Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You win some....

I finished Stephen Carter's New England White and although I hate the whole starred rating thing, I'd only give it a three out of five. Too much meandering through the plot. Too much of that annoying pedantic, condescending tone that comes so naturally to law professors. Um... So now I know it's "spitten image" and not "spitting image." Woo hoo! When my eyes FINALLY limped to the finish line at page 565 I felt the way I did when I saw my Con Law grade during 1L -- confused and disappointed but thinking that at least I'm a tiny bit smarter for the awful experience. The whole anagram thing just didn't seem to work; it was forced and it, well, didn't work. I loved the characterizations -- Vanessa and the older son were written very well. Carter obviously is good at this so what went wrong? Who knows? Maybe this is not really his game. Maybe he should stick to the policy and legal scholarship. Sometimes the Ivory Tower is just where some folks belong. And there's nothing wrong with that...
Unburnable on the other hand. All I can say is I'm so mad at the mainstream media for ignoring this magnifient piece of work. This is the "Beloved" of our generation. This was one of the most haunting, magical pieces of fiction I've ever read. And for a debut that's saying a lot. I will not go on and on about this because the fact that I'm Dominican is probably coloring my evaluation. But Marie-Elena John did an outstanding job here. I don't think I'll ever forget Matilda swinging from a tree. Did I mention that I picked it up at 10 p.m. one night thinking that I'd read for an hour and then go to sleep and when I closed the book it was 3 a.m. but I was still wide awake and wishing that I hadn't finished it so quickly?
I also read Kim McLarin's Jump at the Sun and she's great. Wonderful, realistic story, a very deft writer. She's going to be one of my favorites, I can tell.
This week, I'll take on a Thousand Splendid Suns and I'm going to give Great Expectations another look-see.

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