Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I bought and read this book because I read Chang's novella, Hunger, in college and loved her language and the stark, simple story she presented of a family gone awry. I must admit, this one disappointed me. It begins with the same attention to language and stark imagery that I loved in her novella, but then the plot becomes increasingly heavy (not just in theme, but in the weight of the language). Junan and Yinan are sisters who adore each other growing up. When Junan is married off to a young soldier, it sets into motion a very disturbing story regarding our choices and the blame we place on people when events do not unfold as we desire. I found it very difficult to sympathize with Junan, which explains why this book cannot reside among my favorites. Unlikeable protagonists are all fine, but I can't love a book if I can't sympathize with the driving force behind the plot. Still, it provides plenty of inspiration for my current research into Chinese/Asian-related themes.

I cannot express how much I loved this movie. Deliciously creepy. When I was a teenager, I stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning reading Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes despite my bedtime. I also watched plenty of film noir on AMC, when AMC used to play actual "American movie classics" instead of "movies we hope have been off your radar screen just long enough for us to pass them off as classics." Recently, I've refocused on the macabre and gloomy and I could not pass up this book when I saw it on the shelf. It's up next with the books shown below:

I love looking at the pristine, unbent spines of soon-to-be-read books. Like pure blank notebooks, bolts of uncut fabric, and skeins of squishy yarn. Speaks to the possibilities of creation. I bought all of these books (excepting the Yasunari Kawabata) at The Strand. The Strand is a bad place for me. Nowadays, new paperbacks are selling for exorbitant, if not offensive, prices. Thus, when I see mounds and mounds of books available for the dirt-cheap price of $6, I scoop up as many as I can carry away with a clean conscience. I could happily live there, if they would only stock yarn in addition to their amazing assortment of books. The name wouldn't even have to change. Out of this stack, I believe I shall read Soul Mountain first, in keeping with my research on all things Chinese/Asian.

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