The immense representation of the feminine, the political and the cultural is very palpable and striking in Wangechi Mutu’s latest exhibition entitled Nguva na Nyoka (meaning “Siren and Serpents” in Swahili). Staying true to the title, her collage paintings are of grotesquely deformed underwater creatures which screams surrealism with the contrasting elements of humans, animals and machines. They also manifest hyperbolism and diversity through the way she forced together an overload of materials, themes and references which you don’t ordinarily see together. Despite the initial jarring sense that her works present, they are both seductive and eerie all at once.
The exhibition spans the two floors of Victoria Miro’s Gallery in London, showcasing the art works of this New York-based artist with Kenyan origins. Mutu uses a variety of media – mixing both textiles and art materials – to create her hybrid creatures with magazine cut-outs, watercolours, beads, feathers and fabrics. These distorted chimaeras do not only emulate the mythologic core of the exhibit’s theme, but their faces made up of big eyes and lips lifted from fashion magazinesalso satirise the stereotypes and preconceptions of women’s images and identities in the society.
Vulgar, candid, absolutely hilarious and grippingly dark at times pretty much sums up Not That Kind Of Girl. In her memoir,Lena ‘voice of her generation’ Dunhamimparts wit and cultural significance.
Famous for being the creator and star of HBO’s comedy series, Girls, Lena Dunham declares in one of her chapters, “performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror.” So is self-exposing her whole being (well, at least 28 years of it) in a book, it seems.
Unspoken, the first book of The Lynburn Legacy Series, is a book not to be read at night or in the very early hours of the morning. (Yep. I stayed overnight until the break of dawn reading this.) This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Or maybe, I’m just faint-hearted. ‘Sassy gothic’ is the term used by the author to describe this, which cannot be more spot-on. Romance. Check! Horror. CHECK! (But then again, I’m easy to scare.) Sassiness? Oh yeah… overflowing in every shape and form.
Unspoken tells of Kami Glass, a female protagonist who can defenestrate her own thugs. What can I say? She totally kick ass and quite literally as well because she knows handy self-defense moves. She’s an aspiring journalist who just successfully set up a school paper. With that comes along her strong nose for stories and incurable and sometimes dangerously placed nosiness too. You can easily rule her out as ordinary (and also awesome, of course) if not for her ‘friend’. This friend exists in the name of Jared and only in her head (have no mistake, she’s still awesome). She’s been talking to this ‘imaginary’ friend all her life – from shared lullabies to puberty tantrums. It is both a connection which became her source of strength and comfort and the cause of her estrangement from the rest of her tiny placid ordinary town. Laughing at nothing and staring at empty space while she’s lost in her head are the norms for Kami until Jared turns out to be corporeal and volunteers to throw thugs out windows for her.
Jared is real and incredibly tall and incredibly handsome and incredibly getting on Kami’s nerves. Just like Kami and the author, Sarah, I have no real objections to handsome princes… so, I’m all in for that! However, Kami’s bewildered. All her life she thought she’s mental but now here’s a deal breaker for her craziness or has she only became even crazier? The story continues to unfold as Kami deals with this big revelation. While that’s happening it’s not like everything else around her is helping as a bigger and more sinister reveal is brewing.
Clockwork Princessis not a roller coaster of emotions. It is a massive dizzying swirl. A moment you are laughing and the next you are pulling your hair out. It shifts so rapidly – not even between chapters. Sometimes, even within the same page.
The Infernal Devicesis one of my favourite series. I love it so much and I don’t say that lightly. The historical references, the setting (Victorian London, mainly), the classic book quotations, the concept, the characters, the plot, the narrative, the prose… I love it in its entirety. My only complaint is that Clockwork Princess is too tragic. But really, having read Clockwork Angeland Clockwork Prince… I should have seen that coming (I love it nonetheless). It’s also the final sequel of the series and it’s harder to get through it when you know that at the end there will be no more. I am not in the least kidding when I say that strawberries and chocolates got me through this book.
If I have claws or talons for hands, my sheets and mattress would be shredded. Also include the desk and shelf beside my bed as collateral damages in this reading experience, for I might have scratched at them too much. Those didn’t stop me gripping at the pages though or sticking my eyes at the words.
This book is described as a “science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction”. That’s about right because the story doesn’t really revolve around the sci-fi aspect of it but rather on the human aspect. And yes, that includes the drama and, of course, romance! But hey! IT IS NOT A LOVE STORY! It is so much more than that. The love story can be your most favourite thing about it, however it is not mine and I don’t see it as the focus of the book.
This is a huge book so, if you like it, it’s gonna be a long amazing read. It’s also just one book. It doesn’t have any sequels like most fictions nowadays… or not yet, anyway. Stephenie Meyer promised a sequel to this novel ages ago but it was only recently that she confirmed that she’s writing The Seeker.
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”
Cliché much? Never fear because this book is something else and so much more. In this fantasy fiction, recently named by Amazon UK as the #1 Young Adult Book of 2012, Laini Taylor grabbed the characters of mythology and religion and took them for a spin. And maybe some cartwheels, prances, and happy dances too.
Teenage girl Karou has been threading between the modern world and ‘Elsewhere’ all her life. She’s equipped with wish beads and coins though, so that’s pretty cool. Somehow, she finds the balance and sanity in being raised by magical chimaeras in the completely mundane, yet beautiful, Prague. Well, only until Akiva, also known as her love-interest-slash-mortal-nemesis-of-her-family, shows his gorgeous face. Karou suddenly found herself also trapped between an ongoing war of two ancient races, the Chimaeras and the Seraphims.