Author Archives: Oxana Gutu

“What I loved” by Siri Hustvedt

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“What I loved” is a work of fiction rooted in research on human behaviour in a variety of disciplines. Leo, the narrator and one of main characters, tells us the story of his family and his closest friend’s family in the decor of the art world of New York.

The human tragedies entangle in seemingly distinct yet interconnected stories. Female and male friendships, the integrity of art dealerships and the father-son relationship will touch any reader’s mind in a sophisticated way, infused with the sadness of human failure to love one another.

“Lost for words” by Stephanie Butland

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“A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame” – a marvelous opening line. One can say the same about the human life on Earth.

“Lost for words » is a story of a long path to self-love and empathy. Loveday – the name of the main character – moves in the blink of an eye from a carefree childhood into the world of a child in foster care, as a result of domestic violence.

The story line is nonlinear and the flashbacks are moving as they are narrated through the eyes of a 10 year old caught in a family drama, which keeps reverberating in her adult’s life through the choices she makes. The story ends a bit abruptly to my taste, as if letting you wonder about what’s next. There is a charm in that, I think.

“What’s left of me is yours” by Stephanie Scott

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Did you ever hear about “wakaresaseya”? It is a business in Japan which delivers broken marriages and divorces through agents who play the lover to elicit “evidence” of adultery. In short, they are breaker-uppers. People with pecuniary interests and/or desire to keep the child often make recourse to such services. This novel is inspired by a real murder trial in Tokyo in 2010.

« What’s left of me is yours » is a story told through the eyes of a child caught in the middle of this adults’ game. It is also a story of a woman who was pulled in the game by her bitter and broken husband. It is the story of the agent who fell in love with his target and their mutual love. It is the story of a man who had to become a father again when his grandchild lost her mother in this cruel manipulation. It is a story of choices between getting stuck in revenge and building a future, hide away or embrace humanity.

I loved Scott’s beautiful writing style. It made me witness events, feel the emotions of characters, smell the ocean and hear the sounds of places where it took me.

“The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene

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If you are looking for a book on sexual seduction, this is not the one. By this book, “Seduction is a form of persuasion that seeks to bypass consciousness, stirring the unconscious mind instead”.

The book abounds with historical examples from ancient times to nowadays, from western to eastern cultures, literary characters to real life humans. I probably missed a chapter on the virtual world. Maybe in a next book.

This reading can inspire you to transform how you position yourself in the interaction with others. As with every book, you can only find there what’s already inside you. I take this reading with a grain of salt for my perspectives in every encounter in my milieu, personal or professional: “Nobody in this world feels whole and complete. We all sense some gap in our character, something we need or want but cannot get on our own.”

To wrap it up, in any relationship, adopt tact, style and attention to detail. Proceed.

“Codename Villanelle” by Luke Jennings

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This is so far my shortest book review.

For once I would agree with some of the reviewers on Goodreads: the television series is better than the original. Much better.