Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

James Michener

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon December 13th, 2010, 3:29 pm

[quote=""Ludmilla""]While I wouldn't want to read a bunch of timesweep novels in a row, I do enjoy one on occasion. I've read a few by Michener and Russka by Rutherfurd and have a few more in the TBR pile by both of them. I also don't mind fiction that revolves around a theme or isn't entirely character-driven, and you need to be comfortable with that when you pick up books of this nature.

I read Poland this year and it actually ended up standing out more than Hawaii did, but it wasn't until I reached the end of it that I realized it. I thought the WWII section that deals with the Polish resistance and one character's experience at Majdanek concentration camp as riveting and horrifying as anything I've read about the holocaust. It certainly left an indelible impression on me.[/quote]

Poland was suprisingly good, wasn't it? I agree that the holocost chapters still managed to be moving and as good as anything else on the subject.

I think Michener achieved a better balance with his later novels. With Hawaii and the source it felt like Michener had some axes to grind and they get a bit preachy. The later novels felt less judgemental and therefore more human and realistic.

and im with you, timesweeps are better if they are spread out a bit.

User avatar
LoveHistory
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3751
Joined: September 2008
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Contact:

Post by LoveHistory » Mon December 13th, 2010, 4:27 pm

[quote=""Michy""]But then, it's been several years since I've read any of his books (I didn't read the ones on Ireland) so maybe his standard is slipping - ? [/quote]

Was slipping. He died several years ago.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Mon December 13th, 2010, 4:30 pm

I think Michy was referring to Rutherfurd in that instance and not Michener (I know I'm guility too of lumping them together and going back and forth when I'm talking about them). Rutherfurd is still alive and well. Michener passed away in 1997.

chuck
Bibliophile
Posts: 1073
Joined: August 2008
Location: Ciinaminson NJ

Post by chuck » Mon December 13th, 2010, 4:41 pm

I have read Michener's "Chesapeake" and "Texas"....excellent research on both novels.....but the formula got a bit old and tiresome.....A side note in high school we were assigned to read a Edna Ferber novel and do a book report....I read "Cimarron"...I enjoyed it.....While doing some research on her I found out she was quite a prolific writer and I think she might have been one of the first to write on generational family histories....IE Cimarron, Giant, So Big, Ice Palace Saratoga Trunk etc....And finally; she was a member of the famous Algonquin Circle.....BTW one read was enough for me.....Both Michener and Ferber's novels translated to a number of popular films.....
Last edited by chuck on Mon December 13th, 2010, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

laktor
Reader
Posts: 108
Joined: September 2010

Post by laktor » Tue December 14th, 2010, 4:27 am

Hmmm..such positive response for Poland. I may have to give this book another try, and soon.

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1649
Joined: May 2010
Location: California

Post by Michy » Tue December 14th, 2010, 5:57 am

Since you didn't care for either Rutherfurd's Russka or Michener's Poland, perhaps the problem isn't with either author or either book, but just that the setting doesn't appeal to you - ?

laktor
Reader
Posts: 108
Joined: September 2010

Post by laktor » Tue December 14th, 2010, 7:33 am

[quote=""Michy""]Since you didn't care for either Rutherfurd's Russka or Michener's Poland, perhaps the problem isn't with either author or either book, but just that the setting doesn't appeal to you - ?[/quote]

Well, not sure, since it's been a long time since I attempted reading these novels. But I think it may have something to do with not being able to follow the characters and families for whatever reason. But, as I said, I may try again since it's been so long.

User avatar
sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1641
Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Tue December 14th, 2010, 12:18 pm

[quote=""laktor""]Hmmm..such positive response for Poland. I may have to give this book another try, and soon.[/quote]

I wouldn't worry about it :) . To be honest, although occasionally you can have a different experience with a book at a different stage of life, generally speaking I think one should just accept that not every book or type of book is going to appeal to you. There are so many millions of books out there, I don't believe in trying too hard to like something that just doesn't grab you. Say "it's not for me" and move on.
Personally, I adore Michener's books and that whole structure. But if it's not your cup of tea, then grab something that is. That's my motto!

User avatar
fljustice
Bibliophile
Posts: 1995
Joined: March 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Post by fljustice » Tue December 14th, 2010, 4:13 pm

Years ago I used to devour anything by Michener. Loved the format of basically short stories/novellas threaded together by place. Lately have grown more impatient and critical of uneven sagas where one section shines and the next is skimpy or the characters uninteresting. I read Michener's The Eagle and the Raven (a novelette taken out of Texas) in 2007 which tells the parallel stories of Sam Houston (the Raven) and Santa Anna (the Eagle.) I was profoundly unimpressed. The introductory prologue, in which Michener tells about a ten-year creative spurt at the end of his life, was far more interesting than the book. However, I have a soft spot in my heart for Poland, particularly during WWII, so I'll probably pick that one up from the library and give Michener another chance.
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
Image

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1649
Joined: May 2010
Location: California

Post by Michy » Tue December 14th, 2010, 6:53 pm

If you are interested in Poland during WWII, you might like The Zookkeeper's Wife. It's a NF account of a man and his wife who headed underground resistance and hiding of Jews in Warsaw throughout the duration of the war. I found it a little bit on the dry side, but would still recommend it.

Post Reply

Return to “By Author”