29 May 2007

The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

I finished The Troublesome Offspring... last night. I enjoyed immensely, even more so than Correlli's Mandolin (which is saying a lot).

I read some lame review of it at the NYTimes on the Web site that concluded with, "What we have here is the age-old fight between good and evil. Which is which? Taking more than a page from Gabriel Garcia Marquez (who has obviously taught him a great deal), Mr. de Bernieres, who has lived and worked in Colombia, comes down hard on the side of good times and fornication. Along with the buffoonery and the wildly comic inventions, he tells us that there is simply no institution we can trust. The message of this wondrous novel is: Leave us alone and we'll manage. Not only that, we'll probably have a lot of fun along the way."

Yeah, okay, I can see that, on the surface. But this is magical realism we're talking about here. You can't just say, "What we have here is the age-old fight between good and evil." Cut. Dried. Pat answer. This is a story about The Other, or in this case The Others. Weird People. Amazing people who must make sense of the less-than-amazing world some of us live in and its less-than-amazing government.

-----------I'm not done here...I'll be back---------------

Okay, I'm almost done with "Good Omens" now and I realize I'm never gonna say everything I want to say in this post. But let me say this, I'm so tired of reading generic reviews of books that could apply to just about any compelling novel. Not only does it do an incredible disservice to the reader, it slights the author and banalizes the characters.

Oh, and one more thing..."Mr. de Bernieres, who has lived and worked in Colombia, comes down hard on the side of good times and fornication. Along with the buffoonery and the wildly comic inventions, he tells us that there is simply no institution we can trust." Well, duh. When was the last time you read a great novel that was on the side of the government, the establishment, the institution? When was the last time you read a great novel that sincerely put trust in the government, the establishment, the institution? When was the last time you read a great novel that said, "You know what? The bold (replace adjective with any of the following: bohemian, adventurous, etcetera) life should be replaces with one more rigorous (replace adjective with any of the following: structured, status quo, etcetera)? Of course the author was against the rules and silly crusading of the government and the religious do-gooders! Geez!

Bottom line, this is a great book. Read it.

2 comments:

Liz Shine said...

OMG! I added a What I'm Reading Now section to my blog without even knowing you were doing it too. :) Let's start our book group again soon. We've got the place for it on our blogs.

Christina said...

lol...great minds think alike :)