My Rating: 5 Stars
This was probably one of the most entertaining and intelligently written satires I’ve read in a long time.
This great and very humorous satire tells the story of Leopold Plotkin and his constant stand against the political and social rules and laws of the small town of Fettig. Accused of having committed a hilarious and unrealistic crime, Leopold faces the long, complex and absolutely maddening legal process.
I’m not usually a person that laughs out loud in the middle of the bus like a crazy person, but with this novel it was impossible not to. First, the style of writing is perfect. I connected with the story right from the beginning and story-line was very well thought and organized. I was very happy to see a list of characters in the beginning since I tend to forget or mix up characters. I managed to not lose myself with them, which is the highest compliment I can give to the author.
I studied a bit of European law back in the day but not in depth. The authors experience in the field definitely served to give a taste of ‘real’ in this absurd reality. Secondly, the way these absurd realities and events are presented, described and how marvellously close they are to reality. The characters are included in this bit! The lunacy of it all, put together with an amazing set of characters each one with their own beliefs made this an incredible reading, one that I will remember for a very long time.
One of the things I appreciated the most: the names of the institutions and their correspondent head. It was impossible not to laugh every time one new came up: “Permanent Acting Director of Admissions and/or Discharges at the Warehouse for the Purportedly Insane”, “The Alter Ego” and the “Purgatory House of Detention” are few of the names that got me the most!
Krakoff is an amazing writer as he mocks the gaps and the unfairness of the legal system and incoherence of religion. Absolutely perfect novel that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys smart and subtle humour about society.
I want to thank the author Jere Krakoff for reaching out and allowing me to read his novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I read this book many years ago while I was still in high school and it still gives me goosebumps to know how it represents society still. This classic dystopian novel is one of the most famous of its time and an absolute must-read.
This little book tells the story of the rebellion of the farm animals against the farmer Mr Jones, the culprit of their slavery system and poor conditions. The initial idea is to rule the farm themselves as equals. When the farmer is overthrown, problems start to rise when the pigs gain a taste for power and quickly follow a totalitarian regime in which only the brightest animals (aka pigs) can rule.
The style of writing and the language used by Orwell are absolutely amazing. Satire and sarcasm are used perfectly to describe and criticize the political and social systems, along with the personification of the animals which represents the different social classes.
I don’t think that Orwell is simply referring to the totalitarian regimes but all the systems in general. Every single system has people that think themselves above all others and above the rules, maybe because they had a better education or come from a line of influential people or even because they have more monetary stability than others. Orwell describes perfectly the consequences of jumping into a system based on the illusion of justice and just how easy it is to manipulate people into believing it. This point is made stronger when the animals created their “Seven Commandments”, a set of rules to ensure equality amongst all animals. A fake sense of security and liberty is given, and as all the animals trust the power of these commandments, they fail to see how easily the pigs evade them and reverse them until it’s too late. The lesson: intelligence and power are a very dangerous mix. Furthermore, the reference to propaganda and the brainwashing typical of the dictatorship is very well represented right there. In the end, the pigs quickly take the place of the farmer. It shows that people don’t learn from their past and keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Orwell shows the danger of blindly and superficially believing in leaders not realising that words and actions can be changed or reversed just as easily as they are said or done. He shows how ignorance and a fake sense of security create the illusion that freedom is permanent and unchangeable, and how serious the consequences may be.
A great book that sends many wise messages that everyone should read at least once.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Beyond the Absurd was a delight to read. Being a fan for the Theatre of the Absurd, specially Waiting for godot by Samuel Backett and No Exist by Jean-Paul Sartre, I’m familiar with the style.
These 12 short stories, focused on the absurd, take the reader in a journey to the deepest and darkest corners of the human mind and actions, and the paradox of human choices and opinions. These tales are a mix of genres that go from fantasy and sci-fi to dystopia and even humour.
Alexander Tomov is a great writer and his writing style is amazing. The language is simple and it completely matches the simplicity of life and the banalities of our daily lives. I must admit that in the beginning I got a bit lost since I didn’t know if the stories were somehow related or not. It’s nothing that can’t be clarified with an introduction to the book. Furthermore, I think that a quotation on the subject or theme in the beginning of each story could help the reader to understand the story better.
