September 26th, 2006

earthsea

September Books 18) The Brothers Karamazov

18) The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Finally shamed into reading this by this meme, though it was also part of my 2006 reading resolutions.

Am I unusual in finding the grand sweeping philosophical monologues about the nature of God and Man very skimmable? Apart from the tendency of the characters to go into long diatribes reinforcing how each of the three (or four) brothers represents a different facet of personality, it's a fairly engaging story; the characters - and especially the small-town Russian setting - sketched vividly and memorably, and the plot accelerating towards the end to the conclusion. I was particularly taken with the story of the schoolboys which constitutes Book Ten of the narrative; I did wonder at first if it was going to turn out to be at all relevant to the conclusion, but in fact I think it does tie in very nicely to the last chapter.

Anyway, I'm glad that is over.
earthsea

September Books 19) Persuasion

19) Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Again, driven to read this at last by my posts here and here. It's a very nice story, of repressed emotions, shallow pretensions, and the tentative process of picking up a relationship after eight years of interruption. The heroine, Anne Elliott, is perhaps a little too flawless and downtrodden by her useless family, but she does manage to find her way to self-determination in the end. There were a couple of passages in the penultimate chapter that almost seemed to lurch into feminism. A good read.