12
Sep

The Sound and the Fury

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

This is a brilliant book, almost entirely for the way it is structured. Knowing that a story occurs in the way it is perceived, Faulkner divides The Sound and the Fury into four parts, each with a different narrator. The Modernism shows, among others, the interweaving of the two modes of exposure, the one at the first-person, and the one at the third person, of the omniscient author.

Sound and fury Sound and fury picture

At the base, the story is not different from other novels by William Faulkner, whose action takes place at the same Yoknapatawpha County. After the Civil War, Reconstruction finds the southern aristocratic families in a total decline, with their values ​​and codes shattered, trying more or less to save what remained only a shadow.

The ‘drawbacks’ of the novel are only two: the first would be that the first part is a bit discouraging, being written from the perspective of a mentally sick man. The other would be that of the four narrators, the most credible seems to be the last, and not the three brothers, too good ‘united’ to leave room for any trace of objectivity in their exposure. But these are too less important aspects, which do not decrease in any way the value of The Sound and the Fury, a novel where no matter how much you would dislike the rest, you find something anyway to impress you.

07
Sep

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

Henry James’ novel, The Portrait of a Lady, reproduces more than the portrait and destiny of Isabel Archer, transposing the late nineteenth century ideas into an intense and powerful work.

The portrait of a lady The portrait of a lady pictures

In the house of Touchet family, Isabel Archer knows Madame Merle, a seductive and fascinating appearance. Between Madame Merle and her young compatriot takes shape a sincere and liberating friendship for the spirit of the two, easily handcuffed on this land (England) of conventionality, conformity and modesty. And maybe this friendship could develop into a loyal friendship, if the sudden enrichment of Isabel, after the death of her uncle, would not have made ​​so much fuss. But Madame Merle was the owner of a modest fortune.

Convinced of Madame Merle, Isabelle takes a journey with her in Italy, where she meets the bizarre and demanding Gilbert Osmond, meeting that will change the path of Isabel’s life. By the end of The Portrait of a Lady, the threads rapidly unfold, and Isabel’s golden dream falls apart quickly. The curtains that were covering the plot fall one by one, and the hard and cold reality is showing its teeth yellowed by time, in a brutal and disappointingly grin in front of Isabel, Madame Merle.

05
Sep

The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

This book is a psychological novel by Stendhal in two volumes. The original title of The Red and the Black is Le Rouge et le Noir, and the book tells mainly the story of Julien Sorel’s life. This is also the title that the author originally wanted to give the book. However, throughout the book we walk from the lowest to the highest social classes, we meet people from different professions and ranks, we are given subtle lessons of history and we are familiar with the political situation of France at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The red and the black The red and the black picture

Thus, we are introduced to the world of the main character of the novel, a world often dominated by lies, deception and theft, behaviors that all social classes, from the simplest peasant, continuing with the bourgeoisie and the clergy and ending with the aristocracy of Paris, encourage and value them.

The Red and the Black is a complex novel not only from the point of view of the multiple layers of the subject that it treats, but also in terms of composition and the style in which it is written. This differs from the classic novel with omniscient author who keeps distance from his characters, by the interventions of the author which gives from time to time his opinion about their behavior. This book is undoubtedly one of those novels to be read at least once in lifetime.

03
Sep

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

A complex novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens follows the physical, but especially the spiritual maturity of young Pip, a poor orphan who suddenly comes into possession of a considerable fortune but without knowing who his benefactor is. From a disciple in the blacksmith of his uncle, Joe becomes a London gentleman, being convinced that his evolution is due to Miss Havisham, the victim of a scam from which she suffered a great disappointment in love, pain that would mark her entire life.

Great expectations Great expectations picture

Through Miss Havisham he meets his great love, Estella, but the latter, raised and educated in the spirit of hatred against men does not share the passion. Pip discovers later that the money do not come from Miss Havisham, his benefactor being the convict whom he met one night, when he was a child, in the cemetery of the native town, and whom he gave, by fear, some food. I will not go into more detail in order not to diminish your curiosity; the story continues in a manner unexpected, spectacular. Beyond the epic line of the novel, Charles Dickens captures the ingenuity with which he depicts the characters.

This book is fabulous and we all hide under the apparent imagination of the author’s work; from the hostile environment of this world to the depths of our consciousness, we recognize here, in Great Expectations.

02
Sep

The Firm by John Grisham

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

Like the other novels of John Grisham, also The Firm carries the seal of authenticity brought by someone inside, who watched everything very carefully. So the author manages with a lot of talent to describe the daily life in a law firm, weaving an unexpected cop intrigue. The action is well dosed, the lively portraits of some lawyers put on making money shine primarily through intelligence, there are secret meetings, midnight walks, dangerous chases, all leading to a good end and full of irony.

