Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

A wonderful tale of an old man and his eventful life in which he finds himself in various accidental situations and meeting important world leaders. His humble nature and charming personality mean that he is unable to avoid getting into complicated situations, yet he manages to come out unharmed and making friends along the way. I was blown away by this book and upon finishing the last page, it made me smile to read such a tale and it to end so satisfyingly.

The characters in the novel are very imaginatively thought out. Jonasson gives us a background on the characters’ past histories, meaning that we warm to Allan’s group of oddball friends. I particularly liked this about Jonasson’s style of narration. The individual stories do not eat up too much of the main narrative, yet are easy to glide through.

The message coming through from the book is to not take anything in life too seriously. Whether it is authoritative figures, or disastrous turn of events, everything always has a way of working out just right. Additionally, the way that the characters all complement each other show how life is full of differences, making it interesting and colourful.

Originally written in Russian, the charm of the novel is not lost in this translation. Simple yet effective writing, and a unique style of humour; the translators must be commended.
Witty, informative and enjoyable. A great read for almost any type of reader.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road is one of those books that will make you want to get off your backside and do all the adventurous things you've always dreamed of. Set during the Beat movement in the USA, the novel features two main characters that go on a road trip around the USA in search for fulfilment and pleasure.

The two friends encounter many different people and experiences on their journey. The erratic writing style mimics the minds and lifestyles of the characters. Although there is thrill seeking and pleasure, there is also the deep personal quest for meaning and belonging.

Kerouac writes with real exuberance for the good, the bad and the ugly. There is pleasure seeking through vices, yet there are also the squabbles and the exhaustions. The negative as well as the positive add to the experiences. This gives the novel a real edge as it captures the journey that the characters make, searching for more than conventionalities that society offers. The array people that the characters meet along the way and the conversations that they have really highlight this and are some of the best written parts of the novel.

One aspect of the writing that must be commended is how Kerouac manages to heighten the readers’ senses; make you hear the music, feel the sweat and smell the whiskey.

A magnificent mix of autobiography and fiction, this novel kick starts the cult American road trip style movies that have hit Hollywood since. Inspiring and enlightening.

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

‘I’ve Got Your Number’ begins straightaway on a mystery and the novel does not stop.  After one is solved there is another, more of a ‘who done it’ which will keep you guessing till the very end.  As well as the mystery however, the novel has humour and of course, romance.

What I most loved about this novel is the way that the characters develop. The way you learn about them gradually, as you would in real life, is natural. I especially enjoyed the way that Kinsella unravels traits in the characters showing her observations of human nature, making it a fascinating read.

This novel is a good balance of verse and direct speech, so you are unlikely to get bored of the pace. The footnotes and text message parts ensure that you are kept entertained and on a reading high throughout.

Excellent storytelling and easy to read, you will be charmed to keep reading past bedtime. Full of both cringe and laugh out loud episodes, this latest Kinsella makes perfect holiday reading.