Choices for The Argentinian and Uruguayan lit of Doom

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Well on Saturday I mentioned on Saturday my joy at finding The Peron novel for Richards Argentina based lit challenge from now to December .So I decide to share some choices I have to try from first up along side Te Peron novel is Hopscotch a book I want to have on the blog at some point as it is Considered Julio Cortazar’s masterpiece and a great piece of Experimental fiction .Now the rest of my choices are on my kindle so first up

Cesar Aira triple pack of novels

I already Had an episode in the life of a landscape painter the new direction version ,I have since downloads Ghosts and the Literacy conference from the Penguin collection pictured above I haven’t read and these three short novels will be a great intro.

the planets Sergio Chefij

The planets by Sergio Chejfec ,a novel set in seventies Beuno Aires from Open letter the us publisher .

the mad toy roberto Arlt

Now another classic of Argentinianlit Arlt debut novel follows a criminal that operates on the streets of Beunos Aires .

I have a few others to surprise you with ,are you joining in the challenge ? I hope to get two read amonth for the next three months (set bar lower than usual as I’ve a backlog of reviews and tend to go OTT with challenges )

 

 

The blue room by Hanne Ørstavik

blue room

The Blue room by Hanne Ørstavik

Norweigan Fiction

Original title – 

Translator – Deborah Dawkin

Source – Review copy 

oh i miss the kiss of treachery the aching kiss
before i feed the stench of a love for a younger
meat and the sound that it makes when it cuts
in deep the holding up on bended knees the
addiction of duplicities as bit by bit it starts
the need to just let go my party piece

A excerpt of Disintegration from The cure

Now when ever I get a new book from Peirene press ,it is going to be quality and a touch different from the usual books  ,now this time  Meike has chosen a Norwegian novel ,one That isn’t”Karl ove” no this  book is from Hanne Ørstavik one of the most respect female writers in Norway .She was born and grew up in the north of Norway ,moving to Oslo age 16 ,here big breakthrough came in the 90’s when here Novel Love won plaudits and was voted the sixth best Norwegian novel of all time  .This book is her first book to be translated into English .

I cannot get out .Something must have happened to the lock .I’ll have to wait until mum comes home from work to help ,me .Everything was totally normal when I went to bed last night .It was late I dropped straight off to sleep .

The opening lines as Johanne finds the bedroom door locked .

The blue room is the story of a mother and daughter .Johanne the daughter is in her mid twenties ,she has fallen head over heals for a man Ivar .Now Johannes mother is very protective of her daughter when Ivar appears on the scene telling her to wait not give herself to this man .Then there is a chance Johanne to go the US with Ivar .This is the point where the books open one morning just before she is due to leave Johanne wakes and tries to get out of her room to find her door locked too .Now this sets up the story as we drift from her in the room ,to the past as she meets Ivar and follows what her  mother did trying to work out what had happened to make her mother take this drastic step .Now we also see a sexual awakening in Johanne with Ivar ,as she discovers her self as an erotic women and fantasies about love and lovemaking .

Some guy who works in the university canteen ,I said .His name is Ivar ,but I don’t really know him .We’ve only talked briefly before today ,although he has worked there since the beginning of term .

She spotted Ivar at university she told her mother .

Now this is my last but one choice for women in translation month and a great choice ,because as a publisher Peirene published a good number of female writers most of which are first time translations  for the writers in English ,Now this book is timely in a way we had a number of case of people being locked in rooms being found the last few years and of course room ,but the actual being locked up is more a staging for the story of a young woman’s sexual awaking and what that causes also what it arouses in the Johanne and her mother .Mother and daughter relationships is something I’ve not read much over the years so reading this was a new experience for me  one I should maybe try more .but is the story  right ? Are we getting the full picture ? now we just hear Johannes views and thoughts of her life  up to this point but is she telling us the truth as her mind is drifting her there and everywhere .Then there is the mother daughter relationship that is unusual ,why is her mother the way she is with her  ?  a change from Karl Ove and his growing up to have a brief glimpse of  a woman growing up in Norway Another gem from Peirene one I will be rereading at some point maybe after I have read Meike’s own book about a mother daughter relationship Clara’s daughter that is coming out soon .Have you read this book ?

