Reviews by Bits

Anthem

by Ayn Rand

This is an interesting read (I almost wrote screed :-).

Most of the prose is written in first person plural, which makes for lyrical and quaint sentence constructions that sound nearly biblical in their peculiarity. The character(s) are likable and admirable. The plot is mostly pleasant and predictably standard science fiction: misunderstood hero rises above circumstances to find love and truth.

The biggest flaw in the book is the philosophical false dilemma presented in the last two chapters. Rand describes two possible human societies: one based on grey socialistic uniformity and the other of prismatic individuality. The book would have been more interesting if there had been more options that were presented, and in a more nuanced way.

Reviewed on 2009.03.02

An Ideal Husband

by Oscar Wilde

This is a very funny and interesting play. It starts slowly and with too many characters, but the plot develops rapidly. With the exception of a brief bit of philosophy on the proper role of women in society, it would still work with modern audiences.

Reviewed on 2009.02.26

The Paradise Mystery

by J.S. Fletcher

I somehow got the impression that this book was written as a serial, because with each chapter the plot got more sordid and another character (or two) were added. By the end, the suspects, motives and red herrings were piling up pretty deeply. On the down side, the pace was slow and the main characters were unlikeable. On the plus side, it was an interesting look at rural English life of the early 20th century, and the mystery was a good one. I, for one, did not guess the murderer.

Reviewed on 2008.10.24

The Man in Lower Ten

by Mary Roberts Rinehart

First, who is Cornelia Van Gorder? She was not a character in this book. There are about twenty characters, but not one is a Cornelia nor a Van Gorder.

Second, there are a lot of characters to keep track of, and many have names that are too similar for me. Mrs Curtis, Mrs Conway and Mrs Carter? I never figured out who was who. Sullivan and Simon and Stuart also threw me for a loop. Then there were the descriptions: the lady with the bronze hair and the one with the dark hair? Were either of these a Curtis or a Conway? I still don't know.

Still, the main characters were entertaining and kept my interest even as the plot became more convoluted and improbable.

Reviewed on 2008.10.12

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