Read Ms Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Free Online
Book Title: Ms Hempel Chronicles|
The author of the book: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9781848871854
The size of the: 3.52 MB
Date of issue: December 1st 2009
Read full description of the books Ms Hempel Chronicles:EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "SHARP GRACEFUL PROSE" + "LUSH POETIC IMAGERY" = "AIMLESS NAVEL-GAZING MESS".
Is it some kind of chick-lit thing? I mean, this book shows up on various "best of" lists for last year, so I figured it must be worthwhile. Right?
Maybe if you teach 7th graders. Actually, it's condescending to 7th grade teachers to imply that they should be satisfied with this book. It's an amorphous mess. I suppose the jacket blurb should have warned me - by now I should have know the code. When reviewers focus almost exclusively on the "sharp, graceful prose" and "lush, poetic imagery", it's a sure sign that other essentials, such as plot and character development, are probably not up to par. You know, the kind of writing that appeals to the writers' workshop crowd and nobody else.
This is that kind of book. Bynum sidesteps that irritating plot requirement by structuring the book as eight linked "chronicles", each centered around the eponymous Ms. Hempel, whom we're obviously supposed to find charming as all get out. Well, call me a curmudgeon, but self-absorbed, aimless, needy characters navigating their twenties and thirties no longer do it for me. The meandering structure didn't help - in the first two chronicles, Beatrice is in her twenties; then we get two chronicles which are primarily flashbacks to her childhood, then back to the 'adult' Beatrice, but there's no particular payoff.
It's not a horrible book. No puppies are killed or maimed. There are no obvious linguistic atrocities. You sense that the author has talent. And maybe that's why I found the book so irritating, because - talent notwithstanding - the whole exercise just seemed completely pointless, and more than a little self-indulgent on the author's part.
I finished it only because of my pathological Catholic guilt.
Read information about the authorSarah Shun-lien Bynum is an American writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter and teaches writing and literature at UC San Diego.
Bynum is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Madeleine is Sleeping was published by Harcourt in 2004 and was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her short stories, including excerpts from her new novel, have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Triquarterly, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and in Best American Short Stories. Her novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, was published in September 2008 and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2009.
In 2010, Bynum was named one of the New Yorker Magazine's top "20 Under 40" fiction writers.
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