Author: Yaa Gyasi
Date Completed: August 11, 2016
Synopsis: Multi-generational story follows two half-sisters (one sold into slavery, one married to a British slaver) and their descendants.
Thoughts: Homegoing was absolutely beautiful. It was well written, and the style light enough to be quickly readable, but without the sacrifice of quality or depth. Each chapter focused on a different family member/generation, alternating between the two branches. The story did not get bogged down in detail, but looked at a highlight or defining moment of a given family member’s life. Even though each character only had one chapter, they are fully formed and fit within their time, location, and experience.
Title: Tipping the Velvet
Author: Sarah Waters
Date Completed: September 1, 2016
Synopsis: Nan King leaves home to be the dresser for male impersonator, Kitty Butler. As the attraction they have for each other grows, Nan joins Kitty on stage. Eventually, their relationship sours, and Nan must make her own way in London.
Thoughts: The good – Sarah Waters did a phenomenal job with details. The characters were fully formed, settings and scenes are in-depth, but not overwhelming, and I liked the ease with which various characters wore their gender fluidity/identity. The bad – Nan was whiny, self-absorbed, shallow, and didn’t seem to be able to make the connection between her actions and the consequences they brought about. If I had read the book instead of listened to it, the book would have hit the wall multiple times because of Nan’s oblivious idiocy. She did, thankfully, experience some redemption and happiness at the end.
Title: A Silent Voice, Vol 4-6
Author/Illustrator: Yoshitoki Ooima
Date Completed: September 20, 2016
Synopsis: Shoya continues to try to redeem his childhood actions, and build a friendship with Shoko, while relearning to interact with other childhood classmates.
Thoughts: I love, love, love this manga! It is full of feels, and can be painful to read at times. Shoya is still trying to figure out how to be a better person, and has a hard time of it because old classmates (who also implicitly or explicitly bullied Shoko) keep trying to pull Shoko back onto their orbits. No single character is good or bad; all of them are a mix of the two. Even Shoko harbors a darker side. A defining event with her, forces the other characters to evaluate their flaws and behaviors. Naoka is the only character who really drives me nuts. I know there has to be a backstory as to why she behaves this way, but she is selfish, petty, and cruel.