Wildlife and Weekend reads

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A busy day at work saw me going round a local wildlife park with people I support so for this world lit blogger I saw animals from many of the places I have blogged about over the years here you could stroke the  wallabies .It was nice for people I look after to see animals so close up .There was many chance to get so close to all the animals at Yorkshire wildlife park it was lovely to see the people I look after so happy to see them .So now Im home and thankful for a Weekend off here are my weekend reading choices .

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Two books from writers I have read before I have the first two books of what is a loose trilogy by Andrej Nikolaidis under review on the blog and of course the first book bt Mathias Enard The zone we brought into this year’s shadow iffp so the next book street of thieves is one I’m looking forward too .So what are your plans for the weekend ?

A year on winstons legacy

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Well today sees a year since I lost my dear boy , my beloved hound Winston , hence this blogs name  winstonsdad . I could have change the name over the last year I have change a few things title colour and from today a new tagline but the name is here to stay forever as is this blog I won’t ever stop blogging about books in translation  . I have had a tough twelve months blogging wise but I feel this last two months I have started to get back  into a routine which is something I had lost for about a year .But I feeel that was maybe the six year itch of the blogging world and has passed  .I do post a lot but to me I had let the standard of this blog slip and not been an active blogger even twitter has become quieter place for me . But I am trying to get back to a few years ago .So people still even a year on know who winston was he was a big part of my world in bring you all the world of books .Thanks to all those that helped with the go fund I did as well .It touched me to see so many folks care .

 

Autoportrait by Edouard Levé

Autoportrait by Edouard Levé

French Literature

Original title – Autoportrait

Translator Lorin Stein

Source – personnel copy

Generous of lyric, Jehovah’s Witness
Stands in Cologne Marktplatz
Drums come in
When the drums come in fast
Drums to shock, into brass evil

What have you got in that paper bag?
Is it a dose of Vitamin C?
Ain’t got no time for Western medicine
I am Damo Suzuki

The fuck-up like red acid rain
Give it to me Daki every day
Who is Mr. Karlheinz Stockhausen?
Introduce me
I’m Damo Suzuki

Soundtracks, Soundtracks
Melched together, the lights
The lights above you

I choose The fall as the lyrics from Mark E smith have the same choppy style as Leve and this song one my favourites is an Homage to Damo Suzuki the Can member .

I read Leve other book Suicide a couple of years ago , so last week when I was in Nottingham , I was looking for some books to read in the large waterstones that is there , I found this and two other books from Dalkey archive .Leve started as a painter then became a photographer (he mainly photographed cities Florence , Oxford , New york amoung them . He then moved from art to writing in a book that described 500 made up work of art (This is one I really want to read by him ) He then wrote this and then later Suicide which after he finished this book he killed himself .

I will never know how many books I have read. Raymond Roussel, Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Antonio Tabucchi, André Breton, Oliver Cadiot, Jorge Luis Borges, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Ghérasim Luca, Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, Joe Brainard, Roberto Juarroz, Guy Debord, Fernando Pessoa, Jack Kerouac, La Rouchefoucauld, Baltasar Gracian, Roland Barthes, Walt Whitman, Nathalie Quintane, the Bible, and Bret Easton Ellis all matter to me. I have read less of the Bible than of Marcel Proust. I prefer Nathalie Quintane to Baltasar. Guy Debord matters more to me than Roland Barthes. Roberto Juarroz makes me laugh more than Andy Warhol. Jack Keuroac makes me want to live more than Charles Baudelaire. La Rochefoucauld depresses me less than Bret Easton Ellis. Olivier Cadiot cheers me up more than André Breton. Joe Brainard is less affirmative than Walt Whitman. Raymond Roussel surprises me more than Baltasar Gracian, but Baltasar Gracian makes me more intelligent .

I’ve read some of these writers it shows what he read although he said elsewhere he reread a lot and he  had read four biographies .I feel that was good thing as this is a unique take on a life .

Now this is a book the writer himself called literary cubism .The book as the title suggests is a portrait , one can assume it is Leve himself if not a mix of himself and people he knows .What we get is a stream of short sentences that tells a mans life but in small unconnected parts . So this is a life that is just told in facts and those facts come small , large , past ,present likes and dislikes. BUt also to the facts come some sayings , feelings and quirky ideas all in short shots  . Now the first page mentions Georges Perec’s book and yes this is from the same oeuvre of fiction as it is made up of unconnected parts in a way no narrative just a journey .Gilbert and George see there lives as an art work dress eat listen live the same life . Well this is part of what Leve is doing to me this is closer to art than literature .What we get is as he says a cubist view of a man all angles and bold lines .

