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Thread: Recently finished books?

  1. #5261
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    Ireland Re: Recently finished books?

    John Banville, Mrs Osmond:

  2. #5262
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin

  3. #5263
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Cesar Aira - The Seamstress and the Wind : The issue with Aira is you either hit it or not. A very clever construction from the creation of the concept. Some beautiful writing in the middle, but too cerebral exercise to my comfort.


    Roberto Arlt - Seven Madmen : Brilliant. The afterword by Roberto Bolano was even better.


    Ivan Klima - The Ultimate Intimacy : Dull, boring 400 page book on a 'Pastor's affair with a married woman'. I am not sure if it has anything to do with the translation, but there was nothing in the writing or the story that is worth discussing.
    Jayan



  4. #5264
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Ángel Vázquez - La vida perra de Juanita Narboni

    Thomas Bernhard - My prizes

    Josep Pla - Viaje en autobús


    Unfortunately I think both the Vázquez and the Pla books are not translated to English; anyway the Vázquez one would be a very hard work and I think a lot would be lost in translation cause it has a very particular language. But for those of you who can read Spanish I strongly recommend "La vida perra de Juanita Narboni". It has been a real discovery for me, Ángel Vázquez (1929-1980) is very unknown in Spain, though his first novel, "Se enciende y se apaga una luz" (which I have just bought in my neighbourhood secondhand bookstore for one euro), won the Premio Planeta in 1962. "La vida perra..." has just been re-edited last month here in Spain (Seix Barral) so I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

  5. #5265
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Heinrich Boll, The Mad Dog: Stories

    Hard to rate. Stories from early in his career, many (all?) of which seem to have been previously unpublished (it's hard to tell from the book and I don't have the energy to investigate). Some are excellent, some should have been left unpublished. He has a sensibility that I find interesting and I generally enjoyed the book.

  6. #5266
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Finally finished Antonio Lobo Antunes' O Arquipélago da insônia (something like The Archipelago of Insomnia). I started reading it a long time ago, but it was my forst book of his and I seem tp have got one of his most difficult ones to start with - I say this because even though I noticed by looking at some excerpts that all of his late novels are composed in this cubist-mosaic-like prose, this one may be harder for the first two (three) parts are seen through the eyes of an autistic boy... and I liked it a lot, I guess the fact that I never lost interest in it throughout these months (when I usually lose interest in a book if I keep some days from reading) speaks for itself. I appreciated how he was able to insert this underlying theme of our historical and personal illusions of grandeur by creating this maybe imagined (or not, it contradicts itself) backstory where the main characters are rich and powerful vs the present tense living more miserly lives, suggesting that our richness may only be in our (forged) memories (not to say that they portray an immaculate paradise, far from it, but a place where people can live their fantasies of exerting power over others).

    Really dense but rewarding read, will definitely continue reading him. This one gets

  7. #5267
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Horacio Castellanos Moya - La diabla en el espejo (The she-devil in the mirror)

    László Krasznahorkai - Satantango

  8. #5268
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    • Dominique Fabre, The Waitress Was New + the entire book is a stream-of-consciousness interior monologue by a bartender in Parisabout his job and his life. I suspect that this is far harder to carry off well than it seems. An intriguing book.



    • Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life + Extraordinary. Depressing as hell. The civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s from the point of view of the women of one family. Brilliant.

  9. #5269
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post

    • Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life + Extraordinary. Depressing as hell. The civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s from the point of view of the women of one family. Brilliant.
    I read the Argueta book in a Latin American civilization class a first-year college student (many years ago). Other than recalling that I thought it well written and, as you noted, quite depressing, I have no recollection of the book whatsoever (which is also quite depressing).

  10. #5270
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post

    • Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life + Extraordinary. Depressing as hell. The civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s from the point of view of the women of one family. Brilliant.
    Exactly same reaction I had after reading. I liked the book a lot.
    Jayan



  11. #5271
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    Paul Cornell - Witches of Lychford : Nice reading, but not of my liking. Going back to the other two books of the series is very unlikely.

    Boris Dralyuk - 1917,Stories and Poems from Russian Revolutions : Brilliant collection of writings during 1917-19 from Russia. Some of the big names of Russian Literature.

