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I have to read this book for my English class and I have to say it's absolutely the worst book I have ever read! There is no action, no suspense, no drama, no irony, etc; I cannot find anything in this book that would make it interesting in the slightest. The book takes something simple like kids tobogganing on a hill (just as an example from the book) and stretches it out for pages - explaining how Anton feels about it and how he finds peace and hope in these kids. BORING.
I give this book a 5. I am 16, and when I first read this book a year ago I thought it was amazing. I loved Dennis Bock's writing style and I think that he did a very good job of showing 3 different points of view on one subject. He didn't just show their points of view, but also how this one action, this one incident totally and completely changed and shaped these three peoples' lives. Bock did a wonderful job of bringing the peoples' lives together into one magnificent work of art. I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone. It was happy and sad and sweet and heartwrenching all at the same time and that is what made it so good. Please read this book. Don't listen to the people who say it is not good. Maybe it just wasn't for them, or they don't have the emotional capacity to understand such a magnificent novel. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.
I would also like to recommend White Oleander by Janet Fitch, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry, and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. They are all great novels and some of my favourites.
This book is nothing but an American bashing, cliche-ridden snooze-fest. The main character, Anton, is a typical science geek who is so smart he doesn't realize his own power...gulp...until it's too late. Oh where have I read this before? How about in every freakin comic book ever published. Anton's wife Sophie figured the best way to punch her ticket out of her WWII situation was to seduce this guy. All she had to do was go skinny-dipping and presto! The science geek immediately works for her release from an "internment camp" for european/Jewish refugees. The beauty of their relationship is that they actual travel back to the camp 6 years later and "seal the deal" on the banks of the lake they first swam together. Sure, that seems realistic. The only character worth caring about is Amiko, a japanese girl who tragically lives through the Hiroshima bomb. The problem is, she is written as an anachronism. She is too modern. Events happen which simply wouldn't happen in the 1950's. She says things and forms opinions that are too modern. And I simply don't buy the premise that she would ever travel to America to have reconstructive surgery. She would go anywhere but to the US. And naturally, her coming to America is treated like it's the march of the lepers down Broadway. I think I've written enough. This is a shoddy book written in disjointed flashback and it simply isn't worth your time.
Idea was great, but execution long drawn-out and ultimately boring. Characters props for author's purpose, not real people.
This is the first time I have read Dennis Bock and his brilliant novel The Ash Garden. I am about to read it again because of its incredibly beautiful prose, style of writing, emergent and performative poetics, and philosophical depth. In this book, I see a rebirth of the grand novelistic discourse long forgotten by those writers who have been producing trash, relentlessly, in this media-saturated world.