It took me a while to get into this one, which is strange as with all his previous books, I didn't have any problems of that sort. It took me a while to get through it as well, which is normal, as, as usual with Irving's books, this one was nearly 700 pages. Does that mean it is a bad one. No, definitely not. Then again, for his standards, this might be my least favorite book. Perhaps the level he set himself in his first books, make it difficult for himself. For those of you who haven't read anything by him, please do, you probably have seen a movie (the world according to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, Cider house rules) by him. A prayer for Owen Meany is still one of favorites.
As always there are a few regular things in his books (Vienna always seem to come back), though the setting for this book is Bombay, where most of the story plays, with occasional sidesteps to Toronto, Goa, Zurich. The whole storyline is too complicated to explain here, with too many characters and too many subplots. But apparently, according to a lot of experts, it gives a good view on India (after Arundhati Roy, number 71, another book about India, perhaps I should go there myself someday). But it is his trademark to write stories within the main story, weird things unexpectedly happen al thorugh the book, some flash backs only later in the book manage to explain some things that happened earlier. For fans a must, for me worth reading, for newcomers to Irving I'd recommend Garp first.
77. Artur Miller - Death of a salesman
I have made the mistake before, but reading a play is always worse than actually seeing it. But it seemed easy when I bumped into this one in a hostel bookshelf. I was through in one evening, so it was a nice distraction from the Irving I was reading. And apparently this is a classic, a very well known play, though I fail to see why.
The story is easy, the hard working salesman, adored by his children, who then later go on to disappoint him. He's not as good as they thought he was, they don't become as succesfull in life as he hoped they would. All the conversations are around that theme, with flashbacks, though snippers and actual conversation all intermingling. I guess I should have seen it...
78. Henrik Ibsen - Ghosts
And if I hadn't learned from the day before, one day later, different hostel, another play in one night. Ibsen is a well known Norwegian writer, who had his problems with censors, but reacted with a brilliant play in which there wasn't any direct critisism, but a lot of underlying pain about society. This story was written just before the turn of the century, so over 100 years ago now. I could still see it being played nowadays, which means to me that the title classic is justified.
The story about an obedient woman who ends up telling her son about his horrible father. A hypocritical priest plays an imporant role (don't they always) and an illegitimate child of her husband unwillingly makes things worse. The hero a simple gardener, though he might not be considered a hero by everyone. Good play, I liked reading it, it would probably be even better on stage.