Good Reading : July 2005
44 goodreading Here’s a selection of some of the reviews you sent in to us. Keep them coming to: firstname.lastname@example.org The Burglar on the Prowl Robots and Empire Small Island Lawrence Block Bantam $21.95 Reviewed by Mark Young The Bernie Rhodenbarr burglar mystery series is wonderful for wordplay, serendipitous storylines, and Woody Allen-like settings and characters. Ber nie runs a second-hand bookstore, Barnegat Books, while his offsider Carolyn Kaiser runs a dogwash shop. Each week they get together to compare notes about love, business and loveable rogue Ber nie’s irresistible urge to pick locks. The Burglar on the Prowl has an intricate plot about jilted lovers, spiked drinks, Baltic war criminals and date-rape. It’s a tribute to Block’s mastery of this genre of ‘metropolitan crime puzzle’ that such serious topics can also be a rich source of comic twist and trivial delight. Die-hard fans will also enjoy the cameo appearance of Raffles the Bookstore Cat and smart-alec cop Ray Kirschmann.Very witty and worthwhile. Isaac Asimov The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold Andrea Levy readers’ reviews Review $21.95 Reviewed by Avril Caney Collins $18.95 Reviewed by Fotini Dangaris Picador $22.00 Reviewed by Suzanne Simpson After reading The Lovely Bones I still can’t really say whether I enjoyed it or not. It’s about Susie Salmon, who tells her story from heaven. Susie was brutally murdered in December 1973, and not only does she relive the hor rific day of the murder but she watches how her family copes with her death immediately afterwards and throughout the coming years. She also watches the search for the murderer who took her life away. It’s well written, the characters are well developed and your heart goes out to Susie’s family as they try to put their lives back together after such a tragedy. I found this book very haunting, and the author demonstrates wonderful imagination by explaining what heaven may be like through a young teenager’s eyes. But it left me feeling sad. Overall, this book is a little depressing for my taste. In a future millennium, Earth is seen as the ‘holy world’, highly-revered by its human ‘settler’ colony worlds and the other ‘spacer’ worlds of human-descendants. One ‘spacer’, Gladia Delmarre, is sent on a mission with ‘settler’ and ‘Trader’ DG Baley. Coming from rival worlds, the two bid to bridge the rift between humans and human-descendants. Accompanying Gladia are her ever-present humanoid robots named Daneel and Giskard; one highly intelligent; the other highly telepathic. Clearly a thinker ahead of his time, Asimov delves into the workings of the human mind, resulting in a bold testimony to humanity’s longevity. Robots and Empire is a compelling story of galactic worlds on the brink of war. Classic. Thought-provoking. Unassuming. Don’t miss it. Who is really interested in reading about the fate of the first Jamaican immi- grants to arrive in Britain after WWII? Well, just about every- body, judging by the accolades and awards that have made Small Island a small miracle for London-born Jamaican writer, Andrea Levy. Besides being a heartfelt tribute to survivors of war- zones and air raids, Small Island sifts through every permutation of racial conflict. Levy climbs inside the minds of four narrators – Hortense, Gilbert, Bernard, and Queenie – seeing the world through their eyes, speaking their patois.Through them, Levy allows the inevitable suspicions, misunderstandings, clashes and passions to work themselves out. This is a superb piece of theatre – visual and aural. You will laugh out loud. Levy makes skin textures and colour-gradations as sumptuous as a box of multi- coloured chocolates.