Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Mini book reviews: Snowdrops and Seeing Stars

Snowdrops (Atlantic Books), a novel by A D Miller, is an intriguing tale about the modern Moscow, with all the wonder of young love and high-class establishments and the snow and the sense of making it through - plus the corruption and the excess and the smut and property crime. I quite liked it as a tale of a naive man becoming corrupted, and in an odd way seeing that he does not care what a fool he's been, which is at least honest. Basically he meets and spends time in Moscow with a beautiful woman called Masha and a businessman in a cowboy hat, and he just goes with it. Not the best crime/love story I've read, but the descriptions of the snow are pretty fantastic, and give the whole thing a sense of mysterious symbolism. What can be lost or buried in the snow - is it, somehow, your own self?

Seeing Stars (Faber) is a fun trip: a collection of story-like poems from Simon Armitage covering the uncertainties or fanciful hopes of life. It's had me chuckling at the sperm whale who wants to stand up for its rights to an opinion in politics or the man who thinks he can pilot a plane because of the sheer romantic magic of the thing while the pilot is on strike. It's had me pausing to think about the life-forms that matter to a pharmacist who is knocked out by some customers. It's had me thinking about the way we live as contradictions to our own desires and how what we imagine or what we dream of lies under the surface. Definitely recommended to you to enjoy, read and re-read, and ponder on!

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