50 up and where now?


I turned 50 earlier this month I think for the last 12 months it had been building in my head as mountain of well I don’t know what but the main thing is maybe a feel of where the next years are going go it is a changing of guard so to speak exiting one decade to the next but this felt as though the seesaw of life had tipped towards the later part. But it is also a feeling of being lost in myself and it isn’t to these last few days I am finally thinking straight I have been of work for a number of weeks with a lot of stress and other things but this is starting to ease. Anyway drifting here and there the fact is my blog means a lot to me and part of my drifting the last few years have been feeling lost as a blogger and also on things like twitter sometimes I wish I could turn back and go back to the early days of the blog when I read more on a whim and also felt less on a hamster wheel of life. Lizzy siddal has moved on to a new blog but I don’t think I need to do that I still have space on this blog for content. I am read more than I ever had but not blogging as many reviews, now this for years has stressed me out for years (Why the hell, I do a job that most people couldn’t do Amanda says I overthink thinks and being my fathers son my dad is engineer and has an engineer mind which I have inherited although I am not engineer I over analysis my whole life anyway this is one of the things I am working on) So hell I don’t review every book I read this is due to my reviews being longer than they used to be twice the length they were 5 years ago and I don’t have more time so double the length of review only half the reviews I aimed for 100 this year but I think if I review 80 plus books I am doing well. From tomorrow onwards I’m taking a more relaxed approach to my blogging also be accepting less review copies I get contact less these days so that isn’t a hardship and will get me off the hamster wheel of feeling I have to review books and also I feel I want read more from my TBR. The other changes is to vlog a little I’m still not sure what this content will be but I am getting a new camera which I want to record Amanda and I travels it also the pics for the blog will be from the camera make them more eyecatching. Anyway this turning 50 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be I am now looking forward to the decade ahead and also hopefully another ten years of winstonsdad. I think I will do more chatty post like this like the booker diaries series I have start for this years booker readings. I just buzz about books and often feel I have lost my voice just as I have found it in writing how often I said just the bare minimum about a book on twitter then gone I wish I said more  if its not bookish twitter its podcast I listen to I love lots. But this also at times draws on my reading time it was listen to the daily stoic the other day when he was talking with Thomas Chatteron Williams about the rabbit hole that is social media also they hit nail on the head about how it can make you feel so I feel I’ll maybe retweet less chat a bit more and generally spend less time on twitter. How did turning 50 or 40 or 30 or whatever milestone effect you do you view it as a changing point do you often feel lost in this world of social media losing your own voice sometimes then just taking time and remember what is important to you and that is Amanda and my family , my job and then books and reading it is a large part of my as a person. I think Mookse and the gripes hit on the head my big problem is I haven’t got anyway much to chat to in the real world about books I have a couple friends that are bookish but as any one that has meet me at times I can be very passionate about books translation and reading. But then I feel I lost my online voice as well this is just me overthink which I am doing less off. Anyway outside this we made a small step towards our first home last week as we hope to get our first home thanks to family a new build next year with all luck so we are busy looking at a few new bits for the house I will have a bigger room for may books. I hope to return to work soon as I love my job but had just needed a break. I will also now be taking a few days off from here I will return Tues so for the ramble just want say I am looking for to my 50s and talking about books more and more

Archipelago books Fortnight May 9 -23 2022


I ordered a few books from the US publisher Archipelago I tend to try and get a few every year as I like the look of the books but also love some of there writers they do a lot of books in translation a mix of classic and modern writers from all around the world. They were the US publishers of Karl One Knausgaard they have books on there site that have been translated from 32 languages which is impressive. I have reviewed a number of there books over the years I have a small collection of them I have brought over the time I have been blogging I first got into them when I was looking for books for the original around the world in 52 books in January 2010 I reviewed wonder by Hugo Claus which is still my favourite book from them Have read 12 years later.I have also enjoyed the books they have brought out by Scholastique Mukasonga which they have brought out I have read two by her and have another on the tar to read Why Archipelago?  well it is just that over the years and that is 12 and counting. I have always enjoyed the books from them I have read. Plus I also have a number which is maybe to may for my liking ion the pile unread which gave me the idea of a reading fortnight I did mention it online a few times but never quite sure who reads me these days if anyone. I am doing this for a publisher I love and have enjoyed buying their books over the years. I have 26 of there books I found a couple after the pictures )on my shelves I think I may have a couple elsewhere but that was all I found to take the pictures with of those in the picture I have read


