Review: The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

I read Carson McCullers’ The Ballad of the Sad Café and loved her lyrical prose. Her writing is deceptively simple and has a laid-back, soothing quality—perfect for a vacation. The Member of the Wedding has many of the wonderful qualities that McCullers is known for, but it feels a little loose and repetitive. You could argue the repetition emphasizes and describes the protagonist’s boredom, but the pace drags even at a scant 163 pages. That said, Frankie’s dialogue and ludicrous scheme are simultaneously funny and touching. McCullers strikes a strange balance with such a character; Frankie carries the novel when the plot and supporting characters weaken. read more

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Despite the formidable length of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, the book is mostly a set-up for the sequel. It’s no surprise that Martin’s intended trilogy ballooned into a seven-book extravaganza—focus isn’t his strong suit. I’m not sure if I will continue in the series. It might be best to hold off for now since Martin is fond of big gaps (up to six years) between books. There are so many story lines, characters, and plot twists that I’d want to reread the series before each new book and it’s just not good enough that I’d relish the thought of rereading for the sixth book, and again for the seventh.

In short, the focus of the book is the power struggle over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros told through a variety of viewpoints. The Starks of Winterfell are pulled south into a political tangle with the Lannisters. The daughter of a deposed king is gathering an army. Behind a mammoth wall of ice to the north, the Others are stirring. And a ferociously long winter is coming. read more