Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on December 29, 2008
Posted in Books Read 2008FictionIan McEwan  | 23 Comments

Fell Flat

It is 1962. The story opens with Edward and Florence just married and in their honeymoon sweet eating dinner. They are both nervous, as can be expected of two virgins. Florence is actually petrified. “Where he merely suffered conventional first-night nerves, she experienced a visceral dread, a helpless disgust as palpable as seasickness.”
Edward had denied himself any “self-pleasure” for a week so that he wouldn’t fail to perform on that all important night. However, once the event starts, it doesn’t go well.
That pretty much sums up the story, of course I left out spoilers, which I figured out from the first few pages. The plot is very little and there is not a whole lot to the story. I’m not one to complain that something didn’t “blow up”. I don’t need heart pounding action but I wish something more would have happened. The story was just too flat and one dimensional for me.
That said, I do like Ian McEwan’s writing style. He really knows how to write about and capture emotions. I do have other McEwen books on my to-be-read list and do plan to read them.

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Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on August 17, 2008
Posted in Andrew DavidsonBooks Read 2008CanadaFictionHistorical Fiction  | 27 Comments


The Gargoyle is a difficult book to review and summarize. The plot crosses many genre lines and deals with many issues. That said, here is my attempt.
The novel begins with the narrator getting in a car accident after bingeing on liquor and cocaine. He has a bottle of bourbon between his legs at the time and him and his car go up in flames. He is burned over most of his body and is in a hospital burn unit for a very long time.
Marianne Engel, a famous sculptress of gargoyles, shows up on his unit one day and tells him that they were lovers in medieval Germany. She claims that he was a mercenary and that she was a scribe. He doesn’t really much faith in this claim, but is mesmerized by Marianne.
When he was ready to be released from the hospital he was still going to need continuous care. Normally he would have been sent to a rehab centre, however Marianne volunteers to take him into her home. She has the resources for him to get the care he needs.
This book is richly layered with many themes and symbolism. It is not a book to be read quickly, but rather slowly and contemplatively. One of the major themes is of redemption and there are many references to Dante’s Inferno in it.
This book is not for the faint of heart. The burns that the nameless narrator goes through and many other aspects are vividly outlined. Though I don’t normally like a book with much gore, it is needed in this book. It’s not there to purposely shock the reader, but to inform.

I really liked this book. It has a lot to keep the reader interested and is well researched and written. The stories that Marianne tells are very engaging and were my favorite part of the book.
I only have one complaint. Throughout the book the author refers to Marianne by her full name, Marianne Engel. Her entire name appears several times on the same page. Though this doesn’t ruin the book, it is a distraction, at least for me. I have no idea if this was intentional, though for what purpose I can’t fathom or if is was in need of better editing. That said, I did read an advance reading copy, so maybe in the final version published this was fixed. I sure hope so.
I highly recommend The Gargoyle and look forward to reading more from Andrew Davidson.


Thanks to Doubleday for sending an advance reading copy of this book!
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Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Look for Me by Edeet Ravel

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on July 20, 2008
Posted in CanadaEdeet RavelFiction  | 10 Comments

Not Just Black and White, There’s Gray

Dana Hillman is an Israeli woman who falls in love. Her husband Daniel is a soldier who is burned badly in the conflict. He disappeared from the hospital on the day Dana was finally allowed to see him. He’s been missing for over 11 years, but Dana’s search for him continues.

Throughout this time, Dana also stays true to her beliefs and protest on behalf of Palestinians who are treated so badly by most of Israel.

There is a rather eccentric cast of characters throughout this book, especially those living in Dana’s building. This thought provoking work of fiction is a love story, a character study, and a political statement. However, don’t let the mention of politics keep you from reading this book!

In the news, we never see all sides of the conflict in the Middle East. Edeet Ravel really captures the conflict between Israel and Palestine, showing all sides. It’s not just black and white; there is a lot of grey. For instance, Edeet shows us that there are Israelis who protest and support the Palestinians right to live free not corralled in little settlements.

This is the second book in Ravel’s Tel Aviv trilogy. I didn’t find this out, until after I finished reading it. This book can be read as a “stand alone” book. However, since I enjoyed it, I plan to read the first in the trilogy, ‘Ten Thousand Lovers.’


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Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.