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Many picturesque elements recur throughout the book: classical statuary, brick floors, exteriors with a look of natural weathering, 2-level exterior galleries, etc. Some particularly memorable images include the following: Hamilton House's interior courtyard overlooked by a second floor balcony; Westerman House's charming lily pond, made from an old sugar kettle; the rustic wood posts on the porch of the Bonnecaze House; the elegant white pillars of the Godchaux House; and more.
My only disappointment is that floor plans for the homes are not included; they would have, in my opinion, given readers a better sense of these houses. Still, if you love great American architecture, I recommend this book.
Today, real architects don't do charm, but long before it fell out of style, A. Hays Town, born in 1903, was building Acadian cottages, Creole villas and Spanish courtyards in his native Louisiana. After retiring from his commercial practice in the 1960's, he designed even more of these houses, which are beloved by Southerners. Now everyone can visit 25 of the 500 he built in "The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town" (Louisiana State University Press; $39.95). The sparse text is by Cyril E. Vetter, and the 200 photographs by Philip Gould prove that good proportion and materials work. White-painted brick walls with red brick floors under high ceilings with cypress beams work even better. This is true regional architecture, handsome and useful.
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"A chewy, tripartite novel with old-timey foreign service atmospheric appeal. Marvelous reportage on some far places." --Kirkus Reviews
"Gould packs an astonishing amount of history and character observation into this incisive shadow game and writes in a flexible, lyrical shorthand that conjures erotic longing, political background and physical description with equal aplomb." --The Seattle Times
"Gould's writing is tight and expressive, his charcters complex and absorbing." --Los Angeles Reader
"Disciplined story telling, lean, lucid, literate." --Buffalo News
At first, we thought that the story was a bit slow, but near the end, the finale is magnificently narrated, showing the characters more humane than in any other part of the novel. We would recommend this story because you might feel connected to any of the main characters. Finally, don't forget to take a look at the title's symbolism; this can be a key factor in determining the true meaning of the novel (Tahiti-Gaugin-The Patimikin's fridge filled with exotic fruit-Christopher Columbus?-New World?-Neil's New World?).
The novella _Goodbye, Columbus_ is a love story and a quiet meditation on a different type of "class struggle," and a better example of Roth's style -- not to mention a better story -- than his next two books, _Letting Go_ and _When She Was Good_. The first of the five stories, "The Conversion of the Jews," is a bit sick, but entertaining for that very reason. The middle three stories are a bit lackluster, but the book ends in high style, with "Eli, the Fanatic," a story that manages to be both a moving story about conflicting loyalties (the goyim or the Jews) and a hilarious portrait of a nervous breakdown.
I would not recommend this book to those just starting to read Philip Roth (try the Zuckerman Bound trilogy instead), but for anyone wondering where Roth's career started, it's an excellent book.
Goodbye, Columbus is one of the best books I have read. It was so realistic and easy to relate to. I think that I have had a relationship similar to every one related in the novel. There are so many great insights to be found here. The novella isn't a difficult read, but one should definitely be aware of a lot of the symbols (such as the title, the fruit, the lions, and the uncle at the wedding) to glean the most from it. I will also say a word about the short stories. All of them, particularly "The Conversion of the Jews," were wonderful. They alone would make the book worth five stars; they just seem to get forgotten because of the masterpiece the opening novella is.
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Alongside Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, Gould helped make Labour electable for the first time in a generation. Having seen Britain's improved relations with both America and the European Union since then, the world can safely say it has been a positive experience.
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About two thirds down the first page of the historical timeline, one eyebrow went up. Three seconds later the other eyebrow joined the first eyebrow. By page 20 I was ready to ask for my money back.
This book is riddled with so many errors of fact, grammar and spelling (a character in one of Mrs. E.D. E. N. Southworth's novels is described as "fighting duals")that I can't believe it made it past the fact-checker and the copy-editor. I have to ask myself the question: If the editors couldn't be bothered to catch these minor, silly mistakes, how can I have any confidence that the rest of the information they are imparting is accurate?
Messrs Bauer and Gould should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a slipshod piece of work to make it into print.
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