Eight characters whose common ground is Dublin and Paddy’s pub. Paddy’s constant refrain when he rings the bell is “have ye no homes to go to?. Eight people moving in the margin, trying -the right or wrong way-to escape. They seem like exceptions but they really are the people next door.
Neville Thompson creates cinematic characters, but what gives them life is the immediacy of his language. Life is not black and white. Life is gray, like the waters of Liffey and Dublin itself for those born without any opportunity and have to fight for the obvious.With great humour, toughness but also great love for his heroes the author does not give in to them, but makes them real. A novel full of music, realistic, which takes places on the night all the characters meet at the pub, when the human drama culminates, but in fact takes us on a journey of Irish history and politics of the last 50 years. It’s a small diamond. Look for it.
Leningrad 1941. Lev is a 17 year old Jewish boy caught stealing a knife from a dead German soldier. Thrown in jail, he spends the night in the same cell with Kolya a deserter from the Red Army. The next morning they are miraculously saved from a grim fate by a high-ranking officer of the NKVD who cuts them a deal: in exchange for their lives they are sent on a hunt for a… dozen eggs for his daughter’s wedding cake.
Τhe novel, which may or may not be based on the story of the author’s grandfather, is a suspenseful adventure, but first and foremost a story of coming of age and a beautiful account of a friendship created under the roughest situation. While not lacking in violence (hey, that’s war for you), all graphic descriptions serve a purpose and are not gratuitous; it is very sensitive and surprisingly humorous, full of truth about human condition in extreme circumstances. The eggs serving as a metaphor for the absurdity of war is just brilliant.
(I’ve decided not to grade books)
I’ve decided to perk things up a bit, broaden this blog a little, offer opinions on the books I read, some mini reviews, maybe a personal post every once in a long while.
For starters, I’ve mildly changed the look,
by returning to the original two column style (ok, I changed it back, obviously cannot decide) and hopefully more meaningful changes are on the way.
So, how long do you keep reading a book until you decide you’re not interested and it is a waste of time?