Some Book Recommendations

I am back at my computer again. This week I read some really good books, some of which I would like to recommend to everyone who cares to read this blog.

Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier

This is an Odyssean novel about a Confederate soldier journeying home to the woman he loves. The narrative shifts back and forth between the two main characters, Inman and Ada. Their stories are wildly different from each other; Inman is journeying through the South trying to avoid being caught by the Home Guard, while Ada is learning to run a farm. Frazier does a good job at weaving these together. His description of the southern landscape is also beautiful.

A Curse on Dostoevsky, by Atiq Rahimi

When I first started reading this book, I expected it to be mediocre at best, but I was pleasantly surprised. The novel transplants Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment into Kabul, Afghanistan. Whereas Dostoevsky focused on the internal sense of turmoil felt by Raskolnikov after he commits his murder, Rahimi highlights the indifference of war-torn Afghanistan to his main character’s murder. When daily life is characterized by violent tribal warfare, personal morality is of less concern than tribal membership.

A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was a genius. Every time I read him, I’m amazed. In this particular work, his dry sense of humor comes through. I found myself laughing out loud while reading it. One thing I love about Hemingway is how his novels describe life as an expatriate American. The main character in this story is an American serving in the Italian army. As an American who grew up overseas, I enjoy stories that resemble mine, even if the resemblance is minimal.

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