Friday, January 11, 2013

The First Two Books of 2012

Today I finished my first book of the year, ‘The Lawgiver’, a new novel by the great Herman Wouk. It’s the story, told in epistolary format, of the pre-production troubles of a film about Moses. The book was written by Wouk as a concession to his decades-long inability to finish a book on the Old Testament figure, and he and his wife are included as characters in the novel.  I liked it well enough, and Wouk seems technologically savvy despite his advanced age (he’s in his late ‘90’s) but don’t kid yourself. This isn’t in the same class as his masterpieces. What bothered me greatly was that for all the talk about how complex Moses was and how difficult a subject he is, very, very little of the book is given over to explaining why that is so, or to attempting to unravel that enigma.  Grade: B-+

I’ve also finished ‘Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone’, a novel by Stefan Kiesbye. It reads as a collection of interconnected short stories centered on a small group of children in post-war Germany. It has been widely acclaimed as a gem of literary horror, but while I found some of the stories well developed and chilling, most of them left me feeling empty.  I have to say, this one was a bit of a disappointment. Grade: B

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