Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: Unsheltered

Unsheltered

Unsheltered
By Barbara Kingsolver
Harper, 9780062684561, October 2018, 480pp.

The Short of It:

Kingsolver is known for taking on the big issues and she does the same here.

The Rest of It:

Unsheltered tells the story of two families, from two different centuries, who live in the same house. The present day family struggles financially. The house is in disrepair, they are caring for an elderly parent, insurance isn’t covering it and although they did everything right, this couple is on the brink of ruin. It’s a situation that many find themselves in and it’s definitely a story readers can relate to.

But the other story, the one from the past, is not as compelling. That story involves science, truth and how the people of that time would rather turn a blind eye to Darwin’s research than investigate it.

Two very different families but what they have in common is the home they live in. Interesting concept, but overall, it didn’t work for me. I loved the present day story, but really did not enjoy the story from the past and found myself skimming through it.

I think there are a lot of things to ponder in Unsheltered such as our failing healthcare system, but the alternating timelines caused me to ultimately lose interest in the story as a whole.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Killing Commendatore

Killing Commendatore

Killing Commendatore
By Haruki Murakami
Knopf, 9780525520047, October 2018, 704pp.

The Short of It:

In my opinion, this is one of his most linear works and yet it possesses all of the key elements that Murakami fans have come to expect from his work.

The Rest of It:

I spent a lot of time reading this one. Not because it was long and dense, but because each and every sentence begged to be read again. Much of it was beautifully written, but some of it was puzzling which is why I love Murakami so much. He takes an idea and just goes with it.

In this story, an artist, recently separated from his wife, heads to a remote, hilltop home to do what he does best, paint. But in this house he finds a painting that basically, changes his life. The painting titled, Killing Commendatore, is a violent depiction of what is basically an assassination. An “idea” takes the shape of a very small man. There is a deep pit in the forest which will remind readers of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. There’s a young girl, a faceless guy, a menacing man who drives a Subaru, an impressionable aunt, and a very mysterious man who lives in a white mansion across the way.

If you ever felt intimidated by Murakami in the past, this is the book for you.  I think there is a lot to relate to in this one. The overall theme of loneliness, isolation, what it means to be married and loved and generally, what can be found at the core of each human being and how that can shift depending on the circumstances.

I can see Murakami winning an award for this one. It seems to embody everything he’s ever written and yet remain so unique. I highly recommend it.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.