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Thread: Recently Begun Books

  1. #841
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Thank you very much for your detailed post Isahoinp!

    It turns out the translation of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle that I've read is based on the English one... I'm surprised the English editor did that to the novel and I'm even more surprised Murakami approved such a decision.

    Sad to hear that After Dark is bad. I was looking forward to reading that one in the future.

  2. #842

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    The Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

  3. #843
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasM View Post
    It'd be great if you could share your impressions on this. It's on my soon-to-be-read list for this year, but Lady Anna Karenina, another door stopper, is keeping me busy for now.
    Thought I'd check back in having read about 200 pages (a touch less than one-quarter). Two things strike me so far: the sheer number of characters (they occupy fully seven pages at the end of the book compared, say, to one page in the Maude translation of War and Peace.) There are a LOT of folks running around in a lot of widely separated places and though the connections are relatively clear (with occasional references to the back), you can't put the book down for a week, as I did, and pick it back up without a lot of time wasted remembering who is who. My second observation is that the prose is pretty workmanlike. I don't know if that's Grossman or Robert Chandler, but I don't have the feeling I'm reading a great work based on the writing alone. And speaking of Chandler, he translates with a decided reliance on English-isms (as opposed to Americanisms). It helps to know your Great British English from time to time; it's not off-putting, just a little speed bump on occasion. I also find the footnotes odd: some very basic stuff is explained and some very basic stuff is not. Thus, if you're going to explain dalstroy, why not explain zek?

    So far, the book is keeping my interest, but it's still far too soon to tell what I am going to think after another 600 pages. Stay tuned.

  4. #844
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Krishnakanta's Will

  5. #845
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post
    Thought I'd check back in having read about 200 pages (a touch less than one-quarter). Two things strike me so far: the sheer number of characters (they occupy fully seven pages at the end of the book compared, say, to one page in the Maude translation of War and Peace.) There are a LOT of folks running around in a lot of widely separated places and though the connections are relatively clear (with occasional references to the back), you can't put the book down for a week, as I did, and pick it back up without a lot of time wasted remembering who is who. My second observation is that the prose is pretty workmanlike. I don't know if that's Grossman or Robert Chandler, but I don't have the feeling I'm reading a great work based on the writing alone. And speaking of Chandler, he translates with a decided reliance on English-isms (as opposed to Americanisms). It helps to know your Great British English from time to time; it's not off-putting, just a little speed bump on occasion. I also find the footnotes odd: some very basic stuff is explained and some very basic stuff is not. Thus, if you're going to explain dalstroy, why not explain zek?

    So far, the book is keeping my interest, but it's still far too soon to tell what I am going to think after another 600 pages. Stay tuned.
    Nice, thanks for the impressions, tiganeasca. I've read somewhere that the prose is not the best around, as you mentioned, but I'm still very interested. The story itself seems great, I just hope the Brazilian translation keeps things as close to the original as possible.

  6. #846
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    I'll add a few words as I progress. My latest thoughts:
    1) I may have been a bit harsh in my first post. Despite the rather pedestrian prose, he has a gift for evoking a scene. Ignoring the sentence-by-sentence prose, chapters (which can be anything from one page to perhaps half a dozen) are occasionally quite moving because he is able, largely by piling on the detail, to evoke personalities and emotion quite vividly.
    2) Unfortunately, because he has such an enormous cast of characters--and despite the fact that someone in each location is somehow connected to someone in some other location--it's hard (at least so far) to get a true sense of interconnectedness. And for that reason, the book feels a bit more like a series of very well-sketched situations that are not anchored enough. And, in fairness, perhaps that is his aim. The canvas of WWII in Russia is so enormous, maybe it is part of his point to show that, despite the human connections, everything happening is so...disconnected from everything else.
    3) My suspicion at this point is that because of #1, after another 500 pages or so, the cumulative effect will be quite powerful. And, indeed, perhaps also because of #1, #2 will have less and less importance as the pages pile up.
    I hope that this all makes sense.
    As to the luck of your translation...I can only wish you the best!
    Last edited by tiganeasca; 08-Sep-2017 at 23:19.

