Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bamboo and Blood

I picked up James Church's novel, Bamboo and Blood, because the cover looked like winter.

This was a strange book. On the back cover (I think) one of the blurbs compared it to film noir and detective stories with hardboiled detectives like Sam Spade. Some of the dialogue reminded me of books like The Maltese Falcon, but honestly it was more akin to watching a David Mamet movie - through frosted glass.

The book is set in North Korea, in winter, although a part of the "action" happens in Geneva, Switzerland. It's a cold and starving story, with not much action. Even though it was odd, I wanted to read it to the end and find out what happened. Each time I thought maybe I was understanding the story, another twist occurred.

One unexpected benefit to reading this book was that it made me very curious about North Korea, so I spent some time looking through atlasses and reading articles on the internet about North and South Korea.

If another "Detective O" story by James Church comes my way, I'm sure I'll read it - especially if it has an interesting cover.



Blogger Sandra said...

I want to know about North Korea too. My father was in that war and nothing much gets reported from the north. I may try this. Thanks for reviewing it.

1:31 AM  
Blogger My Two Blessings said...

Hmm! Looks interesting. Not generally a book I would consider but will have to check it out.

Thanks for the review.

Robin of mytwoblessings

11:04 AM  
Blogger Beth F said...

Great review. I'm going to look into this one. Love this: "it was more akin to watching a David Mamet movie - through frosted glass."

2:50 PM  
Blogger Sneb said...

Hi, Google led me to your blog post. I just finished Bamboo and Blood and to be frank I feel very stupid because right up to the end I still have no idea what was going on. Was there an "Aha!" moment for you where it all made sense? Maybe I'm just not used to reading mystery novels. Please enlighten me! If you rather not post spoilers here I can give you my e-mail address, or you can just post on my mostly unused blog.

If you are interested in reading more about North Korea I highly recommend Bradley K. Martin's massive book. Guy Delisle graphic novel is also interesting.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Sneb said...

Thank you for the reply! Somehow I missed the notification of a new comment on my useless blog, so I didn't notice it until just now. Cheers!

9:51 PM  

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