Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Truth and Bright Water, by Thomas King

Truth and Bright WaterTruth and Bright Water by Thomas King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thomas King is that rare writer capable of not only telling a compelling, interesting story, but of seamlessly marrying that to literary devices which, like a painter who understands the medium, is capable of allowing the transfer of light off and through opaque and transparent pigments, creating depth where before there was only two dimensions.

Truth and Bright Water is a story of restoration, reparation, relocation of both the body and the spirit. It follows the lives of a two young boys, and an artist who restores paintings. And it is so much more than that.

In weaving together the narratives of these people, King creates a remarkable, sustained metaphor wherein a church is restored by the artist, returning it to the land by painting it to blend into the landscape around it, yet the church's interior, like a Tardis, remains, in this case the habitation and, if you will, the spirit of the artist who has taken an edifice of misery to the First Nations and made it part of his own self. It is a brilliant bit of writing.

Highly recommended.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, by Lady Colin Campbell

The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen MotherThe Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother by Lady Colin Campbell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Campbell has penned a prurient, verbose, self-aggrandizing pseudo-biography worthy of the British scandal sheets. To call this tittle-tattle a biography is to shame every journalist of integrity, for journalism this is not.

This reader, having been subjected to egregious gossip throughout this interminable book, came away no more enlightened as to any of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon's accomplishments or history. Instead, Campbell has delved into her own personal speculation, snobbery and even racism of the worst sort, putting forth arguments of a medical, political and societal nature on which she is unqualified to write, and plainly is too cavalier to bother to research. Why research when we can have tea with Lady Such-and-So and gossip away the afternoon?

It is ridiculous in the extreme to put forth the argument the Queen Mother was a harridan exceeding her ancestor, Lady Macbeth; that Edward VIII would have single-handedly kept together the British Empire; that Wallis Simpson would have made a far better queen by virtue of her fashion elan.

What is plain is Campbell's obsession with superficial beauty, starvation-mode thinness, the need to associate within accepted, rarefied circles, and a compulsion to the nasty degradation of anyone Campbell feels unacceptable. In short, Campbell has penned a gossip sheet right out of discussions in her own parlour whisperings.

Not once does Campbell make even slight mention of the Queen Mother's extensive charitable work, the extraordinary strides to which she and George V went to bolster British spirit and capability during WWII. Instead we are given to believe the Queen Mother was an old soak who lay abed gorging on chocolates and manipulating every person within her sphere of control, and avoiding any sexual congress whatever with her husband. She even goes so far to assert all of the Queen Mother's children were the result of artificial insemination, so allegedly adverse was the Queen Mother to intercourse.

George V is portrayed as a booby. Edward VIII as the mistreated exiled king. Which does not even touch upon the the fictional creations she has made of Charles, Margaret, Phillip and even Elizabeth Regis.

Truly, if you want to read a decent biography of the Queen Mother, choose some other author, nay any other author than what this ridiculous dabbler has created in this trumped up bit of tripe.

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Review: Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10)Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Classic Terry Pratchett. A fun, witty spoof on Hollywood. What more is there to say?

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