Wednesday, September 23

Book Review: Flights of Love by Bernhard Schlink

Author: Flight of Love
Title: Bernhard Schlink
Genre: Short stories, Romance, drama, & Fiction
Pages: 307
First Published: 2000
Where I Got It: Borrowed from friend

A clutch of short stories that tell of the variety of love, distilled into seven splinters of narrative. The pick of the seven, the opening "Girl with Lizard," depicts a remote male character who fixates on a painting of his father's, which he is to discover, like his father, has a familiarly unsavory past, and which he is impelled to exorcise. In the book's centerpiece, "Sugar Peas," architect and amateur painter Thomas finds that his trio of lovers avenge themselves on his profligacy after he is left wheelchair-bound by an accident. "The Other Man" presents a widower corresponding with his dead wife's unwitting lover, and finding comfort through acquaintance. Less successfully, "The Circumcision" sees the pretext of a German man and his New York Jewish girlfriend to ponder huge, chewy rhetoric on the problems of reconciling the past, almost absentmindedly concocting an improbable denouement. Schlink too often presents scenarios rather than scenes, more intent on dislocated dilemma than language. In keeping with his legal training, he discerns lines of attack more suited to a drama, or perhaps a courtroom drama, than fiction. There can be no doubting Schlink's storytelling acumen or his undertaking to tackle the complicated identity of modern Germany. What is increasingly exposed, though, are the supporting mechanisms that too frequently serve to reinforce, rather than challenge, our assumptions with their didactic contrivance

Girl with Lizard
This was a meh for me. 
I really didn’t get the boy’s obsession with the painting. Why? Why choose a painting over real love? It seemed silly….it was probably symbolism for picking other things over love, but still a meh. 1 star for this.

A Little Fling
I’ll be honest….I was worried at first for this being a love story between the main guy and his friends’ daughter. Ugh, but it got worse and he had a fling with his friend’s wife. Geez. Why do people do this? I wanted to slap all three of the characters; especially the husband and wife. I could see both sides of their argument. 
The ending surprised me! I had mixed feelings though…it seemed too easy. But alas, overall this was okay. I was annoyed a lot, but it was okay. 3 stars. 

The Other Man
This was super sad! I felt so bad for the husband! I felt like this short story was giving Lisa excuses for being a cheating wench. Especially the ending…man, I hated the ending. I must admit that it was an interesting way to look at story. I gave it a 2.

Sugar Peas
Ugh. Thomas needed a punch in the face and the 3 girls irked me to no end. HOWEVER, it was my second favorite short story. I loved the ending, because karma is a bitch and karma hates you Thomas. This one surely did give me lots of emotion, mainly anger, but lots of emotions. It was certainly entertaining. I didn’t quite understand the title until an hour or so later! There are 3 girls… three peas in a pod. HA. Funny. Clever. In the end, I gave this a 4.

The Circumcision
The title certainly intrigued me. It confused me until the end….and it all made sense. I LOVED THIS STORY! I hated the girl, she was ignorant and I felt bad for the main guy. However, this was a great way to look at Judaism, Germans, and the Holocaust. It’s been 50 years since the Holocaust and a Jewish girl ends up dating a German man who had NOTHING to do with the event. The point this story makes is that prejudice can happen on both ends. Yes, it was horrible about what happened to the Jews, but one should not discriminate or hate a German that had nothing to do (especially if they weren’t born yet) with what happened. Poor guy…I would have railed the girl when she said, “It must be the Nazi in you.” 0_0 HE WASN’T EVEN BORN AND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE KILLING OF YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS! The ending was perfect. I had to read it 3 times to truly realize what happened. I gave a good HUZZAH once it sank in. This book have me such emotion. I had to explain what was going on, because Boyfriend was in the room with me giving me odd looks. Since his Grandfather’s family is German, he was mad that they guy stayed with her and he was happy on how it ended as well.
I stamped this with 5 stars of course.

The Son
This was a meh and I skimmed until the last page. The last page made everything worth it for me. It was super sad. I stamped this with 3.

Woman at the Gas Station
The ending made me sad even though I knew it was going to happen (hint…the title). I was super hopeful, but not every relationship can be saved. In the end, a 3. 

I enjoyed the writing style of this author. One of his books was chosen in the book club I’m in, so I interested to read it and see if it’s better or worse than this. The short stories all showed in interesting take on love. All the stories had to do with love and how sometimes it can burn you. Hint…the title is “Flights of love”. Some of the short stories where meh and I didn’t like it, while some other I really liked. I would recommend this to those looking for a quick read about love. After averaging out all the numbers, it comes to 2.6, so since I don’t give decimals, I shall round this to 3 stars. 


Blodeuedd said...

Very dull cover

Melliane said...

Many different feelings for the stories.

Carole Rae said...

B, ugh super dull.

Melliane, many emotions and different feelings.

Anachronist said...

Have a nice weekend!

carol said...

I really liked his "The Reader," but I think I'll pass on this collection. It sounds like really only one was worth reading.

Carole Rae said...

We are reading that for book club soon...I hope I like.

Carole Rae said...

Ana! I will try! Going to the Ren Festival. :) If I remember, I'll post pics. But I am bad. I never did post pics for our trip up north.