A song for sunday which band did I see three times in less than a year

Yes in 1991 I had a real liking for the indie band Curve on the edge of the shoegazing scene they released three single word titled eps in 1991 ,Blindfold ,Frozen and Cherry ,all did well on the old Indie chart .It was an ex that took me to see them first in Manchester just after the début ep came out ,I loved them they mixed driving guitars with a slight dance feel under Toni haildays heartfelt lyrics .Any way back home in Northumberland My friend Paul who was also a fan decide to go see them twice in a row first at Newcastle then the night after in Middlesbrough  .Anyway in the Newcastle Gig I swear I had seen the band in the crowd just before their gig ,I even said to Paul he said no but when they took to the stage he said I was right .Anyway next night I had the same t shirt on a  Einstürzende Neubauten the german Industrial band that has Bliza bargeld the guitarist from Nick Cave and the bad seeds at the time ,we saw the band members again I said lets go say hello and we did and spoke to Debbie the bassist in the band for a good while see said see saw us the night before due to my EN  tshirt as she was also a fan of the band .So that is the story of how I saw a band three times in a year ,I feel sorry Curve never quite broke huge as they could been as their sound was very like Garbage that followed them !! Any way be back later with a review

Winston’s books no post but !

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Well I’ve had no books in the post this week ,well that strictly isn’t true I had a parcel come today but I have to get it redelivered .So this week it’s two second hand buys I have brought this week .The first is the The Pianist by Wldayslaw Szpilman I saw the film by Roman Polanski of this book and at that time thought I ‘d A. like to read the book at some point and then B. Rewatch the film as I seen this online to stream I will be reading this soon then watch the film again .The second book is a favourite writer of mine the late Tomas Eloy Martinez an earlier book The Peron novel ,I have reviewed Santa Evita and purgatory by him on here before ,so I had this also on a list of books to read ,a mad cap look at Peron on his 1973 return to Argentina ,this book also nicely fits into Richard’s Argentinian and Uruguayan reading challenge from September .What books have you got this week ?

Someday we’ll tell each other everything by Daniela Krien

someday we'll tell each other everything

Someday we’ll tell each other everything by Daniela Krien

German fiction

Original title – Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen.

Translator Jamie Bulloch

Source – Review copy

Despair and Deception, Love’s ugly little twins
Came a-knocking on my door, I let them in
Darling, you’re the punishment for all my former sins

I let love in

source Nick cave’s Let love in ,did Henner let love in was he ready ?

Time is running short for women in translation month I ‘ve three books left to put up for the month here is the first a German novel from one of my favourite publishers Maclehose .Daniela Krien was born in Jena in former East Germany  ,then lived in Lepzig ,she has been a scriptwriter for a number of years for a German film company that make films about artists .This was here début novel and won high praise in Germany for it use of  Powerful language it also was a best-selling German  Audiobook .

 Henner truly is a handsome man .I realised that when he was in the shop :a hulking body that moves powerfully , but with fine facial features .He has deep-set ,expressive eyes surrounded by small ,dark lines ,and a hint of bitterness around his mouth ,although when he smiles it disappears completely .You can’t tell he’s a drinker .

Maria first time see really sees Henner as the young women she is now .

Now it is 1990 the wall has fallen in Germany and slowly east is meeting west ,this story is the story of that summer .But this is in the hinterland of East Germany in a sleepy back water town .Maria is a 16  year old that is enjoying her first real summer of freedom .Now next door to her parents farm lives Henner a hard-drinking man ,that has many dogs and a reputation for being a womaniser.Now I have no need to say any more really .But it’s not as you may think ,no Maria is the one that falls for the rough unkempt Henner and starts to make moves for him .Henner responds as this affair grows it starts to cause Maria problems at home what will she do ? How does Henner really feel for Maria ? . where will they all be when summer is over ?

Shortly before midnight I leave Henner’s house carrying my case .As a goodbye he takes my head in his hands and plants a kiss on my forehead .Then he puts his index finger to his lips .I nod,perhaps not distinctly enough ; i sense that his eyes on my back lack their usual certainty .So I turn and repeat the gesture he was looking for .

The affair has to be secret at first .

