Thursday, May 6, 2021

Beauty: The Invisible Embrace by John O'Donohue -

John O'Donohue in writing Beauty - The Invisible Embrace takes the reader on a journey of discovery into the spiritual aspect of life.  He re-defines beauty by separating it from the outer appearance of defined features of the physical self that tends to lure into glamour.

O'Donohue delves deep into the heart and espouses on the true meaning of beauty as it pertains to our inner soulful being.  In doing so, he highlights the beauty of the natural landscape and its impact on the human heart. He elaborates his concepts through the Celtic art, culture and literature.  His descriptive illustrations enables the reader to develop a new sense and experience of beauty as an invisible embrace. 

O'Donohue emphasizes the importance of encountering ultimate stillness and a deep dive into being silent; this he indicates brings one to appreciate and embellish a different kind of beauty within one's heart. It is the human spirit--a kind and gentle awakening of an inner self. 

Beauty - The Invisible Embrace by John O'Donohue is a refreshing and powerful examination of the art of being beautiful in a spiritual sense.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant - Fiction

 Banks, in his introduction to Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant writes:  “In Gallant’s stories, the conflicts, obsessions, and concerns – the near-impossibility of gaining personal freedom without inflicting harm on those whom you love and who love you; the difficulty of forgiving a cruel and selfish parent without sentimentalizing him; or the pain of failed renewal – are limned with an affectionate irony and generated by a sincere belief in their ultimate significance, significance not just for the characters who embody them, but for the author and, presumably, the reader as well.”

There are fifteen stories set in Europe--mainly in and within the environs of Paris and in Montreal, Canada. These stories are poignant and authentic that brings to surface the realities of life.  Gallant illustrates these realities in a variety of themes that depict an international flavour within each story.

Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant deftly illustrates the trials and tribulations of human life in a diverse yet captivating manner. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith - Fiction

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith is a Comoran Strike novel. The private detective, Comoran Strike is commissioned by the wealthy Chiswell family to solve the mysteries embodying their family. These mysteries vary from blackmail to murder coupled with the head of the family--Jasper Chiswell being a Government Minister. 

It is an extensive dive into private detective work mixed with personal and professional issues that surface throughout this novel. There are vivid and detailed   descriptions of each scenario that encapsulates a complete chapter. The reader is exposed to the details of detective work performed by a small private detective agency with a meagre staff complement.

Galbraith manages to weave in suspense throughout leaving the reader wanting to continue reading, if only, to determine the ultimate outcome.  At times it appears exhausting just as the characters in this novel experience the exhaustion and the sheer tenacity to continue solving the mysteries surrounding this family; their income depends on their pursuance of the cases presented to them during their quest for resolution.

Lethal White is an interesting read despite its length. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Best British Short Stories 2018 Edited by Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle, editor of Best British Short Stories 2018 put forth twenty short stories by authors with a variety of styles and interests that surface in each of these stories.  It takes the reader to a variety of places within Britain and abroad that gives a British perspective in each of these stories. 

These stories depict the trials and tribulations of human life--some of which are adventurous while others are morbid and depressing. The reader is taken on a journey of exploring each author's style of writing as it relates to the themes of each story.  Some of the themes include tragedy, mystery, family drama, and betrayal.

Best British Short Stories 2018 is an eclectic story collection that gives the reader pause to reflect on life's twists and turns.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick - Fiction

The author, Phaedra Patrick, of The Library of Lost and Found creates a cast of characters living in a coastal village of England. Everyone knows everyone and are intertwined into each other's lives.  

Patrick captures the nuances of family life that highlights the unusual nature of these family members. The main character, Martha Storm, stumbles into a book of stories that she remembers writing with her grandmother who died a long time ago. 

Thus begins a new journey for Martha as she tries to unravel the discrepancies that surround her grandmother's death. During this process she becomes independent and develops her own way of living without constantly pleasing everyone she is close to. She speaks her mind and challenges those who question her much to the chagrin of her family members. 

It is a riveting tale with favourable and unfavourable surprises that Martha confronts as she develops this new sense of freedom by thinking and acting according to her wishes and desires. 

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick is a very interesting story that has many bizarre situations; some appear unrealistic, but Patrick makes it real for this family. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm - Non-fiction

Erich Fromm, author of The Art of Loving discusses the meaning of love in a non-traditional manner.  He rejects the notion of "falling in love" as it is not a true sense of being in love. The genuine art of loving needs to be separated from the emotional effect of being in love. Fromm delves deeper into the process of loving. It is a skill that needs to be learned and developed in its many forms and over a period of time.  

The author illustrates the importance of loving oneself before one can love another. It is a process of knowing, caring, respecting and taking responsibility for oneself. Only once there is self-love can one project genuine love to another; be it to a neighbour, sibling, parent or another individual.  He promotes loving all mankind to obtain that higher level of true love. 

The title encapsulates the theme of Fromm's take on being in love. It is an art form that needs to be cultivated through discipline, concentration and patience in all aspects of life. 

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm is an extraordinary enlightenment on the topic of love. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Saturday by Ian McEvan - Fiction

Saturday by Ian McEwan is a thrilling story that spans a full winter Saturday in the heart of London, England. The main character, Henry Perowne, is not only a distinguished neurosurgeon but is happily married to a successful newspaper lawyer, with two children who are now adults, moving in and out of their lives as these children explore their future lifestyles. There is happiness and contentment in this family life. 

The author weaves in and out of various characters as they impact the lives of the Perownes. On this Saturday morning the main character encounters a very unpleasant interaction while he was driving through the streets of London avoiding the marching protesters decrying the imminent Iraq war involvement. The story unravels as this one incident becomes a constant thorn on the sides of the Perowne family.  Eventually, Henry Perowne is struggling to save his family from being critically harmed by this one interaction on that Saturday morning. 

It is a story that keeps the reader captivated as each scene is vividly described bringing in anxiety and wonder of what will come next. The main character tends to reflect and analyze the various situations he encounters and appears to be accepting of what transpires during this day. It is an unusual story with well-researched information on neurosurgery with gory details of a brain operation that is translated to easily digestible data for an average reader. These sections bring authenticity to the novel.

Saturday by Ian McEwan is a gripping read with many twists and turns throughout the novel and concludes with unexpected outcomes.