I am currently read the Halldór Laxness Wayward heroes as there is a new translations of one of his books due out in a few months like this one also translated by Philip Roughton. He is a writer I have reviewed once on the blog so I decide it was time to get this one read and with coming up with the idea of a reading fortnight I will review then. I also am reading Autumn rounds by the Quebecian writer Jacques Pulling he is a writer I want to read everything from after I read his book Mister Blue which I reviewed here about Jim and his cat his books do appeal so I got this this week and will get the other books to read maybe in other Archipelago books fortnight. I will also review that in this fortnight I will then maybe tackle another of the thick books I have from them or it may be Kin by Miljenko jergovic which has been on my radar since it came out but I just haven’t order it yet ( not that yet I will get this book it is near the top of the books I want to get) I will let you know which big book I choose as it be great to chat about it or any of their books even ones I haven’t read there is lots I would like to read do you have a favourite books from there back list ?

There was a recent Moose and gripes podcast about the publisher here

Here is there Website which is very good and has lots about the books and also has different quotes daily



More Than I love My Life by David Grossman


More Than I Love My Life by David Grossman

Israeli fiction

Original title – אתי החיים משחק הרבה

Source – Library book

This was one of two of the booker international titles this year that my local library had so when the list came out I was in town next day to collect this book which I had seen a couple of times in my twitter feed as someone had been reading it in the weeks just before the longest came out so it was on my radar as he is a writer I have read before and have reviewed three books from him the three are the the last three books before this he has published starting with to the end of the land which for me is his best book hands down. That is not to say this is a bad book no not is better than the a horse walk into a bar in my humble opinion.

Two days ago we celebrated vera turning ninety(Plus two months, she had pneumonia on the actual date and we postponed the party,)The family gathered in the Kibbutz clubhouse. “The family”, of course, means Tuvia’s family, which Vera had joined, but, over the course of four decades, she’d become its core. It’s always amusing to think that most of the grandchildren and great grandchildren who cling to her to compete for attention don’t even know that she is not their biological grandmother. Each child in our family goes through a little initiation rite when , usually around the age of ten, they learn the truth.

Vera is the heart of the family.

The book is the fictional account of a woman that he first met meet many years before he decide to write the book Eva whom Vera is based on had contact Grossman after a newspaper article almost twenty years before the story she first called him when she was 70. The novel is set in part when she turns 90. She was a settler living in a Kibbutz like the fictional version pop herself.Eve who had come from the former Yugoslavia is one of those figures that jumps of the page. When  she marries a widower Tuvia whom has lost his wife the story is focused on the family in the years after this marriage. He has a son Rafael Vera(the name Grossman has for the real person who is called Eva)has a daughter a similar age to Rafael the two connect over time this is one of the story Klines but when in adult hood Nina has a daughter she leaves Nina she is the third generation of the family we meet and the third that Grossman describes in the story. The action takes use around the world as we see them grow and also the haunted past of Vera which is hinted at as the book has another story and that is her return to Croatia.earleir we see the Croatia songs being sung in the kibbutz. We learn of how this woman suffered in the post war Yugoslavia of Tito a piece of history that hasn’t I haven’t read much in fiction there is a lot around Tito and the war but not a lot after that.

I am a fan of Grossman I have read three of his book in the time I have blogged and also have a few more on my shelves which I have brought over the years to read. As one of of Juror Paul point us in the direction of there is a documentary about Eve that maybe if you watch which I have gives you a problem that is the fictional Vera and the real eve are two different beings. I watch a Jewish book council interview with David about the book and he explained how he meet and was tempted to write the real eve story and over the years how she had hinted at the past she had each time the meet he knew a bit more she often ask if he would write the story when he did he said he would only writer her as a fictional character with her real life and his fictional version of the life mixing. Grossman is a perfectionist even in the translation which is by his usual translator Jessica Cohent that has translated all the books that I have read by him what he does is gets his main translators together and he reads the book in Hebrew to them and then they all work on the book what he said was hardest and that is the voice of vera from Hebrew where he says you can tell she is from the Balkans this is something he wanted to be felt in the translation and form it works(I am no expert but have spent a lot of time int he company of Balkan writers over the last 15 years so have an ear for the syntax and rhythm of some one from the balkans talking in English and Jessica cohen seems to have caught this very well. Grossman also for a male writer writes very strong Female characters and the three her are the same I remember in to the end of the Land that Ora was a strong character in that book. For me this wasn’t as good as To the end of the land which is his masterpiece for me but it has some interesting points to make about escaping the past politics. The post war Israeli and Yugoslavia post Yugoslavia world viewed through a single person a prism of this world that shows the many colours both light and dark of the times of this family. Have you a favourite book from Grossman or From Israel. (I am looking forward to Days of Ziklag when it comes out)