I initially wasn’t keen on this when I was sent it from Maclehose something about the cover said a female read (I know I shouldn’t think this but I did ) .But I was sure there would be something in it I would like as Jamie whose previous translation choices I have always enjoyed .I am so pleased I looked past the cover on this one .The book is a reverse of what on the surface you imagine a 16-year-old girl and forty-year man would be and that is the Man seducing the younger girl .Maria is a great character a rebellious dreamy  teen want to shake the shackles of her family ,she is dreamy and sees Amour Fou in Henner .Yes this is a tale of passion ,passion for the wrong man but she sees more in him than maybe Henner sees in himself  .A summer romance but more than the average summer romance no this affair  is a raging forest fire of a romance and both may get burned in the end if they don’t control it .All this and in the background little hints at the joining  of east and west Germany ,one could almost say this relationship is rather like the joining  of the two  Germany’s  Maria as west German  young dreamy and in love and Henner broken ,stumbling through his life as East Germany .Have you a favourite book about romance desire or passion ?

The Carter of La Providence by Georges Simenon

#2 The Carter Of 'La Providence'

The Carter of La Providence by Georges Simenon

Belgian fiction

Original title – Le Charretier de la Providence

Translator David Coward

Source review copy

“He was somewhat of a loner by temperament–because though never wholly happy when alone, he was usually slightly more miserable when with other people.”
Colin Dexter, The Wench Is Dead source good reads ,I was looking for a quote about why the boatmen were so badly thought of at the time ,but this quote struck me as how Maigret was at times in the book. 

 

I was lucky to get sent two of the Maigret novels that Penguin are being brought out in their attempt to put all Simenon’s books out under one publisher .So I get to review two more from the series to add to the three books I have already reviewed this year.So as I’ve said before Simenon published over 400 books if not more in his life time .He like boats and in 1928 spent six months on the water living in a boat ,he wrote this book in 1931 in his own boat Ostrogoth ,which he had christen by a priest and spent many years travelling through Europe with it

For the first couple of days ,mary was the life and soul of the party .But on day three she disappeared .

“And do you know where we found her ? staying at an inn at Giens ,where she was happily passing the time playing mummies with a couple of unwashed brats .

They both had lovers and loved to party a lot .

Now this is a murder thriller from the Maigret series ,a body is found in the early hours of the morning in a stable near the canal .The body turns out to be an upper class women by the name of Mary Lampson ,who with her husband Walter Lampson are travelling through France on their pleasure boat the southern cross .Now Mary was known for her taking of lovers and partying .The body was discovered by Lock 14 (which happens to be the books original title and also the title of the first chapter ) ,records show there is only one other boat near by at the time she was killed a barge call La Providence .Now Maigret comes to the canal ,he is rather gruffer than in the other books from the series I have read .Now the prime suspect is of course the husband ,but what did the men on the La Providence see or hear that night ? And what happens when she died .Maigret dives into a world of boatmen ,cafe owners ,An upper class husband and lock-keepers .Who killed her and why ?

At four in the morning ,one of the Carters woke his mate ,and both began seeing to their animals .They heard the horses on the Providence being led out and harnessed .

At the same time ,the landlord of the cafe got up and lit the lamp in his bedroom on the first floor .He also heard the Providence as it got under way

The boat sets of just as Mary’s body is found that early morning .

Now this for me saw Maigret develop a little we see a side we hadn’t seen much before he is a little gruffier than in the earlier books .Now as for the novel as a whole well it is a classic country house crime moved on too boats ,but where as a lot of novels in this style focus on the upper class this is both about Sir Walter and the Late Mary’s connections and the rough boatmen of the Barge . The other thing that oozes of the page is the obvious love of Boats and canals that Simenon had ,the details of the boats ,running of the boats and locks and lock-keeper operations feel so real .Also a bit of Class issues surface as Maigret struggles to get the upper class ways at times .Now this isn’t the first book I’ve come across set on the canal of course Colin Dexter wrote the wench is dead which also follows the murder of a woman on the canal but in the 1850’s .Next up for me in the series is Yellow dog which is the first that is a reread .Have you read this book ?

