Daily Archives: November 4, 2019

** Akin by Emma Donoghue

Through a series of unlikely coincidences, the octogenarian in Akin finds his back-to-his-roots vacation in Nice, France, transformed as he needs to take along a newly-discovered great-nephew who grew up in a poor and violent neighborhood. The relationship between the two is wonderfully captured as the two struggle to understand each other across the divide of age and background.

The trip is not just for fun, but to discover the mysterious activities of the elder’s mother during WWII, and this is where the story was not so enjoyable for me, as it felt over-rehearsed and researched. But I did love the many well-observed moments between the two protagonists.

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Filed under New fiction

*** A History of America in 100 Maps by Susan Schulten

A History of America in 100 Maps takes us from the inventive maps of the 15th century, some featuring a vast nothing in place of the Americas, to maps used by autonomous vehicles. Maps can be geographical but can also be used for propaganda, nation-building, emigration control, political representations, epidemiology, fighting crime, redlining, wasting girls’ time under the pretext of education, or planning wars. There are examples of all of those in the book,

I found both the maps themselves and the commentaries very rich sources of information and reflection.

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Filed under Non fiction