I prefer a ruin to a monument
A short quote but this is the other side to the facts is what made Leve tick .

As I say I view this as art in words .An expansion of ideas that first surfaced in Conceptual art as a movement , with artist like Rauschenberg , whom used a telegram as a self  portrait in the early 1960 , this was first of many examples of telegrams being used . Something in this book remind me of the sparse nature of  this writing ,when people had to send telegrams , like the tweets of the days every word matter so facts  became important and the dressing of what we said didn’t matter . This is like a set of telegrams that have been cut to just those sentences then pulled out and stuck together , like William Burroughs used to do when he wrote and later David Bowie .Another way he could write this book is like in the film Finding forrester the main character a writer says one way he starts to write is to just type and get the rhythm of typing and let your mind wander , I get the rhythm of keys being tapped I have that when I am typing my blog posts .I also choose a quote about the writers he like as a guide to what influenced him .

What is your favourite book that maybe is more art than Literature ?

 

The Adventures of the busts of Eva Peron by Carlos Gamerro

 

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The adventures of the busts of Eva Peron by Carlos Gamerro

Argentinean fiction

Original title – La aventura de los bustos de Eva

Translator Ian Barnett

Source – Review copy

Please, holy Eva, will you feed a hungry child?
For I love you–tell Heaven I’m doing my best
I’m praying for you, even though you’re already blessed
Please, mother Eva, will you feed a hungry child?
For I love you–tell Heaven I’m doing my best
I’m praying for you, even though you’re already blessed

CHE
Turn a blind eye, Evita,
Turn a blind eye

I have watched Evita the film once and a book about Eva Peron in a small way maybe need lyrics about her .

Another trip to latin America for spanish lit month ,this time to Argentina . I revisit a writer that I have reviewed twice before on the blog Carlos Gamerro his books Open Secret and The islands  . Like his earlier books this looks again at the past of Argentina and like the other stories it takes a different angle . Carlos Gamerro has written a number of books , he has also translated a number of works into English by writers such as Shakespeare , Auden and Harold Bloom .This is his third book to be translated to English .

Yon know the latest thing they’ve come up with ? They want us to put a bust of Eva Peron in each of our offices .Even in this one !Can you think of anything more absurd ?

Marrone didn’t answer , as he was already mentally totting up the number of busts needed to meet the new demand .eighth floor : the “Vahalla” , the meeting room and two other offices ; seventh floor : nine offices , hallway … The hallways too

The task ma be absurd but Ernesto is up for the task .Like Don Quixote with his absurd tasks .

The book is set in the 1970 the time of the dirty war in Argentina a subject I have touch on before with other books from Argentina I have reviewed on the blog a book like A funny dirty war for example . This as ever being Carlos Gamerro has an angle to it a business magnet has been kidnapped and the people who have kidnapped him have set a task of getting a bust of Eva Peron put in every office of Fausto Tamerlan construction company . Now the man tasked with obtaining the bust is one of Tamerlan underlings Ernesto  Marrone ,here is a man who reads the books on success , books about Don Quixote .In fact to him this is maybe the mission of a knight errand to save the man by getting the maid .This journey takes him through the past to the present from top to bottom of Argentinean society how does a man who is maybe caught in the rat race given the chance to escape and become a hero cope .He has the books but is that all he will need ?

In this very spirit  Cervantes celebrated hero , Don Quixote of La Manche , decides one fine day to turn his back on the meagreness of his material life and the shallowness of the world around him – gutless mediocre folk devoted to traditional ways of doing things , for whom creativity is anathema – and strikes out on the highways in search of adventure .Don Quixote’s gesture encapsulates the adventurous spirit of today’s businessmen

One of the business books that Ernesto likes to read happens to be about Don Quixote using his deeds in the modern business world .

 

There is many echos to me to the great Cervantes and his classic book Don Quixote  in this book, Ernesto like the Don Quixote  likes to read books now given his books aren’t about knight .But the knights of the modern age those business men . We see what in a way would be a good reality show to prove yourself to your boss with the impossible task .Add to that a splatter of history about the time and about the woman herself Eva Peron , her story gets wound up in the story .So  Ernesto is tasked with his modern crusade of getting the busts in place .To the backdrop of the mad seventies in Argentina .

Have you a favourite books about Argentina’s past .

Polaroid by Suso De Toro

 

POLAROID

Polaroid by Suso De Toro

Spanish (Galician) Fiction

Original title – Polaroid

Translator – Jonathan Dunne

Source – review copy

We were strangers.
We were strangers, for way too long, for way too long,
We were strangers, for way too long.
Violent, violent,
Were strangers.