Winston’s score – +B a solid book from one of my favourite writers.

the book of mother by Violaine Huisman

The book of mother by Violaine Huisman

French fiction

original title -Fugitive parce que reine

Translator – Leslie Camhi

Source – Library book

Well this year there has been more books on the long listed I wasn’t very aware of this is another that had passed me by which is a shame as I have always had a soft spot for French auto-fiction. This is the debut novel from Violaine Huismann born in Paris she had lived for nearly twenty years in New York where she had organised the Brooklyn Academy of music Literary series and she also organised a number of art festivals. She had spent time on the side writing about her mother but it wasn’t to a number of years after her mother had passed and she herself had become a mother she felt in the right place to talk about her mother, her childhood and her mother’s death and how that had impacted on her and her sisters life. There is a great interview on YouTube about the book and how she want her mother to be remembered.

Maman often fainted due to the cocktail of medications that
she combined with alcohol. She hid her whiskey under her mattress,
in the back of kitchen cupboards that she imagined were secret, in
glasses of Coca-Cola that she forbade us from tasting, Coca-Cola
which we usually drank directly from the same family-size bottle, just
as the three of us dried ourselves with the same bath towel. The fact
that we possessed plenty of towels didn’t make a difference-_No one
around here has scabies as far as I know!

The young Violaine sees her mother faint when she is young due to the meds she is on.

The book has three parts the first is Violaine story in a way that of her and her sister growing up twith there mother that has very wild swings in her mood she had mental Health issues but as she said in the interview they are just a label and not how it was to live with mother. The book opens as her mother drives her and her sister through the centre of Paris in there car at high speed with the two children not wearing seat belts as a result of this her mother is sectioned for a time. Her mother had been married three times and was one of those characters that leaps of the page when you read her no matter how bad she can be with her children they still await her return this feels like the writer trying to explain her mother she said she just want her and the close family as real characters and some of the stuff that had happened with her mother where just too chaotic to appear in the book part of the problem was the fact that her mother was always struggling with the fact she had lost her place she had married a man from the upper class and never really fit in. The second [part of the book goes back to Maman as `Violaine calls her mother when Catherine grew up there was events that happened with her mother that she discovered via her fggrandmother she tries to get across her mothers child hood her from the piece she gathered growing up the last part off the book moves forward and sees the two sisters dealing with the mother death.

I was responsible for calling Maman’s lover with the news of her
suicide, and for telling him about the letter, where it could be found. I
was chosen by default, because I was the only one who had met him,
the only one to have gone to see firsthand Maman’s life in Dakar, First
he screamed, then he broke into tears. He asked me if he could see her
one last time. He could only see her here, in France, in Paris. We had to
find a way to get him here, we had to get a visa for him in time, while
Maman still had a body. We had to do the impossible, but my sister
and I were capable of that; nothing was impossible where Maman was
concerned, except for saving her. In less than a week we had mobilized
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French consulate in Dakar. In
less than a week he was in the air.

This hit me hard remind me of when we found about about my brother in law when he took his life. a day I will never forget

This is one off those books that could have gone so wrong and either been to rose tinted about her mother or the other extreme that it could have made her mother into a monster. But she seems to have caught her mother just right and that is as a human with both a bad and good side and also made her memorable she is one of those people that is larger than life through the young Violaine eyes and in the latter part after her mother death shows the effect she had one them.In the interview she said  this is how she wanted to put her mother across in the book as a person but want to use fiction instead of memoir for this. She said she had used Proust as how she wanted to write the book  about how he wrote about his life. For me the use of the three part works as it shows the events over time but also part of the reason her maybe why her mother was the way she was. It also shows how they got over such horrors in their youth. Then also managed to break the cycle of abuse. This could easily have been the writers own life as her experience could like many have been passed down as this is how a childhood is. The Proust connection is also there in the title which is a line from proust ht full line is Every woman feels that the greater her power over a man, the more impossible it is to leave him except by sudden flight: a fugitive precisely because a queen which maybe capture what she tires to do with her mother story. The book is a classic slice of Auto fiction Ala proust but not with the bitterness that we saw in a writer like Knausgaard yes it is a bad childhood but her mother is never painted as a monster and sometimes as my job has shown it is hard when someones head is just so messed up swings of mood can never quite be controlled. Have you read this or do you have a favourite piece of Autofiction

