Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Minotaur . . .

I finished House Rules, and for a memoir, it was very good. I really don’t like these dysfunctional family books very much. I feel that most of them are repetitive, and one can figure out pretty much the entire book by reading the first few chapters (sometimes by just reading the flap!) It does help when the book follows a chronological order. With House Rules, this was the case. There are many flashbacks, but they don’t take over the chronological progression of the story. Another thing that I don’t like about these books is that there isn’t an ending. It’s just written to a certain point in the narrator’s life, and then we are to hope that things are OK, or get better. I understand that this is the nature of a memoir, but this is my personal opinion.

House Rules is a very well-written book. Sontag’s descriptions of her situations and her parents allow one to almost see and feel what is happening. It was easy to read and I think is a realistic portrayal of her life – of course, not totally objective, but without an emotional, “you should feel sad for me” tone.

I’m now going to read The Minotaur, by Barbara Vine, who has a quote on the book that says she’s “one of the finest practitioners of her craft in the English-speaking world.” The “craft” being writing mysteries. I like to try to remember why a book is on my reading list, and I can’t always do that. But I know that this one was on my “book a day” calendar last year. I kept the pages of the books that sounded interesting that I wanted to read. I’ve only read a few, but it at least gives me ideas when I’m in the mood . . .

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