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The Names of Things by John Colman Wood

The Names of Things (edition 2012)

by John Colman Wood

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3018364,893 (4.13)2
Title:The Names of Things
Authors:John Colman Wood
Info:Ashland Creek Press (2012), Paperback, 276 pages
Collections:Your library, Read From Library

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The Names of Things by John Colman Wood




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This novel is the story of an anthropologist who spent years with his artist wife studying tribes of northern Kenya. After her death he returns to the area and travels around areas they have known, remembering their life there and afterwards when they returned to academic life in the western world. The story moves from the present to the past and is interspersed with pages from his journal, all of which make it rather disconnected and jumpy. It's also a very reflective book as the anthropologist seeks to find peace with his life. I'm afraid it really wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  RebaRelishesReading | Apr 5, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Quietly contemplative story of a man living through the aftermath of his wife's long illness and death. I didn't *enjoy* it, exactly - too melancholy for that - but it was a moving read. I found the passages that moved back and forth between the present and the past a little disjointed, but it was well-written and intriguing.
  zmiya_san | Nov 11, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Life, love, death, & betrayal; they are all in the Names Of Things.
The story jumps from a present day journey to memories of an anthropologist. He just lost his wife to disease, and took a trip back to the Dasse clan that he visited years ago. The names of the couple or the disease are never mentioned, which might keep you from connecting with them. But the story itself is interesting and captivating. ( )
  pamkaye | Dec 17, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Generally I enjoy simple books in which "not much happens" -- they often turn out to have a quiet brilliance -- but I had difficulty finding an "in" to this narrative. Some of the anthropological details rang more true to me than the introspection. I'd like to try this book again in a different stage of life -- I can imagine it feeling very meaningful, but it didn't do that for me this time.
  livebug | Dec 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a slow, quiet read about an anthropologist and his artist wife. The story swings back and forth in time and over the years we see the wife's loneliness, the strain between the couple and the husband's grief and guilt following her death (although not specified, probably from AIDS). Throughout we also have the husband's field study notes about a group of Kenyan nomads, with emphasis on their death rituals. This is not a memorable book for me; it was an enjoyable read, but will not stick with me. ( )
  shearon | Nov 25, 2012 |
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