Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Featuring Tatiana de Rosnay and Kenneth Bonert

 

by Lynn Willoughby

The Other Story ~ Tatiana de Rosnay

What a disappointment! I often choose books by author and this was such drivel I felt it was a complete waste of time to even finish reading it.

Nicholas Duhamel is vacationing in a luxurious Tuscan resort, which he can well afford because the one book he wrote was such a huge success. Based on his own family secret, he is shocked and decides he must get to the bottom of the mystery. (I didn’t find it particularly shocking or mysterious.)

His enormous assets from his book, the movie and the advance from his publisher for his next book, have totally gone to his head. His best friends won’t even talk to him. He runs through women, alcohol, pornography and self-indulgences of every kind in a mind boggling whirl. He is lazy, frivolous and so self-absorbed it is sickening.

“The swanky setting is over the top enough for a Harold Robbins novel.” ~ Kirkus Review

“Sarah’s Key” was not great literature but it did have a good story and some historical substance. This one feels like the author herself is lazy. It is not at all original.

  • A Secret Kept
  • The House I Loved

…………….and others

The Lion Seeker ~ Kenneth Bonert

This is a debut novel and is set in Johannesburg, South Africa. It chronicles the struggles of a Jewish family – the Helgers, and their struggles to break away from poverty, racism and their personal history.

Issac Helger is coming of age during the political unrest leading up to WWII. The “Greyshirts” and their scare tactics, power and persecution of Jews as they strive to imitate Hitler’s Youth Movement provides much of the tension in this novel. Also, the baggage and deformities both parents carry from their Lithuanian past, is ever present. Issac struggles to find his way through the secrets and lies.

The characters frequently speak in Afrikaans, with translations, which I found annoying and seemed to cause a pause in the action. The use by the author of Afrikaans slang was enough staging for me.

I had a hard time finishing this book. It’s 564 pages were twice as many as the story needed and I found myself skimming rather than reading. Would I recommend it? NO!

Who Knew?

Greyshirts is the common name given to the South African Gentile National Socialist Movement – a South African Nazi movement that was active in the 1930s and 40s.

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