Skip to main content

Recent Readings

I finished The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman as well as The Year of Fog  by Michelle Richmond last week.

In The Imperfectionists Rachman devotes each chapter to an episodic portrait of a different character. In doing so, the author slowly reveals a timeline and interdependent setting for all of the characters. By the end of the novel the cohesive storyline of the newspaper and its history is fully developed and I was able to look back over what I had already read and marvel at the way Rachman had effortlessly tied all his characters together so smoothly while I wasn’t paying close attention. The background plot centers on a small family owned newspaper agency in Rome and the character portraits are of the owners and staff. Because the characters are introduced so slowly, one chapter at a time, and because those chapters focus exclusively on that character, the reader is never left confused or overwhelmed in the moment trying to untangle characters from one another (a problem I frequently had in character saturating novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude). In addition, the novel can be read as a collection of short stories, each chapter strong enough to stand on its own. It’s really a brilliant way of composing a novel.

The Year of Fog is a suspenseful, well written drama that kept me frantically turning the pages to find out how it was going to end. The characters at the center of the novel are a young woman, her fiancé, and his young daughter from a previous marriage who goes missing in the first chapter. The focus of the novel is the search for the girl and the emotional fallout for the woman and her fiancé as the months drag on. Richmond’s writing style is captivating and her plot pacing was really good during most of the novel. I was a bit disappointed with the last few chapters because I felt she had begun to rush the sequencing of events. It felt like she was trying to quickly wrap the novel up. Despite that, I still recommend readers pick up this novel because the depth of emotions and the intensity of the drama the main character is forced to reckon with are compelling.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Board Game Review: Brass Birmingham

Here’s a story of a lovely lady (spoiler: it’s me) and her pride and how it has led to the discovery of the single greatest board game I have ever played. It’s probably also a good primer for other reviewers on increasing your reach.At GenCon this year, I was perusing the wares of the various booths and my eyes caught a glimpse of two beautiful game boxes. Each had crisp metallic lettering with an old world feel and artwork that radiated European class. I made my way to the booth and waited patiently to speak to to the team manning it as there were many buyers lined up to purchase the games. I didn’t know anything about the games (Brass Birmingham and Brass Lancashire), or the publisher – Roxley Game Laboratory – but I knew I wanted to review one or both of the games. Almost every board game love story I star in in can be summed up this way: I am seduced by the artwork or theme and then I stay for the right mechanics. When the lead rep spoke with me, he gently rejected my request. He …

Board Game Review: Brass Lancashire

A few months ago, I fell in love with Brass Birmingham (you can read that review HERE). I fell hard. It was an all time top 10 best games ever kind of love and so when Roxley Game Laboratory offered to send me Brass Lancashire to play and share my thoughts, I was a bit hesitant.  Is there even a chance I could enjoy it as much as Birmingham? Lancashire was the original game designed by Martin Wallace, and while it’s been updated for the most recent release, I was concerned it might prove to be an older, tired version that couldn’t compete with Birmingham.

My concerns were unfounded. Brass Lancashire is fantastic. Playing Lancashire after playing Birmingham is a bit like dating someone and then dating their sibling. Sure, there’s a resemblance, but the kissing feels different.
The artwork for Brass Lancashire is beautiful, radiating a classic style evocative of the theme (industrial era production). The artists have shown great attention to detail such as the raised gold lettering on …

Board Game Review: The Shipwreck Arcana

We hosted a lot of small gatherings in December and they presented the perfect opportunity to bring some games to the table that we hadn’t yet played. The Shipwreck Arcana was one of these games. My husband Christopher talked me into acquiring it, promising it would be something I’d enjoy. I was skeptical because he described it as a logical/mathematical pattern building puzzle game (BoardGameGeek.com classifies it in the Math category among others) and I don’t tend to enjoy those as much as other types of games. We played several games, usually with the full count of five players. The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the game was how pretty the Arcana cards are. The artwork is is unique in style and reminds me a bit of a tarot deck. It’s a pleasure to lay out the cards for display on the table. Components include the Hours card, the Arcana cards, fate tokens, score and doom trackers, number line tokens, and a velvet grab bag. All of the components are sturdy enough to hold up to…