Winstons score – -A childhood and larger than life mother caught warts and all.

After the sun by Jonas Eika

After the Sun by Jonas Eika

Danish fiction

Original title – Efter Solen

Translator – Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg

Source – personal copy

Every time the booker or old IFFP list comes out there is always open or two books on the list that have just passed me by I especially this last couple of years don’t keep my ear as close to the ground as I once did. So this was one I wasn’t aware of which was the same for the title last year from Lolli editions it seems like a publisher I should maybe keep a closer eye on. This is the first book by Jonas Eika to be translated and is his second book this won the Nordic council Literature prize as Paul on our shadow jury point out this is a prize that has former winners such as Dag Solstad, Son, Kim Line and one of the other Longest writers Jon Fosse. So  for me it must have something about it so I picked it up last week and read the first story but just didn’t connect so I decided yesterday to just sit and read it cover to cover it is under two hundred pages and is a collection of five stories but two are the same story at different angles.

He was sickly pale in the way that people tend to be in pictures from the nineties. “This is me at KFC when the first one opened in Denmark.. Me at the first Burger King, did you know they proposed a whopper-big Mac mash up, in the name of world peace?.. Here I am at subway.. dominoes..The bagel company when they opened their first shop on Gothersgade in 94 I sear, tasting these things for the first time was completely…How should I say unique. Like I was tasting them and only them.I always take pictures for the first time

This description of various fast food and the whhoper Mac mash up made me smile.

I think the reason I didn’t connect with it initially is  the style of his writing which is fast and jarring at times and the first story Alvin our narrator arrive back to fix the bank software as that is his job this is where his path is halted as he arrives the servers he is due to work on and the bank its self has collapsed the story follows the aftermath of this but then like most of the stories in the collection go here and there. The one story that really caught me is the middle story in the collection Rachel Nevada which to me had one of the greatest change of plot in a short story I have ever read and the story follows an elderly couple who had lost both there daughters and then decided the only way for them to cope with this is to sell up and hit the road and this is how they end up at Rachel Nevada this leads to the Husband in the story getting drawn to an object in the desert that seems to be calling out leading to Antonio want to find out more about it.This small town is just near Area 51 the heart of what is UFO country even down to the A’le inn the local pub. But then there is a great plot change and a minor character that had already appeared just in passing we get a bio of her career as a singer songwriter I found myself trying to find if this was an actual singer as the bi was so real. Other stories deal with beach boys and rich customers on the seats.

Antonio awoke almost choking on his own breathing. The pain burned sour in his throat. coughing made the plastic tube writhe in the wound. He took it out of his mouth, leaned his head back and opened the passageway. Then he got back up on his legs and shock the images out of his head, images of jackrabbits with long erect ears and black spotted coats.Hundreds of jackrabbits hopping across the steppes, dry lakes and mountainsides, the jackrabbit being a kind of Totem anti animal in Karen Ruthio’s universe.

Antonio in the desert sees images and also links to the latter part of the story Rachel Nevada.

There is a lot of talk of the Maximalist novel well I think what we have hear is the maximalist short story what Jonas has done is pack lots of ideas they just fall of the page as we see a mind that drifts here and there in the stories hence they seem at times chaotic but isn’t modern life chaotic at times. In an interview I saw with him and his translator he talk about writing just after his nights and just having to get the words out but also means it was a hard book to translated as it has a a feel of being here and there but that is how it was written I was reminded of Burroughs and the effect was like the first time I read Burroughs I remember just eating up Naked lunch then his two trilogies which used the cut up technique this has a feel of that as I said it had a feel of his work also Kerouac that energy you get from On the road which I am just reading at the moment as well.As I said this is the opposite of a the likes of the craved down Raymond craver this is like as he said in the interview the Ursula le Guin essay about writing sci as being like a carrier bag and that is what this is a bit of this and that all stuck together it a fusion of ideas a story that could be a dozen novels in one. This is one of those gems from the longest that I wouldn’t discovered it maybe is chaotic and disorienting but it is also brilliant vivid captures the zeitgeist of the moment and a fresh view of the world.Have you read this book ?