Zone by Mathias Enard

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Zone by Mathias Enard

French fiction

Original title – Zone

Translator – Charlotte Mandell

Source – review copy

There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing… I am a recording instrument… I do not presume to impose “story” “plot” “continuity”… Insofar as I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function… I am not an entertainer…”

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch This caught me as a perfect summation of this book .

Well I was aware of this book from when it came out in the US from Open letter books a few years ago ,it was on my list of books to buy in London at some point .So when new UK publisher Fitzcarraldo editions (You have to instantly love a publisher that call themselves after a Werner Herzog film haven’t you ) were publishing this as one of their first two titles ,I was pleased to get sent a copy of this and their other title the memory theatre  which I have also read and shows a publisher boldly mixing challenging fiction with cutting edge non-fiction .Mathias Enard is a french writer who currently lives in Spain ,he has published eight books so far this is one of two to be translated into English .This book won the Prix de Livre inter and the Prix Decembre in France .It has been called the book of the new century by one french reviewer .

I read Tsirkas drifting cities ,without really understanding it ,without recognizing in the scheme of the shadowy figures in his pages my own steps as an international informant .

I choose this small quote as  an example of books mention in the novel which they are many ,this book is one I really want to get my hands on and read myself !

Zone is the story of a train journey taken by one man Francis Mirkovic he works for the French intelligence service ,he is travelling from Milan to Rome on a train .But the journey just forms a backbone to the book a Francis nears his final gold which is to deliver a briefcase of files on the activities of people with in the Zone ,now the zone is a region from Spain to Lebanon and from former Yugoslavia to north Africa .Now this book is set twenty years ago and uses the Balkan conflict as a springboard to an alternate reality in the past one where the conflict span out of control and drew in the surrounding areas from Palestine to north Africa ,making a lawless region full of arms dealers and petty warlords .Well Francis has the worst of these people in his files and is willing to sell them to the highest bidder .As the train moves through Italy we see through Francis thought how this all happened  the unravelling the past distant and far distant ,books upon books from the Iliad (a book this is compared too given its journey and drifting nature ) , true incidents in the 90’s  ,his own family history his mother was Croatian ,so he was involved from the start in the unravelling of the Zone .Does he sell the case and what will happen when he does ?

I burrowed into The Zone without passion but also without disgust, with an increasing curiosity about the dealings of the wrathful gods ,patiently in my armoured tent .

Another passage how he got drawn in by The zone .

Now as you can tell this book is one of what I call a snake of a book twisting turning and can always rear up and bite you and I was bitten this is a book that deserves a wider readership ,to show what we may be have been missing in recent years in English language literature .Now I must admit the first writer that came to mind when reading this book was Burroughs ,easily because naked lunch is set in a fictitious area roughly North Africa called the Interzone by Burroughs .But also the way Enard twists the recent past to make an Alternate past is something Burroughs frequently did in his books my favourite Burroughs book cities of red nights is rather like this book twisting through time using the real and surreal to draw a character through the past .Pynchon of course is another writer ,but all said and done these have all been mentioned in other reviews what else can I  say about this book ? Well I look back through all the french novels I have reviewed  through this blog 43 books a good slice of French fiction in the last few years to find if this is a one-off or if I had touched any book similar in style to this book and yes partly Where the tigers are at home  sprung of the blog another twisting novel that mixes past and present real and surreal although different in a lot of respects both show that french publishers seem more willing to take chances on long books both weight in at over 500 pages ,plotless books both have vague plots but are more formed of stories within stories twists within twists ,both have won prizes in France this shows maybe the way forward with the girl is a half-formed thing sounding like a similar style of book to these where plot and the everyday convention of what we view as a novel is thrown out of the window for books that challenge and draw us in as readers .would you like to see more challenging books coming out in English like this one ? Also must admit I love the homage in the cover to Joyce’s ulysses original cover .

A song for sunday Pop earworm or romantic me ?

Now all this summer I’ve had a pop earworm ,I am not a huge chart or pop fan ,whether this song actually is them .The song is John Legends All of me ,a song about his own wife ,about what love can do to you ,I played it for my Amanda and said this was what I felt about her .I’m not sure if I am getting soft in my old age or if this one song and the words just touch what I feel for my darling Amanda .Do you ever get an earworm that you just can’t shake for weeks on end ?

