Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

butterflies in november 2

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Icelandic fiction

Original title - Rigning í nóvember

Translator – Brian Fitzgibbons

Source – personnel copy on kindle

Well I was pleased I choose to buy this earlier in the year on a kindle offer as I had it at hand when it made the IFFP longlist .Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir is an art history lecturer and has previously been the director of the art museum at Iceland university .She has written four novel this is her first to be translated into English .

I provide proof-reading services and revise BA theses and articles for specialized magazines and publications on any subject. I also revise electoral speeches, irrespective of party affiliations, and correct any revealing errors in anonymous complaints and/ or secret letters of admiration, and remove any inept or inaccurate philosophical or poetic references from congratulatory speeches and elevate obituaries to a higher (almost divine) level. I am fully versed in all the quotations of our departed national poets. I translate from eleven languages both into and out of Icelandic, including Russian, Polish and Hungarian. Fast and accurate translations. Home delivery service. All projects are treated as confidential.

 

Rather perfect passage for this blog I felt ,Iceland is so much better at this than us translating .

Butterflies in November starts in the Capital of Iceland Reykjavik ,we meet the narrator ,we never know her name but this is her story .Her marriage is falling apart ,her husband leaves her as she is a little on the odd side and he can’t take her idiosyncrasies any more .So we she her go out meet new men and move to a flat .At this point it seems like it is going be a tale of a women blooming after a failed marriage .Then her pregnant friend rings up ,she has a son who is deaf and she wants her friend to take her son on for a few days but as the two start to get along her friend is ok for the two to stay together as she is worried how her son will react to the new arrival  .The son Tumi and narrator struggle at first to communicate but she draws him in and they go on a road trip round Iceland along the way discovering a number of odd characters ,the narrator still meets men ,but now with this young child her priorities have changed some what  .End up in a distant and strange Village .Tumi also helped her winner the lottery

“Can you collect Tumi from the kindergarten for me and keep him over the weekend, I don’t want to involve Mum in any of this, not yet at least, her blood pressure is far too high. The only thing you need to watch out for is his sleepwalking, he’s been known to open doors and vanish behind corners, and even to put himself in danger. Once I found him down by the lake. Just make sure you don’t startle him when he’s in that state.”

So the pairs adventure starts with this brief phone call at the start .

Now this book is just what I expect from Icelandic fiction and that is a little kooky ,this book is tinge with a bit of magic realism ,there is also a recurring motifs of insects in the depth of winter . and also at times is rather like David Lynch ,also an undercurrent to the narrators past ,she isn’t a mother part of the reason she split with her husband ,but also something bad happened in the past .This is a book about fear the narrators fear ,but discovery as she connects with Tumi and maybe finds herself in the hinterland of Iceland in a rather quirky village the narrator spent her childhood in a small portable home her family own .I found the book a page turner maybe not the best translation but part of me wonders if this is also part of the charm as the narrator is a proofreader and maybe this is to test us as a reader ?Also an epilogue of recipes.

Do you like quirky character ?

Pig’s foot by Carlos Acosta

pigs foot

Pig’s Foot by Carlos Acosta

Cuban fiction

Original title –  Pata de Puerco

Translator – Frank Wynne

Source – from Frank the translator of the book .

Well when I first heard last year that Carlos Acosta had a novel out ,I was a bit sceptical the whole celeb writing novel is never a real winning formula in my Opinion .Carlos  is someone I have been aware of for a number of years as one of the face of Ballet ,where he has been a star of the Royal ballet and is considered the greatest male dancer of his generation .It wasn’t till I saw Frank’s name attached to the book as the translator , I knew this was more than a run of the mill celeb writes novel (May be awful but celeb names sell books is my usual view on celeb novels and why they come out  ) .

Beuno … Ok .. the first thing you need to know about me is I never knew my mother or my father ,in fact I only found their names a couple of months ago .My memories begin on the day i came home from primary school dragging a dead cat by the scruff of the neck .I must have been about seven .

What happen before he was seven has he blocked this out ?

So pig’s foot is the of a family told by its last surviving member as he holds the pig’s foot  amulet a family talisman passed through the generations .Also to the very small village in the hinterland of Cuba is  were a  family story and the story of Cuba during the past four generations is told .So from Oscar and Jose who were  Slaves  that helped in the freedom  and end up settling in the village after Cuba gets it Independence in the 1850 ,we see the the next generation through the eyes of three children relate to another Oscar in the present day the last of this family line .alive , as the years past we see the good and bad of Cuba ,from the rise of Us involvement to the fall of the regime that was toppled by Castro .

I looked at the pendant in disgust .The pig’s foot was not dried and shrivelled ,in fact seemed to be alive ;the veins pulsed ,the flesh was red and bled constantly .I fetched a damp cloth to wipe up the blood inside the drawer and on the floor then ran back into the kitchen and threw the gruesome amulet in the bin .

The amulet comes to life ,this remind me a bit of Marquez .

Now I loved another Cuban novel  I reviewed ,well  novel isn’t  the right word it’s actually a collection of vignettes about Cuba .The book view of the tropics in the  dawn  by Guillermo Cabrera Infante ,this book also follows Cuba through snippets from independence to the Castro took over so actually serves well as a companion to this book ,Carlos book is on a more personnel level but also shows the struggles Cuba have had since its independence .I read an interview with Carlos about the writing of the book and the writers he loves and he read his first book in his twenties and it was a book by Marquez and the is touches of magic realism in this narrative ,he also loves the writing  Borges ,which for me I felt more as there is a lot of looking where the modern Oscar comes from about the mirror of his life almost and to me that is a very Borges thing to do .As ever frank has work wonders on this book ,Carlos even thanked Frank for his input to the final edition .You will remember I had this on my IFFP prediction its a shame it missed it the book is more than a celeb novel ,in fact it could be the first step for Carlos Acosta in a post dance career .

Have you ever read a celeb novel that is as good as this one ?

Death in Pont-Aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec

death_in_pont-aven

Death in Pont-aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec

German crime novel

Original title - Bretonische Verhältnisse: Ein Fall für Kommissar Dupin

Translator – Sorcha Mcdonagh

Source -review copy

When I receive the email from Hesperus press about this the first two things that caught my attention in the blurb  was the setting for the Novel the Breton region in France an area that has always interested me  as it is quite distinct from other parts of France and the other thing was the main character was a Caffeine junkie and anyone that knows me well knows I love my coffee so I knew I would feel some if as little part of kinship with Commissaire Dupin .Now who is Jean-Luc Bannalec ? Well he was born in Brest ,his father was A Breton and his mother was Germany ,he lives in France and Germany .Although it well may actually be  the name is a pseudonym of a a well-known German Publisher Jörg Bong this was mention in a piece about the books runaway success in Germany in Die welt newspaper  .

Dupin had spent his whole life amidst the glamour of Paris ,but two years and seven months ago he had been “relocated” to this remote backwater due to “certain disputes ” (as the internal memos had put it ) and ever since then had drunk his petit cafe in the Amiral ,it was a ritual as delightful as it was inflexible .

Dupin left Paris under a bit of a cloud .

The book is set as I said in Breton ,more specific in the small sleepy town of Pont-Aven where Commissaire Dupin a grumpy Parisian whom has for one reason or another end up in this quiet back water ,where he has chance to sit in cafes all day drinking endless cups of Latte and watching the world go by .When one day the 91-year-old owner of a local hotel is found dead and it is all rather gruesome this makes Dupin investigate what appears a classic closed room murder ,but as he goes through the crime and the people surrounding this well-known village that had for years been a home for many famous artist ,we discover the is more than meets the eye to the crime .

The pool pf blood looked grotesquely large to Dupin .It had spread out in a shapeless mass across the uneven stone floor .Pierre-Louis Pennac was a tall man ,thin ,wiry ,with short grey hair .An imposing figure even at ninety-one years old .

The body of Pierre-Louise is found in the hotel he had worked as manager since 1947

Now this fits in the classic crime thriller genre Dupin maybe could be best compared with Andrea Camilleri and his well-known detective Montalbano .They both investigate crime in a different setting than expect Breton isn’t so well-known and similarly Montalbano is in Scilly which other than it mafia connection is relatively unknown  .They also both like to sit in Cafes in Dupin case and of course in Montalbano it is in the restaurants eating .Jean-Luc has also used a classic type of case for his début the closed room case a person dead in a locked room and no sign of how they died this has been a staple of the crime novel from the start when Poe used it in murder on the Rue morgue .So as you see this has all the hallmarks of what makes a great crime novel and it is in parts it is quirky than most crime novels I’ve read in translation the last couple of years .

Do you have a favourite setting for a crime novel ?

