Sunday, November 13, 2016

#50: Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

A political cartoonist in Bogota is honored for a life's work, and sees a chance to reunite with his estranged wife, a radio personality; but a young woman's sudden appearance in his life unearths a story he would prefer to stay buried in Juan Gabriel Vasquez's novel Reputations.

Vasquez writes a somewhat melancholy character study, as the cartoonist looks back at his career, its influences, and how it impacted his family life, all sketched in over a day and a night and a day.

The history and politics of Columbia adds interest to readers.

I enjoyed Reputations, seemingly written in straightforward prose but with emotional resonance throughout.  Recommended.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Monday, November 7, 2016

#49: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

A humble Indian driver turned business entrepreneur writes a series of letters to the Premier of China, and through these letters gradually reveals an unsettling tale of crime, murder, and revenge, in Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger.

Adiga's debut novel, a Man Booker Prize winner, works on several levels; on one, it is a darkly humorous story--told in epistolary form--with an unreliable narrator, but it is also a brutal indictment of the caste system in India, and India society and politics in general.

The White Tiger can be enjoyed on the surface as a thriller, or more deeply as a look at a fractured society.  Recommended either way.

I listened to a very good audiobook reading of this on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#48: Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson

An immigrant killed in a hit and run, a vicar and his wife in a murder-suicide, and a young woman being terrorized in Bangkok are all tied together, and it's up to a special squad of Stockholm detectives to figure out how in Kristina Ohlsson's Silenced.

Ohlsson weaves a tangled plot, even more knotty with the complex backstories of the team of detectives trying to solve the various cases.  One is pregnant by a married lover, another senses trouble at home, a third is going through a volcanic divorce which is impacting his work.

Characters you can invest in, and sharp storytelling, make Silenced a satisfying read, especially for fans of Scandinavian crime stories.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana.