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Thread: UB5 Book Club Thread - Book # 1 - The Sympathizer

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    I got torn between this book and "Lincoln In The Bardo", which I just finished. Funny and beautiful book. Basically flipped a coin. I'll be interested in your thoughts.

    I'm hoping that the Ox milking scene in the orphan master wasn't the turning point in that book for you. I had a similar experience with that book. Struggled through it and then the "escape" began and I absolutely loved it.
    Yes, the escape was really when the book pivoted; such a rush when he emerged from that mine with the new identity and then the trip "home"! But my favorite scene--probably in retrospect--may have been the scene in Texas. It was very funny but also surprisingly affectionate and compassionate toward a bunch of goofy red state Americans. It was an amazing piece of artistry.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    not much analysis yet, but I am 40 pages in and think the set up for the story has been done nicely. as with many books, most actually, that I read, until I get knee deep in the story I have a tendency to cruise over words while my mind travels elsewhere. This has happened quite a few times in this book for me so far. I haven't been disappointed with the writing, and the story really is engaging me, so I don't think it means anything yet.

    A few quotes that I liked:

    On the effect of the war on the Vietnamese common citizen (page 4): "She was a poor person, I was her poor child, and no one asks poor people if they want war."

    On the American withdrawal from Vietnam (page 4): "Having given us the needles, they now perversely no longer supplied the dope"; and (page 6) "Why is it that the only people who do not know that the Americans are pulling out are the Americans". He has a few humorous lines thrown in, but Viet Nguyen is no George Saunders with comedic relief thus far.

    Page 32: "It is always better to admire the best among our foes rather than the worst among our friends."
    So far I'd say the first 40 pages are the best part.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  3. #33
    Thanks for the comments SU. I look forward to comments on this book from you and all of the others. Hopefully these scenes of artistry as you described one of them, will carry the book through. I have some time today to read at lunch so I hope to bang out a chapter or two.

  4. #34
    I finished this on the drive home from the PAC-12 tournament today. The thing I like about books like this, The Orphan Master's Son, etc. is the opportunity to learn about people from vastly different culture, time, and experiences than me, in an entertaining way. As I read it, I was thinking about SU's initial perception, and I just didn't see it through that lens. I suppose SU being an author himself, looks at a book and really thinks about an author's motivation.

    I listen to books, instead of read them, because that it the only way I can find time to get through them (while commuting, exercising, etc.). It has some disadvantages, and I feel like l may miss out on some of the deeper meanings as a result. It's easy to become visually distracted, lose focus or attention, and not as easy to go back and re-read a passage to search for deeper understanding.

    The ending of the book to me was a little disappointing, but then again, I'm not sure what I would have expected. Everything was resolved, but I was expecting something more profound.

    One recurring theme I noticed was a person or people having to be represented when they could not represent themselves. It came up often and in different situations enough that I think it was part of a larger point the author was trying to make. But I am still going over in my mind what that larger point is.
    Dyslexics of the world, untie!

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    I finished this on the drive home from the PAC-12 tournament today. The thing I like about books like this, The Orphan Master's Son, etc. is the opportunity to learn about people from vastly different culture, time, and experiences than me, in an entertaining way. As I read it, I was thinking about SU's initial perception, and I just didn't see it through that lens. I suppose SU being an author himself, looks at a book and really thinks about an author's motivation.

    I listen to books, instead of read them, because that it the only way I can find time to get through them (while commuting, exercising, etc.). It has some disadvantages, and I feel like l may miss out on some of the deeper meanings as a result. It's easy to become visually distracted, lose focus or attention, and not as easy to go back and re-read a passage to search for deeper understanding.

    The ending of the book to me was a little disappointing, but then again, I'm not sure what I would have expected. Everything was resolved, but I was expecting something more profound.

    One recurring theme I noticed was a person or people having to be represented when they could not represent themselves. It came up often and in different situations enough that I think it was part of a larger point the author was trying to make. But I am still going over in my mind what that larger point is.
    I am glad that you posted this. I am 220 pages in and have had lots of work distractions this week. I am really enjoying the book and reading your take makes me feel motivated to get in and read the rest to find out how it resolves.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    I am glad that you posted this. I am 220 pages in and have had lots of work distractions this week. I am really enjoying the book and reading your take makes me feel motivated to get in and read the rest to find out how it resolves.
    I've finished it but will wait until you finish to give my comprehensive comments.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  7. #37
    I am a little late to the party because I was reading something else, but I am about 2/3 into the book and very much enjoying it.

  8. #38
    I put it down because work got heavy and then started Brother's K. I will get back into this next week and post once again. I haven't forgotten about the book or this thread.

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