READ THIS! November Review

This November we kicked off our READ THIS! series with an amazing novel - Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.

I read a lot and I read often, generally on the T everyday and usually during my lunch hour too, so, since I don't have a Kindle (yet - nudge nudge wink wink) if I'm bringing a 500+ page hardcover with me everyday, it had better be worth it. And oh wow, Dovekeepers did not disappoint.

Set in 73 CE, Amazon describes the novel as this:

"Yael was born of a dead mother and father who knows how to become invisible. Revka learned silence when her grandsons lost their voices after witnessing their mother’s brutal murder. Aziza became a boy to protect herself, and hates being forced to turn back into a woman. And Shirah will do anything to protect those she loves from the horrors of the world. The power and violence of these women is evident in every word of The Dovekeepers. Hoffman’s prose is vivid and unforgettable, scorching like the desert heat, and will stay with you long after you finish the last page. A story of sacrifice, endurance, and above all, survival, The Dovekeepers is homage to anyone who’s ever held fast to their beliefs in the face of nearly insurmountable adversity."

And Amazon's description does not even begin to do this monumental novel justice. The novel begins with Yael's story, and as we travel with her from Jerusalem to Masada in the middle of the desert, we see the destruction of the Romans through the eyes of a young girl who has been unwanted and asked to grow up all too quickly. Upon her arrival at Masada, Yael goes to work in the dovecotes (see Wikipedia's further explanation here) and there she meets our three other storytellers, Revka, Aziza and Shirah. Each story picks up where the last's leaves off, but not before Hoffman speaks through each character to explain how each woman arrived at Masada and came to work in the dovecotes. Revka, Aziza and Shirah take us through almost 2 years Masada as we watch each of them grasp their true identities and come to the destiny that each is meant to reach. The novel ends with the Roman siege of Masada, with the mass suicide of over 950 people, and with a powerful conclusion to this beautiful and striking novel.

Hoffman writes this ancient with a slightly modern tone, but this tone gives strength and soulfulness to each woman's story. Hoffman writes them in such a manner that it feels as though Yael, Revka, Aziza and Shirah are giving unto each reader a precious piece of themselves. Many critics have commented on the novel's length - deeming it to be too drawn out - but I think that Hoffman gives the detail to her work that is necessary to make it come alive.

Did you find time this month to read Alice Hoffman's Dovekeepers? What was your take on it? Do you agree with me that it was a beautiful story - well-written and captivatingly honest? Or did you find it to be a bit long? For those Alice Hoffman fans out there - did you find this to be similar to her other work? Or too much of a departure from everything she is known for? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this novel!

And now, without further ado, here is December's READ THIS! book:

While it's another long one, this novel has received tremendous reviews and is being raved about on an international scale. Published in Japan as 3 volumes, the English language (American) edition comes as one, almost 1000-page novel. Amazon describes this novel as follows:

"The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled. 

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers."

One of the reviews compares it to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, one of my favorites, and I cannot wait to dive into this novel.

So, what do you say? Will you read along with me? It may be long, but it's definitely going to be something to keep you company on these dark (and cold) December nights. Go pick up a copy (from your library, local bookstore, or Kindle) and join me in this adventure into Murakami's 1Q84.

(And, if you're joining me, don't forget to take a button for your blog from the sidebar!)



Post a Comment

to top