Winstons score – +A one to watch so much energy in these stories maybe the first collection of Maximalist short story collection.

The booker international diaries 2022

Edited in Prisma app with Watercolor image from booker

Well it is time for the second part of the booker international diaries. its has been over a week since I posted the first part and am starting to work my way through the pile of books this year has been one where I have had to read more than others so it has been a new challenge to get through the book and indeed getting the books I still couldn’t find my review copy of Cursed bunny’s I ordered one from Hanford star but I was a little late as they sold out which is great news anyway it would be here and then next week Paradais comes out. I have read four books so far and reviewed two Happy stories, mostly , which i had and is one of the most refreshing collection of short stories I have read the story of a mother going abroad after her son had taken his own life struck me  and Heaven a novel about two bullies connections and a horrific suffering of bullying. Then I read The book of Mother by Violaine Huisman which is the one book I knew nothing about when the longlist came out it and is an intriguing piece of auto fiction about her mother that is one of those figure that is memorable and deserved to be written about. The I read the David Grossman which as some one that has read his other books was one I probably would have read at some point it is the sale of the generations of family that settled in Israel after leaving Yugoslavia over three gernrations of the females in the family it took its inspirations from a documentary that Paul one of the fellow shadow jurors pointed us in the direction of when we started discussing each of the books which we are doing all the time as we read them. I hope to post reviews this week of the two books I have just finished in the next week. I have just turned 50 a few days ago so have been spending time with Amanda over the weekend. I have also invested in a new laptop which I am using as my old Chromebook had only a couple of moths of software updates left as they only cover the software for 5 years anyway as I am wanting to do more on my laptop I invested in the whistles and bells MacBook Air my first Mac it will take me time to get use to the OS of this but that said I have had iPhones for years so shouldn’t be that much of a struggle I am reading the other book that was on my radar at the moment after the sun which had passed my by and I decided to start my reread of tomb of sand which I am still loving as much as the first read it has  a style that draws you in as a reader as it sometimes seems to take down the fourth wall and talk to you the reader which I like also it is seems to capture that juxatapose between generations well between the mother and her favourite son Sid as he has flown not just the Nest but also India I always like this sort of family insights the way time and just the speed of the world know drifts people apart and also takes them from that community and small world they live in I was remind of stories like Please look after mother and also one of my favourite films Tokyo story that show that generation gap as well as the world shrinks and people move and leave their home villages. I will leave you there it is another insight into the world of me as a reader, blogger and  shadow juror. Have you tackled any of the longlist this year o planning to if so which books ?

Heaven by Mieko kawakami

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

Japanese fiction

original title – Hevun ヘヴン

Translators – Sam Bett and David Boyd

Source – personal copy

I move on with my booker longlist reading, I still want to call it the man booker anyway I’ve been trying to read as much as I can so I can get through the list asap anyway it means I”ve not blogged much this week but I have got through two books still a number to read but this is the first one I finished it is from the Japanese writer Mieko Kawakami it is the first book I have read by her. The other book that came out before by her Breast and Eggs was one of the buzz translations when it came out and as you know I tend to try and avoid them or leave to a later date my reading of the book. Anyway, Mieko Kawakami was a bar hostess and a well-known singer before she became a writer she had brought out three albums before turning to become a writer full-time n 2006. She has written a number of books and won a lot of Prizes in Japan. This is a harrowing account of being bullied at school ( I think we all in some way experience bullying in school or out of school).

One day towards the end of April, between classes, I unzipped my pencil case and found a folded triange of between the pencils.

I unfolded it to see what was inside.

