The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits Reviews: Niffenegger, Hosseini, Packer, Adichie, Mahaffey, Scalzi

  • RavenGirl“Raven Girl,” by Audrey Niffenegger, reviewed by Douglas Wolk – “”he logic of fairy tales demands that desire exacts a price, and that history always bubbles up from the place where it has been repressed. That doesn’t happen here, and the happy ending that the story cuts corners to reach feels as hollow as a bird’s bones.”  The Washington Post

Another view: “Moves at an exhilarating pace.” — Tom Gatti The Times “Aesthetically, the book is a work of art. Striking and unforgettable.” Nudge “Like all good fairy tales, Raven Girl is really quite disturbing as well as romantic and touching.” — Sally Williams Daily Telegraph

  • andthemountainsechoed“And the Mountains Echoed,” by  Khaled Hosseini, reviewed by Kenneth Champeon – “If you could guarantee your child a rich life in exchange for forfeiting your right to see her, would you do it? The question informs the engrossing new novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, whose surprise international bestseller, The Kite Runner, so enchanted readers 10 years ago.”  BookPage

Another View: “Six years later (after “A Thousand Splendid Suns”), Hosseini has written a third heart-wrenching tale, set in Afghanistan, California, Paris and the Greek islands. And The Mountains Echoed is a story about family — specifically the siblings Abdullah and Pari, separated at a young age.” – NPR

  • unwindinging“The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America,” by George Packer, reviewed by Laura Miller – “Think of George Packer’s new book, “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” as the un-Internet take on the transformation this country has undergone in the past 35 years. It’s wide ranging, deeply reported, historically grounded and ideologically restrained. To write “The Unwinding”, Packer clearly had to spend a lot of time out of his own habitat and in the company of other people, listening more than talking, and largely keeping his opinions to himself. Imagine that! It’s called journalism.”  Salon

Another view: “Sometime in the late 1970s, the foundations of the American Century began to unravel. In this trenchant account, New Yorker writer Packer (The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq) charts the erosion of the social compact that kept the country stable and middle class. Readers experience three decades of change via the personal histories of an Ohio factory worker, a Washington political operative, a North Carolinian small businessman, and an Internet billionaire.” Publishers Weekly

  • Americanah“Americanah,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – “A sensitive portrayal of distant love, broken affinities and culture clash by Nigerian novelist Adichie (Purple Hibiscus, 2003, etc.)…Soap-operatic in spots, but a fine adult love story with locations both exotic and familiar.” Kirkus Reviews

Another view: “The first half of “Americanah” (the title refers to the newly Americanized Ifemelu) is tough-minded and clear. But Ms. Adichie disappointingly allows her story to slip to the level of a simple romance, leaving her readers to wonder, not very much, whether Ifemelu and Obinze will be reunited. The plot ultimately feels like an excuse for the venting of opinions — and the opinions carry far more conviction than the storytelling does.” Janet Maslin, The New York Times

  • annie“Annie,” by Ron Mahaffey, reviewed by Grady Harp – “Novels about war are not easy to write or to read – post traumatic pain lingers. But Mahaffey writes in a very clear and candid and frank manner, and while he is able with words to mold a landscape or set a scene both in the war zone and in the US with accuracy, he never allows his prose to become flowery or extraneous. The cover photograph that forms the cover of the book is Mahaffey’s own photo of Glenna Goodacre’s sculpture, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington DC, a work deeply influenced by the Pietà of Michelangelo, is an apt description of the theme of the novel – an army nurse holding the injured (or dead) body of a soldier, the victim of the Vietnam War.”  Literary Aficionado
  •  humandivision“The Human Division,” by John Scalzi, reviewed by Paul Di Filippo – “Entertainingly exemplifying the maxim that “All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means,” The Human Division is the type of intelligently crafted and inventive military-political science fiction that reminds us that though we might be able to pinpoint a genre’s takeoff point, nobody can predict how far it will fly.”  Barnes & Noble Review

Another view: “Scalzi’s hectically paced and philosophical continuation of the Old Man’s War series is an invigorating and morally complex interstellar thriller with heart… Deeply realized characters and stinging webs of political and social deceit lend mystery and emotionally harsh realism to a thrilling setting of deep space and distant worlds.” Publishers Weekly

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels including “The Seeker”

Available in PDF at AllRomance

Available in PDF at AllRomance


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One thought on “Book Bits Reviews: Niffenegger, Hosseini, Packer, Adichie, Mahaffey, Scalzi

  1. Pingback: Book Bits: Amazon, Harry Potter backstories, WikiEgo, ‘Imperial Dreams,’ Stephen King | The Sun Singer's Travels

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