reviews: The Coast of Utopia and Memory

16 11 2008

Two very short reviews of books I’ve finished recently.

I did finish the other two plays in Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia trilogy.  Of the three Shipwreck was my favourite.  If found the second and third plays much easier to follow than the first, but it was Shipwreck that I was able to connect with most.  I do hope I get the chance to see the trilogy on stage at some point as there is so much that one is not able to capture on the page.

I’ve also finished a small volume called Memory by Philippe Grimbert.  The narrator is a boy growing up in post-WWII Paris.  Sickly, he is constantly contrasting himself with his athletic parents and romanticizing his family history, as well as feeling the presence of an imaginary brother.  Eventually he learns of his true family history and the sacrifices and betrayals that connect him and his family to the Holocaust.  There were some very haunting passages, but overall the book was quite short and I always felt somehow distanced from the characters.  The cover – which is what attracted my attention in the first place – is a perfect metaphor for the story and for the preoccupation with memory and the construction or narration of memories in the book.

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