Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week it’s time to show off some book covers, more specifically the ones that have autumnal colours or we feel give off autumnal vibes. There’s definitely a lot of different shades of orange and yellow here but there’s a few covers that probably look out of place, with those ones I can’t really describe why I think they give of autumnal vibes – they just feel like books I should be reading as the nights get longer and darker.
A multigenerational family saga set in twentieth-century Portugal. Raised from the Ground follows the Mau Tempo family, a family of poor landless peasants, as they try and make a life for themselves as national and international events take place around them. But nothing really impinges on their grim reality until the first communist stirrings in the country.
The way Raised from the Ground is written took me a long time to get my head around. It’s like there’s an omniscient and omnipresent narrator, telling the lives of the different members of the family as each generation grows up. This style means there’s no speech marks when people talk and there often are very long sentences with many commas in them. The long sentences aren’t so bad, it’s the paragraphs that are anywhere between a page long and four-pages long that cause problems. It is very easy to get lost in those long paragraphs.
The story itself is not memorable and the characters, of which there are a lot, are not well developed. When the story shifts focus from one character or relationship to the other, it’s hard to remember or keep track of who is related to who. While the first 80 pages or so are engaging, the dreary existence of this peasant family becomes repetitive and dull as there is little chance for them to better themselves. No doubt this is the point of Raised from the Ground, but a novel can’t just make a point, it must also be interesting and unfortunately this one wasn’t.
Raised from the Ground pans around sixty years and the verbose narrator also talks about events that happened before the books beginning multiple times. Across those years different national and international events are referenced (including two World Wars) and the little footnotes that explained a reference to an important event in Portugal was appreciated. Though the way the book is written, focusing so closely on one family’s struggles, meant that the historical context was never fully explained so the impact of these events on the family and their community was never really felt.
I’ve read multigenerational family sagas before and on the whole I rather enjoy them. However, Raised from the Ground is not one of the ones I enjoyed. The combination of the writing style and the story meant I often felt my eyes glazing over. I did like the little titbits of Portuguese history speckled throughout the novel, though there wasn’t enough of that to keep me interested. 1/5.
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about those books that we totally meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get around to it, so now they are a priority for 2018.
Zorro by Isabel Allende
I bought this when I was in San Francisco over two years ago now! I love The Mask of Zorro so I do want to read this version of the Zorro legend. I’ve got an extra reason to read it in 2018 though, as I’m taking part in the A-Z Reading Challenge and this is the only book I own that fits for the letter Z.
Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
I got this book from a subscription box. I meant to read it last year, it was even on my Autumn TBR, but that didn’t happen and now it’s a big priority this year. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my next read once I’ve finished the books I’ve got from the library.
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
I got this ARC copy in another subscription box last year. I hadn’t heard of it before then but the blurb made it sound really interesting and now one of my friends has read it and really enjoyed it, I definitely want to read it this year.
Raffles by E.W. Hornung
I’ve had this book (and many others from the Atlantic Books, Crime Classics editions) for a few years now and I want to get around to reading some of these. This is a, I believe, a collection of short stories and they’re all about a gentleman thief so I should be able to read it pretty quickly.
Raised from the Ground by José Saramago
This one hasn’t been on my shelf as long as the others – maybe only six months. It would be my Portugal read for my Read the World project and I do want to make my international reads a priority this year.
Do you have any books you definitely want to read in 2018?