Book Book Review, Title A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, Author Flannery O'Connor, Rating 3.0,
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
Within Flannery O'Conner's famed short story collection, a good man is not just difficult to find, but impossibly so. Thank God I am not Flannery O'Connor. I would not trade her ability to tell a story, and she is uncommonly good in some ways, for her brutal and dismissive view of the world. Harshness, of circumstance and character, forms her viewpoint; what is also redeeming finds little place in her stories.
Book Book Review, Title Heart Of Darkness, Author Joseph Conrad, Rating 5.0,
Heart Of Darkness
In Joseph Conrad's classic novella, Heart of Darkness
, the sailor Marlow serves as the author's version of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, compelled to tell his story of conscience to whatever audience he finds. The story he tells is indeed dark, and indeed about the heart, albeit mostly the lack thereof. Conrad takes apart the European colonial enterprise, particularly the carving-up of Africa in the nineteenth century, and strips bare all of the tales of adventure from those times and places, along with the high-flown language of imperialism which was used to mask the utter barbarity of the undertaking.
Book Book Review, Title The Sot-weed Factor, Author John Barth, Rating 4.0,
The Sot-weed Factor
John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor
is a satirical tour-de-force. It has been described as a picaresque novel; the main character is Eben Cooke, an over-educated and under-employed poet and virgin, a Candide-like character constantly bewildered by the world, swept along by events, too curious to make any decision.
Book Book Review, Title The Things They Carried, Author Tim O'Brien, Rating 4.0,
The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried
, a Vietnam War combat memoir, describes the harrowing emotional toll on combat veterans. For those of us who have never served in combat, the impossibility of fathoming the harsh experiences of another does not keep us from an empathetic effort to consider their stories, to gain some small glimmer of understanding of the suffering that war brings.