The Firm The Firm picture

The central character from The Firm is Mitch McDeere, number one of the Faculty of Law of the Harvard University, conceited and sure of him at first. For him, America was the land of all possibilities and he had the future ahead, therefore he was working like a desperate, zealous and secure of his future. But his choice was a fatal mistake, because as a character was saying the money doesn’t grow on trees, and: ‘nobody, ever, does not receive anything without giving something in return!’. If you like this sort of novel, I recommend this book.

31
Aug

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

Bridget Jones’s Diary appeared in 1995 as a column created by the journalist Helen Fielding in the British newspaper The Independent. The column, full of humor, was a weekly account of the life of a 30 years woman, alone, in search of love. When in 1996 the author has turned the columns into a novel, Bridget Jones’s Diary has become a global cultural phenomenon, a book that was sold in over 4 million copies and a character who gathered the aspirations and confusions of women worldwide.

Bridget Jones`s diary Bridget Jones`s diary pictures

The story written with a lot of humor focuses on Bridget, who was convinced that everybody understands perfectly beside her. Her romantic life is in the state of perpetual crisis. At the beginning of the New Year, Bridget decides it’s time to take control over her life and starts keeping a journal: ‘Resolution number one: obviously, will lose twenty pounds. Number two: will find nice sensible boyfriend and not continue to form romantic attachments to alcoholics, workaholics, peeping-toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts’.

Bridget Jones’s Diary
is an interesting book for women and if you have not already read it, do it.

30
Aug

The Hatter’s Castle by A.J Cronin

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

The first novel by A.J Cronin, The Hatter’s Castle, was at the same time one of his best books. The immediate success of the book helped Cronin in the decision to permanently abandon his first occupation and to devote entirely to his vocation as a writer.

The hatters castle The hatters castle picture

The book impresses not necessarily by the tragic events, but by the brevity and accuracy with which the characters were draw by the brush of a great master: the evil force of the main character, the weakness and cowardice of a mother who fear has suppressed her any maternal instinct and any impulse to protect her children; the frightened but grumbling grandmother; Mary, the profile of 17 years teenage girl, excited by the thrill of first love; Nessie, the traumatized child, crushed under the authority’s heel of a desensitized father and reduced from the status of a person with its own will, to that of a ghostly shadow that with each day that passes, dissipates more into nonexistence. And not finally, Matt, the son full of weaknesses and vices, unable, because of past abuses, to assume the status of man and to free his mother and sisters from the tyranny of his father.

One of the main methods used for drawing the characters is dialogue, which abounds throughout The Hatter’s Castle. The description of gestures, mimics, behaviors and mannerisms, and the emotional expressions of the characters, which through repetition and consistency have been imprinted on their face in the form of permanent features, completes the picture.

30
Aug

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

The successful novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, published in 1962 is a nonconformist and a controversial book. Anthony Burgess said of his book that: ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ should be a kind of manifesto or even a sermon on the importance of the possibility of the option. My hero, or antihero, Alex, is very evil, but his wickedness is not the product of social or genetic conditioning’s, but his own problem, in which he has committed with all lucidity’.

A clockwork orange A clockwork orange pictures

The main character, AlexDeLarge, is a young man whose pleasures are the cultivated music, rape and violence. It is also the leader of a gang of thugs. After the crimes committed by this gang, Alex is sentenced to 14 years in prison. He agrees to be part of a program proposed by the government for the delinquents, a shock-treatment that would result in the ‘removal of the evil’ in him.

The experiment will succeed, any type of violence producing to Alex from now on a strong feeling of nausea, becoming incapable of doing any harm to others. Thus transformed, Alex will be let go in society. This Anthony Burgess’s novel, A Clockwork Orange, is a book that I recommend you, if you have not read it yet.

29
Aug

Misery Book by Oscar Wilde

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

The subject of Misery may seem trivial at first glance, but what makes this novel signed by Stephen King (a prose which doesn’t contain any element of fantasy or paranormal) be exciting, is the force with which the evil character is sketched.

Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde picture

Most of the action takes place in a unique setting, with only two protagonists, at antipode – one evil, devilish, holding power and control and the other, far from being the hero, is the victim(the weak, addict, terrorized). The force by which is described the personality of the psychopathic, the reality filtered only through the eyes of the victim, without any gap through which to penetrate the unbalanced mind of the fanatical admirer, draws us with each page further along the storyline. It’s a shocking novel in which the reality of the normal human blends, dramatically and terrifying, with the spasmodic reality of a malignant mind. An experience that we can all imagine, but surely we will not go through the spiral path of the psycho-pathological stigma as well as Stephen King.

Read Misery and step into the world of Annie and Paul Sheldon Wilkers, the man traumatized and terrorized by his only ‘excited’ fan – the passionate, idolatrous and ruthless Annie.