Thursday, June 13, 2024

Book Bites: Prophet Song

Prophet SongProphet Song by Paul Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prophet Song is the most affecting book I've read in quite some time. Too often reviews throw around words like "haunting" but here the descriptor fits. Lynch's writing is masterful; brutal and lyric, every page leaping with perfect sentences that stab straight through the heart of truth.

"Happiness hides in the humdrum, it abides in the everyday toing and froing as though happiness were a thing that should not be seen, as though it were a note that cannot be heard until it sounds from the past."

Lynch puts his reader in the role of helpless bystander as fascism infects the government of modern-day Ireland. Through our narrator, mother of four Eilish, we watch in disbelief as evil takes root. Everyone says "it couldn't possibly happen here" until it does. What starts with kids' schooling and fretting over what to make for dinner gives way to political prisoners, the approaching march of war and refugees' struggles for freedom. 

At every turn, the reader waits for the book to follow fiction's usual trajectory, for a hero to rise up and smite evil, only to be reminded that real evil cares little for our rules of fiction.

Prophet Song is an instant classic, demanding to be read and re-read. It tolls the bell, warning its readers how precious and fragile freedom truly is.


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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Book Bites: The Graham Effect

The Graham Effect (Campus Diaries, #1)The Graham Effect by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Graham Effect is a perfectly decent mid-spice romance built around the world of college hockey. It’s a fun little world to play in and the romantic tension between our leads is fun. Points deducted for a bloated prologue and a third act that pivots on not one, but two (!) secrets a first person narrator keeps from the reader. It’s lazy writing. The term “broadening slit” is also used, which, had it included the adjective moist, might have been the most unsexy thing ever written.

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Book Bites: The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain

The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain: Lyrics for Stacey KentThe Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain: Lyrics for Stacey Kent by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Song lyrics are tricky because they’re not quite poetry and they’re not quite prose, but Ishiguro’s lyrical writing paired with lush illustrations by Bianca Bagnarelli make “The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain” as musical an experience a book can provide. It is a collection full of beautiful, stirring moments. Even in the spots where the lyrics and pictures alone can’t fully convey the emotion of a song, the book is still quite good.

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