quinta-feira, janeiro 31, 2013

"Capital Punishment" by Robert Wilson

Capital Punishment - Robert Wilson“Capital Punishment” is a remarkable book by a writer that can write and that will drill holes in your central nervous system.
It’s not that the story is terrifying – it’s not whatsoever. It’s just that it is too real not to call forth the indefinite doubts we all try to ignore about our own sanity.
If you are a crime reader of the commercial paperback variety, “Capital Punishment” is not for you.
This will test your mettle and sophisticate your reading. And there’s nothing more I care to tell you.
I’m daring you to read this book.
Wilson’s writing makes the usual fare look like pale and poor in comparison.

Only the ending left something to be desired, but that's the nature of the beast...

sexta-feira, janeiro 25, 2013

"Suspect" by Robert Crais

Suspect - Robert Crais"Feel good" book. Awful prose.

The question:"Is it worth the read?". 

If you're a dog lover yes. If you're a good fiction lover, no. I found the writing worse than pedestrian; it's almost incompetent at times. This another good example of "bland writing". Moves forward in a rudimentary, what-happens-next fashion, it doesn’t live, it doesn’t spin, it doesn’t shine. Every line is merely plunked down like one more cinder block on a construction site.

The best part of the book is the interaction between Scott and Maggie as they struggle to overcome PTSD, learn to trust, love and rely on one another, and discover that each offers the other the best chance for a new start in life.

As for the rest, go find greener pastures.

terça-feira, janeiro 22, 2013

"The Lifecycle of Software Objects" by Ted Chiang

The Lifecycle of Software Objects - Ted ChiangFlat...

The story feels more like a series of interconnected short stories than a comprehensive whole. The ideas introduced at the front of the book get plenty of attention as Chiang depicts both their implementation and downstream effect but toward the end of the book there isn’t enough time for the same level of exploration. This is particularly frustrating as the digients are becoming more and more capable, reaching the point of young adulthood. So when Chiang throws open the doors on a whole new sets of issues, including independence, self realization, and sexuality, there are dozens of different avenues of exploration he could take. But rather than exploring any of these promising new elements, Chiang chooses to end the book abruptly.

quarta-feira, janeiro 16, 2013

"Crooked Little Vein" by Warren Ellis

Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellisdescription

Is this book for you? If you're not familiar with the words "Godzilla Bukkake", probably not.

Not for the faint of heart...Men who have sex with drugged ostriches are far from the strangest situation that we can find in this book lol

Dark humour abounds. The novel uses all the artifacts of classical pulp era and Ellis' ability to attract the weirdest elements of contemporary society and weave it all together into a coherent whole is nothing short of magnificent.

From Godzilla Bukkake, to genital saline injections, Jesus sex toys, and even worse. I would say that delicate natures should stay away from the book. 

Last but not least: The novel is very funny.

segunda-feira, janeiro 14, 2013

"The Friends of Eddie Coyle" by George V. Higgins

The Friends of Eddie Coyle - George V. HigginsRecently I got my hands on the movie "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" by Peter Yates and with Robert Mitchum as the leading star. I've been a long time Mitchum's fan. I can honestly say I've watched all his movies (memorable late afternoons and nights at the Portuguese Cinemateca in Lisbon a long time ago...). 

Along with "The Night of The Hunter" and "The Lusty Man" (one of Nick Ray's masterpieces), it's still Mitchum's best film, as far I'm concerned. I hadn't seen the movie for more than 20 years. Watching it again reminded me why I loved this period of filmmaking. Damn, but they could shoot wonderful noir movies back in the day... Noir has always been of my passions, whether in literary terms or in movie form.

After watching the movie I felt I had to read the novel on which it was based, ie, George V. Higgins' book of the same name. I was completely astonished by Higgin's mastery of the form. It's all there. One of the problems of reading a novel after watching the movie on which it was based is that in the back of your mind the characters are personified by flesh and bone actors. Most of the time this is not a good thing... Robert Mitchum was the only actor in the world that could have portrayed Eddie Coyle in its absolute calmness. He elevated this style of non-acting to an art form.

The book doesn't have anything flashy, just pure tension, conveyed through the magnificent dialog. Higgins tells the story of Eddie and his friends through vintage dialogue, and he tells it swiftly and well. Characterization is at a minimum. I never thought that a book without a high density of characterization was even remotely possible, let alone that it could be a successful work of fiction. This novels proves it. It's possible...

The book is spare and it’s as cold as concrete. Through the observational style, we forget that, inevitably, the world in which these characters operate is chaotic. Everything seems so reasonable and certain, every word and action measured.

The quintessential noir book.

PS. "Doctor Copernicus", "Gun Machine" and now "The Friends of Eddie Coyle". My first three book of 2013, and all of them top-notch! I hope it's not all crap from here on out...lol

quarta-feira, janeiro 09, 2013

"Gun Machine" by Warren Ellis

Gun Machine - Warren EllisMy first contact with Warren Ellis.

When I started reading the book I only knew that the movie “Red” with Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren was based on a book written by him. Apart from that I had no idea who Warren Ellis was (now I know...), that is, what kind of books he'd written, what his Weltanschauung was, etc, etc.
What a fantastic book. "Visceral" is the word that comes to mind after having finished it. Hard-boiled fiction of the highest calibre.

One the things that I really liked was his ability to make the main character, Tallow, make his realisations and advancements at the same moments as me the reader. There is no tiresome wait for the main character to realise what is really going on.

While reading it, I also kept thinking about one the best books I've read in 2012, "A Dark and Broken Heart" by R. J. Ellory. Both books impart the same gritty, shitty reality. Ellis also has a knack to make the most pedestrian scene or set of events pop off the page like it’s some secret history in the making. We get the feeling that something lurks under the surface. It's quite palpable and it's one hell of an experience.

Also on the plus side was the fact that it wasn't filed with the usual twists and turns so in vogue nowadays. Once you realize where the novel is headed you won’t be wholly surprised it went there. But what a ride it was!

One other thing that popped R. J. Ellory into my mind was the fully fleshed characters in the book: Tallow, Scarly, Bat, the Hunter,...

In my mind what remained after I finished it was not the story in itself, compelling as it was, but the quality and verve in Ellis’ prose.

"Crooked Little Vein" is already on the top of my 2013 TBR pile...

sábado, janeiro 05, 2013

"Doctor Copernicus" by John Banville

Doctor Copernicus - John BanvilleAfter reading "Kepler", I was very eager to tackle "Doctor Copernicus" and "The Newton Letter".

This year I decided that I'd start with a bang with "Doctor Copernicus". I've always believed in strong starts...

Drawing a parallel between "Kepler" and "Doctor Copernicus", they both have a very strong sense of architecture and style. I like to compare them with a very dark baroque cathedral, filled with elaborate passages and sometimes overwhelming to the casual tourist (aka reader). For this, Banville makes no apologies—he's fully committed to language and to rhythm above plot, characterization, or pacing. So, when reading a Banville book don't go looking for a mainstream writer, which is something that he’s not... 

The only part that I think seemed a little uneven was the “Cantus Mundi” chapter. Rheticus’ first person narrative was a bit off-putting. Maybe this device was necessary because it was vital to give the character Copernicus a more humane perspective, seen from outside. Given the fact that Rheticus was the person that in real life convinced Copernicus to publish his “On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres” makes it the more valuable in terms of narrative structure.

John Banville personifies the art of writing sentences in which we hear that wonderful harmonic chime that makes us believe that's possible to write the way he does.