[ARC] The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

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The Forge family is one of the oldest of Kentucky; the novel opens on the child Henry Forge, and on his conflict with his father, strict and bound to traditions: the Forge terrains will forever be used for agriculture.

Henry’s childhood is also marked by the discovery of her mother betrayal with an afro american man working for their family, and by the consequences of telling what he knows to his father.

Henry has the dream to breed horses, perfect beings that he sees as the apex of an evolutionary ladder; this way a new phase of his life begins; Henry is father of Henrietta and an entrepreneur obsessed by perfection.

On the other side of the borders, in Ohio, Allmon Shaughnessy grows up. Afro-american, his family is poor and since his childhood Allmon deals with criminal activities, since he is incarcerated. In jail he has a second chance to get his life better: to learn to deal with horses and then to work for the important farms that breed them in Kentucky.

While the destiny of Henry, Henrietta and Allmon get closer, the sons keep in perpetuating the errors of their fathers, in a circle that will be broken only by dramatic events.

Henry hates his father and his traditional ideas, but in the end he does the same: Henrietta’s education and her not going to college, his ill-concealed racist ideas, and the strict conviction of being possible to obtain the perfect horse, an idea linked to old evolutionary theories already proved wrong.

Allmon, willing to redeem himself from poverty and from his past as prisoner, will end up committing the same errors of his father who left him.

In the middle of these family sagas, that takes origin from the time when Kentucky’s terrains were conquered and when slaves tried to be free by crossing the river to the north, there is Hellsmouth: the perfect filly bred by Henry, named by Henrietta and tended by Allmon, maybe the horse itself a symbol of a modern slavery?

The novel is quite engaging in unraveling the story of the Forge family, and the interludes – not linked to the main plot – provide information about the past, useful in understanding the origin of the main characters. The second part of the novel, mainly focused on Hellsmouth training in view of the Derby, is slower and less engaging to the non enthusiastic about racing horses.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in english

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[ARC] New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

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The novels in the Hogarth Shakespeare series are retelling of Shakespeare’s most famous dramas and comedies.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier takes inspiration by the Tragedy of Othello, here setted in the playground of an USA suburban primary school in the 1970

Osei (called also O) is the son of a diplomat from Ghana, and for this reason his family moves frequently. Osei is used in being the new boy in every school, the only children who does not now anybody and that has to settle himself.

In this new school all the children are white, so Osei is new and different. The only girl who behaves friendly with him is Dee, and the two become friends. Othello’s story has not an happy ending, and here it will be Ian to destroy the relation between O and Dee.

New Boy is a faithful retelling of the original drama, but with the addition of another thematic:the friendship – and love – between O and Dee is not accepted for the racist mentality that is common in that area (both in adults and children).

I was not convinced by the choice to have a single day timespan (an extremely long school day with lessons alternating with playground time) and the choice of characters being children (age about 10 – 11 years). In some moments the difference between the events (dialogues and emotions) and the character’s age makes the story unreal and not very much engaging.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* New Boy by Tracy Chevalier ★★☆☆☆½

*I read this book in english

[ARC] Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade by Joe R. Lansdale

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The novel belongs to the famous series based on the adventures of Hap and Leonard, notorious protagonists of lots of Joe Lansdale’s novels.

The book is a mosaic one: Hap and Leonard remembers some stories of their childhood – like when the met each other – and tell them to their families and friends.

In the end its a collection of stories linked by a common thread; like other mosaic novel or collections not every story is at the same narrative level, and only some of them leave a mark.

One of the major topic is racism (the setting is mostly in Texas) and the struggle to overcome prejudices (Hap’s mother is a truly positive example).

Overall it’s a nice book, but I still prefer the “standard” novels of the series that deal with a single aventure with a wider scope.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade by Joe R. Lansdale ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Once finished reading Americanah it’s evident that the summary does not hint the novel complexity.

The main character is Ifemelu and we meet her in the USA while she is making the decision to close her blog, leave her boyfriend and go back to live in Nigeria.

The novel goes from past to present, and reading it we reconstruct Ifemelu story, from the Nigerian childhood to the American life, and Obinze’s, Ifemelu’s boyfriend during university time in Nigeria. The book has also a geographical span: from Nigeria to England to the USA.

Ifemelu and Obinze story is an opportunity to tell about the dictatorship in Nigeria, the social situation deriving from it and about the immigrants issues in England and USA.

Americanah is also about race and racism and discrimination; in the USA Ifemelu opens a blog about racism / race and the short extract of blog posts are like mini-essay about various themes and they are truly interesting and inspiring.

Americanah is an immersion in a different culture, it’s an interesting and enjoyable book (I had the chance to appreciate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s narrative style in We should all be feminist and this novel confirmed how skilled she is); the only element I found clashing in the story is Ifemelu’s struggle to go back to Obinze, who is not a memorable character.


Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in english

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee

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“To kill a mockingbird” is the memory of Scout’s childhood in Alabama; the beginning of school, the days spent playing with Jem and the friend Dill and the kind and reassuring presence of Atticus, her father.
These are the years when the children try to meet Boo Radley, a neighbor who did not go out his home, and when Atticus has the hard task to defend a Negro man accused of raping a white girl in a racist Alabama.
The events are narrated using Scout point of view, and thanks to her naivety the injustice and the hypocrisy of Maycomb folks are enhanced.
I read it some years ago when I was a child and I liked the story, now I reread it as an adult and I appreciated also its style and narrative structure and I was reminded that

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

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* To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee ★★★★★

*I read this book in Italian
*I read this book in English

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee

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“Il buio oltre la siepe” è il ricordo di quando Scout era bambina in Alabama; i primi anni di scuola, le giornate passate a giocare con Jem e l’amico Dill e la presenza confortante e benevola del padre Atticus.
Sono gli anni in cui i bambini cercano di incontrare Boo Radley, un vicino che non esce mai di casa e in cui Atticus avrà il difficile compito di difendere un uomo di colore dall’accusa di stupro di una donna bianca in un’Alabama ancora razzista.
Gli eventi sono narrati dal punto di vista di Scout, e grazie alla sua ingenuità saranno ancora più manifesti l’ingiustizia e l’ipocrisia degli adulti della cittadina.
L’avevo letto molti anni fa con gli occhi della bambina che ero e mi aveva colpito la storia, rileggendolo da adulta mi hanno colpito anche lo stile e la struttura e mi è stato ricordato che

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

_______

* Il buio oltre la siepe by Harper Lee ★★★★★

*Ho letto questo libro in Italiano
*Ho letto questo libro in Inglese