“We should be Friends”

That’s all it said. Thin letters that looked like little fishbones, written in mechanical pencil

The opening lines and the first note from Kojima to our narrator

Our narrator is unnamed and is 14 when writing this book it follows a year in his life as ever the is a target for bullies because of a lazy eye. I remember for me it was just I was tall very slim (what went wrong !!) and ungainly it doesń take much at this age. anyway, he has an imagination and imagines how the bullies might get him to do this and that Iḿ not sure if this is a way to make the actual bullying seem less as if he pictures the most unimaginable acts the actual acts areń as bad but they are every time it brings him down a little more. The only solace in the book is when he starts to get notes from what seems to be someone that is experiencing bullying as well this is how the book opens. The notes lead to him meeting and becoming friends the one part of light in this book is the relationship and the initial hope it brings to him with Kojima. But then the bullying increase and we also see when our narrator tries to talk and reason with one of the bullies. ut his point of view when the bullies reply. Shows how much has changed over the years he had what would maybe be a Japanese view(not just Japanese maybe that traditional male role of breadwinner fighting man etc ) from years ago about the weak well not weak it takes real strength and courage to face bullying and carry on. His views are just outdated and but is maybe the centre of the book two views and paths in life and with human nature.

“Not so fast,Eyes.”

Class was over, butI turned around, becauser I had no choice, as rotten as I felt. One of Ninomiya’s friends grabbed me by the neck and dragged me back into the classroom. This happened all the time. Ninomiya was in the middle of the roo,, sittingon a desk. That was his style. When he noticed me, he laughe, then said, “Hey buddy.” He told me to hove a stick of chalk up my nose and draw smoething hilarious on the blackboard with it, something that would make them shit their pants. His firends all cracked up. One of them dragged me to the blackboard and the rest of them circled around to watch.

One of the numerous cases of him getting bullied in the book.

I wasn’t looking forward to this book I am just not into books that are maybe aimed at YA  audience which this looked like when I read the blurb. But when I read it it has an insight into the human character and also human suffering we all experience bullying on some level that is life life is a hierarchy whether it is violence, abuse, in your job or in the family. but the scars of it can last a lifetime or long into adulthood our narrator Eyes as they call him will probably have these events for most of his life playing in his head like movies in this case horror movies (sorry stole that from counting crows). Anyway it is a horrific bildungsroman that maybe is right for the target audience which is kids around 14 I feel it shows the horrors of bullying also the outdated nature of the bullies view although with recent events some adults are still bullies like Mr Putin the world has moved on but has it will bullying ever go no it is part of life which is sad people are more aware of it but as in Eyes case and mine it doesń take a lot even my young niece about this age who is rather like My brother Duncan and I in her build has struggled with bullying it is so sad. It is fair to say the book hit an old nerve and I related to our narrator’s woes transported back to the 80s. how did you interact with reading the book?

Winstons score – B a solid YA novel about how it feels to be bullied

Happy stories , Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Happy stories , Mostly  by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Indonesian fiction

Original title –  Cerita-cerita Bahagia, Hampir Seluruhnya

Translator – Tiffany Tsao

Source – personal copy

I was pleased that I decide to try my first subscription last year and chose Tilted Axis it paid of when there were three of the books I had been sent from them on the long list of this year’s booker. I had partly read this one but then as happens it had been in my bag for a while then I just put it on a shelf and hadń gotten back to it as I am like a magpie attracted to the next shiny thing. This is the debut fiction collection from Norman Erikson Pasaribu one of the leading writers in Indonesia he has written both poetry and fiction and was said to be in the long tradition of queer catholic writing by English pen. the book also has a very insightful conversation-style interview between the writer and translator which I found very insightful. This collection came out in 2014 and was a huge success in Indonesia and lead to him winning the best young writer in South Asia. This collection of 12 stories vary in length from the first which is a single page most are between 10 and 20 pages long.

Mama sandra would bring some home for him whenecver she worked the morning shift, beofre she returned in the evening. The cart she brought it from could usually be  found at the intersection by the clothing factory in Bojong menteng where whe used to work. The Vendor liked to hang around the middle school nearby. from there , shé walk back to their house in Rawalumbu, a bag of sweet fluffy cloud swinging from one hand. Once home shé recline on the mat in front of the tv, her head propped up on one elbow, cradled her palm. Bison would sit nearby , leaning against the wall. Piching off pieces of cotton candy, heý warch the family quiz show that came on every evening, laughing at impatien fathers and micomunicating siblings, The last hindred times shé recalled this ritual they shared, mother and child, Mama Sandra had cried

A long passage but capture the power of a foood memorey and the loss due to suicide which is so hard .

