Dream story by Arthur schnitzler

Schnitzler lived in turn of the century Austria He was good friends with Freud and was also a doctor like his friend he is probably best known for his play la ronde that caused a storm of controversy in its day and wasn’t performed to after he did .The book is a slim Novella just under a 100 pages long ,it follows a married couple in vienna over two days .The couple Albertine and Fridoline ,the story start when Albertine admits to her Husband an attraction to a young solider on the couples previous years holiday ,this leads to a swapping of sexual fantasy and a wanting to carry them out ,so over the space of two-day the couple experience the seedier side of vienna’s nightlife and the man y fetishes and kinks they can experience because of the time .This isn’t as good as they thought .

Albertine was the first to find the courage  to make a frank confession ;and with a trembling voice she asked Fridolin  if he remembered a young man the previous summer on the Danish coast who had been sitting with two officers at the table next to them on evening ,and who had promptly on receiving a telegram during the meal ,had promptly taken a hast leave of his two friends .

fridolean nodded ,what about him ? he asked .#

Albertine confesses to fridolean.

As you’d expect for a friend of Freud and a writer in the time of Viennese decadence this book is full on at times maybe not as shocking as in its day it can still open your eyes and holds a glass up toi a free society before the rise of hitler and post first world war ,the book was adapted in to a film by Stanley Kubrick ,a bit like the peirne books it took just over an evening to read and was clearly written and nicely translated by J M Q Davis ,the book maybe highlights the danger of indulging too much in your fantasy ,also how marriages work .

winstons score –

manga rabbit they are like rabbit in one way and fantasy like manga in another way .

man booker 2010 longlist my feelings

To be truthful I m reading less and less modern british fiction these days so my thumb is a bit of the pulse but have a few ideas and here they are have read a couple and have a couple on tbr pile .so here are my views  on who may be on the longlist tomorrow .Well see what Andrew Motion and his fellow judges pick

Iain McEwan – Solar  .

David Mitchell  -The thousand autumns of Jacob DE Zoet

Peter Carey – Parrot and Olivier in America

Christoph Tsiolkas  – the slap

Peter Temple – truth

Andrea Levy – long song

Mike Thomas – pocket notebook

Damon Galgut – In a strange room

Mick Jackson – widows tales

Martin Amis – the pregnant widow

Jaspreet Singh – chef

Neel Mukherjee – A life apart

Tom McCarthy – c

Jon McGregor – Even the dogs

Johanna Moran – the wives of Henry Oakes

Jonathan Coe -the terrible privacy of Maxwell sim

There they are I ve read 2 and have the three in my t.b.r pile ,

there are other choices here at

farmlane books

savidge reads

lizzy’s literary life

Don Quioxte -week 1 sonnets ,books ,riding ,a inn and a large farm

So we ‘re under way and the journey begins  the first 92 pages cover a lot of ground a brief intro ,some wonderful sonnets about the hero and knights in general ,then we finally meet Don his book laden house book about knights .Then he sets forth and rides and ends up at an inn .Wants to be made a knight by the innkeeper ,who refuses but relents in the end ,back home people worried but to no avail he enlists his neighbour sancho Panza a farmer to be his squire .the meet some people already on the road to the adventures .

Well so far ,so good we got a feel of Don Quixote a sort of 16th century billy liar ,the book reads as thou it was written yesterday ,the footnotes enlighten the text so much ,and things like explaining the meaning of blanco is dual so both used in translation .The mean of Panza is belly or paunch thus leading to the image in my mind .

Also Rachel of catalan cooking is hopefully going to give us some great recipes from spain at the time of Don Quixote




Stone in a landslide by Maria Barbal

This is Peirene no 2 and considered a catalan classic ,Maria Barbal is a teacher at secondary school ,she grew up in the Pallars region of spain stones in a landslide was her debut novel and the first to be translated into english by Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell .She has since published numerous novel and plays,she is a member of the catalan writer association .

The book centers on the life of Conxa ,she live in the Pyrenees in a small village and  the book starts as she is on a journey from her village to another to work for an aunt .Her amazement is a the differences for her home village to this new village even thou the distance is very short .

They liked everything ; the chorizo and the black pudding ,the cuts of ham .They liked the bacon .Its much tastier than the stuff down their ,they would say .I enjoyed seeing how they kept helping themselves to more and the way they used there knives .

early on in new village .

Now Conxa live is hard and not much hope but then suddenly she has a glimmer a young Beau appears in the shape of Jaume a nice young man ,but this is the 30’s in spain and wart is looming even thou where Conxa lives it seems very distant Jaume thou decides to fight against Franco and goes to war thus changing Conxa’s life for ever .

Jaume wasn’t around much those days .He had been made a justice of the peace and said that now was the time to bring water to Sarri de Dalt .He had joined the republican left ,which was the party of the Gerneralitat Government .he had explained all this to me .

The war is looming .

The book  sums up a hard life but without ever drifting in to misery ,Conxa is a survivor and just gets on with it .The portrait of village life is great .It remind me of the stories I heard from people when I worked in a day centre in rural Northumberland ,the same tales of differences between villages ,tough living people the same as Conxa’s ,the scenery of pallers area is baron and tough working land and the village life revolves around the seasons ,the place is caught out of time from the modern world ,until the arrival of the war which at first seems very distant but in the ends has a larger impact on people’s lives .The book is a real page turn and wonderfully translated ,this is a prefect rainy afternoon book or one for those long summer train rides .


Spanish mountain goat seems to perfectly sum up Conxa hardy ,stoic , a born survivor

sorry for absence this week

I haven’t blogged much this week ,due to work and my wife being in hospital for 3 days and home yesterday my mind just wasn’t here ,I ll return tomorrow with a review of stones in  the landslide and on monday with first Don Quixote post .

books in pictures -hadrian the seventh


Cornflower books today did a post about starting to read stoner by John Williams and the fact that the picture american gothic pop straight in to her head and wonder if other people could  think of books that have same experience .Well I had a short think and straight away the book and image that came to mind was Frederick Rolfes  Hadrian the seventh and Francis bacon screaming pope series .


Well Bacon used the pope image on numerous painting the picture itself is influence by Velazquez pope innocent X . the image is huge in real life I went to see it when it visited Sheffield a few years ago ,like Rolfe bacon dabble with a lot of religious icons in his painting and also had a very traumatic life ,also the screaming pope relates to Hadrian’s struggle in the book when he becomes the second english pope by sheer chance .

The book –

The book revolves around Hadrian a middling english priest that is elevated to this highest office in the roman catholic church that of pope ,in which he struggles with church beaurcats and sinister characters .I was introduced to this book by my good twitter friend @iamamro Amro Gebreel he is one of the most well read people I know .The book is published in  a lovely edition by New york review of books classics .Rolfe was a strange man the flirt with the priest hood and sometimes called himself baron Corvo .

The reconstructionist by Nick Avrin

Nick Arvin has written two books before the Reconstructionist ,he grew up in Michigan ,studied engineering at university ,also worked in forensic engineering  like the main character in the book .Nick also graduated from Iowa writing workshop .To find out more about nick I d visit his website here .The book focuses on 4 main characters 3 living and one dead there is Ellis Barstow an engineering grad that has drifted back to his home town and fallen into his job with John Boggs where they recreate accidents or more precisely events  ,then there is Bogg.s wife Heather that Ellis is also having an affair with ,and then in the background there is Ellis dead brother Christopher who Ellis doesn’t believe died in a straight forward accident ,and wants to find the truth but his boss and friend Boggs did the report on his accident .

