Sunday, May 31, 2009

Louis de Bernières Package

For us who love to read books, it's hard to pinpoint a single favorite book from all our reads. Some say they love all their collection, others haven't found it yet, others have 3 or 5 or 10. If you asked me 3 years ago what was my favorite book of all time, I would've just given you a blank look and say "it's kind of hard to pick one..."

Now, there's no other novel I call my favorite book but Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I love it so much that I even made it a point to make my review of the novel as the first post for this blog. I love its long, sweeping story, the style of writing, and it just captured my wholehearted interest and my imagination. Just leave the film version alone. I hated it and, most of all, Louis de Bernières himself hated it. I've been a fan of Louis de Bernières since then, and have searched long and hard to get my hands on his other novels. I got a hardbound copy of Red Dog last year from China, and I was so happy to get it for free. When Booksale opened in NCCC Mall, I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I happened to see a hardcover edition of Birds Without Wings. I thought that I would have an insanely difficult time finding the few remaining novels. But what do you know! Voilà! His first three novels just arrived from England yesterday morning.

Mr. Postman delivers !

I couldn't wait to open it up and devour the contents. I am absolutely happy and giddy with excitement. When I'm happy and giddy with excitement I jump around, giggle to myself, and go 'omgyay!' all over the place. I present to you the books that I've been waiting for 2 painful months!

I am lucky, lucky, lucky.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Audrey Heburn Makes Toshi Okada Thirsty When She Smiles

In Audrey Hepburn's Neck, we are introduced to Toshi Okamoto, a quiet boy who lives in a Ramen shop with his quiet parents in an idyllic seaside village in Hokkaido.

At 9 years old he feels the stirrings of first love with the beautiful and ethereal Audrey Hepburn as he sits with his mother in a cramped theater. Mother and son are both transfixed: "No Japanese woman has a neck like that."

The novel has the surreal feel you get reading about errie quiet protagonists, love and obsessive tendencies, and getting lost in cross-cultural translations. Toshi's story revolves around the Japanese economy crash, anti-foreign sentiments, and post-war cause-and-effect.

I love how it presents westernization and prejudices both overtly and covertly, working in between the Japanese and the Americans, the Americans about the Japanese, and the Japanese against the world.

The writing style is simple, direct and with a hint of sadness as it goes back and forth from the present and back to the past. The curious thing that most readers are quick to wonder upon is how Alan Brown, obviously of caucasian descent, undertakes the writing of the story from the prespective of a Japanese man with deep-seated troubles with a fascination for all things American.