summer boutiques-francophones Learn more snsflyout Home All-New Kindle sports Tools
Profile for Sverre Svendsen > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Sverre Svendsen
Top Reviewer Ranking: 894
Helpful Votes: 242

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Sverre Svendsen "Uni" (Canada)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Dian of the Lost Land
Dian of the Lost Land
by Edison Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.30
7 used & new from CDN$ 13.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Off-beat Jules Verne-like, April 3 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dian of the Lost Land (Paperback)
This novel reads very much like one by Jules Verne but not of the same quality. Probably not a page-turner but it does get more interesting at the end when the Neanderthals confront the Cro-Magnon people. It qualifies as a love story but not in the contemporary romantic style--definitely off-beat. This is a reprint plagued by some ridiculous spelling and punctuation errors, but there are not enough to spoil the reading experience. Why on earth could the publisher not afford to have someone read through the text before printing it? Shoddy. (less)

North Of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, and How I Survived Both
North Of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, and How I Survived Both
by Cea Sunrise Person
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.34
18 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of overcoming a tumultuous upbringing, March 27 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an extraordinary biography by a remarkable woman, Cea Sunrise Person, with an astounding resiliency and determination, from toddlerhood to young adulthood, to survive incredible hardship. I thank the author for persisting through seven years to chronicle her shocking experiences growing up with a dysfunctional family whose lifestyle was patterned on an extreme primitivistic philosophy. The family cluster was comprised of her mother, two aunts, an uncle and her maternal grandparents. The adults were frequently involved with a variety of sexual liaisons. Privacy and modesty were unfamiliar concepts. In the absence of a father, her grandfather, Papa Dick, assumed the role of an all-wise, all-knowing, eccentric and egocentric father figure—admired and obeyed.

We follow the Persons from a hippie commune in California to austere wilderness camps in Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon. Physical survival is at times precarious. Little Cea is often neglected, feeling lost among adults who are intent on being spaced-out on pot and drugs, and preoccupied with their sexual pleasures. Her mother has a lackadaisical, part-time, attitude to her parenting role. Being neglected, Cea seeks comfort from her Suzie Doll and a Big Blue Book of children’s literature. But she does receive sporadic affection from her mother and grandparents—enough to mitigate the worst of her loneliness and despair.

As Cea becomes seven her mother hooks up with a shifty character who survives financially by breaking into rural residences for shelter and thievery. Another of her mother’s partners involves Cea in pleasuring himself while (she finds out years later) her mother turns a blind eye. Readers will frequently cringe and wonder how much worse it can get. But Cea is a survivor and at the age of thirteen she sets a goal to become a fashion model. She overcomes incredible odds to distance herself from her family and succeed by her own wits, on her own merits. She gets by on determination and courage. She does make mistakes but tries valiantly to not let the ghosts from her past drag her down.

This is a wonderful book written in a factual, no-holds-barred style. I admired her bravery, at the age of forty-two, to share those experiences, positive and negative, which molded her to become the mature, happy and successful person she has become. The author left anger, fear and resentment behind to wholeheartedly embrace and sustain a loving and balanced relationship with her husband and three children.

PS: A note about the name Person. It is not based on the English noun ‘person,’ but is rather the Swedish patronymic meaning ‘Per’s son’ (the son of Per).

Under Observation
Under Observation
by Amalie Skram
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 15.50

2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing and inconsequential, March 20 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Under Observation (Paperback)
This volume contains Skram’s two asylum novels ‘Professor Hieronimus’ and ‘St. Jørgen’s’ published in the original Norwegian in 1895. They are semi-biographical. Skram used many of her experiences of her confinement to mental institutions, one in Norway, the other in Denmark, to provide the narrative and dialogues. It highlights the male-dominated hierarchical nature of mental institutions that existed at that time. The superintendent of the establishment made arbitrary decisions about each patient as to the nature of treatment and length of stay. His attitude about women’s role in marriage—being subservient to her husband, and to male authority—would often overshadow factual and unbiased elements in his diagnosis. A diagnosis of insanity could condemn a patient to virtual incarceration for life.

This is the story of the fictitious artist Else Kant’s experiences. Although sane and rational she was confined against her will due to a biased misdiagnosis by a highly educated and respected psychiatrist. It provides a startling description of how female mental patients were ‘treated’ and the interactions between nurses and patients as well as patient-to-patient relationships. It is a blunt and stern account of daily events and Mrs. Kant’s mental and emotional turmoil as if they had been diarized by her. The work has historical interest but makes for myself I found it to be rather depressing and inconsequential reading.

Wolf Among Wolves
Wolf Among Wolves
by Hans Fallada
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.97
35 used & new from CDN$ 13.22

3.0 out of 5 stars A tortuous tapestry of 20s German urban and rural life, March 19 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wolf Among Wolves (Paperback)
This lengthy novel was Fallada’s magnum opus, published during the Nazi era, 1937. Having read all of his major works, I can list my ratings as follows. Individual critiques have been posted for each title.

