A meandering and overindulgent book that spends too much time on the intricacies of Egyptian mysticism.

DAUGHTER OF ISIS

A NOVEL OF THE EGYPTIAN RENAISSANCE

A mystical tale about a gifted princess living at the twilight of the Egyptian Empire.

Lizla is the last in a line of powerful rulers in the Egyptian Empire. Her father, a mighty Pharaoh, was killed years before while protecting his empire from foreign invaders, and his legacy of peace and union is of great importance to Lizla. She feels the weight of her responsibility and talents at an early age. She begins training with the famous priest Ra-Ta, who recognizes her supernatural gifts and the ability to transcend the corporeal world. The priest guides Lizla into a trance, where she speaks with the Goddess Iris, her spiritual predecessor. Under Ra-Ta’s instruction, she takes residence at the Temple of Love, where she immerses herself in mystical teachings and is surrounded by other gifted students. At the Temple, she reunites with her estranged childhood love, Mikos, who is at the Temple to study medicine. All is not well at the Temple of Love, however–during a stroll through the grounds, Lizla overhears several high-ranking officials discussing an invasion from hostile foreigners. Unfortunately, the issue of the invasion never gets fully resolved, and the story becomes bogged down in tangential explanations of Egyptian philosophy and mysticism. Much of the story is spent describing Lizla’s supernatural experiences, but these become too frequent and episodic, and as a result, the story stalls at points. For the book to achieve that special, ethereal nature that other spiritual tomes achieve, the prose needs to take on a more reserved and Spartan tone, and the reader left to do his own thinking.

A meandering and overindulgent book that spends too much time on the intricacies of Egyptian mysticism.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-45682-6

Page Count: 167

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

This is good Hemingway. It has some of the tenderness of A Farewell to Arms and some of its amazing power to make one feel inside the picture of a nation at war, of the people experiencing war shorn of its glamor, of the emotions that the effects of war — rather than war itself — arouse. But in style and tempo and impact, there is greater resemblance to The Sun Also Rises. Implicit in the characters and the story is the whole tragic lesson of Spain's Civil War, proving ground for today's holocaust, and carrying in its small compass, the contradictions, the human frailties, the heroism and idealism and shortcomings. In retrospect the thread of the story itself is slight. Three days, during which time a young American, a professor who has taken his Sabbatical year from the University of Montana to play his part in the struggle for Loyalist Spain and democracy. He is sent to a guerilla camp of partisans within the Fascist lines to blow up a strategic bridge. His is a complex problem in humanity, a group of undisciplined, unorganized natives, emotionally geared to go their own way, while he has a job that demands unreasoning, unwavering obedience. He falls in love with a lovely refugee girl, escaping the terrors of a fascist imprisonment, and their romance is sharply etched against a gruesome background. It is a searing book; Hemingway has done more to dramatize the Spanish War than any amount of abstract declamation. Yet he has done it through revealing the pettinesses, the indignities, the jealousies, the cruelties on both sides, never glorifying simply presenting starkly the belief in the principles for which these people fought a hopeless war, to give the rest of the world an interval to prepare. There is something of the implacable logic of Verdun in the telling. It's not a book for the thin-skinned; it has more than its fill of obscenities and the style is clipped and almost too elliptical for clarity at times. But it is a book that repays one for bleak moments of unpleasantness.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1940

ISBN: 0684803356

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1940

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