26 February 2011

The Highest Tide, by Jim Lynch

I liked Border Songs so much that I had to read this book. It's a good story, and I read it in a day. It's about a young boy, Miles O'Malley, who lives on Skookumchuck Bay near Olympia, WA. I don't think there is a bay named that, but it's the name of a river, and the area he describes certainly could exist near Olympia.

Miles is very aware of the life on the tidal flats near him, and a big fan of Rachel Carson's books.

This is basically a coming-of-age story, overlaid with a little ecological awareness and sense of setting.

Djibouti, by Elmore Leonard

A great read by an old master. The only fault I find with this is that everyone in this book talks like an Elmore Leonard character. "The hell is that?" "He wants to know makes you so sure?" etc.

But Mr. Leonard, having created so many novels, films, TV shows and stories, can get away with quite a bit of license.

In this novel, there is a documentary filmmaker (Dara), her close friend and assistant (Xavier), who are from New Orleans. They travel to Djibouti where Dara hopes to film a documentary about Somalian pirates. In the course of this rather complicated plot (further complicated by Leonard jumping back and forth between Dara and Xavier's conversations about what they have filmed and actual "real-time" action) they run afoul of a very crazy bad guy (this is an Elmore Leonard novel) named Jama, nee James Russell.

 

15 February 2011

The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves.

I am not certain what to think or say about this novel. I expect it might be described as "gothic." It' s not Stephen King in Barcelona, but it has some hints at the occult. From nearly the beginning I expected the mysterious "publisher" to be revealed as Lucifer, but this is never exactly done.

This book might have been a waste of time. It was entertaining.

A Most Wanted Man, by John le Carré

I "read" this as an audio book.

In the ongoing mess of world affairs one suspects a high degree of incompetence, subterfuge, and mindlessly selfish power-grabbing. Le Carré does nothing to allay this suspicion.

This book is set in Hamburg, Germany. It deals with a young refugee from Chechnya, amazingly naive in spite of the brutal treatment he has endured on his flight from torture and imprisonment. The story is, of course, detailed and complex. Some people in Germany try to help him, and a very many do not.

If one is disposed to be paranoid or depressed about current events it might be best to skip this one.

Another excellent novel in concept and execution.