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Original Essays | July 22, 2014

Nick Harkaway: IMG The Florist-Assassins

The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
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    Nick Harkaway 9780385352413


Customer Comments

readersrespite has commented on (39) products.

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay
A Secret Kept

readersrespite, September 23, 2010

This was a lovely story, really. Antonio and his sister Melanie embark on a personal journey to discover family secrets surrounding their mother's death when they were young children. Interlaced in this primary plot is Antonio's personal journey as he recovers from a faithless wife, resultant divorce and angry teenage children.

The book, however, could have easily been a hundred pages shorter. Antonio's angst over his divorce and his resultant low self esteem were reiterated at least a hundred times (over and over and over) throughout the book. The plot itself was quite intersting and kept me very involved in the just got tiring having the same ideas (Antonio's midlife crises, the Rey family money and ego, etc, etc) pounded into my head.

This author really is quite talented, though and her plots are always consistently interesting for each of her books.

I'd recommend this only if you a big fan of this author (Sarah's Key was a lovely story, too) or don't mind repetitive ideas. Perhaps a decent read for a longer plane ride would be a good plan.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Night Navigation
Night Navigation

readersrespite, May 24, 2009

This is a story of the pain and despair of drug addiction. This is the story of a mother's worst nightmare: caught between the love for your child and the knowledge that you cannot fix them.

Meet Del, a middle-aged widow, and her grown son Mark. Mark is an addict. Del wants nothing more than to save her son. The odds are against them both. Suicide, mental illness and family dysfunction are all an important part of this story that takes you into the depths of a family's anguish.

There can be no doubt that author Ginnah Howard has personally experienced the journey described in this novel. No one could possibly write this painful and poignant tale without living it first. Her sparse, yet somehow still lyrical style draw you into her world, into her characters, until you find yourself a de facto member of this dysfunctional and desperate family.

There is a price to being drawn into a tale such as this. It leaves the reader with the emptiness, no --- make that the hollowness, that comes from living with continually dashed hope. Eventually, only numbness remains.

Yet if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a parent of an addict, this novel is the closest you'll ever want to come to finding out. Despair? It abounds in this novel, but so does understanding and the depths of a mother's love.

Do I recommend the novel? That depends. If you have the fortitude to delve into dark subject matter out of a genuine desire to understand, then yes. Otherwise, you'd best skip it.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

Let the Shadows Fall Behind You by Kathy-diane Leveille
Let the Shadows Fall Behind You

readersrespite, May 15, 2009

This is a wondrously written thriller that I couldn't put down. Set in Canada, a young woman trying to escape her violent childhood cons her way onto an environmental research team where she falls in love with the team leader. When he inexplicably disappears into the Canadian wilderness, she returns home to sort out her past and, by default, her future.

The novel traverses three time periods: the protagonist's early childhood, the present, and the not-so-distant past of her scientific expedition. The three time frames meld together perfectly and there is no confusion, only enhancement of the story.

This is a character-driven, psychological thriller that hooks you immediately and doesn't let go until the last secret is revealed. The plot increases intensity to an almost feverish point, but the author does so with beautifully written prose. The sights, smells, sounds and emotions come alive.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good thriller that isn't just about car chases or explosions!
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

Her Royal Spyness
Her Royal Spyness

readersrespite, April 28, 2009

Is it just me or is anyone else out there unreasonably attracted to cute book covers?

Most times my predilection for buying books based on cute covers comes back to bite me in the behind, but every once in a while I turn the last page feeling enormously pleased with myself.

This is one of those times.

Award-winning author Rhys Bowen - of Molly Murphy and Constable Evans fame - has hit a homerun with her newest mystery series, A Royal Spyness. Meet Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. She is thirty-fourth in line for the throne of England, dead broke, and she will be the first to tell you that is not a desirable place to be, especially for a single gal in 1930s London.

But Georgie, as she's pragmatically shortened her name to, is nothing if not practical. She's blazing her own path by setting up her own housekeeping service (in disguise, of course), finding love with a completely unsuitable man, of course, spying on Wallis Simpson for the Queen, and solving the mystery of a dead man who turned up in her bathtub.

What follows is a lighthearted romp with minor royalty and the usual suspects lurking around every corner. It's simply delightful.

Don't expect a convoluted plot here, folks. This is simply a fun little mystery that's less about the mystery and more about the fun, eccentric characters.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

Etta by Gerald Kolpan

readersrespite, April 18, 2009

American historical fiction is a tricky genre. For one thing, there isn't too much American history to choose from. Two hundred years is a relatively short time frame and when much of that period was taken up by western expansion, you end up with a lot of novels grouped under the Western genre heading.

Gerald Kolpan's debut novel, Etta, might have been just another western or frontier romance book but for one thing: Etta Place was an actual person.

Those of you familiar with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are bound to recognize her: Etta Place was Sundance's girl (possibly wife?). One thing is for certain, Kolpan couldn't have found a character more laced with possibility.

Very little is known about the real Etta Place, other than she did indeed exist. There's even a photo of her and Sundance. We know she was a member of Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang and a pretty darned good outlaw. But eyewitness accounts of the day also say that she was an incredibly refined woman with the manners and bearing of a well-bred young woman of wealth.

But aside from this, nothing is known about Etta. Readers had to wait for Kolpan to come along, fill in the blanks with his rich imagination and give us Etta's story.

The story is beautifully presented and Kolpan's suppositions are surprisingly plausible. The journey from Etta's priviledged upbringing to a tough Hole in the Wall gang member is seamless and her great love with Sundance is both delicate and gritty, befitting the times.

If I had any complaints, it would have be the brevity of Butch, Sundance and Etta's time in South America. As the story drew to a close, it's as if Kolpan wanted to fit too much information in too few pages and the result was a slightly hurried ending that could have been more fleshed out.

But that complaint shouldn't stop you from reading Etta. It is a fabulous example of just how good American historical fiction can be....even if the cover suffers woman-with-her-head-cut-off syndrome.

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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

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