sensibility. Needs must behave, allow myself to heal and fully recovery before leaping off into the great beyond.

So it is I find myself confined to the first and second floors of The Old Stone House, the loft which is my office banned for now. That means the majority of my day to day work routine is verboten, not just because of inability to access the space, but also to pace myself.

I've decided to take advantage of this forced confinement and finish the first draft of The Rose Guardian. Truthfully I'm almost there. All that's required is about another 30,000 words, which is the linking sections to tie together the three narratives of this story. Given I have another three to five weeks in my convalescence, I think it not unreasonable to be able to finish. Then off to Robert for first reading and editing.

We'll see how that plan plays out.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: The Pearl that Broke Its Shell, by Nadia Hashimi

The Pearl that Broke Its ShellThe Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nadia Hashimi's The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a devastating lens on the horrors of being a woman in Afghanistan, plain and simple. Not the sort of novel one picks up for a light afternoon read, Hashimi, while retaining literary integrity, reveals the myriad daily, devastating details of the absolute subjugation, ownership and commodification of the female sex within this patriarchal, warlord society which is governed by a bastardization of Islam. The novel is relentless.

Hashimi employs a simple narrative style, without embellishment, allowing actions to carry her message. Her characterization is very strong. Her environmental detail is seamless, weaving into the narrative without arresting pauses.

Altogether a novel you should read if for no other reason than to expand your understanding of a culture alien and frightening to Western thinking.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Helene Wecker creates a fascinating tale across cultures, mythologies and time in The Golem and the Jinni. The first of these cultural explorations occurs through the introduction of a kabalistic golem, created as a wife for a immigrant to New York. Instructed not to awaken the golem until he arrives in the new world, the husband ignores the rogue rabbi's caveat, and in the moment of his joy he dies, leaving the golem adrift and frightened without a master to serve.

Concurrent with this, a Syrian tinsmith is brought an olive oil decanter for repair, and in his work removes some of the ancient inscriptions for later reintroduction. The result is the appearance of an arrogant, reckless youth who ends up becoming his apprentice and an artisan in his own right, a youth who is, in fact, a jinni.

As is to be expected, the golem meets the jinni. A tenuous friendship blooms. Their lives intertwine, collide, separate and explode, drawing with them the cultural communities with which they have become involved.

The writing is competent, although there are a few moments of point of view shift; the plot albeit somewhat predictable is entertaining.

Not high literature, but certainly an entertaining read. Not your average urban fantasy, and an interesting melange of cultures which have historically been at odds with one another.

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