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katknit has commented on (46) products.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
People of the Book

katknit, November 14, 2009

People of the Book is not a page turner, a suspense novel, or an adventure story. Author Brooks has taken what little is known about the Sarajevo Haggadah, with a focus on a few tiny artifacts evidently left behind, inadvertently, by some of the people who handled it in the past. The skeleton of the story hangs upon the stabilization of the book by Hanna Heath, a book conservationist working in the 1990's. As she discovers such minutia as a feather, a stain, and an insect wing, the author inserts compelling chapters in which their presence might be explained. It is these chapters, which begin during the second world war and gradually regress to the early medieval period, that make People the compelling historical novel that it is. The history of the Haggadah parallels that of the persecution of the Jews, but many of the major characters in each era are Christian or Muslim. In the end, it becomes clear that the production and preservation of a great religious work of art relies on the cooperative efforts of people of many faiths. This is a message that could not be more timely, and this is a book that is a pleasure to read and ponder.
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(6 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

Rusty Nail (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels) by J. A. Konrath
Rusty Nail (Jacqueline

katknit, September 11, 2009

Rusty Nail is my first foray into the world of Lt. Jack (short for Jaqueline) Daniels, a forty-something police detective who cares about her job. She recently nabbed the uber-sadistic Gingerbread Man serial killer, but some recent developments are giving Jack a sense of deja-vu. Someone is delivering horrific snuff videos to her door, complete with personal taunts and death threats. Others who had been involved in the Gingerbread investigation feature prominently in these sick flicks.

What I liked:

Jack. She's a good, honest cop and a strong woman. Sure, she has her problems, but who doesn't?

The basic plot.

The attempt at humor and levity, although some of it fell rather flat.

The Chicago setting.

Mr. Whiskers, Jack's adopted cat.

The final battle.

What I disliked:

Some of the characters descended into the realm of caricature.

The sickening details of torture, which were heavily overdone to the point of becoming gratuitous.

Final rating: Just OK. Will have to check out another in the series before deciding one way or the other on this series.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Lorna Doone by R D Blackmore
Lorna Doone

katknit, August 23, 2009

As a very young child, John Ridd encounters the equally young Lorna while fishing in Doone territory. The Doones, born noble, were deprived of their birthright, and now live in a fortress above the Somerset moors, sometimes emerging to pillage the countryside for food, money, and comely women. It's love at first sight for John, who, in spite of the fact that the Doones murdered his own father, falls hard for the enchanting Lorna. Blackmore's romance/adventure takes the couple through trials and tribulations, and the lowborn John sadly doubts that he can ever be worthy of Lorna. Little does he know of her true origins.

Blackmore, naturally, wrote in the language of his times, a style that tends toward poetical effusion. The modern reader must summon up the patience to work through the verbosity to find the gem of a story beneath. It's well worth the effort, and flashes of gentle satire and humor help make the journey a satisfying one.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

Obedience by Will Lavender

katknit, July 19, 2009

Reading Obedience is similar to walking through a fun house full of distorting mirrors and churning floors. The premise is a simple one. Professor Williams presents his logic class with a single assignment: to prevent a murder that will otherwise happen when the course ends. As the students begin to ponder the clues that Williams doles out piecemeal, they grow increasingly uncomfortable with the strangeness of the scenario, and little by little, their abilities to maintain a grasp on reality begin to shred. A few of the students become obsessed, and it is their experiences that form the nucleus of this complicated, sinuous mystery.

There are some contrivances in this plot, but basically, it holds together well, and the reader, if willing, can be easily drawn into the general aura of apprehension that permeates this tale. It’s difficult to perceive what logic has to do with the puzzle, but ethics – or lack thereof – do play a prominent role. Obedience is a strong first novel, and I look forward to Lavender’s next outing.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Stone Virgin by Barry Unsworth
Stone Virgin

katknit, July 13, 2009

Simon Raikes is restoring an enigmatic stone Madonna that graces the front of a medieval church in Venice. As he prepares his work, he is overtaken by visions, and he soon becomes obsessed with discovering the history of the unusual, subtly erotic statue. Simon’s own fate becomes inextricably enmeshed with that of the original sculptor, and he finds himself making choices that would previously been abhorrent to him.

Stone Virgin is a complex, proficient morality tale that examines the dark underside of desire, whether it be carnality, pride, ambition, or cupidity. Within these pages, the age old adage that history repeats itself plays out in the lives of individuals, rather than on the world stage. How easy it is to succumb to temptation when one’s secret heart’s desire is within reach.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)

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