    Sobti Krishna - Mitro Marjani
    : The recent winner of Jnanpith award. Book written 50 years ago. It did create a stir at the time of publication, but reading it today in the modern India, it has lost its charm.

    Warwick Collins - Gents : I loved this one. In a limited scope, he has weaved an impressive tale. This is my first reading of Collins, and I am sure to go back.

    Juan Jose Saer - Witness : A writer I wanted to read for a very long time, but I seems to have started on a wrong one. Despite some marvelous passages, the book overall, was a disappointment.

    Peter Nadas - Love : I was bored to death from page 10. Drug induced hallucinations and the 'stream of consciousness' was tedious to get on with. The last 3 pages were the only thing that I liked. Luckily, the book was only 130-140 pages long.
    Jayan



  12. #5272
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    Default Re: Recently finished books?

    Quote Originally Posted by kpjayan View Post
    Juan Jose Saer - Witness : A writer I wanted to read for a very long time, but I seems to have started on a wrong one. Despite some marvelous passages, the book overall, was a disappointment.
    Really? I absolutely loved this novel. I'm sure a lot gets lost in translation, but still it is a splendind mix of philosophical prose with beautiful descriptions.

  13. #5273
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    Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate -

    According to the "Recently Begun" thread, I started reading on July 29. 871 pages later, I'm done. What a slog. Despite a few interludes of exceptionally moving scenes, this book is way, way, way, too long. Plenty of detail can help brings characters and scenes to life. But plenty of detail can sink things as well. There are eight pages of characters listed and even up to the end I kept having to refer to this list. The footnoting is bizarrely uneven: some truly basic names or things are explained in footnotes but far, far too many things are not explained. You'd have to be extremely familiar with 20th century Russian history, both political and economic, to follow a lot of the references. The writing is, by and large, pedestrian at best. The translation is British English which is generally fine except that on occasion the British locutions were puzzling and from time to time it suffered from a peculiar change in tone, generally tending to the extremely slang. Odd, at best.

    All in all, I can't entirely even say I'm glad I read it. A good editor could, I think, have made this an extraordinary book. But it didn't have one. (No fault of the author's. It wasn't published until 16 years after he died.)

  14. #5274
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Really? I absolutely loved this novel. I'm sure a lot gets lost in translation, but still it is a splendind mix of philosophical prose with beautiful descriptions.
    Margeret Jull Costa has translated it, so I don't think it has to do with translation. Out of the 3 sections of the book ( if I can call so) , the 3rd part is the only one I liked, which is rather a repetition of the part one with a philosophical take.

    According to you, which book should I be reading of Saer ?
    Jayan



  15. #5275
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpjayan View Post
    Margeret Jull Costa has translated it, so I don't think it has to do with translation. Out of the 3 sections of the book ( if I can call so) , the 3rd part is the only one I liked, which is rather a repetition of the part one with a philosophical take.

    According to you, which book should I be reading of Saer ?
    Well, that's the only one I've read so far. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find some Argentinian authors in Mexico.

  16. #5276
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    Sanshiro by Natsume Soseki:
    Never read such a great book that's also so easy to put down.

    Boathouse by Jon Fosse:
    His break out novel in Norway. You can tell he's still developing a bit as a writer, and it's a bit slow in the beginning, but by the end it comes together and the Fosse of his later works shines through.

    Dylan's Visions of Sin by Christopher Ricks: /
    Mixed thoughts on this one, will try to type something up tomorrow and post in the Bob Dylan thread. As a book on its own, I'd give it 3 stars, but I did read it with a purpose, to explore Dylan's artistic abilities, and to that end it was more of a 4/4.5 kind of read. At the risk of starting arguments about Dylan's qualities, I will say that this book did make me think much more highly of Dylan's writing capabilities.

    Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg:
    Good poems, and I can see how they could leave a mark on somebody, but not me. This was the kind of book that you recognize as being great, but ultimately a little forgettable.

    Directing Herbert White by James Franco:
    I actually got this out of the library because, as a not-big-poetry reader getting more into the art, I was curious to see if I could really tell what makes a good poem good, and what better way then by checking out a half-assed collection? Yeah, I can tell. The second star is because a few poems surprised me with a bit of ingenuity, though if I was more familiar with poetry as a whole, I'm not sure how original they'd seem.

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