Wrapping Up Summer Reading (Mini Reviews)

The Door, by Magda Szabó Three and a half stars, read in August 2018. The story of a strange, dysfunctional relationship between two strange women who are both uniquely intimate with and completely closed off to each other. I found it difficult at times, how deeply (and pretty frequently) they hurt each other, but the exploration…

The White Castle, by Orhan Pamuk

Two stars, read in September 2018. I planned on two stars throughout the book and then was tempted to do more based on the last few pages—two and a half stars if not three—but for now, I can’t bring myself to rate it any higher. It’s only 145 pages but took forever to read, because…

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

Five stars, read in October 2016. Gorgeous. Such a fascinating relationship between the protagonist—smart, insightful, but noticeably young—and Lila—who’s more like a force of nature than anything else. I love how not pretty the book is, how it’s about the violence and smallness of life. The dynamics of Elena Greco’s neighborhood act out the tension, the…

Honor, by Elif Shafak

Four stars, read in September 2015. I definitely liked this better than The Bastard of Istanbul by the same author, although I’ve been wanting to reread that one and see if I still feel the same way about it. This is a book about an “honor killing” (a phrase I use with scare quotes not because…

The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak

Two and a half stars, read in 2010. I had pretty mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, style-wise it was very irritating to read. On the other hand, there were some really beautiful parts, and the story delved into a culture that I’ve never known much about (but it turns out is…