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Reviews Written by
Natalie Boychuk "natalie" (Vancouver area, British Columbia Canada)
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The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel
The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel
by Chris Bohjalian
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.16
35 used & new from CDN$ 1.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a saga!, Nov. 7 2012
Chris Bohjalian has written a masterpiece! It has been almost 100 years since the Armenian genocide and the reader gets an incredible sense of the tragedy both at the personal level and at the political level. Although the main story is told in a series of flashbacks I did not find this at all confusing. Had the story been told liberally, I believe it might have been too intense to bear. I was so moved by the final culminating event. It is one of the best books I've read this year! (The title is not at all indicative of the seriousness of this novel but like a sandcastle, the fortunes of people are so transitory.). I highly recommend this novel!

The Sweet Girl
The Sweet Girl
by Annabel Lyon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
19 used & new from CDN$ 1.73

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very simplistic, Nov. 7 2012
This review is from: The Sweet Girl (Hardcover)
Again, I was disappointed and gave up reading halfway through. Ms. Lyon has done a lot of research but the book "reads" as a book for young readers. The author certainly does not have the writing talent of Hilary Mantel. I am not quite sure why she gets the accolades that she does. Margaret Doody's fictional books about Aristotle are a much more satisfying read. I think I am being generous giving this a 2 star rating!

The Stranger's Child
The Stranger's Child
by Alan Hollinghurst
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.36

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars couldn't finish reading it!!!!, Jan. 9 2012
This review is from: The Stranger's Child (Paperback)
I just gave up last night!! I have read almost half the novel and was totally bored!!! I honestly don't know why this novel is being given such a literary spoltlight. Other than the gay strand running throughout, I felt it was like reading a pale imitation of E.M. Forester without the strong narrative arc! Yes, the writing style is lovely but it left me cold. I would rather watch PBS Masterpiece theatre for a visual depiction of Edwardian life rather than wading through pages and pages of irrelevant descriptions - is this a portent of the post-modern style "simply words for words sake"?? Perhaps, Hollinghurst should just write poetry. As a reader, I have certain expectations when reading a novel and this novel certainly did not satisfy any of them. I wonder who his editoral advisor is??? If you decide to read this novel, be prepared to become very frustrated and bored. It is not often that I decide not to finish reading a higbly recommened novel! I think E.M. Forester's "Maurice" is a much stronger novel that deals with homo-erotic attraction and that was written a century before!!!

The Golden Mean
The Golden Mean
by Annabel Lyon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.65
67 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Feb. 7 2010
This review is from: The Golden Mean (Hardcover)
What a disappointing read! Had I borrowed the book from the library I probably would not have continued reading it after the first 50 pages. I agree with another reviewer who stated that the most interesting part was when the very young Aristotle accompanied his physician father. I honestly don't know how this "novel" got so much critical acclaim! Much of time, I felt I was reading a graphic novel without the pictures! Annabel would benefit from having a much more critical editor. If the book didn't have some of the sex scenes, it might appeal to young readers as it is written in a style of historical fiction books for older children. I came away from reading the novel without any more insight into the character of Aristotle than before. If you don't know anything about the time of Alexander and Aristotle you might enjoy this rather domestic story of two icons.
Sorry - Annabel - I really was looking forward to the read.

Alentejo Blue: Fiction
Alentejo Blue: Fiction
by Monica Ali
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.95
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so satisfying!, Aug. 18 2006
This review is from: Alentejo Blue: Fiction (Hardcover)
Monica Ali has woven a brilliant tapestry in this "novel" set in a remote village of Portugal. I had read Brick Lane, her first novel mainly because I wanted to learn more about the Bengali immigration experience and was less than satisfied with it - mainly because the letters from the sister bothered me - didn't thnk Ali demonstrated her mastery of technique yet. Therefore, I was somewhat hesitant about "Allentejo Blue" even though I had read very positive critical reviews. I have just finished reading it and am so sorry that it has come to an end! What an amazing creation, where each character is so well defined - one really gets to know and care for each one. Even though it is set in a remote village with specific characters, issues, there is a beautiful universal humanity that she creates. I am also so satisfied with her command of language/nuance. One should read and savour this book!

p.s. I had almost given up on reading fiction but this novel has redeemed my faith in "the truth in fiction". I can hardly wait for her next novel.

The Good Doctor
The Good Doctor
by Damon Galgut
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment!, Feb. 2 2004
This review is from: The Good Doctor (Paperback)
I actually ordered two copies of the book (one for myself and another as a Christmas gift)in great anticipation of a great read. I was very disappointed with the scope of the novel. The author fails on many accounts. First, the reader does not get a great sense of location - quite ambigously depicted. Also, one does not get the sense despite the title of "doctor" that the author knows much about medicine. The character is not well developed and really doesn't give "a damn" about them. I wonder how this novel even got nominated for the Booker????

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