The Man Booker Prize reading challenge Part 2

I thought I would do a few more of these posts but I got a bit lazy and thus will sum up all the books in this one post, I’ll write about them in the order that I read them (just a few thoughts really – clearly shows I’m not really a book reviewer! 🙂 ). (Also I wish I’d written thoughts up on these as I read them cause this is quite hard going back and trying to remember what I thought.)

The Finkler Quesition By Howard Jacobson
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/426

Unsure what to say about this one, I did enjoy it a bit initially, it was funny in places (it was a comic who wrote it) but I got a little irritated with the main character after a while, also it’s quite depressing towards then end because its just about how stupid humanity is. This group of people hating this other group of people, but they hate themselves, and everyone else hates them for x y and z. It was interesting to read it but yes also depressing.

In a strange room By Damon Galgut
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/425

I didn’t like this one, I didn’t really enjoy the way it was written, found it a little awkward to follow, and felt it was odd that the author tended to write in the 3rd tense, and then every so often say I, as he’s effectivly writing as if this was his past. (I have no idea if these 3 stories were based on real events.)

I didn’t really enjoy the stories either, I like to be drawn in to a book, and I wasn’t with this one. I think possibly I just didn’t really like the main character

Parrot and Olivier in America By Peter Carey
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/422

I quite enjoyed this one (I think it’s the fave). I got to know the characters, and quite enjoyed reading about a French Aristrocrat trying to understand fledgeling America. What I wondered about and possibly annoyed me a little was some of the views that were put forward regarding democracy and America. At one point Olivier makes a comment that sort of rings true with what quite a few peoples opinion on America are at present, espeically regarding America and Democracy. (I’d have to leaf through the book to find the specific quotes and I dont have it anymore.) And I did wonder, is that the author projecting his own opinions of America, or does he genuianly think that that is what a French Aristrocrat would think about it all? Hard to tell, probably a bit of both I’d guess.

I had a bit of a misadventure with this one, I went away for a weekend with friends and took this with me, (didn’t get much of it read there) only when we left, we were in a bit of a rush for the train and I left it in my friends car! I got it back 2 days later. I was quite worried though that this would throw me off getting all the books read in time, as I was only about half way through this, but I think I’m back on track now.

C By Tom McCarthy
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/428

I thought the text was very descriptive and colourful, but that’s about all I can say about this. I did not like this. In fact about halfway through I was a bit bored with it and did consider actually going back to the bookshop to get the next book to read. But I figured as I wasn’t pushed for time yet that I should at least finish it. The book is set between the begining of the 20th century up untill the 1920s. Follows the main character and the rise of wireless communications, to planes in the 1st world war, and finally drugs and egypt in the 20s (not at the same time though). The 1st world war section was a bit odd, as that’s almost the ‘cleanest’ view of ww1 that I’ve ever seen/read. The main character is an observer for a plan, and so nothing is mentioned about the Trenches at all, excpet that they can see them.

I did not like the main character, there was nothing to draw me in about him at all, (he was quite odd). In fact as it got near the end I did wonder how the author was going to wrap it up, and I was not suprised that it finished the way it did. Not suprised and neither did I in fact care. He was a bit stupid in the end and brought it all on himself.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/427

I really liked this book, much more approchable than the previous book. The main character talks to you the reader, as she writes her story. Which for me at least makes things feel much more real. Um, wow it is much harder to write about books you enjoyed.

Room By Emma Donoghue
Blurb: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/books/423

I was looking forward to reading this as it sounded interesting, but I was also a little wary because I thought it would be rather distrubing. The subject matter is, but the book itself is not, and the story is wonderfully written all from the perspective of the 5 year old. Which I think helps remove the more disturbing aspects of it as there is a lot a 5 year old won’t, and in fact doesn’t in the book, understand. I really liked this book. When I read the first section I did feel rather claustrophobic. I keept thinking ‘Why aren’t they doing/going’ anywhere. But honestly theres only so much you can do when your stuck in a room and only have a ilmited amount of things. The days were very routine. And I must confess my heart was in my mouth when the escpae attempt happened. C kept trying to talk to me about other things, and I had to shuush him as I really need to know if they escaped and how bad it was going to be. (It is a rather ingenious escape attempt.)

Then them adjusting to life after, with his Ma dealing with her issues and him not understanding why she did not want to go back to Room. There were times when you felt frustrated at Jack, but then a second later you remember he’s only 5, he doesn’t understand.


So, who do I want to win? Hmm for me it’s between The Long Song and Room, and I think it may have to be Room that I pick over those two.

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