The Village Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The book is not without its flaws. The author's work would have benefited from stronger editing. Also, there are a lot of typos. While the author's use of language is witty and fun with flashes of real genius, occasionally it seems as if he is trying too hard to dazzle.
Overall, a good book; and, a fantastic way to learn about the Thais. I'm looking forward to his next work.
As a writing teacher I would like to know more about the author than what he has given us on the inside back cover. One of Rhoden's other books is Outrageous Thai; Slang, Curses and Epithets. None of those show up in this book that I noticed, but on one page Rhoden uses the words melancholy, ad infinitum, yearning, passacaglia, stochastic, dronish, flowerily, and directionality. They all fit so I don't sense that he was simply sitting with the thesaurus in hand. Also, I couldn't help but recall Faulkner, not one of my favorite authors, because of sentences like this one, " Whether anyone in any age will ever have the tools to tease out the seemingly inexplicable, tangled mess between the indelibility that nature and nurture pose, and the inseparability they promise when the sit facing each other on the bond that binds mother to daughter and daughter to mother, is a chimera that has already been so brutally battered by philosophy and science as to render the question itself of no particular importance aside from its untiring and often home-welcoming immutability in helping us recognize ourselves throughout all the different eras of our timid humanity to date." Still, only a few times I grew tired of the long sentences and verbosity. It is patently obvious that Rhoden has an extensive vocabulary and command of grammar rules, both of which he uses fully in his writing. Yes, there are some typos & misspellings, but they do not distract from the reading and the book was edited by the author, extremely difficult to do.
The story of family with difficulties is common to us all and as old as our first ancestors. The husband and wife who love each other, but miss the signs as it begins to fade, teens that must rebel in some way so that they can learn to stand on their own, and family members who have fatal flaws which lead to tragedy is some thing with which we can all associate. That the characters find happiness within and the ability to stand despite what others might say, or might believe about them is a lesson not so easily learned in life as it is in the book. As always, reading about others who may share similar experiences is encouraging and uplifting. I believe this is what Rhoden wants his readers to take from his story, that the human family has human problems, similar and solvable through family.
While this book is not a thriller, action, or the current urban-vampire fantasy it deserves to be read if simply for Rhoden's ability to use words and write sentences, as a study of writing. If you are looking for the above types, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book that will probably introduce you to some new words, or remind you of some long forgotten ones, a book that will give you a little insight into human similarities despite cultural differences, or a book that looks at how family can come together when necessary, then you will want to read this book. I enjoyed it and enjoyed getting to know Rhoden's characters. He ended the book in just a way that you are able to continue the story with the characters in your own way.
The author and publisher sent this book to me for review.
Rhoden is particularly adept at depicting the behaviors of the women and girls in the village. When on a visit to town, Jin and a few of Jin's young friends follow "Mae and Naem away from the pickup truck, stopping only when Naem stopped to unconsciously check herself in the car's side mirror, each of the girls imitating Naem's example by peering at the reflections their circular faces made, one side of their face at a time, one girl after another."
Then: "The band of female villagers beheld the township's super mart, slowing their tread in deference to its naked modernity, like a line of felines, perched along a narrow fence, suddenly startled, awoken to an overbearing presence."
In preparing for her morning bath, Naem wraps herself in a towel, "looking something now like a baloney blanketed hors d'oeuvre." She disrobes in such a way that: "All her movements graceful, all her movements well rehearsed, strategic even, this routine could never have been in danger of indecency. All four pale walls of her bedroom could have been made out of glass, with an army of peeping-toms encircled looking in, and not a soul would have been able to observe any more naked flesh than her feet, hands and silent face."
Here Aeo speaks of her brother whose wild drunken carelessness resulted in orphaning Jin: "Gop was like the slime, the sludge, the mottled muck, that never seems to wash itself clean from a laundered piece of clothing."
I find myself wanting to lift passage after passage out of the book - but better if the book is read, not these slim passages. Do not look to "The Village" as a page-turner, a romantic drama, or a thriller - it is none of these, but it is clearly structured, beautifully written, rewarding, uplifting, and well worth reading.