So, i finally finished the knitting project which i was obsessing about long enough to make some headway into this book. It's pretty darn fabulous. The setting is exotic, and has a pureness that adds to the feel of undiscovered frontiers. The characters are interesting (though i am not terribly compelled by any of them, yet). And mostly, I'm really enjoying Hilton's writing style. He has a sort of matter-of-fact, concise, descriptive tone for the most part, but occasionally seems to teeter into the realms of poetry with lines like "A world of incomparable refinements still lingered tremulously in porcelain and varnish, yielding an instant of emotion before its dissolution into purest thought." Very elegant.
I started reading this book to my twelve year old nephew, late at night over a cup of chamomile tea. I was really enjoying acting out the characters, though i'm sure my impersonation of the british gentleman was pretty pathetic. I looked up at Chris, thinking he was probably bored or asleep, but he was totally hooked. I am definitely enjoying this, and can't wait to get into the story proper.
I take back the comment that Fanny does not stand up for herself. She proves herself to be pretty stubborn and steadfast in regards to the slimy Mr. Crawford. I still think her character is ridiculously sanctimonious and judgmental, while at the same time being annoyingly weak, and I guess a perfect match for Edmund, who seems to be of the same nature. I can't say i didn't enjoy Mansfield Park - the bizarre family characters were hilarious - but I still put this at the bottom of the Jane Austen pile.
So far, my least favorite Jane Austen novel. The heroine is intelligent and has impeccable morals, but she's totally anemic and insipid. She can't ever stand up for herself, and is constantly shoved through life by forces outside of her own power. I still love the book, as Austen's writing is always a pleasure, but Fanny is really sort of disappointing.
Definitely a bit disjointed - rather like watching tv episodes.... The BAC characters are fairly bumbling - Mary and her crew are entertaining enough. The only character I found really interesting is the autistic savant Perrik... So far, I've gotten to the part where he's moved out to the cave - Will be interested to find out what happens with him and his biis - but, otherwise, am not terribly captivated. I will finish this just based on the principle that you should never start a book and not finish it unless it's absolutely god-awful.
Love Aasimov's lighter side - i believe these were stories he wrote in series for a magazine. It's interesting to read a very short mystery - the development of the plot has to be very rapid and concise. The characters are colorful, though of course the only women who are ever involved are victims in need of assistance (sort of old fashioned?) as the Black Widowers are a BOYS ONLY type club... Great for a quick read...
My version of the book had afterwords following each story in which Asimov talks about submitting them to EQMM—which I'm dorky enough to know stands for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Apparently, Banquets is the fourth of six Black Widowers collections. Any plans to read another?