“Little Man, What Now?” 4 stars. The futility of the hand-to-mouth existence of a white-collar worker and his wife in early 1930s Germany.
“The Drinker” 4 stars. An intense account of a successful, happily married businessman’s downward spiral into alcohol addiction, drunken altercations, infidelity, adultery, delusional episodes, leading to his arrest and eventual confinement to merciless penal institution.
“Small Circus” 2 stars. A confusing, ponderous, bloated, provincial novel. Factions, political intrigue, rivalries involving about seventy characters.
“Every Man Dies Alone” 5 stars. Grounded in the author's own experiences living under the heel of Hitler's divisively oppressive regime. This is fiction steeped in legitimate historical relevance. Published after WW2.
“Wolf Among Wolves” 3.5 stars. A tortuous tapestry of urban and rural life in post-war Germany, 1923-24. Economic realities are chaotic with inflation having gone out of control. The social fabric is disintegrating. The plot revolves around about a dozen characters, the chief one being Wolfgang Pagel, a young former soldier who survives by gambling. Later circumstances bring him to a rural estate where he becomes the financial manager of farm, forest and livestock operations.

Most of Fallada’s works follow the ‘new objectivity’ literary style represented by detailed accounts akin to journalistic reportage. Dozens of characters are introduced in the first half of the book. I found myself making notes to keep track of who was related to whom and what. It does take a bit of work to keep track since most are referred to by titles or positions and other times by their names. The second half introduces some interesting new characters as they are joined by those of the main ones from the first half. There is no tranquility in this novel. Conflicts, rivalries, intrigues and deceptions abound. Somehow it felt devoid of emotional drama.

Having great admiration for Fallada’s other works, I loyally continued reading but frankly much of it was a slog. I hoped things would sort themselves out. Mostly they did albeit some of them tragically. Was it worth it? I would only recommend this book to devout Fallada devotees or to history buffs interested in the German social and economic chaos of the 1920s, which engendered the appeal of the Nazi ideology and the rise of its despotic strongman Adolph Hitler in the 30s.

The Stubborn Season
The Stubborn Season
by Lauren B. Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.27
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Coming-of-age with toxic parents, March 9 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Stubborn Season (Paperback)
This was Lauren B Davis debut novel published in 2002. I see that she has written a handful of novels subsequent to this one, some of which have been nominated for awards and received accolades. In this work the reader becomes enmeshed in the life of Irene, a young, only-child, working class girl living in Toronto in the 1930s. She has been afflicted with toxic parents: a father lacking self-esteem who resorts to alcohol to provide relief from reality, and a self-centred, insecure, deranged mother who distrusts everything and everyone.

The Great Depression features prominently in the plot and narrative. Davis must have spent countless hours researching historical events and social conditions. Class distinctions, racism, poverty, lawlessness and the violent authoritarian suppression of the unemployed and organized labor are some of the components that preoccupy the lives of the characters, including David, a young Jewish drifter. The seeds of communism and fascism were being sown to challenge the privileged capitalistic establishment ruled over by Wall Street tycoons. This book is perhaps as much worth reading for its historical elements as it is for following Irene’s steadfast perseverance to survive her mother’s dominance in order to create an independent life for herself.

This book is bluntly but thoughtfully realistic. Sadly there isn't much to cheer about. The color is predominantly gray. What I liked most about this novel was its lack of a saccharine ending. The components were there to make one but thankfully the author refrained.

A Confederacy of Dunces
A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.87
119 used & new from CDN$ 0.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excessively unprincipled weirdness, Feb. 25 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This work, written in the 60s, was not published until 1980, ten years after the author ended his own life. It won the Pulizer Prize and has received much accolade by professional reviewers. So, I thought I could not go wrong with this supposedly monumental American farce set in the 50s New Orleans. Well, I judged the first half of the book to be funny, relating the life of Ignatius, an obese, awkward, clownish eccentric bachelor living with his distressful nagging mother. His most outstanding character trait is unprincipledness. His thoughts and actions do not follow any pattern of rationality. He contradicts himself constantly. He is like a mechanically deranged cuckoo clock.

Aptly, this is a novel filled with deranged obsessive compulsive characters. But this plot lacks some sanity to stitch it together. The humor is overwrought and gets tiresome. I felt like I was driving a 4wd Jeep in reverse through deep crisscrossing ruts. What had started the book as a novel reading experience could no longer sustain my interest. I did finish the book but failed to understand how it has garnered so much praise, although I must admit it is unique in its excessively unprincipled weirdness.

Silver Surfer Vol. 2: Worlds Apart
Silver Surfer Vol. 2: Worlds Apart
by Dan Slott
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.06
29 used & new from CDN$ 5.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun graphic sci-fi fantasy novel., Feb. 20 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just about as good as Vol. 1. Refer to my review.

