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Still Life with Tornado av A. S. King

Still Life with Tornado (utgåvan 2016)

av A. S. King (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3602067,617 (3.6)1
"A talented 16-year-old artist slowly discovers the history of domestic violence behind why her brother left the family years earlier and why she suddenly cannot make art"--
Titel:Still Life with Tornado
Författare:A. S. King (Författare)
Info:Dutton Books for Young Readers (2016), 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Still Life with Tornado av A. S. King


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Visa 1-5 av 20 (nästa | visa alla)
When I picked up this book, I didn't know what it was about. I half dreaded reading it because it is advertised as a YA novel and those are hit and miss with me. For example, I am reading Dumplin' which came highly recommended and I finding it pretty cliche with YA topics. Still Life with Tornado by AS King is not typical at all! In fact, it is extremely deep for an book book that wouldn't have the label YA. This is a great book and very powerful.

We walk with Sarah, who is told at age 16 that nothing in life is original by her art teacher, so she walks out of school looking for things that are real and original. She follows a homeless street artist, she goes to an abandoned school, and she just wanders the streets of Philadelphia (which is in itself a character in the book).

One might say she is having a midlife crisis, but she is only 16. As she wanders, her 10 year old self shows up and starts asking about her brother and a trip to Mexico. Chapters will be devoted to telling this story. Here 20 year old self also shows up. Her 20 year old self is sarcastic and pretty mean. She also meets her 40 year old self who is also going through a small crisis.

Throughout her journey and through her alternative selves, Sarah will learn about her life, come to know herself, and grow from her experiences. She will also learn what happened to her brother and figure out why she simply walks through life.

This is not a simple coming of age book. In many YA coming of age novels, a magical act or a wise person will help with the journey. In King's book, Sarah really struggles with herself- quite literally as her alternative selves are real- other people can see them and interact with them. Sarah's mother instantly recognizes 10 year old Sarah and desires to reconnect with this Sarah, while Sarah's dad cannot figure out who 10 year old Sarah is. Sarah's struggle is very real and she must go into deep places to find herself.

This book begins one way and by the end of journey one will be in a different place completely. That was a sign of the great writing that King offers. The story changes as Sarah grows and learns. The story takes hard sharp turns in a graceful way that stay true to Sarah's story. I loved this book. I read it so slowly because I wanted to savor it. This has to be one of my favorite books of the year.

I gave this one 4.5 stars. ( )
  Nerdyrev1 | Nov 23, 2022 |
I am constantly in awe of A.S. King's ability to write. She presents us often with surrealistic elements in order to write trauma and healing and self-discovery and the immediacy of being a teen and it never feels like it will make sense, until suddenly it does. And when it does, when all the surreal storytelling starts to reveal the concrete truths underneath, it feels like you could never have told the story any other way. Sidling up on pain and displacement and memories you don't want to face, she manages to pull us through. This book is set in Philadelphia, and in addition to all the parts of the story that talk about domestic violence and toxic marriages and the many forms of abuse, she manages to tackle a profound philosophical conversation on the nature of art and originality of voice. Extraordinary. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
  occhilism | Mar 18, 2022 |
Reading the description, I expected a plot with much more science fiction or mind twisting; instead Still Life With Tornado is a novel about a teenager struggling with isolation, the secret that her art teacher is dating a student, and her brother's absence due to their father's abuse.

It's an ok read (hence to two stars - literally "it was OK"), but it might be my fault that I couldn't enjoy it more because I went into it with such different expectations.

There are some nitpicks with the book; the facts that Sarah's father abuses Bruce and her mother but never her is totally unbelievable. That's not how abusers work! If he made a deal that he was sticking to not to hit Sarah, OK maybe, but then why show him breaking the earlier deal and punching Bruce? Why was there a reason for him to agree to follow the second deal but not the first? It wasn't like Helen was going to leave him. and that Sarah's "existential crisis" is VERY CLEARLY some kind of mental break that she needs help or an evaluation for but never gets, and everything is solved once her interpersonal problems are solved. If you are mentally ill enough to the point where you're literally obsessing over originality and letting it dictate your life, dropping out of school to follow a homeless man around (and even have a period where you don't shower for five days and layer clothes on each other and each out of the trash can??), see past and future versions of yourself, you cannot fix that with a change of attitude. The fact that King never mentions this seriously as a mental illness (the only slight mention is once Helen gets her excused from school because of Sarah needs a "mental break" or something), uses it to muse about art, and presents it as fairly wrapped up at the end is actively damaging - mental illness does not make you a better artist, sister, or daughter.

I'm not sure the conceit of Sarah meeting different versions of herself even mattered. It was important that she met 10-year-old Sarah, so that she could tease through her memories of Mexico, but it seems like the others didn't do anything at all to help her move on or even really interacted with her too much. And the fact that she was still best friends with Carmen was weird - Carmen didn't help her out when she was skipping school or going through some rough things. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Series Info: Stand Alone, borrowed from Library.

Characters (5/5): The characters in this book are amazing and complex. They give an excellent view into the minds of people dealing with abuse and living in households that just generally have issues. I particularly enjoyed the sections from Sarah’s mom’s POV; these really showed how a strong person can become a victim of long term abuse. This was also an interesting perspective on abusive families. Sarah herself is never physically abused but she suffers just as much because of the emotional toll the situation takes on her family.

Story (4/5): There is a lot of magical realism in this story (Sarah is visited by versions of herself from different points in her future and past). The story was very engaging, as you try to help Sarah piece together what she forgot about the trip to Mexico that changed her family forever. I enjoyed how this book was formatted, the chapters are very short and occasionally you hear from Sarah’s mother. I loved Sarah’s musing around originality and how nothing is ever original, or maybe everything is?

Setting (4/5): Typical contemporary urban setting.

Writing Style (5/5): King’s writing style can be a bit ambiguous at times. However, I thought this book formed a very well done and cohesive story. I loved the short chapters and how the story jumps into the past to slowly unravel events that took place then. A lot of these past events are seen through the eyes of 10 year old Sarah, while 23 and 40 year old Sarah give present Sarah hints that she will be okay one day. It sounds confusing, but King did an amazing job and it was an amazing story. This book was very engaging, easy to read, and hard to put down.

Summary (4/5): While this wasn't my favorite AS King book, I thought it was still very good. There's some interesting magical realism and I enjoyed the protagonists deep dive into what it means to be original. A lot of issues are covered in this book (abuse, art, friendship, family, originality). I enjoyed how the story was put together, it made for a quick and fast-paced read for me. I would recommend if you are an AS King fan or if you enjoy magical realism in a contemporary fiction setting that deals with abuse and family issues. This was creatively put together and very engaging. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 20, 2019 |
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"A talented 16-year-old artist slowly discovers the history of domestic violence behind why her brother left the family years earlier and why she suddenly cannot make art"--

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A. S. King är en LibraryThing-författare, en författare som lägger upp sitt personliga bibliotek på LibraryThing.

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Medelbetyg: (3.6)
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2 3
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