Some of the stories were really creepy like “The machine” that can create the ghost of someone for your past or the 4-year-old boy that committed suicide because he hated the world since he was 2. My favourite stories were “The Taxicab” and the “Firekeeper”. These two stories are related to the thing but in a different perspective: time. They’re about travelling to the past or the future and an old-man that can burn ghosts from the past. For me, it’s about that human desire to relive distant memories with people that are lost and the inability to aspect that our past, no matter how dark, is what makes us who we are now.
The story that really made me laugh is the devil having an orgy in the United Nation’s room since hell is out of room and “Heaven has gone bankrupt” from the lack of pure souls. A story about power and how leaders only take notice to the details that are in their interests.
These are the type of stories that made me think and to see the absurdity of life, the contradictions of what we see and choose to see has banalities. For example, the end of world, the death of children, how we would like to change something in our lives but don’t and then wish to change the past. Tomov inserts tiny details that complete the short-stories and make them even more human.
It was a great reading that I recommend for the fans of the absurd. I’ll definitely keep an eye open for Mr Tomov’s future works.
I want to thank the author Alexander Tomov for his advanced copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!
My Rating: 5 Stars
There not enough adjectives to describe this book. Oscar Wilde is definitely one of my favourite authors of the Victorian age, his witty humour, his passion, his power of observation, and his melodically way of writing makes me what to read the stories all over again and feel what I felt the first time I read them.
I have my share of prose favourites, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" "An Ideal Husband", "The Importance of Being Earnest". They show a big knowledge and understanding of society, its problems, how appearances are the key to obtain "the perfect life". But it was in his poems and letters that I felt his heart, his music and his passion. His letter "De Profundis" is absolutely perfect and I'm sure it moves even the coldest of readers.
The 5 stars are more than deserved for this masterpiece.
My Rating: 5 stars
The ideal book, from an ideal author. Not one of the most famous books for Sir Oscar Wilde but it definitely should be. The sense of humour, the sarcasm and the description of society is absolutely perfect, nothing short of the greatness of the writing of Oscar Wilde.
“An Ideal Husband” pictures a young man in society, whose past comes back to haunt him, in a setting where appearances, the titles and obligations are everything. In the public setting, Robert Chilton is a respectable member of society, a respected politician and a public figure known for his integrity a whose whole persona is based on integrity. In a private setting, Robert shows admiration and utter love for his wife, which is completely returned, and a great friend to his well-known bachelor friend Lord Goring. Everything quickly falls apart though and when the truth is about to be revealed, Robert confesses his past to his wife and asks for her help.
In the end, Robert wears the mask of arrogance, power and what could be considered the “ideal” situation in life only to reveal that not everything is what it seems and everyone has something they are ashamed of.
Moral of the story: Be Always honest to your wife and trust your crazy friend to come up with a solution to your problem.
My favourite character is without a shadow of a doubt, Lord Goring. It's hard not laugh with phrases like “I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about.” or “For so well-dressed a woman, Mrs Cheveley, you have moments of admirable common sense.”
It's the type of book that no matter how many times you read it, it always makes you laugh.
My Rating: 5 Stars
I read this book for my Contemporary English literature final assignment and I absolutely fell in love with it.
This book tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II that comes across a mobile library outside the Buckingham Palace and is assisted by Norman, the librarian, in choosing a book. What happens when the Queen discovers a love for literature? This plot explores and exposes the Queen as a simple person discovering part of herself in the pages of books but also the desire we feel to just forget responsibilities and do something we really enjoy for a while. Can you imagine the Queen of England on holidays? I sure couldn't.
Alan Bennett is a brilliant writer, using old-fashioned and very polished English entangled with humour. Bennett's description of the Queen made me like her and I could actually see myself in her position (not very difficult for a literature lover).
A lot of English humour and amazing side characters turn this book into one of the most hilarious I have ever read so far.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.