Get weak all the time, may just pass the time,
Me in my own world, and you there beside,
The gaps are enormous, we stare from each side,
We were strangers for way too long.

I remember nothing by Joy division Ian Curtis summed up the world around him ,like Suso De Toro does in this book .

I was contact after a comment on Tony’s post earlier this month for the book the One million crows by Manuel Rivas a writer that I have reviewed myself  twice on the blog . I was contacted by his new publisher who is also his translator Jonathan Dunne who has started a new small press celebrating all Galician fiction , Small Stations is based in Bulgaria ,this is a wonderful example of how fiction in translation in English is becoming a truly Europe wide enterprise .Now Suso De Toro has written over twenty books in Galician , this was his first Adult book and a sensation when it first came out thirty years ago .he is also a journalist and tv scriptwriter he also won the Spanish national literature prize in 2003 for his book Thirteen chimes . I have included this in spanish lit month as i view any lit from spain as well as spanish fiction in the wider sense so also Basque and like this Galician fiction .

In the centre of the picture is a plump , white-haired old woman dressed in mourning , with a colourful shawl around her shoulders. She staring at the camera with a mile . In front of her , she is holding the shoulders of a dark , little girl in a pink dress ,who is also smiling at the camera ,

(You have to move , it’s a video!) is a short piece about a woman making a video but not moving .

Now I was sent four books by Small station and this jumped to the top of the list when I read the synopsis as it had a mention of Raymond Carver and he is a writer that in pre blogging days , I enjoyed . So this is a collection of short and I would say flash fiction glimpses of ordinary lives and strange historic figures out of context Cain and Abel in modern days . This is a flash of the underbelly of the Galician world porn models criminals and wives poisoning there blind husbands . I loved the jumping in and out of worlds in this collection .One of my favourite was a short paragraph of a women making a video but just stood staring at the video camera .Talking camera the books is splattered with actual polarioids that range from the boring to the gory to glimpses of lives .

A blind man with blond hair and dark glasses sits at a table on the pavement in front of a cafe , holding lottery tickets in one hand and a a white stick in the other , with his head and foot marking the rhythm of a song on the cassette player he has on the table .From time to time the waiter , an overweight , swarthy man with sideburns and a white jacket , appears in the doorway of the cafe and watches the world go by with a bored expression .

A blind man but is he the same man blind man in a later story ?

Now there writer himself described this as inspired by punk . To me I was reminded of those post punk bands in fact at times there is a scene in the film Control where they are recording their debut album with Martin Hanett and he says to the drummer play the drums slower but faster ,this is short fiction that is shorter but longer in that case . He isn’t being clever no this is three chords and the truth in writing  . As for the carver yes it is easy to compare them they both use sparse words but with a full punch behind them .This would been huge thirty years ago at the height of Carvers fame and with the punky feel of the book .

Have you read many books from Galicia  ?

Women in translation Month a sneak peek at what I’m doing

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Now here is the first pic of five books that have already been read ready for Women in translation month . This selection includes the much talked about The vegetarian bu HanKang , a trio of interlinking stories from Korea . Then we get two new to english writers from France Emilie de Turckheim book Heloise is bald , about a girl growing up in love with the doctor that was at her birth .Then there is  by Helle Helle book this should be written in the present tense follows a student falling of the rails in great detail .The we have the second book by Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen a story of two lives during world war two . Then there is Lenora a sort of bridge between my Spanish lit month and next months Women in translation by Meytal from Biblibio  as it is a spanish translation the story of Lenora Carrington the English surrealist painter that lived in Mexico by Elena Poniatowska . So they are in the pipeline read and ready to go next month . I now have a few possible books no firm plans yet but as I am in a purple patch of reading an blogging I can’t see why I cannot read another five books next month .

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A selection of woman writers from my shelves some of these and maybe a few others will be joining the first five books two writers I want to add are Faiza Guene one brightest french talents and also Maguerite Yourcenar one best women writers in French in the 20th century . I also have not pictured a second book by Clarice lispector that Amanda brought me . As I looked today through my shelves I was surprised how many books by woman in translation I had (There is at least another 20 plus books on my shelves ) .I felt I didn’t take the first women in translation to serious as for me it is a case of  subdividing a topic of more books in English in translation to a smaller topic of women in translation to my mind getting more books translated will lead to more female writers being translated as we only translate 4% of the total books published we maybe need get the figure up as a whole . But this year I want to join in more as they are all books in translation and that is all this blog is doing these days .I look forward to seeing what others review this month , what have you in mind ?

