Friday, November 01, 2013

A few minis - The Compound by S.A.Bodeen, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri & Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett

The Compound by S. A. Bodeen is a post-apocalyptic story that was probably recommended to me by my friend Melissa.  I can't say for sure, but I got a copy from Paperback Swap, a while ago, and when I heard Bodeen has written a sequel and my friend Paula was about to read it, I told her I'd read along if I could locate my copy (mercifully, it was already shelved with the rest of my unpacked YA books).

The Compound is a post-apocalyptic story of a family living in a huge underground compound after Rich Dad rushes the family to safety when the country is about to be hit by nuclear bombs.  The protagonist has a twin who was left outside and whom he assumes dead, along with his grandmother. But, there are strange things happening in the compound. Food is going bad, animals have died and Rich Dad, who hides away in his office, seems to be slowly going off the rails. What's going on?  Was America really hit by nuclear bombs or is Rich Dad playing a dangerous game?

I liked The Compound but it didn't go quite deep enough to make the story really exceptional and there were plot points that didn't work for me.  I couldn't understand why particular family members didn't question certain things Rich Dad insisted upon, for example.  I'm not sure I'll bother with the second book.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri is a drawing win and my first Lahiri book.  I didn't plan to review it but I'd like to at least make a few comments.  I found that I was definitely impressed by Lahiri's writing style.  The Lowland was one of those rare books that are written with such flair that you find yourself reading the same sentence repeatedly, not because it doesn't make sense but because it's pure poetry. The beauty of her writing really startled me.

I did, however, feel like The Lowland was written in what I'd call the Bummery Things Happen mode of literature.  I don't recall what other book I read that gave me that sense, but I read two BTH books a bit too close together and "Bad thing, bad thing, tragedy, depressing stuff, bad thing, everything works out for those remaining," is not exactly my favorite type of book to read repeatedly so, while I liked the upbeat ending and enjoyed the book overall I can't say I totally adored it. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work, though.

I first heard about Woman in the Dark when I read Bellezza's review in 2007.  It jumped out at me (and I remembered it, some 6 years later) because I hadn't heard of the book in spite of trying my level best to read everything by Dashiell Hammett in existence.  I was very excited to find a copy of Woman in the Dark at the local book sale for $1, after it sat on my wish list for so many years.  

As it turned out, I didn't actually like the story at all.  Hammett called it a "novel of dangerous romance".  I didn't find the story romantic or even all that mysterious.  The writing is familiar Hammett minimalist style but lacking the wit of The Thin Man and the cleverness of The Maltese Falcon.  I've already mostly forgotten the story -- which is really saying something, since storylines do tend to stick with me unless they're truly forgetable. There is, however, an interesting plot twist.  It just wasn't enough to make the story a good one.  

In other news:

I decided to go ahead and give NaNoWriMo a go, this year, although I'm feeling half-hearted, at best. Today was Adventure with Mary Alice Day (pizza, window shopping in an art gallery, browsing a local antique store) so there was a big gap in my writing time but I got an early start and ended up being satisfied with the day's word count.  

I've just finished reading Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma and am about to begin reading two new books.  I'll update my sidebar with the titles, as soon as I have a free moment but I'm off to bed, now.  G'night!

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I hope to read the sequel to The Compound soon--probably December or January--you and Paula in?

    1. Maybe! If I can find it on sale, perhaps in e-book form? I didn't like The Compound enough to buy a copy and I fear my library system won't get it anytime soon.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!