How was your week? I've had better for sure. I had a couple routine annual appointments and (1) turned into anything but routine - a call back, an ultrasound and now a biopsy tomorrow....positive vibes sent this way are appreciated. So happy I read Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times last week - it has helped. It's snowing here today - very lightly with less than an inch right now - yesterday it was near 60 degrees and sunny; I'm happy warmer weather is around the corner. Super Bowl tonight and the hub always loves that. I am not a huge football fan unless our teen is in it LOL but, it's alway fun to watch the commercials. Good luck to your team if they are competing this year.
On the reading front, except for Wintering, my reading week wasn't very satisfying. I was so looking forward to Hanya Yanagihara's new book, To Paradise, after a (5) year wait since I read, A Little Life. I loved that book and still think about it even though it left me feeling gutted at times and took me forever to find another quality read. Her new book is 700 pp and after investing about 8 days, I was left scratching my head after I finished - the writing was really good but the story just wasn't for me. I had another so so read as well, The End of Getting Lost, Robin Kirman and then a DNF called Valdimir by Julia May Jonas. Here's a few thoughts on (2) of these. I also have a review in the works (maybe tomorrow) for The Elephant of Belfast which I liked. Hoping this week is a better week.
To Paradise; Hanya Yanagihara
Doubleday and Penguin Random House Audio - 2022
To Paradise, is an unusual story which spans a period of 200 years! At 700+ pages, it is divided into (3) books: Book 1 (1893), Book 2 in (2) parts (1993) and Book 3 in (5) parts 2093-2094. I enjoyed Book 1 and 2 but, Book 3 not so much.
In Book 1, it is (1893) New York and New York is a free state where same sex couples are free to marry. David Bingham is a 28 year old man who lives with his wealthy grandfather Nathaniel and the servants in the Washington Square area of the city where he has led a life of privilege in this prominent banking family. His other siblings have already established their own lives so David spends most of his time with his grandfather and, part time teaching an art class at an orphanage. It is here that David meets Edward Bishop. Edward is a music teacher at the orphanage/school and, David falls fast in love with Edward. Edward is not a man of social status and David's grandfather has other plans for him. He plans an arranged marriage for David to Charles Griffith, a once married much older man with a respectable background whose same sexed husband died of cancer. Then we get a vibe of a possible yet undisclosed illness?
In Book 2 (1993) David is working as a paralegal in Hawaii and, he is involved with a senior partner named Charles.....yes same names as book 1 -- hmm. The two move into a mansion and we learn that David's origins seem to stem from Hawaiian royalty. We also learn that David's father (Wika) is ill and it is the height of the AIDS epidemic. There is also another Edward in this part - why did the author choose to use the same names? Perhaps making us think that history does repeat itself. This part takes a darker turn where we see the injustice of America's past.
Book 3 (2093) is divided into (5) parts - Autumn 2093, Autumn (50 years earlier), Winter 2094, Winter 40 years earlier and Spring 2094. The story here moves into a full blown dystopian totalitarian world. Back in New York where districts are divided into zones and illness and plague is rampant. Charlie appears here as well but, this time she is a female and she works in a laboratory. It's all somewhat complicated and at times just a bit too much for me. It was not the satisfying wrap up or the kind of story I was hoping and I was disappointed I didn't enjoy it more.
This author is no doubt talented and a deep thinker and while the story itself is expansive in scope, IMO, Too Paradise, is more likely the kind of book that may appeal to fewer readers than all who enjoyed, A Little Life so much.
This was a combo read/listen for me. The eGalley was provided by Doubleday and NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review. The audio download was provided by PRH Audio and was excellent with a full cast:
Rating - 3.5/5
The End of Getting Lost; Robin Kirman
Simon & Schuster Audio - 2022
Gina is a young woman who was a professional dancer. She had suffered a head injury after a fall outside a hotel in Berlin and her memory of what happened then as well as months before is an issue. She and Duncan, a composer, seem very much in love. He wants to take her away to Vienna to begin enjoying life once again but, something about his secretiveness and the way he has been acting seems off. They are soon all over Europe - Vienna, Prague, Rome almost as if Duncan is trying to run from something of someone. The truth is both Gina and Duncan have secrets.
The story takes place in 1996, a time before cellphones and social media so the set up for this story works well. I liked that the story is told from the POV of both characters who I didn't develop a connection to. The writing style seemed different with looks back and then present but, with not a lot of insight into what was going on until around the halfway point. This book was compared to Patricia Highsmith but, I just never saw a similarity. For me it did not feel like a psychological thriller but, more like a romantic suspense. This was a rather quick read/listen at under 300 pp and 8+ hours on audio. The audio version was read by dual narrators - Alex Allwine and Michael David Axtell both very good but, it wasn't the kind of psych thriller I had hoped for .
Rating - 3.5/5
Print edition and Audio download provided by the publisher: Simon & Schuster in exchange for my unbiased review.