Silver Surfer Volume 1: New Dawn
Silver Surfer Volume 1: New Dawn
by Dan Slott
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.58
37 used & new from CDN$ 12.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A fun sci-fi graphic fantasy, Feb. 18 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is not the old Silver Surfer. Here is a lighthearted, whimsical, fun space opera with earthling connections. There are also substantial appearances by the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Hulk and Dr Strange. Slott's scripting is inventive, quirky and humorous'more fantasy than sci-fi. The Allreds produce their typical cartoonish line art with a solid-color palette. (I probably would not have bought this comic if the Allreds were not involved.)

The universe is populated by weird and wonderful aliens of surreal physiognomies. Having freed himself of being the servile taskmaster of the planet-devouring Galactus, the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, has now taken on the role of galactic Herald, defending populated planets from obliteration by defeating threatening incursions or reinvigorating dying stars (suns). Impericon, a phantasmagoric moon visited by trillions of travellers seeking a variety of over six billion different amusements, is ruled by the Incredulous Zed. But Impericon is threatened by the Never Queen, whose desires the return of her heart which was extricated and used to form the very moon upon which Impericon exists. The Never Queen yearns for her true love, Eternity, who is an observer rather playing a functional role in the plot.

Zed recruits the Surfer to protect Impericon from said queen. As leverage'to assure Radd's cooperation'Zed transposes an attractive young human girl, Dawn Greenwood, from earth to trap her on Impericon. Radd quickly becomes enamored by the enticing Miss Greenwood. Thus the Surfer, via Zed, connects with the earth family, the Greenwoods, who run a B&B in Anchor Bay, Cape Cod back on earth. The Surfer vows to rescue Dawn and return her back to earth. Meanwhile he must face the task assigned by Zed to overcome the Never Queen. But the Surfer and Dawn strive to become the queen's champions instead of her conqueror. The banter between Norrin, the Surfer, and Dawn is entertaining. Dawn develops an affectionate relationship with Surfer's board which she names 'Toome' (because 'to me' is one way Surfer addresses it). There are several instances when the Surfer 'silvers down' to his human persona but he is then vulnerable to be attacked. This is a fun read which is best enjoyed when read a second time to savor the nuances. I look forward to reading Vol 2 and 3 to complete the run. The title was relaunched in 2016 with the same writer and artists.

The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ: Natural Genesis and Typology of Equinoctial Christolatry
The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ: Natural Genesis and Typology of Equinoctial Christolatry
by Gerald Massey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.96
19 used & new from CDN$ 13.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost unreadable, Feb. 8 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Gerald Massey may have been a scholarly genius to produce this compilation of parallels between ancient Egyptian mythology, apocryphal writings and the canonical Christian New Testament. The sheer volume of 'evidence' that much of Christian doctrine and theology originated with extraneous sources and traditions can be compelling for the freethinker. It would present a vastly different perspective on what Christian fundamentalists refer to as 'the Word of God'.

Frankly, however, this reprint of the original 1883 edition is an incoherent shambles. It is unappetizingly bloated and turgid, almost unreadable. I mostly skimmed through it. Actually, the Index at the end would be a good place to start. Select an interesting topic and go to that page. Use the Glossary as an aid to comprehension. Good luck with that...

Modern Classics Payment Deferred
Modern Classics Payment Deferred
by C S Forester
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.00
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly fatalistic, Jan. 21 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having enjoyed Forester’s wonderful Hornblower adventure novels in my younger years, I had no hesitation to now explore his earlier works classified as noir mysteries. The first he wrote in the 1920s was ‘Payment Deferred’ about the machinations of Mr. Marble, a stuffy and stodgy English bank clerk caught in a predicament of financial embarrassment. Simply put, his wages have not been able to support the cost of his own and his wife’s moderate necessities. His obligation to local merchants have reached the limits of his creditworthiness. The rent for their austere suburban dwelling is in arrears. He has become dependent on friends and co-workers to extend him short-term loans.

Then a solution presents itself one evening from out of the blue when a well-heeled Australian nephew appears on his doorstep. Marble ceases the moment to murder his unsuspecting relative for a stash of cash in his possession. A late evening disposal of the body is hastily arranged by digging a grave in a small plot of garden while Mrs. Marble and their two teenage children are safely ensconced in their beds. Thusly Mr. Marble’s overdue bills are taken care of by the proceeds from his felonious deed. But from thereon he dreads having to move away from his dwelling which could lead to the discovery of the buried corpse. The solution is to purchase the residence but he has no means to do so. This leads him to devise a scheme to play the foreign currency market, with the help of his insider position in the bank; but he needs an accomplice to fund the operation.

I would not call this novel a thriller, nor is it a mystery. It is a gripping tale of one man’s desperate abominations. His actions, once committed, cannot be reversed. They haunt him incessantly and impact the lives of his wife and children adversely. It has an unanticipated ending. Noticeably, there are no likable characters. It is noir through and through. Although this story is overshadowed by dramatic fatalism it is has underlying layers of ridicule, cynicism and witticism.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20