The Great Los Angeleno Novel?

Bright Shiny MorningJames Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning is set in Los Angeles, and intersperses quick historical facts about the city in between introducing his many and varied characters, from a young couple who have fled abuse and boredom in the MidWest in search of their dreams in the City of Angels to the owner of a gun shop who hates everyone equally and doesn’t care who his guns kill (you just know he’s going to come up hard against a life lesson later in the book). The characters are interesting and show promise. Frey’s style takes a little getting used to, with its lack of commas and slight stream-of-consciousness flow.

Frey is of course (in)famous for the scandal around his “memoir”-later-revealed-to-be-fabrication A Million Little Pieces, but hopefully the incident won’t hang over his career forever.

Breath by Tim Winton – You don’t need to surf to read it

Read Breath by Tim Winton on the weekend.  It took all of two hours and I didn’t find any subleties – so it was an entertaining read, an easy read.

Breath by Tim Winton - a boys coming of age

Breath by Tim Winton - a boys coming of age

While there was a lot of copy about surfing, the premise of conquering that which scares you was a bit redundant.  However, even though I live in Ontario, Canada and there’s no surfing here, the storyline was enough that I was engrossed.

Eva, who is a bitter woman, out for only herself and her autoerotic fixation, is a bit much and a bit unbelievable.  As much as I liked the writing style I didn’t like the character development.  It seemed contrived and I didn’t understand how the protagonist and his friend were enamoured of the super surfing dude (I’ve already forgotten his name).

Pikelet, the main character, is embarrased by his apple-pie older parents and takes risks, surfing by himself and getting involved with the mean spirited, selfish Eva – while his best friend and his Idol (albeit a false one) are away.

The result is one messed-up adulthood and death (of who?  I’m not saying).

Pikelet’s best friend could be by far the best character in Winton’s Breath – he has the background that would do well aspiring to something – regardless of the outcome.  However, he seems like a filler character with the only purpose of egging Pikelet on.

Would I read it again – knowing what I know now?  Absolutely!

Tim Winton Biography

Windsor Star Review about Breath

For the record, I still haven’t completed The Book of God and Physics – it’s not such an easy read.  I’m about 1/3 of the way through and feel as though it is indeed trying to be a Dan Brown book, with twists and turns, and yet I either a) haven’t found the connection, b) am too dense to understand the physics, or c) just way out of my comfort zone.