 

 

Sheffield in the summer some translated books as well

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A chance swapping of shifts at work this week meant Amanda and I had the day off together today , so we had planned initially to just go to Chesterfield but a nice warm day yesterday , we decided to have a Sheffield day , so we sat just after we arrived and had a coffee near the peace gardens in the centre of the city ,by city hall .I also decided as we drank our coffee to treat myself to new books today , we usually pop to my favourite second-hand book shop in Sheffield but no we went to waterstones .

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well I brought three books at waterstones , in fact today I went for three books by writers I have read firstly is a third book by Hungarian writer LaszloKrasznahorkai his second book to be translated into English War and war as I said when I reviewed Seibo there below earlier this year I intend to read the other books translated into English .The book follows Korin as he travels to new york but also reads an ancient manuscript he discovered in an Hungarian archive .Next up is Eduardo Mendoza his book no word for Gurb , I love forward planning ,this is for next spanish lit month , I have his book an Englishman in Madrid I’ll be reviewing this spanish lit month but found this story as described on the cover a real contrast to that book all about an alien Gurb that becomes Madonna and disappears on to the streets of Barcelona .Last from water stones but first of two books for German lit month is Gunter Grass The Flounder a retelling of the classic fairy tale the fisherman and his wife , it took Grass five years and three rewrites to complete this 500 page novel .The from the discount book store the works , which I check ever so often as it occasionally has a translated gem in turn up trumps with thee second novel from Charlotte Roche of wetlands fame , wrecked seems in similar vein . This a family story with a dark history behind it a shocking second German novel and a bargain for 1 pound in hardback .Then we had lunch Amanda didn’t want any of my sushi . as we sat in the peace garden near the water  fountain and watched the kids play in it .

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Then I visited HMV and saw first on dvd tv series box set and then a great film I liked when I watched it a few years ago on tv that I decide to buy .

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The tv series was the two series boxset of Twin Peaks , which I had watched last year when it was rerun on uk tv , but as then I had forgotten a number of characters and story threads in the second longer series , I decide as it was cheaper than online to buy it today to watch again as the third series is due in 2016/7 whoop whoop , this open the door for great tv series and it is wonderful to see David Lynch being let loose on tv again .The film I brought is a film from Argentina BomBon el perro a road trip of a down at his luck mechanic and his big white dog he has ended up with as his companion on this road trip .

What’s best to drink with that summer reading ?

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So it’s summer again and what do you drink with your books in the summer , the first picture is a cocktail Amanda and I had last summer my Mojoito is maybe a perfect summer drink . I love short Novellas , like I said in yesterdays post for The red collar that was a perfect summer book for me that books is one between 120 and 180 pages in length not too deep and not too light (I’m not a beach read fan ) .So for you in those sunny evenings is it a Cocktail , beer , wine or just spirts you have next to the pile of books you are reading ? What books are you drawn to in the summer ?

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The red collar by Jean-Christophe Rufin

The Red collar by Jean-Christophe Rufin

French fiction

Original title – Le Collier rouge

Translator – Adriana Hunter

Source – review copy

John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mama sure was proud of him
He stood so straight and tall in his uniform and all
His mama’s face broke out into a grin

“Oh, son, you look so fine, I’m glad you’re a son of mine
Make me proud to know you own a gun
Do what the captain says, lot of medals you will get
We’ll put them on the wall when you get home”

That old train pulled out, John’s ma began to shout
Tellin’ ev’ryone in the neighborhood
“That’s my son that’s about to go, he’s a soldier now, you know”
She made well sure her neighbors understood

John brown is about the aftermath and outfall of war by Bob Dylan

Well today is Bastille day , so a perfect day for French novel and this is the most recent I have been sent , I may remind you there are  59 books from france under review on the blog ., Jean-Christophe Rufin is one of the founders of doctors without borders and a former ambassador of France to Senegal , he also won the Priz Goncourt for a debut novel in 1997 , he has also won the main prize in 2001 , and has since then he has written over ten books .He is also the second youngest member of the French academy .This book won the Prix Maurice -Genovoix a yearly French  book prize .

At one o’clock in the afternoon , with the crushing heat over the town , the dog’s howling was unbearable , The animal had ben there on the place for two days it had barked . It was a big brown , short-haired dog with no collar and a torn ear .

The opening lines as the dog barks all day long .

