12/06/2011 § Leave a comment
Eva recounts the events leading up to her son Kevin massacring several peers and one teacher in his school Gym via unanswered letters to her absent husband. The plot is openly aligned to the contemporary Columbine epidemic whilst retaining a uniqueness and originality. This is not historical fiction but a persistently unsettling exploration of society’s taboos. Shriver balances the reader’s submissive correspondence with a suspect narrator with the unapologetically unanswerable Nature vs. Nurture debate. The story suspends the reader on tenterhooks despite bearing a largely foregone conclusion and compels its audience to squirm with discomfort as effectively as Kevin himself.
28/05/2011 § 2 Comments
Novice whaler Ishmael recounts the all consuming vendetta of Captain Ahab against his gargantuan nemesis, the white whale Moby Dick. This American classic is beautifully written, telling of unique friendship, action and peril whilst utilising intricate allegories and hidden messages that are deliberately biblical in style. However, the main narrative is overtaken by historical accounts of the 19th century whaling industry. Further, Ishmael’s story telling is at times disembodied and his characterisation incongruous with his brawny shipmates. Moby Dick is instantly intriguing to those with nautical interests, but otherwise a book to be studied before it can be enjoyed.