Winston’s books favourite publisher writes

IMG_1903Well another week and three book have arrived at the house during the week a great selection .A writer whose two previous book I have really enjoyed ,A book from one of my favourite places to read books from Finland and lastly a favourite publisher that has a second book out .

Forever yours by Daniel Glattauer from Maclehose press ,I have reviewed the two previous book by him both also translated by Jamie Bulloch Love virtually and Every seventh wave were creavtive connected novels on love in the modern age a new take on the epistolary novel .Forever yours seems to take obsession and love itself as its main subject .

Rabbit back literature society by  PASI ILMARI JÄÄSKELÄINEN from Pushkin press A novel I had my eye on for a while as Pushkin as you all know is a publisher I love ,so to get sent this is a real bonus , plus its from Finland which to me is a favourite and much overlooked corner of European literature and to see a couple of bloggers and a review I trust mention in the press sheet made this tale of a women that has been invited to join the elite Rabbit back literature society ,only to find there is more than it seems to be ….

Clara’s Daughter by Mieke Ziervogel . Last and most important I got sent Meike’s second novel ,I am so happy as Meike is the force behind Peirene press  .I want to read Magda her first book ,but this second novel is set in North london and is a story of a daughter and her overbearing mother .We see how they end up living together and sorting out there relationship .

Which of this appeals to you or have you read ?

 

Manja by Anna Gmeyner

manja

Manja by Anna Gmeyner

Austrian Fiction

Original title – Manja Ein Roman um fünf Kinde

Translator – Kate Phillips

Source – Library

[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson,Source this summed the book up well for me 

So I decide for women in translation month to do a walk through the shelves of the local library to find something I didn’t know about and this was the one that I found ,I have other books from Persephone books including the Nemirovsky short story collection ,so another translation in the series was a real surprise for me ,but also a female writer from Austria which most of the books I have reviewed are male writers so it’s a welcome edition to the collection .Anna Gmeyner was born in Vienna ,born into a liberal Jewish family ,she married and divorced young she spent time in Paris and Berlin writing scripts as well as book .She fled to Scotland in 1933 ,this book was written in Exile in 1938 it was originally published in English under the title the wall and this is a new translation and brought back the original title .

The five bright stars of Cassiopeia could ,for a moment ,be seen above the church tower .The they disappeared behind scurrying black clouds .

The intro first lines sums up the five friend born on the same day I feel .

Manja is a story set in the inter war years in a small German town ,the book is told in five stories of five friends born on the same day from their birth to the early rumblings of the Nazis and war .The five friend Heini ,Franz ,Harry ,Karl and the title character Manja ,now this is four boys and a girl ,they become friends at school .But each has a different backgroung Heini is from a liberal family his father a doctor and a piano teacher mother .Harry comes from a rich family ,but his father is half jewish .Franz  is from a middle class  family his father Anton is drawn in by the Nazis .Karl famliy is working class his father is very left wing and Maja is from Poland orginally .We see the years from the children but also each of these five familes as they sail their course through the inter war years as others rise others start to feel that darkness of Nazism causing trouble for them .A clever way of portraying the inter war years from every angle of Austrian society and even throug Manja a Pole living in Austria .

At the wall where they had been meeting one another every saturday and wednesday evening for nearly four years ,Karl ,Franz,Harry and Heini were waiting for Manja ,who was coming today for the last time : tomorrow she was moving with her mother and brothers to another town .

The orginal english title refers to this wall where the kids meet .

Now this is a great choice for Women in translation month as Anna Gmeyner does just what Zweig does and that is write the opposite sex perfectly this is a tale of boys growing up and watching their fathers through their eye and it works as each sees what the years going by brings .It also wonderfully catches family life at time ,Gmeyner lived in German at the time the book is set so it has a similar feeling of being true ,I was reminded of Christopher  Isherwoods Berlin books ,which like this book  showed the slow rise of Nazis from a bit of a joke to a conquering force it became  .It plays well what happens when views of kids follow their parentsviews and lives as they twist and turn through out the years and we see our childhood friends through our parents Eyes ,the shift of Liberal attitudes of the twenties to the far right vision sees Harry’s family feeling the rise Nazism .The book was naturally banned at the time it came out and took a while to be reissued in Germany in 1984 .Have you read this book ?

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