BW15: Ishiguro, Erdrich, Hackwith, and Stabenow


Artist Georgiana Chitac: "ABSENCE

It's book week 15 in our 52 Books Quest and the theme this week is Rebellion.  I finished four books this week and I think my books are in rebellion because none of them ended on a happy note.  They all left me with a sense of loss and wishing better things for the characters. 

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, narrated by Klara, a robot.  She is an artificial friend, is made stronger by the sun and very observant. She is picked to be the companion to Josie, an ailing child, and goes to live with her and the mom. Klara sees the Sun as some sort of God and comes to believe that if she manages to destroy a "Cootings" machine (I think it's an asphalt paver) which spreads dark foggy pollution and blocks the sun, the Sun will save Josie's life.  Filtered through the eyes of Robot it doesn't  seem like an emotional story, but more philosophical. The humans around her aren't sure of some of the things she does, but go along, hoping she will make things better.  I really didn't like the ending because when she was no longer useful, the humans in her life, treated her like an appliance. 

(Dystopian Fiction, New to me author, 320)

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith was an interesting read. The narrators are Claire who is a librarian for unwritten books in Hell. Ramiel, a fallen angel a watcher relegated to processing the departed at Heaven's gates. Leto, half demon, half man who finds himself with no memory, and Brevity, a muse helping Claire.  While they are trying to return a runaway character to his book, enemies and allies are thrown together in a quest to find and destroy the devil's bible in order to prevent a war between Heaven and Hell. In the meantime God evidently has disappeared and Uriel, an archangel is in charge in Heaven. She's not a nice angel and wants to destroy Claire and all those involved with finding the dark bible. It's an intriguing concept, but quite a dark story with bits of humor thrown in.  I really didn't know who to root for. I didn't dislike the story, but again I didn't love it as I found it hard to root for any of the characters. 

(Dusty, Fantasy, e)

A Cold Dark Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow is quite good and I look forward to reading more of the series. Our heroine is Kate Shugak, an Alaskan Aleut, a retired investigator who lives alone in the Alaska National Park, but near her family in the tiny village of Niniltna. She's asked to find two men who have disappeared and during the course of her investigation, she is drawn back into the life and problems of family and friends. The theme of man against nature and man against man with plenty of action with murder, angst, betrayal, grief, as well as humor throughout the story.  I liked Kate, her byplay with different characters and hope she finds her happily ever after.  

(Dusty, mystery, new to me author, 173, e)

The Round House by Louise Erdrich is told from the viewpoint of thirteen year old Joe, with some asides from when he was an adult,  and it is easy to forget his age as he is put through the ringer with the assault on his mother and trying to figure out who the culprit was and do something about it.  The characters live on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota and provide the reader with an enriching background of Native American culture, history, myths and laws.  The story goes from dark to light to dark again. It's a story rooted in taking care of family,  grief, loss, hope, betrayal, strength, and the consequences of action.  Once you get used to Erdrich's lack of punctuation for the dialogue,  the story  will capture and hold you to the page.

(Native American Fiction, Literary, 368)

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