August 7, 2017

Recent Reads

81. Waltz With Bashir: A Lebanon War Story
"One night in Beirut in September 1982, while Israeli soldiers secured the area, Christian militia members entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and began to massacre hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians."

We often forget that history is the story of war told by the victors. The massacre that occured in Sabra and Shatila is not one I had even heard about until I was in college and met a classmate called Sabra. In every war and conflict, it is too easy to label one group the good guys and the others bad, but that is not ever the entire story, and this comic explores the history of this event and the amnesia, personal and collective, that surround it. What people knew and did not, what they did and did not. While it's often easy to think we might behave differently in a given circumstance, this book is a reminder that when we are in high stress situations we behave in unexpected ways and often have no memories of the trauma at all.

I really liked the art in this one, and the exploration of how memory and history intertwine. I appreciated learning more about these events, and it's fascinating and horrifying to read about events from a different perspective. I plan to watch the movie, and deducted a star because it felt unfinished in some crucial manner.

It's interesting that this my library labeled this as fiction when it clearly is not. An important book for anyone with strong opinions about the Israeli/Palestinian "conflict". If you tend to only hear one side of that story, give this one a try. Rating: 4 stars.

82. Boundless
Do you admire an author but somehow their books don't resonate with you? Am I the only one with this problem? I follow the author's work, but somehow her books don't work for me. I had high hopes that this would work better for me, but it was not to be. This graphic novel is a collection of short stories, and while I appreciated some of the art and the premise of some of the stories, overall this one left me scratching my head over all the rave reviews. Maybe it's just me. Sigh. Rating: 2 stars.

83. Elizabeth Is Missing
Book blurb: In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

I really cannot say much more about the plot of this book without spoilers.

It's not often that we read about older women in fiction, and I'm loving the trend to change that. Who are we without our memories? Aging is challenging, but it surely is better than the alternate, and yet the losses encountered along the way are heart breaking. There are two mysteries in this story, and while they are interesting that was not the main draw for me. I loved the voice in this novel, and I found myself angry at some people, and saddened by what was happening to Maud as time passed. It's not so much a plot driven story as a character driven one, and it gave me insight into both the aging and their caretakers, and has helped me look at aging family members differently. That this is a debut novel, by one so young at that, is simply astounding, and I plan on reading everything Ms. Healey writes.

I listened to the audiobook which was superbly narrated by Davina Porter, and would highly recommend the book in the audio format. Rating: 5 stars.

No comments: