Indigo by Clemens J. Setz

Indigo by Clemens J. Setz 

Austrian fiction 

Original title – Indigo

Translator – Ross Benjamin

Source – review copy

 

Just like watching the detectives.
Don’t get cute!”
It’s just like watching the detectives.
I get so angry when the teardrops start,
but he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart.
Watching the detectives.
It’s just like watching the detective

We not only watch the detectives but join them in this book ?

I have been vaguely aware of Clemens J Setz ,I had seen his name on a few German book prize list over the last few years , so when this book arrived from Serpents tail I was delighted to be able to try what seems to be one of the rising stars of German literature .Studied at Graz ,after university ,he went on and became a translator ,then a writer and poet ,his second novel the frequencies was on the German book prize shortlist (the German version of the booker prize ) ,he has also won Leipzig book fair prize .Indigo is his third novel and his first to be translated into English .This novel was also on the german book prize shortlist .A quick taster for German Lit month .

The wonderful inner peace , the first in a long while ,dissipated immediately when he stepped out of the building .Twenty-nine years on the planet and in all that time probably four hours altogether of perfect peace .During the years at Helianau it had been no more than three minutes ,Not counting sleep

Robert tatzel just as he is set free into the world ,free from Indigo .

Indigo ,is a book with two main characters A maths teacher named Clemens Setz and one of his former pupils Robert Tatzel .The title refers to a kid that in 2007 appears in children that affects any adults that get near them with severe headaches ,nausea and vertigo .Clemens is teaching at the time when the children in his class that catch this Indigo condition.Clemens tries to discover what has happened to his pupils ,but is meet with brick walls and the loss his jobs  .They are driven of in a strange type of mask .Then a number of years later one of these pupils Robert tatzel who with age has grown out of the Indigo condition is reading a paper when he discovers that his former teacher Clemen Setz had been on trial and acquitted for a brutal murder .

Acquitted in a trial for the violent death of a man from Romania .Kept his dogs in a dungeon for years . severe abuse .Death by slow flaying .Prime suspect Setz free as of today .The family of the victim , a small picture .people standing there sadly .In recent years mainly a science fiction novels ,a turn away from literature .Currently living as a freelance writer near .

captions from picture Robert finds about his old teacher .

Now that is the basic story ,but this book is a wonderful German take on Post modern fiction , that through these two stories we almost join these two men as they try to discover what has happen in both case ,why were the children taken ? what cause the Indigo ? Why did Clemens Setz end up in a trial for murder .We meet a mix of files, letters, book reviews , news  stories , clippings and pictures  as the two men try to discover fifteen years apart what happen to the other ,almost like a snake trying to eat its own tail it coils and coils ,making this one of those books that is hard to pin down .It’s a real journey through it ,I was reminded at the times  of  writers  like Pynchon or even Perec  both of whom like Setz here tried detective fiction of one sort or another in their time . There is an inventive hand in Setz writing with all the documents letters etc add a dimension that I haven’t seen done as well recently Strene did it first and Dos Passos did it in his books ,even BS Johnson in some ways but Setz for me made this feel like I was detective alongside them ,I ‘m sure each reader like me has their own take on what happened and why because we can all read into what we see from our own lives ,this make this unusual and unique book and new voice in German lit .

 

Chronicle of a death foretold by Gabriel Garcia marquez

Chronicle of a death foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Columbian fiction

Original title Crónica de una muerte anunciada

translator – Gregory Rabassa

source – personnel copy

 

When you’re sad and when you’re lonely
And you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end

And all that you held sacred
Falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

When you’re standing on the crossroads
That you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end

Nick cave version of death is not the end rather apt as death is not the end or the beginning of this book .

Well this is the last but one  of  the Marquez books I read back in July for marquez reading week .I choose this book for the week as it out of all of Marquez’s works of fiction , because it seemed to mix both his fiction and his journalistic style of writing as it recounts a murder in Small town of Santiago Nasar  .

Nor did Santiago nasar recognize the omen .He had sleep little and poorly , without getting undressed,and he woke up with a headache and a sediment of copper stirrup on his palate ,and he interpeted them as the natural havoc of wedding revels that had gone on until after midnight .

The morning after and in a way the morning before so to speak .

 

The chronicle of a death foretold as I said above is different in some ways to his other fiction as it is told in a more formal journalistic style of writing ,the story is of the killing of Santiago nasar , whom runs a successful ranch ,which he had inheirted father and still lives there with his mother and their servants ,we meet him on the day his is going to die .On this day as well a wedding is taking place the wedding of Angela Vicario ,she is due to marry a man who has come to find a bride ,find a virgin bride indeed ,so when after the wedding hew finds his new bride has already been with a man ,she is returned to her family and her brothers try to find out how has been with their sister …. Any way Angela who wasn’t in love with the man she was due marry at the time but had fallen for him during that day ,she wrote to the man Bayardo san Roman everyday for the following seventeen years at which point he returns with all these letters but he hasn’t ever open one ,of course in true Marquez style the book ends with the actual killing .Meanwhile her two brothers have had to leave town .

Bayardo San roman , the man who had given back his bride , had come for the first time in August of the year before : six months before the wedding .He arrived on the weekly boat with some saddlebags decorated with silver that matched the buckle of his belt and the rings of his boots .He was was around thrity years old

Bayardo arrived looking for a bride .

 

Well I said that this wasn’t like his other books when I choose it but actually after I had read it I  found many traits in this story that we have seen in his other books , families and honour are a recurring theme in his books from 100 years of solitude onwards .Lost love and longing for a former lover well enough said I think this has been in most of Marquez;s fiction Angela’s longing is maybe different as it is a women longing a man where as in most of the other books it is a man longing for the women .Then there is part of this book that harks to his other career as a journalist in the way the killing is recounted ,it has a crime report feel at times to it .Then we have the way the story is told in a non linear style that i have encountered in other books by Marquez where the story is a Rubik’s cube you don’t fully see the story till you make the last move the same is true of this book you don’t fully get this till the last pages .

have you read this Marquez ?

Change is good but also refocusing is better for me reading wise

IMG_1948

I’ve noticed a couple post by bloggers i love in recent days about changing reading habits ,I think we have all written similar posts if we have been blogging for any length of time ,one of the problems with blogging is getting drawn into the new  and shiny  also hype but be honest i never go for hype why be a sheep that is the last thing i would ever want to be follow the flock in reading .but that said I am a as bad as everyone ,who doesn’t love new books ,I know I do. But from time to time we need to think about the older or even out of print books  ,I have always reviewed a few older books over the course of the blog and will carry on doing this I feel I have a fairly good mix and will be trying to add a few more  older books .I feel for me the real problem is focusa and  making clear the focus of the blog for me now it is just  fiction or non fiction in translation nothing else book wise of course i still want to do pieces about me and my life and loves but for the books its just translation from now on !!!,I’ve updated my about me page into about me and review policy explaining that from now on I will only be accepting books in translation for review  but also trying to get further content about translation, translation and publishing books in translation ,I still get a number of books sent that aren’t translation most of (in truth none )which don’t appeal to me ,which is a shame so i change the page to make this clear to people out there in the future .I agree the balance of reading blogging etc is hard but I have made efforts myself this last few months to sort this ,using my wordpress app for most of my comments now during the day its fast and can be done in a spare few minutes throughout the day ,the chromebook saves me ten minutes in boot up times I think so i can use my laptop before work on my early start ever so often .So as slowly I am getting near to the 1000th post on winstonsdad ,I feel like it is a new start I have done part one of the journey ,now i need to carry on and try and find part two not sure what that is but I feel there is another level to which I can get to at some point blogging wise .

Judges Andrea by Camilleri , Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo de Cataldo

Judges

Judges by Andrea Camilleri ,Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo de Cataldo

Italian novella  collection

Original tile Giudici

translators -

Camerlli – Joesph Farrell

Lucarelli – Alan Thawley

Cataldo – Eileen Horne

Source – review copy

The judge turned around the room .At one table four men were seated,one with a beret and two with hats .A stocky fifty-year-old man ,with fair skin and reddish hair , rose to his feet , removed his hat and said “accept it as a gesture of welcome “

Judge Surra has just arrive and is greeted by some gifts from Don Nene Lonero

 

This is the second collection of novellas from Italy Maclehose press has brought out the first was Outsiders ,this is called judges and is the first I have reviewed ,I have read two of the writers in the collection before Andrea Camilleri and Carlo lucarelli .The third writer in this collection  sounds like an intersting writer as he was a former Italian Magistrate ,turned writer and screenwriter ,he is also a judge on the Italian tv show masterpiece ,which is like an X factor for writers .

While Ferro was fifty-six but looked older ,the Bambina was thirty but looked younger .He knew how old she was because she had told him as soon as she got into the car – “Wish me many happy returns ,today’s my birthday .Born in 1950 ,I’m an old woman now !”

La Bambina looks so young to the older judges

Judges are three novellas ,each about a different Judge in Italy ,also at different times .Camilleri story Judge Surra ,  we meet a Judge Surra ,a Sicilian based judge that has just moved to a small town ,he is greeted by a collection of strange welcoming gifts ,he has travelled from the north of Italy just after Italy became Italy ,the gifts are from the brotherhood (the Mafia before it was the Mafia !) ,but unperturbed he takes them on his first trial in Scilly,oh and of course there is some food involved in this book it is Camilleri  .Lucarelli’s story La Bambina ,which  follows a young female judge ,who due to getting caught in the  complex crimeworld  of  Bologna and the violence involved in this world  ,gets caught up in the violence and has to go into hiding with a bodyguard .The last story by Cataldo  The triple dream of the prosecutor ,follows the battle with a Judge well prosecutor  mandati and the mayor of Novere ,whom for years have been at one another ,but when the Mayor suddenly starts becoming the target for a killer ,is some one trying to kill the mayor or are the judges dream starting to come true !

 

Even better , a triple dream .It was March 18 .And as the headline of the Novere echo said ,The may Berazzi-pedrico is preparing to fight his umpteenth battle with the prosecutor Mandati .

dreams are actually instructive .Because not even in dreams can you get away from the law .

I choose this quote from the end of the triple dream of the prosecutor because march 18th is one of my favourite days .

This collection brings together the cream of Italian crime writers ,each adding a novella related to being a judge in Italy from the very first days of Italy and even then tackling the earliest beginnings  of the mafia ,to the torrid and violent days of the late 1970’s and 80’s in Italy ,a time I vaguely remember seeing in the news as a young boy as we saw criminals in plastic cages or actual cages to protect the judges and the criminals .Then to the age-old struggle between the Judge and the authorities between power and money .This collection is prefect as a taster of Italian crime fiction or if like me you are a fan it is a great way to find one new writer Cataldo is a new name to me and after this I will be reading one of his full length novels .

Have you  a favourite Italian crime writers !

German lit month here again …

Well it’s that time of year when I start keeping my eye out and looking through the recent buys from the last twelve months to find some books for Lizzie’s and Caroline’s  German lit month ,well after it was announced earlier this week my first trip was to the Library to see if they had any Joseph Roth week is the theme for the last week ,I have only read him once before and missed out on getting the recent Granta reissues  from the other year but luckily for me my library had a couple .

IMG_1944 (1)

So I have two great books to read for that week both sound great I had a different copy of job out of library a few years ago but never got chance to get to it so now is the chance ,I also fount this gem

IMG_1945 (1)

An old Gunter Grass novel Local Anaesthetic ,a story of an idealstic teacher ,another section of German lit month is to read a prize winner and Gunter won the Nobel prize in 1999 ,I also remember I have the box but need to get hold of the peeling the onion to read his memoir in order .

Well that is it for now I have a number of other books a couple of surprises among them ,have you any plans ?

The sermon on the fall of Rome by Jérôme Ferrari

The Sermon on the Fall of Rome

The sermon on the fall of Rome by Jérôme Ferrari

 French fiction 

Original title – Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome

Title – Geoffrey Strachan 

Source – review copy 

Sweltering Africa and languorous Asia,
A whole far-away world, absent, almost defunct,
Dwells in your depths, aromatic forest!
While other spirits glide on the wings of music,
Mine, O my love! floats upon your perfume.

I shall go there, where trees and men, full of vigor,
Are plunged in a deep swoon by the heat of the land;
Heady tresses be the billows that carry me away!
Ebony sea, you hold a dazzling dream
Of rigging, of rowers, of pennons and of masts:

I thought of this straight away baudelaire poetry and this one caught my eye .

 

I have reviewed the first book that Maclehose press published by Jérôme Ferrari Where I left my soul  and loved that book ,so when I was sent this book I was pleased and it was surprised that it was a very different style of book to Where I left my soul .Jérôme Ferrari studied at the Sorbonne ,he studied philosophy ,he has since taught in Algeria and at a High school in Corsica ,His first book translated  into English was set in Algeria and this his second to be translated is set in Corsica .The sermon on the fall of Rome won the Prix Goncourt the biggest prize in French literature .I feel the sign of a great writer is the ability to change the style of what you write and it still be great for me Ferrari has this .

In the middle of the night ,taking good care tom make no noise ,although there was nobody to hear her ,Hayet closed the door of the little flat she had lived in for eight years above the bar where she worked as a barmaid , and disappeared .Around ten o’clock in the morning the hunters came back from the drive .

One of the bar people who disappeared .

The book is a trio of stories really the first story the main story is that of a bar in the mountains of Corsica ,that is brought by two friends Mathieu and Liberio ,who have returned to the island disillusioned  with their life in Paris studying philosophy .The bar they buy with money from Mathieu grandfather Marcel ,the bar has very attractive barmaids and a collection of odd customers  and the local hunters .The story follows affairs and drinking too much and what effect that has which isn’t a great effect .The second story is that of Marcel the grandfather who loaned the money to the two boys to open the bar ,his story is one of the French empire he spent most of his life which we see in snippets throughout the book ,is the fall of French empire in Africa in particular .The Third part really isn’t a big part but gives the title to the book and that is the Augustine of HIppo the fourth century saint ,Ferrari has retold the sermon that Augustine told on the fall of Rome ,we can see a parallel on the fall and the fall of the french empire .

Augustine lies there dying in his own city to which for three months Genseric’s forces have been laying siege .Perhaps all taht had occurred in Rome in August 410 was shaking of one centre of gravity ,the setting in motion of a slight swing of a pendulum ,the thrust of which finally propelled the Vandals through Spain and across the sea,all the way to beneath the walls of hippo

From the last chapter a reworking of the sermon on the fall of Rome .

Well I love the way the book took a small place a bar and the people who visit it and used that as a wider question of what had happened in France and across the French empire ,then using the story of Marcel to illustrate this and delving even farther back to use Augustine of Hippo to connect the fall of the French empire to the fall of the Roman empire .The book has naturally been compared to Marquez’s works ,of course around the bar you are reminded of small village life we see in Marquez’s work but to me I was more remind of a more recent French novel I have read where the tigers are at home  another book that uses the past and the present to weave a tale on a wider scale .There is fluidness to Ferrari’s writing you never sense a jolt as you move from place to place and time to time each connect to from a wonderfully vivid take on the fall of empire ,but also on where France could head after this ,add to this affairs causing trouble between the two main characters ,thieving and the fact a lot of the past owners of the bar have vanished you see there is more to this than it first seems .

Have you read either of his books to be translated in too English ?(if not why not !!)

Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb

 

Fear and trembling by Amelie Nothomb 

Belgian fiction 

Orginal title – Stupeur et tremblements

Translator – Adriana Hunter 

Source – Library

Loving you is driving me crazy
People say that you were born lazy
‘Cause you say that
Work Is A Four-Letter Word

So change your life
There is so much I know
That you can do
Come and see …

I choose one of my favourite song by The Smiths work is a four letter word as it caught in part this book .

I decide a month or two ago to start adding a few books by writers I have enjoyed in the time I have been blogging ,to add depth to blog and to the list of books read ,so I read Amelie Nothomb’s The character of rain  three years ago and had a time want to try more of this talent Belgian writer ,this book like the character of rain is another book set in Japan Amelie Nothomb ,lived in Japan and was born there  in Kobe .The title of this book is a reference to how the average citizen should have felt when greeting the Emperor of Japan .

Miss Mori was at least five feet ten , a height few japanese men achieved .She was ravishingly svelte and graceful despite the stiffness to which she, like all Japanese women , had to sacrifice herself .But what transfixed me was the splendor of her face .

She was talking to me ,The sound of her soft voice brimmed with intelligence .She was showing me some files , explaining what they contained , and smiling. I was dimly aware that I wasn’t listening to what she was saying .

Amelie as she says is transfixed by Miss Mori on their first meeting .

The story of this book is a fiction Amelie going to work for a large company in Japan the Yumimoto corporation ,she has managed to get a job for a year with them .initially it is great she loves the way she is greeted by the people in the company ,but then she is put under the perfect Miss Mori .This is the point that things start to go wrong for the young Amelie ,because she just cannot do anything right ,she has hit the brick wall of Japanese etiquette and the way things are done .She eventually she her self doing less and ,less as every task she is given she seems to fail at in the eyes of the task perfect Miss Mori ,Amelie is also strangely attracted to Miss Mori and the way she is .Amelie ends up with one job sorting the toilets on the 13th floor of the building a toilet that just she and Miss Mori use ,even this she isn’t very good at in the eyes of Miss Mori .

I SPOKE RARELY in my new post , not because it wasn’t forbidden but because an unwritten rule stopped me .When your job is as dreary as mine was the only way of preserving your honour is by remaining silent .

Amelie on her last job the bathroom attendant .

What i loved about this wonderfully short novel is the humour that is there from the clash of cultures ,the western ideas of Amelie cut no way with Miss Mori .Miss Mori leaps of the page as a perfect example of a women in business in Japan she has to be better than the men beside her and above her this is what drives her perfection and in some ways the way she treats Amelie .Miss Mori has her own problems she is turning thirty in the new year and this is traditionally the time a women in Japan is expected to be married .Like character of rain Amelie Nothomb has a great way of casting an outsiders eye on Japan without turning it into a joke and a freak show that so many times happens when we view how Japan works .I felt Miss Mori could have been one of the figures of love from a Murakami novel ,she is just so perfect or tries to be .Amelie at one point imagines her and Miss Mori’s position as similar to that of David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto in the film Merry christmas Mr Lawrence .

Amelie -san

CONGRATULATIONS

-MORI FUBUKI

I added this as it is the last lines a letter Amelie received just after her first novel came out from Miss Mori .

Have you a favourite book by a Belgian writer ?

Winstons books poseidon and confessions

Well two books arrived at Winston towers this week .

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The first is from an old favourite writer ,the Dutch genius Cees Nooteboom ,his latest book from Maclehose is called Poseidon letters ,it is a selection of writing he has written for year to Poseidon on his return to his spring home on Minorca .I actually have finished this book and it is something special any fans of the works of  Sebald will love this one .

IMG_1937

The second book as you can see is a huge book Jaume Cabre book Confession one of the most respect Catalan writers ,the book follows Adria Ardevol as he turns sixty and looks back on his memories before he loses them but also over the role evil has played in the last five hundred years of history .the book won ten awards in Spain .

Winston’s library books and a couple of second hand books

IMG_1933Now I have decide to keep my weekend book posts for the new books I get sent or  have brouight myself  and in between times do posts on second-hand finds and library books ,I have borrowed ,I love he library but often return books unread as ,I get caught up in the new book rat race ,so i decided this visit to borrow four books by writers I have read before .

Blind willow ,sleeping woman by Haruki Murakami – I read this about six years ago ,just before I started the blog and saw it today and decide to include it as the books by him I have so far on the blog are all novels and this is a short story collection .

3 Arched bridge by Ismail kadare -I review his latest book , the twilight of eastern gods and whilst writing that I looked at the ones I hadn’t read by him and this was one of the ones that was top of that list as it follows the building of a bridge between the Balkans and europe ,I was reminded of the pyramid by him .

By night in Chile by Roberto Bolano  –  I hope to get all his books on the blog over some point so a political satire ,and with the Opus Dei in it so another to the list of his on the blog I hope .

Fear and trembling by Amelie Nothomb – I read character of rain a few year ago , and said then I did like to read more books by Nothomb so this short novel is the next one I have found .It follows a fictional version of her self spending a year in Japan .Also makes a change from Simenon who has been my main Belgian writer this year .

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I also called in my local Oxfam shop and found these two -

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail – well choose this for two reasons the title and cover caught my eye and the second reason was Michael Ondaatje on the cover as he is a writer whose book I have enjoyed so I thought i give this a whirl and handy for australian reading month 2015 .

In filtration by Yehoshua Kenaz – I have enjoyed a number of hebrew novels based in the time around the foundation of Israel so this is another and one that I hadn’t heard of before .

What books have you got from the library recently ?

 

The insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolano

the-insufferable-gaucho-978033051062201

The insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolano 

Chilean fiction

Original title – El Gaucho insuferible 

Translator – Chris Andrews 

Source – library

Amazing travelers, what fantastic stories you tell!
What a bottomless incurvation to your eyes.
Show us the streaming gems from the memory chest
The mirroring beads of anecdote and hilarity. We’d also
Like to think it possible to combat the tediousness of these bourgeois prisons.
We’ll stretch the canvas, prepare the paints and brushes
Willing to take a month or even a year to make ourselves great.
What have you seen?

Baudelaire The voyage ,i loved this I read it after it was mention in the essay Literature + illness  = illness

Well this book is another hangover from Spanish lit month ,I have reviewed five of Bolano’s books before on the blog ,with Trevor over at Mookse and gripes doing a 2666 readalong ,that I am thinking about doing as a reread .I have said much about Bolano over the other post on him .I am slowly reading through his backlist and we are getting to the end of his books coming out in English with just two more it seems to come out .So it’s to insufferable gaucho a collection of Bolano’s short stories and a couple of essays .

Many years ago I had friend Jim , and he was the saddest North American I’ve ever come across .I’ve seen a lot of desperate men .But never one as sad as Jim .Once he went to Peru – supposedly for more than six months ,but it wasn’t long before we saw him again .The Mexican street kids used to  ask him , what’s poetry made of Jim?

Jim a short story of a sad man and poet in mexico

The stories cover a Vietnam vet coming to terms with his life ,Jim the vet in question  is a typical Bolano character ,he has escaped America and is trying to make his way in Mexico city as a poet , but not really getting to far .The we have a tale of an informer called police rat .But for me the story that really hit home was Alvaro Rousselot’s journey ,a tale that sees the title character who is an Argentinian writer having to go to France to find someone who is illegally make films of his books without his permission to find the man Morini that made a film lost voices that is so much like his own book solitude but get lost at times in France and he doesn’t speak French . The two essay in the collection are interesting the first seems to have been a lecture that Bolano gave at some the subject was literature and illness how the two interweave , using the poem which I quote from in the first section as part of the essay illness and French poetry .

What can Sergio Pitol , Fernando Vallejo and Richard Pigla do to counter the avalanche of glamour ? not much .They can write .But writing and literature are worthless if they aren’t accompanied by something imposing than meer survival .Literature ,especially in Latin America , and I suspect in Spain as well ,means success ,by which ,of course ,I mean social success :massive print runs :translation into more than thirty languages

The trouble of finding  identity and breaking out in Latin American literature .

I read this about two months ago and was a bit humdrum about it but since then I have thought about bits of the stories in this collection and rather like a wine ,this book tastes better with time away from it .The collection has lots of parts of Bolano as a writer that I like his poets on the edge with Jim .In police rats the story is formed from out of a sister of one of the characters in a Kafka story .Then the essays are a nice little taster too his non fiction writing ,I have his huge collection Between parentheses ,which over time I have been dipping in and out of .The second essay is a quick look by him at Spanish and Latin american  lit at the time it was written and is an interesting look as some of the writers he mentions like Pitol are just reaching us in English ,deep vellum are publishing this highly acclaimed Mexican writer .This would serve as a good starter for any one that has read Bolano and maybe want to get little nibbles of him as a whole as the stories cover the range of his writing from mexico ,to magined writers and non fiction ,not filling to me as a huge fan but it gives you a real feel of him as a writer .

Have you read Bolano ?

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