I Remember by Georges Perec

I Remember by Georges Perec

French Memoir

Original title – Je Me souviens

Translator – Philip Terry (with notes and Intro by David Bellos)

Source – personal copy

When I saw Gallic was bringing this out on the newish imprint Gallic Editions which has classic french lit. I decide I try this and have the JMG Le Le Clezio. I have featured Georges Perec three times on the blog and am working through his lesser-known books I initially reviewed Life a user manual which I reviewed alongside an art show inspired by his work.  Since then, he has featured his lost debut novel and a short novella. This is a collection of Aphorisms originally published as weekly pieces in Les Cashiers du Chemin between 1973 and 1977.

I remember that at the end of the war, my cousin Henri and I marked the advance of the allied armies with little flags bearing the names of the generals commanding the armies or the army corp. I’ve forgotten the names of almost all of these generals (BradleymPatton, Zhukov,etc.)But I remember the name of General De Larminat.

I remember thsat Michel Legrand make his debut under the name of “Big Mike”

I remember that a 400-meter spriotner was caught stealing in the cloakrooms of a sport stadium(and that , to avoid going to prison.He had to sign up for Indochina)

I remember the day Japan capitulated

I remember a piece by Earl Bostic that was called “Flamingo”

Here is a selction of them personal distant memoires and the war ending.

This is a selection of memories there is no real order it is just single aphorisms that all start with the two words I remember from personal insights such as his cousin Henri, A number of post-war memories like the yellow bread that France had immediately after the war, scarves made from Parachute silk. Then cultural references radio shows even crystal radio sets, actress in films, jazz performers. Sport a number of cyclists mentioned. What builds as Perec remembers and that isn’t the big things just no those little things make this an interesting insight into the man I’ve always been a fan of lists of peoples favourite films books etc and things like Desert island disc the little things that make us what we are and here we have lots of little crumbs of Perec’s life and loves. It is an interesting insight the 480 pieces build into a history of him as a person.

I remember that in the jungle book, Bagheera is the panther, Mowgli the boy, and Bandar Log the monkey (But what are the names of the bear and snake!)

I remember that Fausto Coppi had a lady friend called “The Woman in White”

I remember a cheese called “La Vache Serieuse”(“La Vache qui rit” took the manufacturers to court and won).

I remember a Mexican comic actor called Cantinflas(I think he was the one who played Passepartout in Around the world in Eighty days).

I remembrer the swimmer Alex Jany

I remember jaacques Duclos’ pigeons.I remember that Jean-Paul Satre worked on the script of John Huston’s Freud.

I felt a connection here I love cycling and I have read Satres Freud script I have to review it some day soon.

 

This was inspired in part by the American painter Joe Brainard who also wrote a number of a different list like this of aphorisms called I remember. He has a huge fan in Paul Auster and I was reminded of Auster story Augie march which got made in part to the film smoke which he took a picture each day which like this list seems not a lot but when you slowly work through the list it makes a picture of Perec and thee sort of chap he was. I feel it is like a collage of the man especially what he like listening to those old radio talent shows, certain French singers. Another work inspired by this work was Edouard Leve’s Autoportrait another series of Aphorisms that builds a picture of a writer. This is a nice collection of a writer that I for one have found fascinating over the years. Have you read this book?

The end and Again by Dino Bauk

The end and Again by Dino Bauk

Slovenian fiction

Original title -Konec. Znova

Translator – Timothy Pogacar

Source – review copy

I move to another small press and one of my favourite over recent years Istros has been brought us all wonderful titles from the Balkans and here we have a Debut novel from a former lawyer and civil servant Dino Bauk.  He was a columnist and began writing short stories. Before this came out it was his debut novel it won the Best debut novel at the Slovene book fair in 2015. It was also longlisted for another book prize in his homeland. This book is set in the years of the break up in the former Yugoslavia and focus on the members of a band.

“So you must be sister something!”

“I’m Mary ”

“Of course, the virgin Mary, who else?”

