So this June I began by reading Dropping the Habit by Marion Dante. And gave up half way through. well I did cheat, and I read the ending. not an inspiring read.
Things got better with The Story of the 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Johansson. So good in fact that after I had finished reading, I got the audio book so I could listen to the second reading. It si funny as you are taken on a whistlestop tour of teh mjor events on the 20th. century. My rereading has just got to 1968 and the riots in Paris.
The central charater is Allan Karlson. Apolitical, non judgemental – all Allan has asked for in life is a comfortble bed, plenty of food and vodka. Money, status, power mean little to Allan. And thanks to a little creative surgey, neither do women. Allan was never a violent man – yet he seems to have been instrumental in the deaths of a large number of people. Perhaps it was something to do with his fascination with explosives.
The next good book in June was And the Mounains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. Another very satisfying read. How can this book be described? A collection of linked short stories perhaps? I am not a great fan of short stories as a rule, but this was a brilliant collection of interlinked stories. So what do we have? A warlord's son, coming to terms with the monstrosity of a father, the story of a girl horribly mutiated and abandonned by her mother, a glimpse of a story of an Afghan girl with a skull nearly cleeved in two, the story fo a doctor who promises so much… And more. Here we see Hosseni moving away from the Afghan community as he tells the story of Markos and Thalia who meet each other as children living on a Greek Islad. Hosseni also touches on social relism and the big issue for so many families these days, that of caring for the elderly.
June is coming to and end, and there are two more books, First I am reading The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje. This is about an 11 year old boy travelling unaccompanied to England on a ship. Fanciful? When my father was 12, he and 3 of his brothers were put on a ship to sail from Georgetown, British Guiana to England. these 4 boys, undisciplined, ran amok on the ship. This is what people did in the Great British diaspora, nice, middle-class people dispatched their children to sail half way round the world on their own to be met at the other end by relatives they scarely knew. So I reading this book with not quite the same critical eye as many commentators . Although this book is about an 11 year old boy and his friends it is not writeen for children.
Unlike my second book which I am listening to on my journey to and from work, This is a book by Carlos Rius Zafon – The Watcher in the Shadows. written for teenagers, and here we see the contrast between the optimism of the teenager and the cynicism of the adult, Zafon writes adventure books centred on teenagers, and sex is a natural part of teenage experience – but for Zafon, sex is part of a relationship. And these realtionships are part of teh adventure of growing up.