Two boxy American sedans  a Chevy and a Plymouth have a startling appearance : the lie in unnatural postures ,pointed in oblique directions ,damaged in dark inversions ,their black guts exposed ,their glossy surfaces crushed and twisted and torn .

as a nine Ellis year old  caught his first accident .


As the book unfolds it becomes like a car crash ,as they investigate each crash the story unfurls a little more ,Nick Arvin has  written the guy’s job really well not too technical as too bore the reader but enough to keep you fascinated in this interesting job ,along the way Ellis get more clues and insights in the crash that took his half-brother Christopher whilst growing closer to Heather all the time .He and Boggs are great friends but there is always an unspoken tension in that friendship .The novel has been sold to Fox tv as a drama series ,which I can see it being great for the accidents all have their own little story attached to them and then there is the main storyline I for one will eagerly be awaiting this as a series it has the potential to be great .


I ve always loved watching chimps like them this book is visual and social as you see the realtionships of the charcaters inter play with one another .

the book is published by Hutchinson

winstons post and under starts orders

The first 2 from Winstons post are –

Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher

This won the first man booker arabic fiction prize ,a mesmerising tale of love ,power and conflict set in 19th century Egypt says the cove ,Taher is ahighly respected writer in his own country ,the book is translated by Humphrey Davies .

The life of an unkown man by Andrei Makine

Makine is considered on of the greatest living writers ,he is a russian born frenchman who lives in paris this is his latest novel .It follos a writer in russia dishearten by modern russia meets a old man and hears his tale of life in russia since the secoond world war ,This is due out in october .and as with all Makine’s books is translated by Geoffrey Strachan .

The other Thing that arrived this week was the poetry collection I won via nonsuch books .This is a collection of  6 volumes ,that were all first published by Faber .the books are beautifully made with great covers and lovely endpapers in each edition .Here is fabers page about them ,many thanks Frances from Nonsuch and Gemma at faber who sent them .


This week means the start of windmills of the mind ,here is my Don Quixote and notebook ready .

Burma boy by Biyi Bandele

Biyi Bandele is a Nigerian born writer who currently lives in London a playwriter as well he adapted things fall apart for the stage and is considered one of the leading voices of post colonial writing ,he has written a number of novels since the early nineties including the street ,this was his latest published in 2007 by Jonathan Cape .

The book revolves around the story of  farabiti a young thirteen year old lad that joins the army during the second world war and ends up in the jungles of Burma .Where he is involved with the adventurous army commander Wingate a maverick who lead a almost guerlia like war in Burma ,Wingate also appears at the start of the book in a prologue set in Cairo .

This strange man ,dressed in a british army uniform that hung loosely on his shrunken frame ,and wearing a major’s rank was in the grips of a fierce and crippling fever .He shivered under the blistering heat ,his teeth clattering as if he were in the deep chill of an english winter ‘s day .

an introduction to Wingate .

The story reaches a huge battle in a large fortified place called the white city . Against the hard fighting unforgiving Japanese forces .

What Biyi has done is wonderfully brought to life part of his own family history as his father also fought in the second world war in the Burma campaign ,the book brings many different voices from Nigeria as we meet other characters in the unit .The story is reasonably well paced and maybe drags in a couple of places ,but the true beauty is a heartfelt tale of the African experiences in the second world war ,which to a large degree have been overlooked in the past .

This was meant to be part of Amy reads Nigerian challenge last month but I ran out of time to review it in June ,The book’s title in the US is” the Kings rifles” .

Winston’s score –

lion cub fierce and independent like farbiti in the jungles of Burma .

#translationthurs -a twitter day for the world

I like people on twitter to try to suggest a translated book on Thurs every week ,a bit like #fridayreads ,but one day to highlight the latest books out ,old favourites or even a translator you enjoy reading .Hopefully getting everyone to maybe choose one more book to read would be great ! As ever I just want highlight books from around the world for everyone the more we read the more that will get translated ! so this thursday tomorrow please suggest one book for #translationthurs .

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July 2010


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