Book Review: Tiger’s Eye by Inga Clendinnen

Tiger's Eye by Inga ClendinnenI’ve mentioned in other posts that I like reading book blurbs. Rightly or wrongly, I often judge a book by its back cover.  The blurb for Tiger’s Eye, actually an extract from a review in the Australian newspaper The Age, absolutely sold the book to me, while strangely revealing little about the book’s content:

“This is a rare book, and rare in its own time.  It is memoir, history, fiction, a documenting of filial gratitude and ingratitude, and a record of the cauldron experience of a near-fatal illness, all bundled, coherently – that’s the miracle – between covers.  And written with a white intensity that assaults the way a Southern Ocean breaker does: first, shock, then – exhilaration…

The paradox of this intensely personal, powerfully intelligent memoir is that it lets the reader through while leaving Clendinnen and the people she anatomises with their skins on and mystery intact…I am reminded of Sylvia Plath’s last poems, not because Clendinnen is derivative – she is indelibly herself – but because she, too, can extrude clarity out of chaos.”

I knew nothing about the writer and had never heard of the title, but standing dithering in the bookshop I decided that at only £1 it was worth a gamble, so I took it home.  Then I spent months not reading it and looking at its glossy black spine, questioning the impulse which had made me buy it – would I be wasting my precious reading time by even starting it?

But when I finally read it, I loved it.  Absolutely loved it.

More

Advertisements

Review: Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

 

            “To tell the truth, I do not know this thing called ‘mind’, what it does or how to use it.  It is only a word I have heard.”

“The mind is nothing you use,” I say.  “The mind is just there.  It is like the wind.  You simply feel its movements.”

Murakami’s surreal imaginings deservedly earn him an international following.  He possesses the skill of making even his most fantastical ideas seem familiar: in Hard-boiled Wonderland we delve into an underground tunnel hidden in an office-block closet and discover mythical golden beasts, yet we don’t even flinch.

More