He felt that his child like didn’t anger, but amused her. She rewarded him with a changed teasing smile, which fuelled his courage. He rose from his seat to take an equal place amoung the small group and push closer to her as she stood behinf her two brothers and sister. One of the two slich=k assholes tried to guide the conversation, but Denis was communicating with her onl, turning the other three Mormons into uslessappendages, which they themselves understood afters severak stops, and gradually retreated into their own cnersation

Denis meeting Mary with her fellow Mormon when he was younger.

The book has a fragmented nature is made of vignettes of memories and a stream of consciousness style. The story is around the break up of Yugoslavia and the effect on the four members of a band Peter, Goran, Denis, and Mary. The band is rather like the famous Serbian band EKV which at this time huge. Denis is the main character in a way he was one of those that lost his identity in the middle of this story he has no place to live being expelled from his homeland due to a problem with his paperwork. whilst his bandmates remain Slovenian and they get caught up in post band activities and make money and corruption as one becomes a manager and the other works in local government whilst their bandmate is near via the books he read whilst on the front reading books in a roofless library and finding out what is going on in the world via his books. Mary is the one that connects them all a Mormon and friend of them then they were sixteen and in the band. Then in the future she tries to find out what happened to Denis and she had seen the world. It is a story of growing and forming one’s identity and what had been lost to some in that and overs that disappeared at the time.

Recording 4

Denis, peter and Goran laugh out loud, at first genuinely, then as theu og on, it’s more and more forced, like teenagers who wanted to show as many passers by as possible what a good time they;’re having, Peter and Goran walk ahead, handing off a bittle of wine, which they alsooffer Denis. She doesn’t drink at all, and Denis declines a swig as well, probably because of her. They had emptied one in the park, before the evening fell and peter and Goran will clearly finish the second on the to the condcert hall.

They drink but Denis is influneced a bit by Mary into not drinking .

This is a layered book as we see all the four-character go from the starting point of a band at 16 and the way post-war in Slovene. The path of each character reflects on things that happened. From the quick wealth post-war that was available and corruption in the two men that remain Peter and Goran. Denis’s tale is a fragmented one as he has disappeared from the people’s lives but also his lies pf place and identity than being in a library of books and discovering a wider world as he read through from one ward. Then Mary is an outsider looking in one the three boys and their lives it is about what haunts them in that boast the loss of a friend but also they in some cases have lost themselves to the future. It is a small window into the war years and aftermath one four people in Slovenia without giving us a solution to there actions or an end or as the tile say the end and again!  Remember to support or small presses through this madness!

shadow Man booker winner 2019

The official announcement of the winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize has been postponed until later in the summer, to give readers more time to get and read copies of the novels.

But our shadow jury of bloggers and reviewers of translated fiction has already completed our reading and re-reading, so it seems fitting to announce our Shadow Winner on the original date of May 19th.

As a reminder our own shortlist was, in alphabetical order of the original author’s name:

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Farsi – Iran), tr. Anonymous (Europa Editions)
The Other Name: Septology I-II by Jon Fosse (Norwegian – Norway), tr. Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Spanish – Mexico), tr. Sophie Hughes (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese – Japan), tr. Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano (French – France), tr. Sophie Lewis & Jennifer Higgins (Peirene Press)
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Dutch – Netherlands), tr. Michele Hutchison (Faber & Faber)

We were collectively impressed with all of these books, indeed all six had their champions among us.

And three books in particular were so close in our deliberations and our voting that it was almost tempting to go one further than last year’s anglophone Booker judges.  But instead we’ve kept with one winner, but decided to acknowledge two books as Runners-Up.

Runners-Up:
The Other Name: Septology I-II
and
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree

Jon Fosse’s “slow prose”, unfolding his story in one long, flowing stream that reads with great fluidity, took us deep inside his narrator Asle’s mind and thoughts. And we were caught up in the heady mixture of Persian myth, story-telling and magic realism of The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree, a true ode to literature and to the deeply soothing role books and stories play in our survival of trauma.

But the winner of our 2020 Shadow Jury Prize is:
Hurricane Season, written by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes and published by Fitzcarraldo Editions

Comments from some of our judges:

“Hurricane Season is an appropriate title for a novel that roars into the unsuspecting reader’s mind, with its long and winding sentences, and its refusal to flinch from the brutalities of its world.”

“There is anger, pain, and the understanding of the role literature plays when it comes to compassion and empathy.”

“As author M John Harrison said of Melchor’s novel ‘…she had shown me things I needed to be faced with.’ and expanded my understanding of lives so very different from my own.”

“It unflinchingly portrayed a world apart from us and artfully created another layer of distance from subject through the use of mythologized violence. That she both creates distance and ‘makes us look’ simultaneously was incredibly powerful for me.”

“Melchor’s prose, in Hughes’s stunning translation, is raw, brutal and so, so necessary.”

“As readers and intrepid voyagers down Melchor’s Dante-like vision, we are like riveted inmates, incarcerated either by law or by economics or gender, who stand to witness the depravity, despair and pain being inflicted upon this part of the world. The real evidence and reward here is not in unmasking the Witch’s killer or killers or in finding out why this happened, the true recompense of Melchor’s novel is to pay tribute by listening to the dead’s testimony,‘there is no treasure in there, no gold or silver or diamonds or anything more than a searing pain that refuses to go away.’“

And our congratulations extend to the publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions who provided two of our top three, and also now have two Shadow Prize wins in three years.

I would love to thank the fellow shadow Jury People for letting me join them I have dropped behind and have to review our winner but its be great to be involved again in these strange new times of ours.

Now it’s over to the official jury for their decision.

The hour between Dog and Wolf by Silke Scheuermann

The hour between dog and wolf by Silke Scheuermann

German fiction

Original title – Die Stunde zwischen Hund und Wolf.

Translator – Lucy Jones

Source – personal copy

I was reminded when Lizzy mentioned doing a seagull books fortnight as they have made 28 pdf of there books available for free over the last month of lockdown which is so generous. I have been buying their books for the last few years as they publish some great writers from around the world one of the free pdf is this book the debut novel from the German writer Silke Scheuremann. she has won many prizes and has written both short stories and poems in her time this was her first book to be translated into English.

Ines, who of course didn’t notice the blood stain – and why would she, it was very small – came to stand next to me, and we both leant on the balcony railing and looked down at the yard, gazing at the four bins andd the row of attrophied tomato plants in silence for several minutes. After a while, Ines began to rock back and forth, her arms wrapped around her body, her lips violet-blue with cold. Sometimes I said, tow boys from the neighburhood hang around here and play strange games, toturing each other. I paused here, picking up on a small inense sound, which turned out to be Ines chattering teeth. And although out of politness, she would hae probably carried on inpecting this dismal viewfor a good while longer

The two sister early meeting there is a coldness in there rleationship as well as Ines.

Our narrator has returned to her hometown of Frankfurt am Main and to her sister the Painter Ines. The sister has been traveling and living abroad for a number of years so when she returns. She is scared that her normal routine of giving her sister money for this and that that she had done for years and years is stopped. But no within a few days Ines is back and the two sisters go swimming the other sister looks at Ines body her life she was doing well and then fell into the bottle. Then Ines boyfriend  Kai The other sister is attracted to this man as the story unfolds she starts an affair with Kai and then starts to get closer in a strange way to her sister. What happens isn’t shown in any bias to one ofr the other no there is a factual observant eye to Scheuermann writing as the sister rewrite the relationship and the way they interact this is a common story of siblings being attracted to the same man but also the relationship of lending money of being a cash machine to one sister.

I steered Ines into her flay which was smaller than mine and furnished in a completely loveless way. I was surprised how the fuinture stood about like a group of akward acquaintances, a lone chair in the middle of the room. The sofahad been pulled out a few feet from the wall as if someone had lost something behind it and not pshed it back again. Ines flopped down straight away. She mumered something that sounded like, I feel sick. Water I thought, remembering what Kai had said, went intothe kitchen. There found a whole line up of empty bottles- rum,whisky, all sorts I opened the fridge and  stared at a single iluminated lemon I can’t be all there is . I thought and looked into the freezer compartment; and true enough, a bottle of vodka nearly rolled into my arms.

The sister sees how much her sister Ines drinks and maybe her vision of her changes over time!

This book was a hit in Germany when I read the Blurb it is maybe a book that would appeal to the female reader given the sister’s story this isn’t a romantic tryst story a three-way struggle no it is a straightforward story of modern relationships and what happens when you fall for sister boyfriend (which seems to crop up a lot on tv dramas and books ) this isn’t a book of blame and guilt but a story of falling in love modern life and sibling relationships. Add to that Ines drinking problems addiction adds a different dimension and one that her sister wants to help her out of her bottle it isn’t to later in the book you get insight into Ines who initially seems a dreadful character through her sister’s eye which eases over time. A tale of love, sibling rivalries, alcoholism, and failing at life.

MR Palomar by Italo Calvino

MR Palomar by Italo Calvino

Italian fiction

Original title – Palomar

Translator – William Weaver

Source – personal copy

Italo Calvino is book review 1001 on the blog his books have featured on the blog five times before.  He is a writer whom I will have his whole cannon on here I have at least four other books on my tbr and a couple I need to get hold off. As a writer He had two periods of writing the first was a more realist writing then, later on, he became involved in the OULIPO group and his writing became more experimental. This is from that later period. It started before his famous work if on a winters night but was finished and published after that. This is a story that is based around the numbers and the world three lots of chapters in 9 sections which is 3 x 3 itself etc.

Mr Palomar is walking along a lonely beach. He encounters a few bathers. One young woman is lying in the sand taking the sun, her bosom bared. Palomar, discreet by nature, looks away at the horizon of the sea. He knows that in such circumstances, at apporach of a strange man, women often cover themselves hastily, and this does not seem right to him: because it is a nuisancefor the woman peacefully sun-bathing, and because the passing man feels he is an intruder, and because the taboo of nudity is implicityly confirmed; becausehalf respected conventions spread insecurity and incoherence of behavior rather than freedom and frankness

The opening of the naked bosom and he ponders what happens when you meet a topless lady.

I read a few pieces about this book the most interesting piece I read was about his original choice of the cover which is an Albrecht Durer of an artist drawing a woman using a frame with boxes and a piece of paper with corresponding boxes and that is what this book is in a way Palomar is the name of a man whom we see observing the world in various ways and situations. Each section is set in a place or later on things like silence, society, and meditations. The stories start with him on holiday. with observing waves but also the pattern of the waves he is observing then as he walks along the beach he observes the various topless ladies on the beach and the naked bosoms. are a couple of vacation tales.  Then in his garden, he observes a pair of tortoise making love. Then he looks at the sky for three more tales one about a moon visible in the afternoon one imagines a supermoon that we have seen a lot the last few years. Palomar is a deep observer of life and his world but there is also a sense he is a little like Mr bean or monsieur Hulot someone that views the world a different way a comic way at times to those around him. One story that touched me was that od Snowflake or Copito de Nieve the only Albino gorilla in a zoo to live to age. The stories are all between one and ten pages long little vignettes.

In the Barcelona zoo there exists the only example known in the world of the great albino ape, a gorilla from equatorial Africa. Mr Palomar picks his way through the crowd that presses into the animal’s building. Beyond a sheet of plate glass, ” Copito de Nieve”(“Snowflake”, as they call him), is  a mountain of flesh and white hide. Seated against the wall, he is taking the sun. The facial mask is a human pink, carved by wrinkles, the chest also reveals a pink glabrous skin, like that of a human of the white race, with its enormous features, a sad giant’s face thurns evry now and then towards the crowd of vistors beyond the gkass, less than a meter from him, a slow gaze charged with desolation and patience and boredom, a that expresses all the rsignation at being the way he is, sole exemplar in the world of a form not chosen, nor loved, all the effort of bearing his own singularity, and suffering at occupying space and time with his precense so cumbersome and evident

The sad life of snowflake so touching capture in the opening paragragh of The albino gorilla.

I enjoyed this on the level I read it I know there is a lot more here and I think this book would welcome a second reading in a few years I would unlock more about the finite connections between the stories and how they build a picture of the wider world the question is what are we here and what is the world and the way we see it in  Palomars eyes is different. From his qh=uestion of waves, the sound of a blackbirds singing,  the mechanism of Tortoise lovemaking, a gecko in the sun His shopping goose fat for example echoed with the artwork of the time from Beuys his throwing of fat against the wall for effect. An albino gorillas world and life. Then the world and its place in question as he observes the stars and the planets and our solar system. This is only 100 pages long a slim novella but like the other collection from him in this style I read The castle of cross destinies, there is a lot more than first seems here. Have you a favorite work from Calvino?

 

Restless by Kenneth Moe

Restless by Kenneth Moe

Norweigan fiction

Original title – Rastløs

Translated  by Alison McCullough

Source – review copy

Well,

I have reached it the 100oth review and I had a few books to choose from but I chose this as it best signifies what the blog has tried to do the last few years and that supports smaller presses through my reviews. Writers and writing that test the bounds of what is literature. So I chose Restless.grew up near Larvik, a small town outside Oslo in Norway. He currently lives in Oslo. He has studied creative writing in Bø, Bergen, and Lillehammer, Norway. Moe’s debut novel Restless won the Tarjei Vesaas debut award. This is the latest book from Nordisk books that have specialized in fresh voices and books from Scandinavia. This book is coming out this month.

We talk all the time in the dark. I give good explanations of everything, persuading you day to day. You’re not really here, and so can never really leave me, either. At nights you snuggle up to me in bed: your slim body with its small breasts against mine. I think even your body is humble. It dosen’t make much of itself. You leaf through the pages of the books- tell me I read such stranges ones. you tease me. I read Marcus Aurelius in bed I read La Rochefoucauld. He writes “weak people cannot be sincere”. I read the sentence aloud to you

ONe the opening paragraghs in the book.

As I said this is a challenging read as it has an unnamed narrator. He is trying to write a letter to women who rejected him but as the pages go on it drifts more into a personal insight into the young man’s mindset and insight into his life a lonely one. A drifter living on a student grant for a course he had left months ago. He observes the changing season the longer days of the summer as the dark night’s end he says to give him a sense of hope but that is short-lived. As he sits in his father’s armchair sinking deeper into it every day as he drifts more into a sort of modern lonely life that many people have. As he drifts off the sense he is losing it as he talks about feeling ill with this and that symptom. Just as he talks about his flat falling apart his blinds being broken and old women in the park having her last summer. Then something happens!

Today the sun is shining on my street again, but I have my back to the light and the trees outside the window. I’ve always been the type to shut myself in my room for days, weeks at a time, to work on some project or the otherthat I think will save me, withput any clear ideas as to exactly why this ine should save me when none of my previous projects have. Right now, for example: a book, a letter. I’ve chosen to prefer solitude, and would have preferred to prefer something else. All my longings are equally paradoxical. I constantly doubt whether I should want you and what I’d use you for should I get you, but I know that…

Later on and the sense of his mind drifting and his sense of lonliness.

This price winning debut is made up of short paragraphs and even a single sentence his aphorisms of the world around him. it is a book that has a restless feel a man that has been rejected wrestling with his life rejection the coming summer that changed from the dark nights and the light evening the soul of a man wrestling to write but also with discovering who he is himself like those other men on a quest Pessoa or even Leopardi he wrestles with why we are here as he tries to write this letter this is a shorter work but maybe like those great dishes you see in modern Scandinavian cooking where the portion is small but the enjoyment is in the complex nature of the taste mix the best of what i at hand to the chief at the time and this is a writer doing the same in a way. A modernist gem a man hunting for the what of modern life after a rejection one of those milestones on a young man’s journey. Another unusual gem from Nordisk books I have their last book to review but it is worth looking at all eight of there titles.

The brother by Rein Raud

The Brother by Rein Raud

Estonian fiction

Original title – Vend

Translator – Adam Cullen

Source – personal copy

Well, I’m on book review 999 on the blog and I have decided on a novella from the Baltic states an area I haven’t covered enough I feel so my second read from Estonia is from the well known Estonian scholar Rein Raud. He had a philosophical show on the tv there for a number of years From a talented family his brother is a musician his parents were both writers. He has written several novels in which a number has been translated into English. This was his first to be translated into English. It is also another from Open letter book the US publisher of books in translation.

