Book Reviews

Hear the Wind Sing (Trilogy of the Rat 1) – Haruki Murakami

Hear the Wind Sing is the first novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Gunzo, and in book form the next month. The novel was adapted by Japanese director Kazuki Ōmori in a 1981 film distributed by Art Theatre Guild. An English translation by Alfred Birnbaum appeared in 1987.

Dean Koontz

The Neighbor – Dean Koontz Short Story

This lovely 30 page story is just a prequel to Dean Koontz’ much anticipated novel: The City. The year is 1967 and the trio that would unravel the mysteries in the second book are just twelve. Amalia and her brother Malcolm Pomerantz are living with their parents next to an abandoned house. Their lives are simple, filled with Jazz and not talking to their parents.

Book Reviews

“The Lottery” (1948) by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery” is a short story written by Shirley Jackson first published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. The story describes a fictional small town which observes an annual ritual known as “the lottery”, which results in the killing of one individual in the town.

“The Lottery” appeared three weeks after Jackson’s agent had submitted it, and there was instant controversy: Hundreds of readers cancelled their subscriptions and wrote letters expressing their rage and confusion about the story story is only a few pages long but it can breed some dread for the upcoming selection of the person. They each get to draw a piece of paper and the one who’s marked will be the victim.

On the morning of the lottery, the townspeople gather close to 10 a.m. in order to have everything done in time for lunch. First, the heads of the extended families draw slips until every family has a slip.

After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, “All right, fellows.” For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened.
Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. “Who is it?,” “Who’s got it?,” “Is it the Dunbars?,” “Is it the Watsons?” Then the voices began to say, “It’s Hutchinson. It’s Bill,” “Bill Hutchinson’s got it.”

Stephen King

From a Buick 8 * Stephen King Book Review

From a Buick 8 is a novel about our fascination with deadly things, about our insistence on answers when there are none, about terror and courage in the face of the unknowable.”

This is another one of the dull and long-winded Stephen King books. “Desperation” was like this, “Insomnia” was like this and it has a lot in common with “Christine“. It’s a story about a car in a police unit’s garage. A story how a car that looks like a Buick 8 has been impounded from a petrol station after its owner abandoned it and then strange and spooky things began to happen around it. Like “Christine”.
But this car had no owner that it could be jealous of. This car just kept the air around it cool and occasionally acted like an inter-dimensional gateway to a place where monsters roamed.
And at the end of the book, it briefly attempts to kidnap some policemen and fails. Then it starts to slowly shatter as a door that has been banged too hard shut and the car itself starts to lose its regenerative abilities. The book ends with the possibility of the car failing to be a door anymore and letting the mnsters through.

The narrative style is very similar to “The Wind Through The Keyhole” and “Colorado Kid” where the story is told not by the author but by one of the characters – in this case the town sherriff, Sandy.
He tells the story to the new recruit, the son of a cop who died recently and very much loved by the force he joined.

The book is boring. Perhaps it has something to do with the way the narrative is told- all in flashback; but what we stay with is the initial situation- weird car- and it doesn’t develop into anything like a plot.

“Law enforcement: a case of good men doing bad chores.”


Something Ends, Something begins * Witcher Saga

While this short story was written as a wedding gift by Andrzej Sapkowski and is considered non-canon, it’s such a nice story I wanted to share my favourite moment, a captured happiness between the Witcher and Yennefer. The story is about a wedding, The Witcher’s wedding and all of their guests and best wishes. Very short and very cute.

Joy and happiness was in everything they did. And even though they were so different, they knew that those weren’t the differences that divide, but the differences that bring together and bind, bind so strongly and so tightly, like siting of spars and the roof ridge, siting from which a house is born. And it was like the first time, when he was entranced by her glaring nakedness and intensive desire, and she was enthralled by his finesse and sensibility. And just like the first time she wanted to tell him, but he silenced her with a kiss and a caress and literally took away all the sense of it. Later, when he wanted to tell her, he couldn’t get a sound out of himself, and later still the happiness and delight overwhelmed them with power of a falling rock, and there remained only one big flash beneath the eyelids, and there remained something which was a silent outcry, and the world ceased to exist, something ended and something began, something stopped and there was silence, silence and peace.


Book Reviews

The Slow Regard of Silent Things * Patrik Rothfuss

For all the people who went through the massive “Name of the Wind” and “The wise man’s fear” and are slowly waiting for the next mammoth book in 2019, here’s a small interlude story about Auri, the young girl who lives underneath the University in little rooms with little steps and little breadths.

“To be so lovely and so lost. To be all answerful with all that knowing trapped inside. To be beautiful and broken.”

Publisher’s Summary

Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.

Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows….