  7. #847
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Lawrence Durrell, Blue Thirst (two long talks given in California in the mid-1970s)

  8. #848

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Just began These Dreams of You by Steve Erickson. I'm actually pretty excited by this one. He's been around for a while, although he is relatively obscure. The book has a blurb from Thomas Pynchon, and has been compared to Dellilo and the likes.

  9. #849

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Well. Damn. Here I go.

    Hopscotch.

    Julio Cortazar.

    Read in the way he intended.

    Two "chapters" in and I'm overwhelmed.

  10. #850
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Started my first Antonio Lobo Antunes, O Arquipélago da Insônia, one of his late novels (from 2007) so it's particularly daunting, but once you get used to it (I mean, once you start seeing how it all works more clearly) you appreciate the poetry of the text and the brilliance of exploring a mind living with the past in the present constantly shifting times showcasing the way we think. I'm only 50 pages in (and this one is not one of his longer works, having 250 pgs) but I'm loving it already. I can only compare it to watching one of Malick's later films, like Knight of Cups or Song to Song. It's quite a maddening experience but a very rewarding one.

  11. #851

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Laura Warholic, Alexander Theroux

  12. #852
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    I'm giving "The Vegetarian" a second try. :-)

  13. #853
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by OverTheMountains View Post
    Well. Damn. Here I go.

    Hopscotch.

    Julio Cortazar.

    Read in the way he intended.
    What do you mean by the way he intended?

  14. #854
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Hopscotch (Rayuela) is famous because you can read the chapters in many arbitrary orders, even skipping part of them. Julio Cortázar even suggested an order (going back and forth in the chapter numbers).
    I read this book twice, one of them in the author's suggested order. A fascinating book, one of my all time favorites.

  15. #855
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by garzuit View Post
    Hopscotch (Rayuela) is famous because you can read the chapters in many arbitrary orders, even skipping part of them. Julio Cortázar even suggested an order (going back and forth in the chapter numbers).
    I read this book twice, one of them in the author's suggested order. A fascinating book, one of my all time favorites.
    I've also read it twice, each time in a different way. I liked it more following Cortazar instructions instead of reading chapters normally.

  16. #856
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by garzuit View Post
    Hopscotch (Rayuela) is famous because you can read the chapters in many arbitrary orders, even skipping part of them. Julio Cortázar even suggested an order (going back and forth in the chapter numbers).
    I read this book twice, one of them in the author's suggested order. A fascinating book, one of my all time favorites.
    I'm almost salivating to read the book,.. Will read it soon,

  17. #857

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    What can I tell you about it that hasn't been said?

    Not much.

    It is clearly a major work. It is also often baffling. I get the sense that it doesn't get understood until quite late in the game, or even until a second reading. The writing is fantastic, though I must admit I should have prepared myself better in someway. Postmodernism, which this is definitely connected to, is complex, and this writing is complex. I am having a hard time getting into it at times, and at other times I'm sailing through it in a state of euphoria. I'm only 1/6th of the way through tho...

  18. #858
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Durgesh Nandini

    Pramoedya Ananta Toer, All That is Gone


    (Side note to Douglas M: I am gamely continuing with Life and Fate, though I am increasingly concerned that my fate is to be stuck with this for life. I've read about 450+ pagesand am just barely past the halfway mark. The story is interest enough but keeping track of the multiple dozens of characters and places and circumstances is a real chore and even the seven-page list of characters in the back is not complete. Overwhelming. And the writing doesn't make it easier. I am determined to finish. I just hope it's in this lifetime.)

  19. #859
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post
    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Durgesh Nandini

    Pramoedya Ananta Toer, All That is Gone
    tiganeasca, you seem to read indian and bengali writers a lot! It really feels good to see someone interested in my native literature. How did you come in contact with bengali writers? Do you have any personal favorite? Or do you think we should start a thread on bengali literature? So we can talk about them as much as we want!

  20. #860
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Humayun Azad View Post
    tiganeasca, you seem to read indian and bengali writers a lot! It really feels good to see someone interested in my native literature. How did you come in contact with bengali writers? Do you have any personal favorite? Or do you think we should start a thread on bengali literature? So we can talk about them as much as we want!
    Humayun, by all means.. I am familiar with the Bengali writers from the Indian side. Would be very keen to know about the writers from the Bangladesh side.
    Jayan



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