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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review -Chris Bohjalian's THE NIGHT STRANGERS

This is not a good book to be read at airports or whilst travelling by plane! I saw this on a post - I will add to this one. I was hesitant to read it (the second half) late at night when I was alone in the house as well!!! creepy but fascinating and once I closed the book without reading I was itching to get back to it as soon as possible.

The story centres around Chip an airline pilot, his attorney wife Emily and two very sweet twin daughters. The unthinkable happens - the plane which Chip is piloting crash lands on to a lake and Chip is overwhelmed with a sense of failure and depression. He does not think of the 39 survivors he only looks at the nine who died including a little girl who reminds him so much of his own daughters.

Fast forward to a scenario where they move house as Chip becomes so easily identifiable as the surviving pilot of the ill fated plane. The new house is strange and it seems to be linked to the 12 year old boy who committed suicide in this house. We have a little town in Vermont with a surfeit of greenhouses and this seems to link so many people together. Broadly described as herbalists, it is not such a peaceful occupation as the word implies. Dark secrets link the families together and they are trying very hard in involving this new family because the main attraction is the twin daughters.

I cannot say more without revealing the story but it was a fascinating one. Every page brought in a totally different scenario to what you expect and the end is so unexpected that I could not quite believe it myself. I did not like the end at all but the strangeness of it also adds to its piquancy as well as being just "different".

On a non book note I am adding pictures of cinnamon peelers at work. We have some cinnamon plantation and one of my readers was fascinated how the operation worked. Cinnamon is a shrub growing to about six to eight feet in height. The branches when mature are cut off from the main tree, the outer skin (the greenish part)is removed and then an incision is made along the length of the stem.
A knife is inserted all around and the bark is gently scooped out. It is unbelievable how the entire bark comes out in a tight roll. These rolls are air dried (our hot climate means it can be dried inside) and then the quills are sold bundled into lots of around 200.








We use cinnamon mainly in pieces though I do know most receipes call for it in powder form. The last picture is the one of it being air dried.


10 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've heard that book can be rather scary. I generally don't like scary books but want to try this on since Bohjalian wrote it - I love his writing.

Peeling cinnamon looks like a lot of work!

Kay said...

I have this book on my list to read soon. I can't wait for it.

Thanks for sharing about the cinnamon peelers. How very, very interesting. I know when I pull out a cinnamon stick, it looks like a little curved roll, but I never knew how it was processed. I love cinnamon.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I've enjoyed a few of Bohjalian's novels. Not sure this is one for me but I appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks for sharing the photos. Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors so I found them interesting.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

That really happened in NY -- geese flying into planes engine, causing a plane to make a water landing -- all people survived (but I can see why you would not like to read it while flying)LOL

What a process to prepare this spice...wow

Marce said...

Thanks for warning, definitely don't red for travel. I look forward to trying this one maybevduring RIP Challenge.

I am not a fan on seeing processes of foods even though it is interesting.

Lisa said...

Any book that strikes the kind of response that you talked about in the first paragraph is one I need to read!

Love when you share with us the pictures of life where you're at. So interesting to see how the things we take for granted, like cinnamon in a shaker, are actually harvested.

stacybuckeye said...

I haven't read this author but this one looks interesting, well except for the ending part.
I love the pictures you added. I had no idea about cinnamon~

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing the pics. So interesting!

I'm really looking forward to reading this book. I'm not a fan of planes, though, so I'll be sure not to read it when I'm going on a trip.

Bookworm1858 said...

What a creepy sounding book! My friend has recommended Bohjalian to me before but I haven't had a chance to try one yet. Probably will not start with this.

Courtenay said...

I love your pictures! So amazing to see the peelers at work and the quills drying overhead. The fragrance must be unbelievable. Thanks for sharing them!