Tag Archives: book

Review: Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Ok, so what the hell did I just read?

I get that this is a post-modern classic, but it really didn’t work for me. It’s all over the place, and not in a good way.

For a start, the book has literally hundreds of characters. And it’s not always clear who they are or what they’re up to. And then they’ll disappear for hundreds of pages. (And I MEAN hundreds – this book is loooonnng!).

The way the story is told is also kind of a mess. You really have to piece together what the overall plot is. This works really well in some books (eg. Infinite Jest), but here it was just kind of annoying. LIke there’ll just be a whole chapter about something entirely irrelevant – a sentient lightbulb or something like that.

Maybe if the book was funnier this would work. Sure, there’s plenty of humour, but it’s pretty obtuse. Like the ‘hero’ of the book is this army guy called Slothrop – who runs all over Europe getting into adventures. At one point he’s dressed up as a pig, another time he’s a superhero called Rocketman.

I’m not saying it’s a terrible book by any means. It’s pretty highly acclaimed. I just think I didn’t get it.

Book review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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So I read this book because it was free on my Kindle for some reason. Also I’d seen the Swedish original film and the US remake and thought they were pretty great.

The book itself is reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel. It’s a gripping thriller, a compelling page-turner, and all those other descriptions that sum it up as the perfect commuter book. It’s something you can enjoy for what it is in short doses, without having to worry about it being too much of a literary masterpiece.

Not that the plot’s overly simple though. The fact it’s based in Sweden instantly makes it that little bit less accessible. The bulk of the story is about the disappearance of a young girl in the past, but really revolving around a spiralling family of double-crossing industrialists. Keeping track of all the family members is quite a task, but having seen the film versions helped with this (I just thought ‘ah yes, that’s Stellan Skarsgård’s character…).

The sub-plot is also about a Swedish industrialist and his nefarious corporate dealings. I hope you like reading pages about holding accounts and sorting codes!

But yeah, I enjoyed the book for what it was worth – considering I paid nothing for it. I intend to go on and read the subsequent books in the series, but more for the sake completeness than anything else.

Rating: 4/5

Post-script: I just wanted to say that I think the central character of Mikael Blomkvist is super interesting. He’s like a nerdy James Bond. Which makes it no surprise that Daniel Craig played him in the US remake:

Sexy. Brooding. Mysterious. A great casting.

But who played our hero in the original Swedish film?

This guy.

LOL