Crumbs by Miha Mazzini

Crumbs_Cover_web.270

Crumbs by Miha Mazzini

Slovenian fiction

Orginial title Drobtinice

Translator Maja Visenjak-limon

Source – review copy

It was strange after reviewing The germany lottery in January by Miha Mazzini for the Scottish based publisher Freight books to issue for the first time this books Crumbs it is also known as The Cartier Project .This book was out in the US about ten years ago and written in 1987 .So I was thrilled to read another novel by Mazzini after enjoying The germany lottery so much .

Asa child I loved Guilvers travels .The only children’s book where the her shits and pisses .And even thou that hadn’t really been written for children .It just never happens to anybody else because you can’t live without doing it ,you get a feeling that you’re different a dirt complex .

This tickled me as it is so true it only that book I remember this happening .

 

Now The book was published in 1987 it does to remember that it is set in a working town ,where the main industry is a foundry .We meet Egon he is a writer ,in fact a writer in the model of the characters of books from Paul Leppin or Knut Hamsum Egon is a man living on the edge struggling for his art and also kicking against his art as he rants about writers at times .He is a chancer ,womanizer and idealist in some ways .He is chasing a dream of a life he may never have but also at the same time he is viewing the country around him change ,of course this is the time the Yugoslavia start to split back up to the smaller states that originally made it up .We also have a chase by Egon for a bottle of the after shave Cartier pour L’homme .Egon is a user in many ways and constantly with his band of friends tries to make the most of the world around him .

The postman was putting letters in mailboxes ,We said hello and exchanged a few polite sentences .No I didn’t intend returning to the post office .Maybe we’d have a drink another time .

I was struck because the main character in German lottery was a post man and now here is an Ex postman .

Now this book is a lot gritty than the German lottery and in some ways a far more complex books their is a lot of aliuson in this book the after shave maybe is a metaphor for statehood Egon maybe is a the nation struggling to capture the riches and promise that a dream like a fancy bottle of aftershave can bring you .Freight choose this as it feels the situation Egon is in and the Yugoslavia of the time when it is wanting to split is similar in some ways to the current Scottish situation with the vote for independence due .It was his début Novel and wrote it whilst working as a night-watchman .writing in the day this gave the novel its choppy style as he was looking after his daughter and  had to keep checking her .Egon is a character that is based in a type of character that is slightly different from the usual ones in Slovenian fiction .I watched a great interview with Miha about the book here .The style he says is absurdist and it is we follow the country around Egon falling apart and he is focused else but other events are happening .The book was made into a film .I found a clip here .It shows the Punk ethos and that Egon is a punk ,I hadn’t got this so much from the book more just a bohemia type with a dark edge .

I love the cover to this one as well .

Women in translation

I had initially mention doing a best of 2013 ,but have since decide to bring ten female writers in translation I have enjoyed on the blog .I like many others would love to see a few more female writers translated ,I probably do have a slight bias of reading male writers ,but have in recent times tried to add a few more female writers in translation to my reading .As it international women’s day it seem a great time to share some of my favourite female writers and there books from around the world .I will keep trying to add female writers in translation to the blog .

sidewalksValeria Luiselli is a Mexican writer I have reviewed two of her books on the blog .Sidewalks and Faces in the crowd .Sidewalks is a series of essays mainly about cites and walking .Faces in a crowd set in new york is a novel about a women an old poet and writing a wonderful book .Valeria is my favourite female writer in translation .

stones in a landslideIts hard to believe this was one of the first books from Peirene and it is one I still think of a lot ,stones in a landslide is a story of Conxa her life in the small villages of the pyrenees .

The rest is silenceNow top chile and Carla Guelfenbein one of the rising stars of Latin American fiction .We follow Tommy a young boy ,whose mother has died ,as he uncovers what really happened to her .

revenge by Yoko OgawaNow Yoko Ogawa writes dark short stories I have reviewed two of her books on the blog Revenge and diving pool .I loved revenge its clever series of recurring motifs and other worldliness makes it a stunning collection .

Train-to-Budapest-Maraini-DaciaNow Dacia Maraini is a name that wheneveer the Nobel prize betting appears ranks high ,she is an Italian writer I have only reviewed train to Budapest on the blog .But have three more I need to get to over the next year or so including Silent duchess her best known book .

summer bookNow I was a later comer to Tove Jansson I had read a moomin book as a kid but it wasn’t til I started Blogging I discovered her adult books .She wrote two books summer and winter book about her life on a small island both are gems .

hunger angelNow the German writer  Herta Muller has won the Nobel prize and is another of my favourite female writers ,I have reviewed Nadirs ,the passport  and her most recent book The hunger angel .Her books look over the dark past of communism and her use of language is very unique .

