“That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to love their family, but to feel a deeper sense of pride in who they are as individuals, not in how much money they have, what their last name is, or how many generations they go back to whatever dynasty. I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of being around all these crazy rich Asians, all these people whose lives revolve around making money, spending money, flaunting money, comparing money, hiding money, controlling others with money, and ruining their lives over money.”
I really went into this with an open mind. I was excited to read it and I wanted something different from what I normally read, a light, fun, contemporary about a culture I am not overly familiar with. I gave it my best effort, but I just didn’t care for it 🤷♀️. Glad I only spent a dollar on it!
“I was filled with angst in college, that I struggled with the question of my future, the meaning of my life – spoiled sheltered rich girl collides with great books and is devastated by her own banality.”
What a disappointment! I read Kostova’s other novel, The Historian, ages ago and I really enjoyed it. I found a beautiful hardcover copy of The Swan Thieves at Goodwill for $3. I was still riding my “art-thriller” high thanks to The Goldfinch. Everything was lined up perfectly for me to LOVE this book!!
“We don’t own truth. Truth is truth and nothing you can do about it even if you hide it, or kill it, or even tell it. It was truth before you open your mouth and say, That there is a true thing.”
I am not one to usually give trigger warnings, because honestly I just forget to and generally mention it in my review anyway, but for this book:
Trigger warnings: LITERALLY ALL OF THEM. Yes, even that one. And that one! Oh you thought that would never be allowed in a book?? Well it’s in here!
Sooo I’m gonna be honest with you guys. I really liked this book. A lot! But, I would definitely hesitate before recommending it to anyone I know in real life 😅. It is SO DARK. I am having such a hard time rating it, too. The story and the writing and the characterization – all phenomenal. But some of the subject matter is wildly violent and disturbing…..Yeahhhh, I’m still gonna go 4.5 stars, I think. It was really good, okay! Don’t @ me!
“Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted–? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?…If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or…is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?”
I finished it! I feel so accomplished. Wow wow wow, this book was a masterpiece! So good. 4.5 read for sure, with just a few very minor hangups.
“Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”
Funny, biting, harsh, satirical, absurd, poignant, real, nonsensical, dark, humorous, genius! This is what I love from Chuck. This is the Chuck that I look for when I want a slice of razor-edged, existential pie for breakfast. He soothes that ragged, sometimes consuming dread that most people feel from time to time. He just slaps on a balm of laughter and violence, and tells you to buck up and, honestly, it totally works. I love his books and Survivor is one of my new favorites for sure.
“The only way to influence another’s fate is by destroying them. It’s the only thing that can be done permanently and by an action within your control. To try to protect someone is to try to intervene in the actions of the world against them but that’s something you can’t face alone or entirely because if fate has bullets for them you can only take one.”
This was a really interesting book! I was excited to read it ever since I started following Rae on Instagram. She seems like such a cool lady, with her beautiful horse and cow rustling and reading Faulkner in woods. Her debut novel was very much what I was hoping it would be and, despite some flaws, turned out to be a solid 3.5 star read! I would warn you, though, that this novel is extremely violent, not just to people (cause who cares about them?), but also to animals, so keep that in mind before picking it up.
“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus. You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”
Oooo guys. I loved this book! It was honestly gorgeous in every way. I know, I know. I’m pretty late to the game here, but I gotta be straight with ya; I did not expect this book to be so good! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I just never got around to reading it. I kept putting it off do to my rather lackluster attitude toward circus books (I blame Water for Elephants for that 👎). But, I quickly discovered that the circus here is more of a magic show, complete with real magicians and illusionists. Did you ever see the movies The Prestige or The Illusionist? It’s more like that, which is so much cooler!! I cannot stress enough that, if like me, you foolishly neglected to read this book, you need to do so right now!
I read The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty a few years ago in college and, for being a relatively short novel, it had a lot of impact on me as a reader. Below is a structured response I wrote when reading it in class, that explores the author’s use of exaggeration as a writing tool.