“I would have expected anything” Brother said while unlacing his knee-high boots; the brother, of whichshe hadn’t the slightest clue just a  moment earlier, but whom – she now knew- se had awaited for so long.

“I would have expected anything, but not that,” said Brother. “When I arrived at the villa’s front door was locked and no one came to open it when I rang the doorbell. I went around back to te garden to see if you were walking the paths or sititing in the gazebo, but my heart was already punding with fear od finding,perhaps that the windows facing the yard had been boarded up  and not aa single soul occupied the house anymore, because i had come too late.

Her brither appears out of the blue.

In his afterword, he tips his hat to both Clint Eastwood and Alessandro Baricco’s works. This is a spaghetti western plot in a way or a classic revenge thriller in a way as it has the character of the stranger at its heart a man just known throughout the story as the Brother. The stranger heer is the half  Brother that Laila doesn’t know she had when he appears at her door in his hat and knee-high boots making him stand out. This happens after she has been cheated out of her inheritance a villa by the men of this town that is run by the males. Laila had taken this loss but the brother has come to take on these powerful men they have powerful jobs within the town A banker, a lawyer, and notary (I felt this was a nod to the western as Notaries are often mentioned in Westerns). As he starts to ruffle the feathers in the town the locals try to find out more about this new challenge to them and find out about Laila half brother what is his story? a rat-faced assistant of the lawyer starts digging into the past. The brother also has a fling whilst in the town.

 The notary’s secretary accidentally knocked over an inkwell, which spilled accross ten or so signed contracts awaiting archiving, and the lawyers wife was complaining of chronic headaches every evening. The banker was still in a bind with his branch office: customers were closing their accounts there en masse, and in order to resolve the temporary liquidty problem, he had been stable for a long peroid of time; shares, whichlaunched into an unexpected rise two days laters. However, all these kinds of things shouldn’t have lasted for very much longer.

The pressure the brother brings starts to show on the main chanracters lives.

I mean the obvious example of the main character in this book is the character played by Clint Eastwood in the classic western High Plains drifter as a stranger enters a town to sort something out another film I remembered was the Bruce Willis film Last man standing where he goes to get revenge on a corrupt town.  Even The equalizer  I remember those lines in the advert Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer and the brother is like that Laila has been beaten down this is a book that draws the line that this is males inflicting the loss on a female character. The brother is her savior as she had lost hope and excepted the status quo. The novel has a great atmosphere the chapters are short almost like short scenes in a fast-moving western as the action moves from here to there as the brother starts to ruffle the feathers and they find out how Laila was conned out of her inheritance by deceit and trickery. A great little gem as with the Peirene books this is easily read in an evening.

The Sad Part was by Prabda Yoon

The sad part was by Prabda Yoon

Thai fiction

original title – kwam na ja pen

Translator – Mui Poopoksakul

Source – personal copy

Well, I add another new country today with Thailand. I haven’t read enough books that Tilted Axis has brought out so I choose this one as one to read. The writer Prabda Yoon has many talents he has written twenty works of fiction. He has also illustrated hundreds of book covers.He has also translated books from Nabakov, Salinger, and Burgess whose Clockwork Orange he has translated(always have time for a Burgess translator). His works of both fiction and Art have done well in Japan. This is his first book to be translated into English and was mainly from the collection Kwan na ja pen.

The film My grandfather screened most often was Dracula, The black and white version starring Bela Lugosi. If it was pouring outside when Friday came around, there was no need to wonder which movie he’d choose to suit the weather. Come to think of it, he resembled Lugosi’s count Dracula. His cheeks were sallow, his eyes were sunken, and he wore his hair combed flat to his head; his jaw narrowed shrply to the oint of his chin, while his jet black eyebrows slanted up towards his temple. The only difference was that he didn’t have fangs , and I never spotted any tell tale puncture wounds around the base of my grandmothers neck.

A grandson grew up watch dracula that his grandparents showed in their pop up cinema.

