winstons post – the event of the decade

Rarely do I get really excited about a book and a writer but this book and its writer deserve to be shouted about ,this is the latest book from the hungarian writer Peter Nadas ,it took him 18 years to write the three volumes that make up parallel stories and it has taken the translator Imre Goldstein 5 years to bring the book to english .It is 1152 pages long so is one of the longest books in translation .The book covers post war eastern europe from end of war the Budapest uprising in 1956 to the fall of the berlin war .I think this book is probably going be the best insight into living behind the iron curtain in fiction .Its told through a number of characters from Germany , Hungary,with its main focus on two families one German ,one Hungarian there is a in-depth interview with him about the book here .The book is due out in November I will be reviewing it then over three days as three books that make the complete book .I feel this is a strong contender for the 2012 Independent foreign fiction prize as a book of this scale rarely comes round .  I think it’ll take a month for me to  get through the book .

What do you think ? 

The manual of darkness by Enrique De Heriz

The manual of darkness by Enrique De Heriz

Translator – Frank Wynne

Spanish Fiction

Enrique De Heriz is from Barcelona ,this is second novel in TO be translated to English ,a best seller in his native spain when it came out .He is also well-known as a Translator of books from english into spanish .

The manual of darkness at it heart is the story of Victor Losa we follow him over the period of a year at the start of the book he is a well-known Magician who has just been named the worlds best magician ,just as this happens he is struck down with blindness a huge moon like white spot in his vision ,the early part of the book deals with his initial reaction to this and also we have two other narratives one about his father who was a bit odd a scientist that loved keeping ants  nd seeing how they live .The other narrative is Victor tracking the history of a Victorian pickpocket called Peter grouse he finds this out via his mentor Mario Galvan they also discuss a myriad of other subjects .As the book unfolds , we see that the chance tha Victors sight is going to return is very slight ,so he seeks to help via a helper from ONCE ( the spanish equivalent of the RNIB in the uk )   Alicia helps Victor learns about how to cope in a unsighted world ,in the latter parts they are vignettes of famous blind people as we see how they coped with there sight loss .In the end victor starts to come to terms with his new life .

such a small degree of hope is like a minuscule balcony in a poor man’s home .Perhaps it looks out towards the bleak north ,perhaps it is not large enough even for one miserable chair and perhaps ,over time serves only to house three empty flowerpots that upon a time contained something living .It extends the space of the apartment only in the mind of those who live there .This is its meagre function ,and even if it succeeds in this it is a miracle ,Victor spends little time nurturing this vain 0.2 per cent of hope ,and whole days mony of them ,regretting that it will not come to pass .

Victor had been told he had 0.2 per cent chance of full vision

Where do I start with this book ,well at his heart is Victor he is a man who has gone from the top to the bottom of the world  in a second as he lost his sight ,but he copes in a way as he learns new things as he once spent a lot of time learning new tricks ,also a link back to when his father told him ants are deaf  he links this own blindness also an either or situation of which is worse condition .The book does what a lot of modern Spanish fiction does and that is make you think beyond the story into your own life and those around you .I suppose the nearest comparison would be the works of Carlos Ruiz Zafon  like his books this is a book that has many different levels to it .As ever Franks translation is well executed .

Deutscher buchpreis longlist is out

The german longlist for the Deutscher buchpreis has been announced ,the german version of the books of the longlist see it here in full only few on names are familar to me ,but my german friend on twitter recomends this one by Klaus Modick -sunshine ,a man in california learns of Brechts death a man he knew in a love hate relationship .

August 2011


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