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Almost No Memory
Lydia Davis
Selected Poems
Philippe Jaccottet
The Tiger's Wife
Téa Obreht
Charles Dickens (Penguin Lives)
Jane Smiley
The Mansion of Happiness
Robin Ekiss
Erik Satie
When We Were Orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro Aw hell, I'm going back and giving this five stars instead of three - because I can't stop thinking about it. I know that Ishiguro uses a similar technique in all his books, ie the untrustworthy narrator - but I love how in each he goes so intensely after the past and what it means. He's obsessed with that, and so am I. This book had some wild and surreal moments, the narrator blew so much way beyond proportion, but in a psychological way it was all very real.
I did find the relationship with the foster child Jennifer somewhat of a sloppy bit, but when he recalls her in the war scene, it's clear what purpose she serves to the book. So despite that instrumentality, I'll love her, too.
earlier review:
I love Ishiguro's writing, and I felt he switched smoothly from past to present without me lagging behind, or favoring one. This was a very intricate book in its details and memories. Parts of it are dreamlike in a psychologically authentic way, ie they make sense and yet they don't, for example when Christopher revisits his childhood home. Another extended family lives there and owns it, but is prepared to return it to him "because he belongs there." In his mind he'll always belong there, and that scene especially seems conjured by his wounded sense of entitlement, which must accompany being orphaned. I was a bit frustrated by the slog-through-the-war scene, but after I was finished realized how much that stayed with me, and how it was representative of his futile struggle to "rescue" his parents.