Book Review: Chords, words and some news from times long past

Chords, words and some news from times long past by Barry Hogstrom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Chords, words and some news from times long past, Högström weaves a tale about four friends (two sibling sets) and their parents that span the decades from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Loosely narrated by Paul Lee, who was the most removed from the group, the basic message I took from this story was that you can’t escape your past, whether you know about it or not. The book was set primarily in the late 70’s and the early 90’s, with a fair chunk of 1950 thrown in. It told the story of brothers fighting over one woman, and life catching up to their parents’ indiscretions in the not so chaste post World War II era. Also interesting was parts of the novel were set in Sweden and parts in New York, and the connection between the two is Big Pharma.

While this story waxed a little long and oddly lyrical - in style of some of the artsier movies from the 70’s - it was engaging, as there is always the niggling feeling that something is not quite right; there is a secret that is not revealed. While the English in this book was much better than many I’ve read authored by supposedly “native” speakers, there were some editing points that made me cringe just a little, including a lot of weird homonym replacements (ie waist for waste) and some common mistakes such as “loose” for “lose.” The oddest thing was every time the main characters are referred to by name in the narrative, both the first and last names are used. It is not this way in dialogue, which is good, but still, it was noticeable and a little odd. In a way that added to the Germanic/Scandinavian feel to the novel, so it wasn’t totally distracting, but did make me wonder if American style is so much more informal, and if so why. In any case, still a great and highly appropriate read for a snowstorm.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.
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