Spanish teeth for sale quote for sunday

Mariner reading on pink background - Yiannis Tsaroychis

Teeth and books seem an odd pairing but my current Spanish lit month read is about Teeth and selling Teeeth the latest work by  Valeria Luiselli the story of teeth . So here is a Quote I enjoyed .


Our penulitimate lot , ladies and gentlemen , exludes an air of mystical melancholy . The tooth itself is crocodilian , but its aura is almost angelic . Note the curve , it os like a wing in ascent . It’s owner , Mr. Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges , was a man of average height . His short , thin legs supported a torso , which was at once solid and svelte .His head was the size of a small coconut , and his slender , flexiable neck . He was a pantheit . His eyes used to flit from side to side , useless , impenetrable to sunlight but ready to receive the light of beautiful , good ideas . He spoke slowy , as if searching for adjectives in the darkness . How much will you bid ?

How much would you pay for Borges tooth ?


My ten favourite films

Now I love the Criteron collection and it’s website that has ten favourite films by various actors directors , writers and celebs (so far no one famous for being famous thank god ) . So I decide to do a weekend rundown post of my ten favourite films after a few days thinking about it I came up with my list .

1. Wings of desire dir Wim Wenders  –

Well I mention Wender a lot in my post this film was my first intro to him seeing it when it first came out in the UK mainly due to the Nick Cave connection at the time , this hymn to Berlin shot in sepia Black and White capture west berlin just before the wall fell  .It is the story of two angels observing the city from an old man reflect on the cities past glory , a little girl and a woman left behind by the circus that one of the angels falls in love with .

2. Alphaville Dir – Jean- Luc Goddard

French sci-fi classic a detective is sent out to a city to find a missing person , along side that the city is run by a tyrant that that he needs to find and free the city from , This movie also in black and white is a touchstone for some great films to follow and my favourite Goddard film .Its a mix of french chic meets american noir the main character could have walk off a classic  american crime novel .

3.The English patient dir Anthony Minghella

An injured Airman ? well is he English , we see a story of a love affair in the days before world war two and the injured man true story is seen as we see what is hiddden in his book the picture paintings of the better days before he was injured in a terrible plane crash  . Beautifully shot from one of my all time favourite books . So sad Minghella died a few years ago he made some great films and before that some great tv shows. This is one best film adaptations .

4.Stand by me dir Rob Reiner

Four boys of to see a dead body , along the way they learn more about each other and the world around them . Rob Reiner has a retro take on a fifties america small town and when a boy disappearing was still news .This was one of the first dvd I brought and has been the most watched over that time .All from the master of horror Stephen King

5.Amelie dir Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Kooky french girl , looks for a mysterious man that she has found photos of whilst connect a man with his youth saving  her father by gnomenapping his garden gnome . quirky , funny and most of all uplifting on a gloomy day this film makes you look at the world a fresh .

6.The life aquatic with Steve Zissou dir Wes Anderson

well any film by Anderson , but this is my favourite , father and son bonding as he completes a moby dick like hunt for a mythical shark for the latest in his aquatic film series . Add to that Bill Murray in brilliant form , hip addidas trainers (I want some Zissou’s ,when I can afford them ) and Bowie sung in Brazilian .

7.Control dir Anton Corbjin

This film ticks so many boxes for me , its set in a big part in the part of the world I grew up in Cheshire and Manchester . It is about one of my favourite bands Joy division and lastly it is direct by the great pop photographer of the new wave era .This film also introduced a great new star in Sam Riley

8. Anne Hall dir Woody Allen

What can I say , man remember failed love affair .Allen in his best years as a director and actor . I love most of his films and he recently has returned to form after a number of weaker films early in the 2000’s .

9 .The third man dir Carol Reed

Orson Welles as a charismatic con man in post war Vienna selling items on the black market bu has he gone to far this time ? Is he even alive as he has supposedly died but who saw the body .  Great tension from the novel by Graham Greene .

10. Citzen kane dir Orson welles

A news man tries to find out the story behind the citizen Khan , the dead owner of a huge fortune from his humble beginnings to running a paper . Wonderful clever shots made this film an instant classic and heralded a new star that maybe  never matched the brilliance of this film . Orson Welles a larger than life man who once touched brilliance directing this film .

Please what are your top ten films ?

Pickwick and Pickwick Doubling the reads

death and Mr Pickwick

I fetched this book from the library the other day , I had wanted to wait till I could buy it but saw it in the Library and just couldn’t wait .Death and Mr Pickwick is a historic novel  about the writing of Charles Dickens novel and the characters around the book that inspired Dickens or Boz  and the guy Robert Seymour that did the illustrations for the original books . He later killed himself  . So I am preparing to dive into both this and the original book that was the starting point for the book , this and Stephen Jarvis finding out about Robert Seymour’s life and using him as one of four main characters in this epic book Death and mr Pickwick is 800 pages long  .I will also  be reading my step grandfather edition of The Pickwick papers , which is the same edition I read many years ago on a holiday at my dads in my teens . So in twenty-five years , will the book seem different .I think over that quarter of a century it maybe has fallen down the ranks of Dickens novels maybe as it hasn’t had a new tv or film version since 1985 , which I watch at the time which made me read the book at the time  , this version appears to be online and the 1952 film as well on you tube both worth watching .The best film is the 1952 one , in which the main character is well portrayed by James Hayter , this film also lead to the book being a huge hit in Russia at the time , as the film was the first british film to be shown in Russia after world war two . So at end of this month it will be all Pickwick here as I try to read both books .

Have you read either book ? I will be bringing review of both at some point next month !

the pickwick papers

Marks of Identity by Juan Goytisolo


Marks of Identity by Juan Goytisolo

Spanish fiction

Original title – Sensa de Identitad

Translator – Gregory Rabassa

Source – personnel copy


“Paper Planes”

I fly like paper, get high like planes
If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name
If you come around here, I make ’em all day
I get one down in a second if you wait

Sometimes I think sitting on trains
Every stop I get to I’m clocking that game
Everyone’s a winner, we’re making our fame
Bona fide hustler making my name

All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!)
And take your money

Paper planes by Mia a song about escaping and becoming and Exile was perfect choice for this book .

Well on to book three for spanish lit month and I feel its time to throw a classic into the mix and the second book on this blog by Juan Goytisolo .He is often mentioned as a future Nobel winner , even thou he is quite controversal figure in Spain  as a writer .This is the first in a trilogy of books about exile , Spain and being  Spanish , the other two books Count Julian and Juan the landless I think will be review in the next two Spanish lit months next year and the year after . He is married to Proust cousin and lives in Marrakech , both his siblings are writers as well .

Established in Paris comfortably established in Paris more years of residence in France than in Spain with more french habits than Spanish ones including even the classic on of living with the daughter of a well-known exile a regular resident of the Ville Lumiere  and episodic visitor to his homeland in order to bear parisan witness to aspects of Spanish life …

The opening lines a man who is more French now than Spanish , but Spanish in his heart

Marks of Identity is the story of Alvaro Mendiola . The basic story is he is return in the early 1960’s after spending the years following the Spanish civil war in Exile in France , switzerland and round europe with his wife . He returns to see the world he left behind change , this is the start of the package holiday era and Alvaro see a changed landscape . In which he remembers his past the childhood year before the civil war , his student days what made him and what became his identity is in the roots of his youth .Add to this a number of piece about the history of the time .

While you were passing through the residential and aristocratic section – “modern” or Gaudi mausoleums; the hybrid cross between tomb and a summerhouse – you cast your eyes around for the tomb of the Mendiolas – an exact and prim copy , you remembered , of the pretentious Dumo of Milan .

Alvaro remember in his present , the  places he saw in exile (also it mentions Gaudi as I referenced his build in my review )

Well it all sounds straight forward doesn’t it . But no this  novel is maybe is like that great Spanish church Sagrada familia in Barcelona in fact the city Alvaro is returning to , this book is a mix of styles and even the narrative isn’t straight but more a mosaic of a man’s life-like those great mosaics in the Sagrada . Alvaro’s story has been broken up and is feed to us piece by piece as we build a picture of this man’s life and youth those young years that make the man  and why he choose exile  rather than staying .This is a book about place and the deeper questions that brings to us  , why are we here , where do we belong ? what is our home ? and does time change how we feel about our homeland ? Given that Juan Goytisolo himself has spent most of his life in exile from Spain in Paris , which is the main place Alvaro spends his exile .

Have you a favourite book about exiles ?


Uppsala woods by Alvaro Coloomer


Uppsala woods by Alvaro Colomer

Spanish fiction

Original title – Los bosques de Upsala

Translator – Jonathan Dunne

Source – review copy

I never realised the lengths I’d have to go,
All the darkest corners of a sense I didn’t know.
Just for one moment, I heard somebody call,
Looked beyond the day in hand, there’s nothing there at all.

Now that I’ve realised how it’s all gone wrong,
Gotta find some therapy, this treatment takes too long.
Deep in the heart of where sympathy held sway,
Gotta find my destiny, before it gets too late.

I chosen the last two verses of 24 by Joy Division as they maybe reflect Ian curtis mind for those of you that don’t know he commit suicide shortly after record the bands second album.


Now my second book for this years Spanish lit month is from a Spanish based publisher Hispabooks  whos motto is a great one for Spanish lit month I feel Spanish literature for worldwide readers isn’t this just what this month is about . I have read two books by them and enjoyed them both there is a number on their site to check out .Alvaro Colomer is a journalist reporting on such things as prostitution .this book is the last part of a rough trilogy of urban death . Also according to his spanish wiki page he is a huge Thomas Bernhard fan ( aren’t we all lol ) . This is his first book to be translated into English and I am only a year late in reviewing it .

My wife isn’t hiding under the bed , or behind the shower curtain , or anywhere else in this apartment , but she has left her bag on the coffee table , so te only place she could be is at the neighbour’s house , This old woman who lives in apartment two on the seventh floor .

Julio maybe for the first time glimpse what is to come with Elena here when he arrives home and she isn’t there

Uppsala woods deals with a married couple Julio and Elena . Elena tells her husband she is losing the will to live , she wants to die . This is the story of the days that follow him finding out his wife no long wants to live and how he goes to work every day and pictures coming back to her hanging from the centre of their house which is built-in the shape of the cross . This shows how the Husband tries to stop Elena getting drawn further into the darkness and what do you do when you can’t stop this happening .What happens when he returns on their wedding anniversary and there is no one there it seems ? Why has she suddenly hidden in their closet

All of a sudden three days have gone since my wife sought the confines of the closet . In all this time , we have avoided talking about what happened , letting the television chat in our place and even turning a deaf ear when , on a tabloid talk show , a guest described his grotesque attempt to hang himself using his mother’s pantyhose .

Suicide and mental illness are two of the hardest things to talk about maybe more books like this would make it less of a taboo .

Now I have made this seem doom and gloom , but no this is maybe a spanish cousin to Bernhard Julio is like a Bernhard character in that laconic way of trying to battle his wife’s depression . Julio is a classic Bernhard male in the way he views the world  in terms of black and white .But never quite getting it right he is an entomologist so sees the world maybe to black and white where as Elena is firmly caught in the grey of the world getting drawn ever closer to the Black abyss . I like how he tackled death and Suicide here it is a subject not often touch on in fiction in the right way .As Julio tries to hold on to his wife by holding in safety . Also the allusion to the church in a subtle ways the house being built-in a cross and Elena may die in (or on the cross ) so to speak .Powerful book I hope Hispabook publish the other two books in this trilogy .

Have you a favourite book dealing with mental health ?


Shadow IFFP Bye, Hi “Shadow MANBIP ” the new tranaslation prize


There was an announcement today about a change in two big prizes in the world of translated fiction ,in a way become one the merging of Independent foreign fiction prize with the Man Booker international prize . Sees the prize move forward similar to the current IFFP , with Boyd Tonkin Chairing the new Man book international prize in its first year . A new yearly prize with a much bigger prize in terms of money than either prize had but for a single book not a  body of work like the current IFFP is . I am sad to lose the old version of the man prize which saw the writer listed for a body of work . It is just a shame people never really got this , maybe we could done a shadow for it but that has pasted . Now talikg shadowing I will continue to shadow this prize like I had the old Independent foreign fiction prize over the last four years  . I hope to be more involved in shadowing than this . I think in long run this is a sign of how translated fiction has grown in the last few years . It would be nice for two prize , but for me the renaming and connection to the booker prize if promoted right could be a great turn for PR . The IFFP connection to one english paper maybe lead to less coverage in other papers .I’d love more prize thou this is a step forward and if it works maybe could be a platform for smaller awards like the French book prize  the Goncourt has done over the last few years . Say  a prize for best small published book , best retranslation and maybe one for body of work like a judges prize . So we in the UK get a big prize for translated fiction let’s get behind it and promote it !!! I will be with the first shadow man booker international prize next year .

Good offices by Evelio Rosero the 500th translation review

Good offices BY Evelio Rosero

Good Offices by Eveilo Rosero

Columbian Fiction

Original title – Los Alumerzos

TRanslator – Anne McLean and Anna Milsom

Source – review copy


“The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn”

McCormack and Richard Tauber are singing by the bed
There’s a glass of punch below your feet and an angel at your head
There’s devils on each side of you with bottles in their hands
You need one more drop of poison and you’ll dream of foreign lands

When you pissed yourself in Frankfurt and got syph down in Cologne
And you heard the rattling death trains as you lay there all alone
Frank Ryan brought you whiskey in a brothel in Madrid
And you decked some fucking blackshirt who was curing all the Yids
At the sick bed of Cuchulainn we’ll kneel and say a prayer
And the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil’s in the chair

This pogues song reminded me of the debauchery in the book .

Well been mulling over what to pick to be the 500th translated title on this blog I passed 500 reviews a while ago . So after a nudge on twitter .I choose a Maclehose press title , a publisher that in a way has been around as long as this blog and strangely was the first that decide to send me copies of their books to review . So as the first title for this Spanish lit month I’ve chosen a former IFFP winning writer .Evelio Rosero is a Columbian writer and Journalist , he has written nine novels so far . I love his motto ” A heart that feels , Eyes that see” so true of every great writer .

Of indefinable age , Father Matamoros – Reverend Father San Jose Matamoros del Palacio – was indeed a rare bird in the parish church , grey and featherless , come from heavens know where . He wore dark clothes and a grey turtleneck sweater instead of a dog collar ; his jacket looked borrowed , it was too big for him : his round toed school shoes , almost black , were scuffed and the soles were gone , the laces white ; he wore square glasses , one lens cracked down the middle , one arm mended with a dirty strip of sticking plaster .

Would you trust this man ?

Good Offices is a story of two worlds and the institution that connects them in Columbia . The story follows two events the first is the meal. That a Father Almida is going to with a rich benefactor to his church . His church is one that deals with the street folk of the city .Now back at his church , he has given the service to an old drunken Vicar Father Matamoros to run things at his church  a church with a rota of visitors street folks , prostitutes and the blind each have their day in the week . Now things back at the church descend into a drunken feast as the events going on are observed by the hunchback Tancredo as he joins Matamoros in the drunken party to end all parties .All this is being viewed  The Lillas are the old women and had prepared the meal for him but didn’t see what was coming .

Father San Jose’s mass was no ordinary Mass .

To the surprise and delight of the congregation that evening , it turned out to be a sung mass . Who could have imagined that father Matamoros beside bringing his own water to the altar, would turn out to be a perfect cantor

Well the night is young  here !

I reread this book in a day after not getting to review it when it came out a couple of  years ago .I enjoyed it at the time but in this reread I really got the humour the satire side of the book , a descent into madness .I love the contrast between the drunk goings on and the posh meal . Also the way it shows the two worlds in this country the wealth and the poverty .Mamatmoros is like a Latin american extra from father Ted a drunken Latin American Father Jack , but this also has echos of Graham Greene in a way that it exposes the catholic church and the way it runs in the church .The original title maybe suit the book dinners as it is a book about contrasts in the way it unfolds the two dinners in two worlds that maybe have this one connection the church .I enjoyed this if I get chance I will be reviewing his latest book later this month on the blog .

Have you a favourite novel that involves the church ?

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