Monday, February 8

When we were Romans

A book by Matthew Kneale.

Judgement: Must read

I sort of liked it, liked different aspects of the book- loved the narrator (Lawrence, a 9 year old boy) and the narration probably because I am biased (Scott of the To Kill a Mockingbird fame!), hated the spelling errors (may because as a kid I was good at spelling), loved the story and the interruptions about space and Roman emperors such as Caligula. Kudos to Mr. Kneale for doing a great job as a 9 year old narrator, I am sure it is hardly easy.

Lawrence, his sister Jemina and his mother Hannah drive to Rome in fear of the father. Lawrence tells us the story of what goes on in Rome. Only it is not just about that- the author has brought about the innocence, pettiness and frustrations of a 9- year old child. The interruptions I thought provided a firm footing in reality to Lawrence- something that was under his control. There seemed to be a transference effect when Lawrence seemed to sense what his mother felt- he seemed to take on her fears and believe them to be true. I wonder did Franseen ever tell the dad about Hannah and the kids in Rome?! And what about the sister, although a brat, she did seem to bring about quite a few turning points in the story- she does play a subtle yet an important role. I wish I could get into the author's head to understand why he chose to end it the way he did- although it did seem a bit extreme, I think it was a perfect to way to end that part of Lawrence's life story.

PS do not want to give away too much!

No comments: