Outlet

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Vertij by Randy Taguchi, is both a literary challenge, as well as a cultural one, which any serious reader needs to assume it.

Target audience?  Those who are passionate with exotic cultures, like Japan, those who experience with more drama the alienation of the world we live in, but also those who haven’t felt anything anymore for a very long time.

Where and when? Tokyo, in Internet era.

Strong points? The hikikomori phenomenon (people, especially young ones, who completely give up on social life and choose to live isolated in a room). Not only the subject is fascinating in itself, but the author uses it in a very original manner. The mix of mysticism and technology is mind-blowing. The sex scenes are not meant to shock the reader, as they perfectly integrate themselves in the fabric of the story.

Weak points? It can scare the reader who strictly prefers a warm atmosphere and round and positive characters. I recommend you to face your fears.

Favorite characters? Yuki and Taka.

Convince-me! “Nobody else could stay a long time in my heart. The other people couldn’t stimulate me. I had disconnected myself from humanity. I hated human feelings, too raw, too alive. I was afraid of them.”

Bonus? Sex. The best diet in the world.”

Stars? 9 plus.

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HHhH

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HHhH by Laurent Binet, has represented for me one of the biggest literary surprises in the last years.

Target audience?  Those in love with history, those who wish to hear the truth from a writer who really knows his pen, but also those who let themselves wooed by novels like The Book Thief and who need ASAP a cold shower. We are not allowed to forget reality. And, if for this, you need to get off your fluffy and pink clouds, then so be it.

Where and when? Prague, towards the end of the Second World War.

Strong points? The exceptional writing style, the author’s magnificent interventions in the story (you almost feel how he touches you when you forget about him), the incredible events in which the three brave heroes are involved, Binet slapping you at the end of the chapters and the way your heart and soul is soaring long time after that. Sometimes, a simple sentence can put you down mercilessly. The major impact on everything you thought you knew about Nazism, Heydrich, Hitler, Jews and the horrific events of those times.

Weak points? The slightly superior omniscience of the author which may bother the recalcitrant natures. I said “may”.

Favorite characters? The Author, Prague, and the extraordinary and unforgettable trio: Gabcik, Kubis and Valcik.

Convince-me! “When I look at the news, when I read the newspaper, when I meet people, when I see my friends or some acquaintances, I tell myself the world is ridiculous, thrilling and cruel. The same goes for this book: the story is cruel, the heroes, thrilling, while I am ridiculous. But I am in Prague.”

Bonus? The scene in the church where 7 people withstand 800 SS soldiers reaches such a perfection, that you wouldn’t believe this is a fragment from a debut novel.

Stars? 9 plus to 10.

Wife 22

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Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon, is considered a book belonging to the chick-lit wave. I would rather say the wife-lit wave. A completely different menu.

Target audience?  Obviously those with wife status, but also those who, at least once in their life, had an online romance and know what an unhealthy spell can put on you the words of a complete stranger.

Where and when? San Francisco, modern times.

Strong points? The love story taking shape through bytes and megabytes, the light humor, the simple style, ideal for a Sunday, in the train, in a plane, on a boat, in a tractor or in other unconventional means of transportation.

Weak points? The desperate attempt to convince a schizoid society, like ours, that marriage is still the best solution in the world. I could have swallowed this idiocy, but the author kept on shoving down my throat this idea until the razzle-dazzle ending.

Favorite characters? The Researcher, but not the hysterical husband.

Convince-me! Wife lifestyle, well described. Up to a point, obviously.

Bonus? I don’t have one,  because from the above mentioned point on things kind of go crazy and we find ourselves in the middle of a teenage like rekindled passion, while we are dealing with two jobless partners with serious issues of communication.  Chica, seriously?

Stars? 7, because it can be easily read, while you are watching a movie, or doing your nails and giving Likes on Facebook. 🙂