Sunday, April 26, 2009
What long haul this was to read. For months I would pick it up and have to put it down simply because I could not get up a head of steam. The book jacket producers get full points for making me feel like I was really missing the hottest thing in Scandanavian mystery if I did not read this immediately. I suppose it was the conceit--that a woman comes out of nowhere and seduces a seasoned police detective by breaking into his house and sitting around in her underwear in the dark--that never really rang true to me. By page 200, when the author finally reveals just what the police detective likes so much about the object of his affection, I could not restrain a snort of disbelief and a sneer of derision. This is male fantasy run amok. Nothing wrong with a little fantasy, but please give us a something to hang our disbelief on.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
What a great read. For really the first time I understood the fascination with the phrase 'armchair traveller.' In other circumstances, I always thought it was somewhat absurd to think that reading about a thing was as fun as doing it. In this case, it was a lot more fun to read about it than to do it. Pit vipers, swarms of biting insects, interminable wet, death by maggots...and in all of it, a frustrating mystery. At its heart, this is a story of the search for a magnificent civilization in the heart of the Amazon, with vast earthworks paralleled only by great cities on the European continent. This is a book to make you think about what man is: his determination, his understanding, his folly, his ego, and how some of us have these things in greater measure than others.