In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

Book Reviews Stephen King

The Basis of Morality * Stephen King Book Review

All money tends to corrupt, and absolute money corrupts absolutely. This is an ancient message. You can find it in the Bible (“the love of money is the root of all evil”), in the writings of ancient Greek philosophers and Renaissance moralists, and also in Stephen King’s Morality story.

Morality is a novella by Stephen King published in the July, 2009 issue of Esquire. It was then included as a bonus story in Blockade Billy, a novella published on May 25, 2010, and later collected and re-introduced in the November 3, 2015 anthology The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

This is the story of an aspiring writer, Chad, and his wife, Nora, who suddenly are faced with a moral problem. Nora works for a retired minister  who had a stroke. They are both struggling financially and are always looking for a way to make more money. When the minister tells Nora that he always wondered whether a good person is capable of evil and he is willing to pay her to find out, Nora is unsure of what to do so he asks Chad. They put in balance the large amount of money they will receive, their dream of a Vermont home, a happy, care-free future and the idea of doing a bad deed.

Human nature has no bottom. It is as deep and mysterious as the mind of God.

Book Reviews Stephen King

My Pretty Pony * Stephen King

My Pretty Pony,” narrated by Jerry Garcia, is more of a reflection by an old man to his grandson about the passage of time and the importance of not wasting any precious minute. As per King, this piece is a reminiscence of a character who was supposed to be a protagonist in a violent story, which was abandoned by King while writing as Richard Bachman. In that story, the protagonist is supposed to remember his times with his grandfather, the part which was picked for writing this short story.

“You’re a goddam funny kid, Clivey,” he said. “I got sixteen grandchildren, and there’s only two of em that I think is gonna amount to duckshit, and you ain’t one of em—although you’re on the runner-up list—but you’re the only one that can make me laugh until my balls ache.”

No horror, no tension, no suspense, more of an existential treatise on how time is relative (yeah, Mr. Hawking is mentioned).

Of course, this point of view has been included in other of Mr. King’s works (notably the “Dark Tower” stories).

Nice little change of pace; Mr. Garcia’s narration, while at times monotonous, seems fitting to this unhurried reflection.

Book Reviews

After Dark * Haruki Murakami

Haruki_Murakami-Afterdark_German Edition(Roman)A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

It is a very, very short book and I think I forced myself to read it slow, otherwise it would have been devoured in less than two hours. It’s all about connections, memories, and most importantly the eerie question of how we perceive ourselves through the eyes of others.

“You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ’em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction–they’re all just fuel.” 

Book Reviews

QUIETUS * Orson Scott Card Short Story

What would you do if one evening you would come home to your wife and kids just to find out you had no children? That you’re imagining a second reality where you are not a top manager but a lowly employee with two great kids. And your wife is not depressed anymore and you are not in a coffin in your study?

Quietus: death or something that causes death, regarded as a release from life.

The title could not have been more appropriate. The hero of this story wants to escape his dreary life, his big mansion but he loves his wife. After a few miscarriages, she had her tubes tied and she was never the same. Their friends and relatives were told not to bring their children along and their massive house was empty. No sound of footsteps, no children calling for attention.

Until he decides (unknowingly) to create a second universe where all of these things exist and are possible.

But this time he pulled away, put on a robe, went into the other room to quiet the child down.

There was no other room.

Not in this house. He had, in his mind, been heading for their hopeful room filled with crib, changing table, dresser, mobiles, cheerful wallpaper– but that room had been years ago, in the small house in Sandy, not here in the home in Federal Heights with its magnificent view of Salt Lake City, its beautiful shape and decoration that spoke of taste and shouted of wealth and whispered faintly of loneliness and grief. He leaned against a wall. There were no children. There were no children. He could still hear the child’s cry ringing in his mind.

Then there’s the coffin in his study. All closed down, he’s told it’s a person with no family who had to be given to someone’s willing care until the morgue was less full the next day. The lid is closed but a fascination attracts him to it, spending hours gazing at the box. He can’t understand why his wife would have agreed to it.

“They left a corpse in a coffin here in the house with you all day? With the kids?”She buried her face in her hands and ran from the room, ran upstairs.Mark did not follow her. He stood there and regarded the coffin with distaste. At least they had the good sense to close it.

There he goes, mixing up realities, telling his barren wife about the children he sees…

Mark sat in his chair staring angrily at the coffin. He had come home worried about his health. And found a coffin to greet him when he came.

By the time he opens the coffin lid, he is surprised to find an average Joe staring back at him. Smelling strongly of embalming fluid, that person could have been anyone. Could have been him. Then the attraction of the satin pillows starts. He climbs into the coffin in his living room and he rests, knowing that his wife and two children will take care of each other when he’s gone.

Read story here: