Broken Lines by Jo Bannister

Cover of

This series is one of my favourite new discoveries. I wonder why I’ve never heard of it before this year. I didn’t think this book was quite as good as the previous one, No Birds Sing, but it was pretty damn good. Again I was impressed by the depth of the characters and the coherentness of the plot.

The overall theme of the book is interesting and the fact that the theme doesn’t become clear until near the end makes it all the more realistic.

(this is book 5 in the castlemere series)

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 31st August 2001.

i’ve got those segmentation …

i’ve got those segmentation violation, core dump blues…. every time i find a copy of this, which i originally saw via /usr/games/fortune in about 1990, the link dies. so i’ll copy it here so i don’t lose it again. i’d credit it if i knew who put it together to start with.

Well, my terminal’s locked up, and I ain’t got any Mail,
And I can’t recall the last time that my program didn’t fail;
I’ve got stacks in my structs, I’ve got arrays in my queues,
I’ve got the : Segmentation violation — Core dumped blues.

If you think that it’s nice that you get what you C,
Then go : illogical statement with your whole family,
‘Cause the Supreme Court ain’t the only place with : Bus error views.
I’ve got the : Segmentation violation — Core dumped blues.

On a PDP-11, life should be a breeze,
But with VAXen in the house even magnetic tapes would freeze.
Now you might think that unlike VAXen I’d know who I abuse,
I’ve got the : Segmentation violation — Core dumped blues.

i couldn’t get fortune to give that to me. i was wondering if it had been updated since the days of the pdp-11. i found some hideously geeky jokes while looking:

Catching his children with their hands in the new, still wet, patio, the father spanked them. His wife asked, “Don’t you love your children?” “In the abstract, yes, but not in the concrete.”

if i put the …

if i put the effort i take in writing nonsense in emails in a month and put it all towards another cause do you think i could write a novel in a month? compared to other writing contests that’s positively leisurely. i could just make the nonsense emails into a book of course. though i think that was darren’s idea first. besides the fact that it’s already been done.

more fame and fortune. …

more fame and fortune. loquax is in the top ten uk sites according to the good web guide. we’re in the company of the bbc, google, amazon, yahoo, guardian unlimited, cheapflights, ebay, lakeland and timeout. not bad company to keep 🙂

house buying gets quicker, …

house buying gets quicker, sort of. plans for online conveyancing can only be a good thing. one minor problem:

the proposed system – which would involve solicitors signing up to a customised electronic method of exchanging documents and contracts linked to a land registry central database – could be introduced by 2010.

2010?? and the first pilot study taking place in 2005? what are they up to that takes this long to plan out?

of course if this were the software for a national id card scheme they’d be able to get it up and running in a matter of weeks… something that helps the general public though? no chance.

word of the day: …

word of the day: peculation. to peculate is to participate in embezzlement. i have no use for it but i found it in the agatha christie i was escaping in at lunchtime and it has a lovely ring to it.

Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman

Cover of

I’m not sure what to make of this book so far. It’s got plenty of intriguing stuff going on but it’s not unputdownable. It starts in what I presume is the present day, at least it’s eighteen years after the story that starts to be told a few pages in. In those first few pages we see at least three of the characters from the main story that comes after them.

One of the problems I have with translated stories is that I wonder how much of the writing is what would have been in the original version. Did the translator add to the book or subtract from it? Of course, it makes no difference to me. Whatever I think the merits of a particular piece of English vernacular what I’m reading is the product of both the author and the translator. Whether the translator adds value or takes it away is a moot point, I just see the final product. It’s just something that niggles in my head when I’m reading something that I know isn’t the original version.

For example, people in the book often sound like old fashioned yorkshire men merging the t of ‘the’ into the front of their words. I wonder what that was like in the original. There’s also a passge about how a character swears in mixed Finnish and American where I suspect the original version worked better than the mix of English and American that has replaced it.

I found this book hard going for about a hundred pages and wondered if I might abandon it in the middle, not because I didn’t like it but because I was finding it hard work to read. After that though I got into the swing of it. It’s still a putdownable book but more because I want to savour it. It’s long and deep and slow and though I sometimes find the turn of phrase a bit strange it’s not a problem because the book is intricately plotted and that makes each sentence count.

In the end I had mixed feelings and was a little disappointed. Without making this too much of a spoiler in summary there were two levels to the mystery. There was the story of what really happened and then there was the story of why everyone behaved the way they did which was based upon what each of them had thought had happened. The second level was five star wonderful. The actual story was skimmed over and sketchy. Perhaps I missed something. The flesh of the book was very tasty but I feel the core was rotten and I feel let down by that.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 31st August 2001.