He is considered a leading light of Thai fiction and this is a collection that shows his talent as a writer the stories are all set around Bangkok. There is a sense in many of them of that passing of the crown from an older generation to the younger generation. With a story like pen in parentheses with the grandparents showing Dracula on an old bedsheet. This links to the present when the grandson makes an ad with breath mints and Dracula.. but there is a sense of lack of connection between the generations even thou the grandson had tried by the use of the vampire. Then there is another story with vampires in.  Then we have a schoolgirls insight into her life via her diary. Then there was the crying party a strange tale of people eating hot chillis in order to cry, one of these strange rituals that crop up as a sort of rights of passage in the youth of modern Thai do when they are a certain age. Strangers meeting in a park this is a slice of modern Bangkok. Snapshots of Bangkok in the 90s the orignal collection was published in 2002.

“You all met up here every Sunday to get drunk and eat raw bird’s eye chilies until tears came out of your eyes? And competed to see who could cry the longest and the most That sounds ridiculous… and kind of awful,” Lert opined after I’d finished explanning the gist of the crying parties to him.

He seemed to have a good grasp of it

It probably no great revation to say that june was the one who instigated the crying parties. As I understood it, she founded them on a day when she was dealing with some form of heartache. But June didn’t breath a word of this to is- she even acted particularly cheery when she opened the doorto welcome the first to the gathering.

The crying party isn’t all it seems but people still go to it .

I felt these all capture parts of modern Thai life from the grandson trying to connect with his grandparents with his advert that is a nod to his youth sat watching the old Bela Lugosi film on a bed sheet but there is a barrier there, like the strangers in the park it takes time til the young man can be accepted by the older man.I feel I would like to read moire of Yoon work he seems to capture a world that isn’t perfect in fact there is a touch of melancholy to these stories but maybe that is just what happens when you live in a fast-moving city like Bangkok the speed of life sometimes drains the beauty life like a victim of a Vampire a little pale a little detached. these snapshots of a city from generation youth to strangers meeting a love affair cover every day so well. Have you read this collection? or any other from Tilted Axis what to read next?

That was the month that was April 2020

  1. Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
  2. Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi
  3. lets give it up for Gimme Lao by Sebastian Sim
  4. The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
  5. I.city by Pavel Brycz

I only managed to review five books last month which I think is the lowest in the time I have blogged well. I managed one new country with a book from Singapore and the publisher of that book Epigram. MY journey started in medieval Germany with a jester taking center stage. Then one woman’s journey to being a doctor in post-war Egypt her struggle to get there based somewhat on the Nawal El Saadawi own life experience.   Then the story of post-independence Singapore from one family point of view. Then a new priest ruffles feathers in a small town by trying to take the Stave church and modernize the church and village. Then the story of one town in the Czech republic that in small parts they tell the story of the town of Most that have seen its heart torn out when it was torn down for mining. I edge closer to the 1000 book reviews which I am now 3 reviews short of this total. Which has become my Everest I think once I don this I will return to normal blog-wise. If that makes sense.

Book of the month –

I city by Pavel Byrcz

I have always enjoyed the books from Twisted spoon and this is great example of what they do a book that has a different form a town tells its story and that is one of loss and a heart of a city now gone but still carrying on .

The month ahead

I plan to finish reviewing the booker international books I also have one new country with a book from Thailand and that 1000 review book which I am currently reading. I’ve been of this week and am feeling refreshed maybe not read a lot but I have spent time with Amanda so I feel in the mood to read which the last few months I haven’t.

Non book-related matters-

I have brought three CDs from Martin Stephenson that I have had my eye in for a while he is a singer who in the late eighties and early nineties I enjoyed his albums with the Daintees having first heard him on John Peel. Well, I decide to buy a live a re-recording of his debut as an acoustic set and a recent album. So they shall be on in the car as I head to work next month. I have also been listening and downloading The BBC show Stereo Underground which is a local radio show that plays old school indie, punk, and alternative music. I think every show I have to listen to I have had old favorites and a couple that I hadn’t heard since the day. Times are hard here I worked with covioid on the ward I work at and Amanda at home classed as highly vulnerable this has worried me but I love my job and wife which meant I just did my job and took real care. I wish everyone well in these strange times.

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