21 July 2004

More Fiction

Unlike graphic novels, I haven't read so much prose fiction lately. I'm not sure why, really. Maybe because I've been trying to finish up all the non-fiction I got at the library so I can return it.
  1. City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende. This is a really lovely YA novel by a writer known for her adult fiction. I've read her Eva Luna and Portrait in Sepia, and I have Tales of Eva Luna on the shelf waiting to be read, so I knew I'd like it. There were a few things that bugged me, though. I don't know if it was the translation or the original, but there were an awful lot of really bad cliché phrases (I suspect the translator was trying to find English equivalents for colloquialisms that wouldn't have worked in direct translation). There were also quite a few places with small, but unnecessary and jarring repetitions. Despite the little flaws, though, this is a marvelous book, full of that kind of magic that isn't blatant fantasy but seems perfectly natural at the time of reading. I noticed that the sequel is out, so I'll be watching for it at the library (and used/discount book stores).
  2. The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brien. This is the guy who wrote the book(s) that the movie Master and Commander (which I never did get to the theatre to see) was based on. I'd seen O'Brien's fiction mentioned on both Language Log and Languagehat, so I expected a writer who loves language. I also expected a difficult read, full of obscure terms and antiquated grammar. I got the first, but not the second, which made me very happy. This book isn't in the Aubrey/Maturin series (as Master and Commander is). The blurb on the back suggested it would be a good place to start with O'Brien's writing, as it's an earlier book, and a good sampler if one isn't sure about getting stuck into such a long series. I think the blurb was probably right. I really enjoyed this, and I'll probably start looking for the first Aubrey/Maturin book.

I have a couple more from the library, after which I think I'll read some from my own shelves. I've got some great stuff I haven't touched becaase I needed to finish my library books first.

No comments: