Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ken Follett // PILLARS OF THE EARTH

This is the longest book I've ever read. It sat on my desk for three months because I was afraid to open the cover. There's no jacket copy on the back-only a photo of Ken. I'm thinking because the book is so massive, there's not enough space for the copy. But. I once I started reading, I didn't want this book to end.

What is my review? Stop what you're doing. Forget that Oprah picked this book. Click out of Book Book and go directly to Amazon. Do not stop to chat along the way.


There. Do you have your copy?


You will find yourself transported to England in the 1100s. You will meet an unforgettable cast of characters whose lives are entwined by the building of a cathedral in Kingsbridge.


From Ken Follett's site: In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.


My middle-grade manuscript is set in Belgium in the 1500s. Many of the details of daily life popped off the page because of my research into daily life during the Medieval period. Ken Follett's attention to detail makes you feel as if you are part of this life, almost a thousand years ago. But the detail is not overdone. It's woven seamlessly into the plot. All of the characters are so real, I feel like I know them. And, and, and.....it's not a dark story. There are many trials and tribulations, and bad things happen, but always you're left with a sense of hope. My kind of book.


I cannot wait to read World Without End. It's not a sequel in the truest sense of the word, but it does follow from Pillars.





9 comments:

moonrat said...

Darnit, Chris. I'd been planning to write this one off as an Oprah book. Now I have ANOTHER book on my TBR!

cindy said...

yeah, me too. hhaa! thanks for the review, chris! i'll have to have a think about it--i may read it in the future...

Samakshi said...

Hey, this is a nice blog with really nice reviews :)

We've recently started a cultural society which pursues similar interests and a variety of others. It's called the “Culturazzi Cognoscente Club”. It strives to bring people in arts, cinema, literature, music and theater across the world together on a common platform, where they can share their thoughts, opinions, and interact with each other.

Here is the link:
http://culturazzi.wordpress.com/

Those who are interested in reviewing can shoot a mail to culturazzi@hotmail.com
Would love to know what you feel about it.

Samakshi,
Culturazzi Cognoscente Club

Joy said...

Well, after a click here and click there, I stumbled upon your blog and what a find! :) I'll be adding you onto my Google Reader, so I can keep up with your reads. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Pillars of the Earth

Anonymous said...

One major CAVEAT - some of the vernacular is not historically accurate and that is infuriating. It's like in that scene in the movie Somewhere In Time, where Chris Reeve sees the penny and it is jarring enough to transport him back to the present day. FIE on Follett for using swear words that did not come into existence until hundreds of years after the 1100's. Also, his sex scenes are juvenile and written with a ham-hand. Loved the plot but could have done without the historically incorrect vernacular.

bookboy28 said...

If the vernacular was historically accurate, I don't think most of us would know what was going on with the dialogue. That would be infuriating.

peanuts said...

What happened to Maude? After Alfred's funeral she was never mentioned again.

Langerhans said...

anonymous, I do not agree with your view that the love scenes were ham-handed, and they were certainly not juvenile. Such scenes were necessarily graphic in many cases to demonstrate the status quo of gender roles and sexual expression. Also, I agree with bookboy, if this novel was written completely in the vernacular, a lot of meaning would be lost on the average reader.

I've reviewed World Without End on my blog if you need any more motivation.