This book is about a dog and three people , the story is set in the aftermath of world war one .A small town of Berry has a dog that is barking all day and night long during this hot summer .A war hero Jacques Morlac is awaiting a trial as a deserter and  the arrival of the second person in this story a judge , but this judge has had his worldview scared by the war and what he saw during . The third person is a young woman Valentina she is related too Jacques .We discover how all three faired during the war and what the dog that is barking has to do with them all .Why does the dog wearing a red collar “ribbon” . What did the dog do during the war and how did he connect these three souls .

After the armistice , Lantier saw his appointment to the military justice system as serendipity .The relevant committees must have felt he was ripe for this difficult responsibility : protecting the military institution , defending the interests of the nation and understanding mens failings .

But this prisoner was different .He belonged to both camps ; he was a hero , he had defended his country , yet at the same time loathed it .

Lantier the judge to decide on what to do with Jacques .A job that brings back his own life during the war .

I loved this short book it is one of those perfect for a summer evening reads .IT is about war , being human under pressure also the loyalty of a dog to the ones they love .I was reminded of the book by Dan Rhodes Timolean vieta come home ,which like this the dog is a dumb  witness to various peoples lives .in the way mention and seen but never do we know the dogs view of all this .Its a simple story of three people and the damage that war can do . From the fallen hero , to the man damage because of what he saw and the damage of being behind the lines during the war .I was also reminded of a book like A month in the country , this book has a similar feel of damaged souls after the horrors of world war one .This is a post war story of the out falling of war , in particular the war to end all wars .

Do you have a favourite book from france ?

Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp

 

Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp

Dutch fiction

Original title – Ventoux

Translator – Paul Vincent

Source – review copy

 

L’enfer du Nord: Paris – Roubaix
La Cote d’Azur et Saint Tropez
Les Alpes et les Pyrennees
Derniere etape Champs-Elysees
Galibier et Tourmalet
En danseuse jusqu’au sommet
Pedaler en grand braquet
Sprint final a l’arrivee
Crevaison sur les paves
Le velo vite repare
Le peloton est regroupe
Camarades et amitie

 

Well what is a better choice than kraftwerks Tour de France , this band like the writer of this book are huge cycling fans .

Now Bert Wagendorp is a journalist that has worked on a number of cycling magazines and reported on cycling . He has also been the London Correspondent for the Dutch newspaper “De Volksrant ” .This book sold over a 100000 copies in Holland .The book has been made into a film in holland .Now today seems the best day for this book , I have saved it til the Tour de france was on and tomorrow the Tour starts to head uphill so to speak as the first mountain stages of this years tour . All this for the non cycling fans among you is the title of this book is among the most famous finishes for a stage in the Tour de France Miont Ventoux is a bare piece of rock with a road that goes up it .

In 1970 Eddy Merckx won his second tour de france . I was six , watching TV with my father  , and saw Merckx , the cycling marvel . “The cannibal ,” said my father . “So young and already so good . He’s going to sweep the board .No one can compete with him .

bart remember his first tour with one of its great champions winning it .

Ventoux follows two journeys up Mont Ventoux the first by six friends Five boys and a single girl in the summer of 1982 . This is the time of the great Dutch cyclist Joop Zoetemelk , the man who always seem to finish second in the tour . So as the six friends start by setting up camp then three of them set off up the huge mountain . But as they start to descend the mountain one of the three men a young poet and the most handsome of the group falls off the road and dies in an accident .Now thirty later Bart a man whose marriage has fallen apart , with his teen daughter has gathered the group of friends together to once again try to cycle the mountain but mainly to finally grasp what happened in the summer of 1982 . Laura the girl they were all in love with , David who Bart kept in touch with as the plans the trip , he starts to track the other two friends  down .The book is about how friendships can split and what happens if that summer like the one in 1982 , when you are on the verge of becoming men goes wrong where does that lead onto . One friend is on drugs charges .

Peter had something serene about him .He did not seem to belong in a floating brothel , which come to that applied to his father and mother too . They were more like an extravagant gallery-owning couple ,specialising in Russian art

Peter the poet and most attractive in the group had a history behind him .

Cycling is a metaphor in this book the climb is like that climb to adulthood , but there is a lot of mention of Raleigh and that team at this time was one of the dominate force of cycling and a Dutch review of this book shows me that the team had one 9 of 11 team time trials over this time in the tour .Like a team trial where the team does best with all the riders the loss of peter lead this team to crack and loose themselves to now find themselves together again a little larger and with a lot more baggage than first time . It’s a book about lost friends and lost friendships .A book for all those summers we had camping and luckily none of this happened to me . I loved the references to cycling and music at the time . This was just the time I first maybe knew of the tour Joop and his era were huge names . The dutch are great fans with the famous orange corner on the other grand old climb of the Tour Alp’d’Huez .

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