The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

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La famiglia di Tom Mackee si è disgregata: dopo la morte dello zio in un attentato su un treno londinese, il padre si è rifugiato nell’alcolismo, allontanando da sè moglie e figlia e abbandonando a sua volta Tom. L’altra sorella del padre, Georgie, deve ancora accettare la gravidanza dovuta al rapporto indefinito con l’ex compagno.

Tom da parte sua ha affrontato la situazione abbandonando la scuola e rifugiandosi nelle droghe, allontanando gli amici storici.

The Piper’s Son racconta quello che succede dopo: il ricomporre i cocci, l’affrontare le paure e il ricostruire una famiglia che sembrava persa così come le amicizie di un tempo. Il romanzo alterna i punti di vista di Tom e Georgie e risulta in una storia emozionante in cui la caratterizzazione dei personaggi e la loro evoluzione è ottimamente resa.

Mi è piaciuto molto e l’ho trovato molto ben scritto, l’unica difficoltà è, nella prima parte, capire relazioni tra i personaggi e ricostruire alcuni avvenimenti passati essenziali alla storia.

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Tom Mackee‘s family is broken: after his uncle died in an explosion on a London train, Tom’s father found comfort in booze, pushing away his wife and his daughter, and soon he abandoned Tom. The other sister of his father, Georgie, has instead to elaborate his brother’s death and her pregnancy due to her undefined relation with her ex.

On his side, Tom has faced the whole situation leaving school and making himself lost in drugs, and leaving behind his old friends.

The Piper’s Son tells what happens later: putting together everything, facing fears and reconstructing a family that seemed lost, as well as old friendships. The novel is told by the POV of Tom and Georgie, and is an emotional story where characters and their evolution is wonderfully described.

I liked reading it and I think it’s beautifully written, the only difficulty is, in the first part, understanding the relations between characters and reconstructing past events that are crucial to the story.

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta ★★★☆½

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

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You Change.
All that you Change
Changes you.
The only lasting truth Is Change.
God Is Change.

Ben prima che la cli-fi andasse così di moda (e prima che fosse definita con questo termine), Octavia E. Butler ha scritto questo romanzo che prende spunto da una crisi climatica e economica, mettendo a fuoco la situazione nella parte occidentale degli Stati Uniti (cosa che fa anche Paolo Bacigalupi con The water knife).

Le comunità, a seguito della crisi sociale, si sono strette in quartieri circondati da muri protetti con il filo spinato per evitare l’ingresso dei più poveri e violenti.

In uno di questi gruppi vive Lauren Olamina, figlia di un pastore che è anche un punto di riferimento della comunità in cui vivono. Il romanzo segue la vita di Lauren e le sue perplessità rispetto alla situazione e al futuro: la ragazza ha capito che il modello di vita a cui aspirano di tornare i genitori non è fattibile vista la situazione sociale e economica.

Lauren allora inizia a riflettere e a sviluppare un nuovo credo, il seme della terra, che costruisce sulla base delle esperienze vissute, delle scelte fatte per sopravvivere e della situazione drammatica che la circonda.

La parabola del seminatore è un romanzo di fantascienza solido, molto ben costruito sia per personaggi che per trama, ricchissima di colpi di scena e evoluzioni.

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Long before the cli-fi was fashionable (and before it was defined this way), Octavia E. Butler written this novel that begins with the economical and climatic crisis, with a focus in the west USA area (the same the  Paolo Bacigalupi does with The water knife).

Due to social crisis the communities are bound to quarters surrounded by walls with barbed wire, to avoid poorest and violent people to come in.

In one of these groups lives Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter. Her father is also one of the reference of the community they live in. The novel follows Lauren’s life and her uncertainties about the future: she understood that the life model her parents long to is impossible for the situation they live in.

Lauren begins then reasoning and developing a new faith, Earthseed, that she builds from experiences, choices done to survive and the dramatic situation around her.

Parable of the Sower is a solid science fiction nove, very well-built both for characters and plot, rich in turn of events.

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Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler ★★★★☆

The Martian by Andy Weir

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Leggi questo articolo in italiano


Since 2013 The Martian was quiet in my kindle: it had time to become famous, to be chosen to become a movie (director Ridley Scott) before I noticed it.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian was to me a great discovery – which denotes my foresight in book purchase; the story of Mark Watney, astronaut believed death but instead left alive by mistake on Mars, is very thrilling.

The story is well-built; the reader follows Watney’s progress by the log he writes or records in the available computer, but also he is able to follow what happens at the NASA and on Hermes, the spaceship where Mark’s crew mates are coming back to Earth.

This is one of the most obvious examples of hard science fiction: Mark does not omit technical details in his logs, and we follow him while he makes modification to the available instruments. The reader will come acquainted with the oxygenator and air regulator, with agricultural techniques on Mars and so on. Andy Weir’s skill is making so engaging such a technical novel.

Mark is a character that works, able to face a desperate situation with optimism and humor, and he is surrounded by minor characters (the novel in some parts is like a long main character monologue) that are well-built (a part from some of the Ares 3 mission crew mates, mostly for the few space they have).

It’s not a perfect novel, sometimes it goes too deep in technicalities to be fully appreciated, but it is a page turner, able to move the reader, that talks also about the good about humanity: the drive to the scientific discoveries and the one to help another human being in a desperate situation.


* The Martian by Andy Weir ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

The beauty queens plane crashes on an apparently desert island: the girls will have to save themselves in the end (without princes).

Beauty Queens is a funny novel parodying – by taking them to the extreme – some typical behaviors of beauty queens; during their stay in the island the girls will be forced to be their true self and they will start sharing ideas and dreams – and that pageants are not so amazing.
The novel deals with various themes without losing its irony.

The first part is the best one: the ideas of the Fun facts and the use of different point of view for each chapter are good and it also deals with the changing of the beauty queens toward normal girls.

The last part, more rich in action scenes, is not as good as the first one; many characters are too much a parody to be taken seriously.
I liked also the commercial breaks; concerning the footnotes they are likeable but quite too much (and a pain on a digital edition).

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* Beauty Queens by Libba Bray ★★★★☆

*Ho letto questo libro in Inglese