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Lise Haines

Autor(a) de Girl in the Arena

5 Works 574 Membros 49 Reviews

Obras de Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena (2009) 436 cópias
In My Sister's Country (2002) 54 cópias
Book of Knives: A Novel (2022) 43 cópias
When We Disappear: A Novel (2018) 4 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



The very first thing to come to my mind after I originally read the synopsis for Girl in the Arena was 'Wow, I thought I had marriage issues!' (the synopsis I read was more detailed then the one above by the by). Lyn decides to go head to head against Uber (the young fighter) in order not to marry him, to the death. Though really its more then that. Very few, if any, of the people of Girl in the Arena are such simple creatures.

Lyn doesn't want to be a Glad-wife like her mother, Allison, but at the same time she is bound by the Gladiator lifestyle. She wants her freedom, she wants to get away from that lifestyle, she wants to be anyone but Lyn-with-the-seven-gladiator-fathers. She doesn't necessarily hate her mother for her choices, but she does find herself upset and angry and lost because of them.

The Gladiator world is very black and white--you either follow the arbitrary (and oft-changed) rules of being a Gladiator (or the wife, son, daughter of one) or you're dishonored. Left with no pension, no house, no means of supporting yourself. The women who become Glad-wives are very much like the housewives of olden days--they are nothing but an extension of their husband's glory. They go to college for this. They live, breathe and (basically) worship this lifestyle. There is no other way. So Allison is understandable. Her motivations, her little rituals, her eventual decision.

The story is told from Lyn's point of view in a very story being told sort of way. We only get her impressions of things, her feelings of those things. This works well for me, it felt more like a conversation we were having together instead of a book. It felt more immersive for me.

The sheer amount of culture references threw me a little. I kept trying to imagine the GSA of the book along side real life and it wasn't completely meshing. It was easier for me to ignore those and imagine this as an alternative time line book that way.

The ending made me tear up, a character who I liked a lot intercepts things and then it all gets out of control. I would have liked to read more about that fall out, instead of the recap we get in the epilogue.
… (mais)
lexilewords | outras 44 resenhas | Dec 28, 2023 |

Nora, a documentary filmmaker and editor, marries her friend Paul, a contractor who had been temporarily renting the loft above her late husband Takeo’s ceramics studio in their home. Soon after, Paul and Nora, along with Leon, Paul’s eighteen-year-old son from his previous marriage, travel to Paul’s family campground, Hidden Lake, which has been closed down for years, to fix it up and eventually sell off the property. Paul, who had left his childhood home almost thirty years ago, does not seem to have too many happy memories of his childhood. Paul’s parents are still alive, his father terminally ill and his mother suffering from dementia. Nora also meets Paul’s younger brother Gabe and his wife, Salish and their four children. Salish, who takes it upon herself to cook and take charge of the kitchen, shows them a collection of thirteen novelty knives, a proud possession passed down to her by her father. Trouble starts when one by one, the knives start disappearing, despite Salish’s obsessive hiding and protection. Nora, intent on documenting as much as possible on video, embarks on an investigation behind these strange occurrences, often aided by Salish’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Jones.

Book of Knives by Lise Haines is a well-written slow-burn suspense thriller. Haines’s writing is elegant, descriptive and immersive. I was impressed with the author’s characterizations- the adults, teenagers and the children- all the characters, even the immensely unlikable ones are well-developed. The mystery behind the disappearing knives (a few of which reappear under mysterious circumstances), other sinister and paranormal occurrences, hidden rooms, strained interactions between Gabe and Paul, fluctuating tempers, tension and suspicion among the adults, the suffocating atmosphere of the camp, and a decades-old murder mystery make for an engaging read. Yes, there are ghostly apparitions and sinister occurrences, but not enough to scare you silly! (for which I am thankful; otherwise, a scaredy-cat like me would be hiding under the bed instead of writing this review!). The author does leave a few questions unanswered or rather leaves it to the reader to ponder over, but that’s okay.

Overall this is an interesting, albeit slow-moving read, with a climax that satisfies, and a few surprises along the way.

Many thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All opinions expressed here are my own.
… (mais)
srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
Well. This was different! When I think young adult stories have been written about everything, along comes something very unexpected.
RobertaLea | outras 44 resenhas | May 22, 2020 |
When We Disappear by Lise Haines is a highly recommended novel about a disintegrating family.

It is 2007 and Mona's family has fallen on hard times. Her father, Richard, lost his job and now has left his family (Liz, his wife, and daughters Mona, 17, and Lola, 3) in Illinois to go to New Jersey for a new job. Now Liz, a sculptor, needs to curtail her art to work to support the girls. Lola is young, but Mona is old enough to resent her father leaving without saying goodbye. But then, Mona stopped listening to her father's stories years ago. Now he sends money, but it is never enough. He sends postcards to Lola and letters to Mona. Mona lives through her photography, starts and affair with an older photographer, and rejects her father's stories.

The narrative switches between chapters from Mona and Richard's points-of-view. We know how both characters feel and what they are both experiences. We see the whole family falling apart, struggling, yet not openly talking to each other and telling the truth about what is going on in all their lives. Part of Mona's anger and resentment toward her father goes back years ago to an incident, an accident, that happened when she was with her father and something they never discussed with her mother.

The writing is excellent in When We Disappear, and Haines captures both Mona's and Richard's individual inner voices with perfection. Both Mona and Richard are well-developed characters and we can clearly see their individual efforts to endure their pain and how they are trying to cope with their situations. Mona's photography helps sustain her and she tries to be strong for her mother and Lola. Richard is hurting more than he is admitting. This is a very emotional novel, however, it is difficult to see these wounded struggling people close themselves off from each other for much of the book and not sharing the reality of what they are all going through.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Unbridled Books.
… (mais)
SheTreadsSoftly | Jun 6, 2018 |


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