Not Untrue and Not Unkind
8 journalers for this copy...
Not Untrue and Not Unkind is Owen's story - a gripping story of friendship, rivalry and guilt amongst a group of journalists and photographers covering Africa's wars. A remarkably assured and mature debut...".
Bought as part of the 2009 Booker challenge. I think we all know the 'rules' by now; feel free to change the order as necessary.
My favourite sentence: "...only in chess do people resign when they know things are hopeless. In life we use up all our pieces first."
This book passed into my care two days ago over lunch with Goodthinkingmax and a few others, who are all enjoying the Easter break.
Hoping to dive into this one soon, and to pass it along to TQD before heading back for term 2.
The main character Owen wasn't the easiest to warm to, and I did find myself a bit distracted at first, but like Miss-Jo points out the writing is well crafted, and before long I was into it (but then pressed for time!).
Middle aged journalist, contemplating his time as a foreign correspondent during civil strive in a far flung place. Hmm. Remind you of another story? I've not even read 'The quiet American' but found myself making the mental note to read it soon, to make comparisons.
The synchronicity of reading this shortly after a couple of Muriel Spark books (she lived in Africa when first married, and converted to Catholicism later in life, which meant much of her writing had a moral slant), made me wonder about the purpose of Owen's journalism and being in Africa. Was he there to spice up his life, or, to bear witness as it were, and to report the news to a greater world audience?
As a journalist he didn't seem to know himself, and at times idly watched as brutal acts happened around him, and at other times risked his own life for others. An intriguing dilemma, and wonderfully crafted story that I am still thinking about.
I can definitely see why this was nominated for the Booker Prize, but after reading 'Brooklyn', can see why it didn't win. I've yet to read 'Wolf Hall', so can only surmise that it's brilliant!
Thank you for sharing this book Miss-Jo.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Dropping off for TQD after work.
I usually don't mind being thrown in the deep end with my fiction, but this one did need a few signposts (it's not until 2/3s of the way through that I found out which decade it was set in). And the jumping about in time just confused me (hang on, isn't he dead? Oh, not yet?). Nothing wrong with some chapter titles with some *information* in them.
I liked the cynicism of the characters, at the same time as not liking the cynicism of the characters. They were amusing with their bitchy comments about foreign aid and the U.N., but at the same time I was appalled - tell me it isn't so!
It was actually a rather good book, but the frustrations just wore me down by the end.
I'll see if I can pass this on to Fleebo, next time I see her.
The detachment of the journalists and photographers in the face of massacre is probably realistic and necessary but it makes them kind of inhuman... when a corpse in the road is maybe worth a couple of photos, but otherwise you just gun the motor and swerve, because there's no story to sell.
On to FreePages next.
Whoops- the end of 2010 was just a bit crazy and so I forgot to journal one or two books. My New Years Resolution - to catch up with my reading. I might be up to some dark books and peaking at the JEs this looks like a quick read might put it towards the top of Mount Toobie in 2011.
Thanks for sending it on Fleebo and thanks to miss-jo for the ring :)
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Really enjoyed this in the end, although like others found some of it difficult to get through. Having lived for a time as near to the equator, the descriptions of the heat and light were good enough to make me sweat.
I disagree with the "secret" not being enough to get Owen sacked - he was responsible for the death of all those people who went with him down the road he knew to be unsafe. The ending with Brereton as the one person left alive who knew the truth was both chilling and anti-climactic in one. I thought making the narrator not really likeable was a master stroke, too, as O'Loughlin was writing from his own experiences. Must be difficult to make yourself a flawed character.
The writing style was the hero for me. So many passages resonate. Talking about two dead young guys as "people with a bad feel for politics" epitomised the cynicism of the investigative reporters and I liked how he could turn an ordinary sentence into something shocking in the last few words. I'll look out for more of his work.
Would you like this back or shall I lodge it in my OBCZ, miss-jo?