Until-Thy-Wrath-Be-PastAsa Larsson is one of the best Nordic crime writers I have review her book Until thy wrath be past one of the series she has written about Rebecca Martinsson .

trieste dasa drndicDasa Drndic book was shortlist for the IFFP last year it is the story of a women born under the lebensborn programm of Nazi regime ,but also the history of the Italian Jews during the war a list of every Jew from Italy that died is a strong reminder of what happened .

ekaterinfrontcover_50b7770928f02I ve lastly picked Marija Knezevic a Serbian writer for her book Ekaterini follows the history of the Balkans but also what it was to be a women during those times .

So there is ten female writers in translation ,I could added lots more maybe if you could suggest some ? that would be great .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The longlist for the IFFP 2014

Well iIguessed six in my post last week .I have four of the books I ve not read already after guessing that they may be on the verges .I like the list nice to see a Yale book the corpse washer there it a series I have enjoyed so looking forward to it a lot .My fellow jurors and I will be reviewing all the books on the longlisted the highlighted titles link to my reviews .

A man in Love
A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard and translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)
A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli and translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)
Back to Back by Julia Franck and translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker)
Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andreï Makine and translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan (MacLehose Press)
Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon (Pushkin Press)
The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon and translated from the Arabic by the author (Yale University Press)
The Dark Road by Ma Jian and translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus)
Exposure by Sayed Kashua and translated from the Hebrew by Mitch Ginsberg (Chatto & Windus?
The Infatuations by Javier Marías and translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Hamish Hamilton)
The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim and translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright
(Comma Press)
The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke and translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press)
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa and translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton (MacLehose Press)
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami and translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello Books)
Ten by Andrej Longo and translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis (Harvill Secker)

That was the month that was February 2014

Well after a bright start in January to my blogging year my blog went of the rails slightly last month ,but I had Amanda in hospital thankfully she is ok now and near the end of the month I have used the last of my holidays for 2013/4 so have actually just done not a lot and recharged my batteries but now start to wind back up with the Iffp longlist out in a little under a week I need to review and catch up on books I may have to read for that .but last month I managed to read 11 books and reviewed 8 books also had Pushkin press fortnight which I loved the fact so many people joined in celebrating a publisher I love .I also had a great interview with Hélène Gestern q& a .Also added the Blogging meet up in June in Sheffield 

Joanna-Jodełka-Polychrome-Cover-216x331

Polychrome by Joanna Jodełka poland
Oliver VII by Antal Szarb
Every promise by Andrea Bajani Italy
Journey into the past by Stefan Zweig austria
the break by Pietro Grossi Italy
Amok and other stories by Stefan Zweig Austria
Death in Pont-Aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec france
The late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon Belgium
A french novel by Frederic Beigbeder france
Pigs foot by Carlos Acosta Cuba
Dead star by Alavro Bisama Chile

I ve already read two great books in march and am looking forward to reading the new Andres Neuman novel and doing Shadow Iffp post .What are your plans for March ?

Independent foreign fiction prize predictions 2014

Well it’s that time of year again and the IFFP has come around it does seem five minutes since last years prize ,of course for me as a translated fiction blogger the prize is my Oscars and I love doing this yearly guessing post on what I feel should be on the list and what books I need to read from last year so without further a do I shall dive straight in to what I feel will bo on the 2014 IFFP longlist  -

the infatuations

 

Now straight in with what I feel is a real chance of winning the prize and one I really enjoyed The Infatuations by Javier Marias ,in hat is maybe a big big name short year Marias is maybe the biggest name .the book follows a couple as viewed by a women and the difference from what we perceive and what is actually the truth .my review 

Now also translated from spanish are -

an englishman in MadridAn English man in Madrid is another slow burning spanish novel ,an english art expert is in Madrid just as the first warning of the Spanish civil war are evident .I ve read this but never got to review it so if it makes the list I will ,but a review will be up at some point .

pigs footNow to Cuba and Carlos acosta ,I read this over the weekend it follows three generations in Cuba before the revolution  and a pig’s foot amulet .I hope it makes it as Carlos name would bring the IffP some great publicity .

my brilliant friendNow the first book from Italy is another read and not reviewed book the tale of two close friends it shows the different paths various lives can take over time ,also maybe the chance to learn about the mysterious writer behind the book ,whom very little is known .Which is fun in the 21st century a writer can still hide behind a name relatively unknown .

parrots Flippo BolognaNext up in the bumper year for Italian fiction is this wonderful satire on book prizes a trio of writers ,as you may say the three ages of men ,all try for the big prize as we see behind the scenes of being a writer .My review 

let the games beginNow onto another Italian novel and another satire this on having too much money and maybe losing control ,also has a writer struggling after an early huge hit .My review

every promise Andrea BajaniEvery promise by Andrea Bajani is another Italian novel this one follows a man as his marriages falls apart and he meets an old man and rediscovers himself in russia .My review

Also I may mention the Wu ming novel  Altai that came out from Verso books ,I read the debut and this sounds interesting and again like Elena ferrante they hide some what behind the Wu Ming name these four writers .

Chasing_the_king_of_hearts_smallNow on to Peirene I have read all three Peirene books from last year it is hard to sat which will make the list but I think Chasing the king of hearts an episodic view of the war from a jewish women in Poland was my favourite from there three books last year .My review .

the mussel feast

Then the other I think will be the mussel feast ,a book about being east German but also a book at its heart  about families and how they live and can fall apart .Here is my review .

foundling-boyNow I am currently reading three books two are books I feel may make the longlist and the other is the first in the series because I feel the second book published first may make the longlist anyway reading this The foundling boy by Michel Deon just makes the list published in december and the first from one of France best known writers and member of the French academy .

alexNow I had this early last year but when I saw it was the second in the series and a comment at the time from a fellow blogger about the main character and something that had happened in his past I left it and am now reading Irene the follow-up in the uk but the first book out in the UK .

a french novelI read this also over the weekend a binge on Frank Wynne translations this one centre on the writer himself in a imagine childhood after an actual arrest a few years ago in a cell he relives his youth or what he felt was his youth all very french I feel .

a-meal-in-winter

 

A short french novel about a group of soldiers ,an escaped jewish prisoner and a Pole during a winters night in a house in the Polish countryside as the snow falls what is happening in the war ways heavy in the air .My review 

Devils WorkshopAnother big name this book by Topol deals with the history of the holocaust and how we treat it a very dark satire on what we take from the past and do with it in the present .My review 

my fathers' ghost is climbing in the rainNow my lost gem of last year a son returns home and discovers a lot of secrets about his fathers past as he does so his view of his father changes .My review 

in times of fading light

.Also from Faber whilst mention them is In times of fading light another book I am reading at the moment a from german book prize winner and all about the former east Germany .

revenge by Yoko OgawaA collection of interlocking stories from Japan dark and with a clever recurring motifs through them .My review

the briefcaseNow i did review this in 2012 as it was issued in the us with a different title the uk title is strange weather in Tokyo .a May to December love story Japanese style a former pupil and teacher find solace in one another .My review 

A man in LovePart two in the life of Karl Ove the memoir novel of the Norwegian writers life this time we find him dealing with the early years of his marriage .

the son Andrej NikolaidisAnother father and son tale this time from Montenegro ,we follow a son around his home town after falling out with father .A natural heir to Thomas Bernhard in some ways soul-searching stuff .My review .

Well that is it now a few outsiders I will mention in brief

White mask by Elias Khoury

Crow blue by Adriana Lisboa

The light and dark by Mikhail Shishkin

I will share Tonys list here my fellow shadow judge  a few difference between me and Tony ,he has chosen 8 books ,I have mention 16 books .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier

the front seat passenger

The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier 

French noir fiction 

Original title – La place du mort 

Translator Jane Aitken 

Source – review copy 

Pascal Garnier was a french writer ,he died in 2010 .I have reviewed  the a26 and Panda theory on the blog I have also read the other two book Gallic books have issued How’s the pain and Moon in the dead eye .So I come this his fifth book keen to see what it was about as I had enjoyed all his other books .This book was reissued just after his death and was originally written in 1997 and was his second novel so is actually the earliest of the novels that Gallic books have translated by him .

From the moment she had left them when Fabien was five ,she was always referred to as Charlotte ,never “Maman 2 .Fabien had never heard his father say  bad word about her ,nor a good word ,he simply didn’t mention her .Like Dreyfus ,he had exiled her to a place in his memory as distant as devil’s island

Fabien had loss early on in his life .  

The front seat passenger follows the usual Garnier trait and that is to take one point and expand it out in the  A26 he took a couple protesting a road being built ,in moon in the dead eye it is a gated community versus gypsies .so The front seat passenger is the story of Fabien his wife is the passenger of the title that died in a car crash with another man ,in the man’s car .It turns out the man was married and the two of the were having an affair and Fabien didn’t know about it.But there marriage wasn’t great but  he didn’t know about the affair  ,Fabien has experience loss like this before when his mother disappeared but did this first loss leave a hole in this man ?He learns that the wife of the other man is called Martine .He decides to find her and have a look  at her and then he starts to stalker her .Now Fabien is lucky he has a great friend  Madeleine whom is trying to help her good friend stay out of real trouble .Well to see how this pans out I would suggest buying the book to find out what happens to Fabian .

Fabien was astonished at how fast he was getting over his loss .When he forced himself to think about Sylvie ,like an invalid testing the progress of their convalescence, he felt as if he were looking back on someone else’s memories .Perhaps that was what as meant by ” turning the page ” the blank whiteness of the new page gave him vertigo .So he began to darken the page by writing ” Martine  Arnoult , 45 Rue Charlot , Paris 3rd 

Has he got over her or is his grief taking a darker turn ?

Well as ever Pascal Garnier is shining a light in the darker place of the human soul loss ,grief ,betrayal .Fabian is shocked when he finds out about Sylvie his wifes accident and even more so when he finds she had a lover .The way he deals with it in becoming a stalker and trying to get some revenge this  isn’t the usual way people would deal with this ,but this is the beauty of Garnier and his books the twists they take ,this isn’t the first of the last twist this book takes .The book is written in short chapter and is only 140 pages long so is one of those books that can be quite easily read in an evening . If you like your stories dark with a couple of twists this is the book for you .

Polychrome by Joanna Jodełka

Joanna-Jodełka-Polychrome-Cover-216x331

Polychrome by Joanna Jodełka

Polish crime fiction

Original title polichromia

Translator – Danusia Stok

source – review copy

Joanna Jodełka is a female polish crime writer she has so far published three novels in Polish this her first book won the top lit prize for crime in Poland the High calibre prize .This is her first book to be translated to English .

He’d put off talking to his mother for almost a month.And not long ago he’d been happy not to have to listen to her grumbling so frequently about his having let Malina go .It was so damm painful every time .They’d been together for six years .He’d been the one to mess things up when a year ago ,they’d agreed to part .

Maciej worries about his very overbearing mother and what to tell her .

Polychrome is set in the Polish city of Pznan ,which for me was the first book I had read to be set in this city .The book focuses on two at first unconnected murder in the town ,one of these murders of a retired art restorer happens to have happen in one of the upper class parts of the city the Villa area .Brought into investigate these crimes are Maciej Barrtol and his partner .Now Maciej is a chap in his mid thires with his own problems outside work .Now the two bodies where both found in strange places and strange positions ,now the two victims actually seem at first to have nothing in common ,but as the clues start flying in and they are no near they finally get a strange break about symbols and symbolism to do  with the bodies so they visited Madga an expert of Medieval symbols and symbolism  to get some help .The lack of a connection is actually a connection more in the death and  how they died .

Everybody’s life is riddled with secrets

Now this is the back cover quote from the book and it suits it perfectly as they all have secrets in this book .

Now yet again Stork books have brought us a prize-winning Polish crime novel to English.All the talk ion recnet years of Nordic crime and french crime fiction for me of the books of=ver that time I have read it has always been the Polish crime novels that have been the most challenging and inventive books around .Now on the surface I bet you are all thinking that is rather Dan brown like with the talk of symbols and symbolism  but no to me it remind  me more of the tv series White chapel were the past is just used as a guide to the present .Now Joanna Jodełka lead character Maciej is in the usual mould of a  detective in a modern crime fiction novel ,in his mid thirties ,with problems the difference is in his problems ,his relationship has recently broke up and he is now with his rather overpowering mother at home .This book cleverly scatters clues and keeps you turning the pages as you find the ones that matters and the red herrings along the way .So I hope we get to see her other two books in English as this is the first of a series and I’d love to learn more about Maciej and also his partner who here is there but feels like he has more to tell .

Have you a favourite novel from Polish crime oeuvre ?

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