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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Little Bee - Chris Cleave I would probably, as one other reviewer noted, go 3 1/2 stars, as well...

there were these moments where the heightened melodrama of the plot veered into the bathetic, where I found myself distanced from emotion and almost uncomfortably aware of the author behind the voices of Little Bee and Sarah (and, most often, and most especially, Sarah's boy Charlie, aka Batman) -- whimsy wrestled with pathos, and the reader loses....

but then there will be a scene of clear-eyed, unadorned horror, and I'd find myself near tears (a rarity for this reader), followed by one of Little Bee's gorgeously funny observations, and a stray bit of scenery or landscape description that seemed effortlessly precise and lush at the same time, or a bit of wordplay (Sarah's one significant injury resulting in an inability to type "e," "c," or "d"--so that "ecstasies" becomes "stasis") -- all imbued with Cleave's passionate argument against the xenophobia (and narcissism) of contemporary British (and "first world") culture(s). And despite those moments where you hear the voice(s) straining, the tinny ring of a missed pitch or an extravagant bit of weepie pandering, there are so many wonderful bits that I swallowed it in a gulp, and really did adore the read.