BOOK REVIEW: A Twist In The Tale – by Jeffrey Archer

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Title: A Twist In The Tale
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories
First published: 1988
Finished reading: May 1st 2015
Pages: 320
Rating 1,5

“I shall never forget your reply. She is, you said, far better than us, if the only way you can prove your superiority is to punch her friend in the face.”

myrambles1review

True, I didn’t realize this was actually a collection of short stories when I started reading A Twist In The Tale. I confess I mostly picked this read because I needed to read a book that was written in the year I was born (1988). I normally don’t mind reading short stories as long as they are interesting, but in this case they were just so… Bland. Uninteresting characters, weak plot and a ‘twist’ that you can guess as soon as you started reading them. The only reason I’ve given this collection a rating higher than one star is the very last story ‘Christina Rosenthal’. Only with that story that is in fact a letter written by a Jewish guy to his father, Jeffrey Archer was able to convince me. The rest of the stories mostly left me bored or even frustrated. Basically, what I mean is that I wouldn’t recommend reading this collection, unless you skip straight to the last story. If you ask me, the rest of them aren’t worth your time.

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Jeffrey Archer introduces us to a bunch of short stories where things turn out to be different than you originally think when you start reading them. Every short story has a twist in the end that is supposed to surprise you or teach you a lesson… The stories are set all over the world and have different characters. An African finance minister trying to defend his government, a husband who thinks he committed the perfect murder, a chess champion who thinks he can play his way into a woman’s heart, a Jewish man telling his father the story of his life… All form part of this collection.

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I’m not sure if I would call A Twist Of The Tale a waste of a time, but I cannot exactly say it’s worth reading either. The characters are flat, cliche and boring in general, with the one exception of the last story. The ‘twists’ were quite easy to guess early on in the stories, and all in all it was almost a struggle to get through this collection of short stories. Only the last story, ‘Christina Rosenthal’, was interesting enough to catch my eye, but the rest I definitely wouldn’t recommend reading.

BOOK REVIEW: The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho

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Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Philosophy
First published: 1988
Finished reading: March 18th 2014
Pages: 197
(Originally written in Portuguese: O Alquimista)
Rating 3,5

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”

myrambles1review

I’ve been wanting to read the work of Paulo Coelho for while now, and I finally decided to read one of his most famous novels, The Alchemist. It was a shame I couldn’t find a version in Portuguese, but for now the English translation will have to do. I must be honest to say I didn’t know what the story was about before I started reading. (Which I call rather ignorant, but hey, I can’t be knowing every book can I?) So I was both surprised, awed and irritated by the deeper meaning of the story. It might be contradictory, but in a way the message of the story was a bit too religious for me. Still, the part of ‘following your dreams’ and ‘listening to your heart‘ I can really relate to. It is a relatively short novel and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do… Who knows, it might inspire you!

shortsummary1review

The Alchemist is about a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who had the same dream twice. Both a gypsy and a man who calls himself king confirm that his dream was a vision, and convince him that he should follow his dream. There is a treasure waiting for him somewhere, and to find it he should cross the sea to Africa. The supposedly king tells him he will find the treasure near the Pyramids in Egypt, and he should follow his heart and read the omens send to him in order to get to his destination. Various obstacles cross his way, but they only help him grow and learn more about himself. Even love cannot stop him from his goal, and he opens his eyes to the Soul of the World… Until he finally understands.

finalthoughtsreview

Although part of The Alchemist is too religious in a way, I do understand the overall message Paulo Coelho is trying to give. And while I may not agree with all of it, I still can relate to some parts like ‘following your dreams‘ and ‘listening to your heart’. I guess most people will be able to relate to some of the philosophical messages in The Alchemist, and it is without doubt and interesting read.