Thursday, August 26, 2010

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee is sort of a little book in length, but it's a very "big" book in terms of characters and impact. It's the story of a Nigerian refugee (she takes the name "Little Bee") who tries to escape the terror and fear of her village which has been taken by oil mercenaries.  As she is running with her sister, they come across a British couple on holiday, so they desperately run to them for help. What happens next changes all their lives forever.

One of the things that happens is that Little Bee is sent to a detention center in England, where she is forced to stay for two years. When she is released, she has no papers to legitimize her new life; all she has is the British man's driver's license. With this information, she goes to the British couple's home and finds the people there almost as traumatized by the Nigerian experience as she is. The story then focuses on the British woman, Sarah, and Little Bee as they try to put their lives together before immigration officials find Little Bee and send her back to Nigeria, where she fears she will be killed for what she knows.

Litte Bee was a good read with a surprising ending. It shocked me that it was set in present day, as it didn't seem possible that someone could remain in a detention center for two years. It's also always surprising to me how life in a village like Little Bee's can be so simple in terms of lifestyle, and then be so complicated in terms of politics.

Please post a comment and let me know what you think of Little Bee.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Sometimes it's difficult to keep the tension going in a series such as Stieg Larsson's trilogy which started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (see below). I rarely read three books in a row by the same author, let alone a series. But these books were so involved and mesmerizing to me, that I had to do it, and this third and last installment was as exciting and gripping as the others, and maybe moreso.

In this one Lisbeth Salander is hopitalized with serious injuries from her last escapade, and she fears she may be locked up in asylum again at some point. So, Blomkvist makes it his personal and professional mission to prove her innocence and free her, but this is a difficult mission given the conspiracy that continues to unfold around them and a large number of writers, editors, and friends. Salander continues to be the strong, feminist heroine that I absolutely love, and Blomkvist, while romantically challenged and fairly clueless in some things, continues to be a smart, faithful-as-a-dog male character.

Let me know what you think of Lisbeth and her crew of courageous hackers and journalists. Post a comment!