“Why do old memories constantly drift to the surface?”
Read from October 18, 2021 to October 20, 2021.
Hardcover, 160 pages.
An 8 Sentence Review:
Following my love of The Vegetarian and Human Acts, The White Book is more of a poem than a novel.
The entirety of the book revolves around the colour white as the narrator reflects on the death of a sister she never got to meet.
“…a face as white as a crescent-moon rice cake.”
Each chapter of this short book is named after something white as white is a reference to death within the Korean culture. The writing style is delicate and remiss of the violence that haunts Kang’s other works and while I enjoy many of the harsh aspects of Kang’s work, this was a welcome change. This novel reminds me of one of my favourite poetry collections, Victoria Chang’s Obit as it carries a similar haunting but delicate tone.
A short and recommended read for lovers of Kang’s work and a welcome piece on death and grieving.
“Destiny isn’t the judgements of providence, isn’t scrolls written by the hand of a demiurge, isn’t fatalism. Destiny is hope. Being full of hope, believing that what is meant to happen will happen.”
ebook, 352 pages.
Read from October 4, 2021 to October 17, 2021.
An 8 Sentence Review:
If you’ve played the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this book fills in some interesting pieces of that game that aren’t mentioned or discussed, however, the plot differs in terms of the main antagonist.
Continuing from where The Tower of Swallows left off, Ciri finds herself in an unknown realm on her own. The realm is unfamiliar to her and the elf inhabitants are unpleasant and indifferent to her despite their apparent vested interest in her as the child of prophecy. She is held captive by the elves and needs to find a way to escape this realm and find her way back to Geralt, despite the dangers she still faces in her own realm both from the war that is raging and from the Bonhart, who tortured and is still chasing her.
This read was an exciting end to Geralt and Ciri’s story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ciri’s times with the elves and the escapades it took to get her out of that realm. These last two books were the best in the series so far, next to The Last Wish (still the best Witcher book, in my opinion) and if you play the games, these books provide interesting details on characters and additional storylines that aren’t explained in the games. A solid read and a great finale to the series.
“Every man you ever meet in nothing but the product of what was withheld from him, what he feels owed.”
ebook, 236 pages.
Read from March 20, 2022 to March 24, 2022.
“The West you talk about doesn’t exist. It’s a fairytale, a fantasy you sell yourself because the alternative is to admit that you are the least important character in your own story. You invent an entire world because your conscience demands it, you invent good people and bad people and you draw a neat line between them because your simplistic morality demands it. But the two kinds of people in this world are not good and bad, they are engines and fuel. Go ahead, change your country, change your name, change your accent, pull the skin right off your bones, but in their eyes they will always be the engines and you will always, always be fuel.”
An 8(ish) Sentence Review:
This novel came in fourth during the Canada Reads 2022 debates. This novel was not the author’s first to grace the debates and his strength as a writer along with his personal refugee experience offer readers a rich and unique read.
What Strange Paradise follows the struggles of a young boy named Amir, who is the only survivor of a refugee boat crash. Every day new boats, wreckage, bodies and people show up on the shores of Vanna’s country. Vanna is a teenager but she is watching this humanitarian crisis unfold and can barely stomach the way her government and military are handling it. Luckily for Amir, it is Vanna that finds him and is willing to help him. The narration of the story moves from present to past, allowing the reader to slowly build the events that led to Amir’s arrival and meeting with Vanna.
This story puts a human face to those that have been forced to leave their homes for fear of death or persecution. Beautifully written, the author successfully creates a moving story, though it fell short of meeting the theme of the debates. I would highly recommend this novel to those looking for a novel on current political topics with a rich and engaging story.