I chose to just mention three of the stories in the collection and leave the other for you to find the first is the so whatś your name, Sandra? the tale of Mama Sadra who had recently lost her son Bison (she named as she liked the word and how it sounded). She has chosen to use all her leave and do something to go to My son in Vietnam. As her friend Mama Anton says she and Sandra grew up in a small village and they know of no one that has ever been abroad. She arrives in Vietnam where we see her eating cotton candy. She visits a temple at the end of this story it has a very strange twist. The next story is the following story about a broken heart this story has a couple of lists of how to get other a broken heart as a student tries to get over that lover. Then we have the story Welcome to the department of unanswered prayers which sees someone in a sort of corporate version of heaven where they are introduced to the job in the department but also told about what happens and how they are expanding as more Koreans are becoming Christian.I loved this story it was a fun look at the afterlife in fact in a way it brought to mind the world of Brazil the film where we have a world of bureaucracy gone mad.

Welcome to the department  of Unanswered  prayers ! Hereś your ID. When itś time to go home, put your badge in your bag and leave your bag in your car, tather than tossing it some drawer, I mean, or chucking it somewhere inside your room, Doń worry no one will steal it. And doń to forget to bring it tomorrow and the day after and all the days after that . You need to get past security anc to access the main entrance, the department, the sub departments,the letter storage facility and the archive

This made me smile the beaucratic take of heaven !! rememeber the badge.

really got into this collection when I started it again it goes here and there but it was after the reading when I read about how he wrote and the use of Food like cotton candy and in other places there are macdonalds meals he uses these as a springboard as memories are strong around food and can take you to a time and place so well. Then he also so mention music in the second story I mentioned he had chosen Blue by Joni Mitchell as his heartbreak album. For me, my heartbreak song isń on an album but going to Macclesfield college and passing Ian Curtis’s house most days as I walked into the town where he wrote Love will tear us apart which for most guys of my generation is a break-up song. He is a writer that uses surreal images, traditional Batak imagery and his love of food and music he talks tough subjects like Suicide which is part of the So whatś your name story a subject that always need talking about. One of three strong books from Tilted axis for this year Man Booker. Have you read this book?

Winstons score – +A a new voice from a country that hasń been translated enough

The Booker international Diaries 2022

Edited in Prisma app with Watercolor image from booker

I decided to try and do a weekly look at the progress of my attempt to read all the booker international longlisted books. The longlist came out yesterday I was sitting as I try to be most years pressing refresh on the booker site as though it was a news feed. I love to have been around in ticker-tape times seeing the news v=come in little strips of paper. I made the mistake of thinking the list was only eight books as it had part upload on a refresh so then I went on Twitter happy I hadń so many books to get anyway after seeing it was the usual 13 books I then looked at the list.

Fernanda Melchor (Mexico) & Sophie Hughes
– Paradais (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Mieko Kawakami (Japan), Sam Bett & David Boyd
– Heaven (Picador)

Sang Young Park (South Korea) & Anton Hur
– Love in the Big City (Tilted Axis Press)

Norman Erikson Pasaribu (Indonesia) & Tiffany Tsao
– Happy Stories, Mostly (Tilted Axis Press)

Claudia Piñeiro (Argentina) & Frances Riddle
– Elena Knows (Charco Press)

Violaine Huisman (France) & Leslie Camhi
– The Book of Mother (Virago)

David Grossman (Israel) & Jessica Cohen
– More than I Love My Life (Jonathan Cape)

Paulo Scott (Brazil) & Daniel Hahn
– Phenotypes (And Other Stories)

Jon Fosse (Norway) & Damion Searls
– A New Name: Septology VI-VII (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Jonas Eika (Denmark) & Sherilyn Hellberg
– After the Sun (Lolli Editions)

Geetanjali Shree (India) & Daisy Rockwell
– Tomb of Sand (Tilted Axis Press)

Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) & Jennifer Croft
– The Books of Jacob (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Bora Chung (South Korea) & Anton Hur
– Cursed Bunny (Honford Star)

We have a reaction post from our slack feed that Tony has done. I expected to read more than other years I felt the last year or two I haveń had my finger on the pulse as much as I once did. The books on the list, on the whole, I was aware of bar two and the other 11 most were mentioned by one or other of the shadow jury or on Twitter to me so I am happy to have some reading to do , I knew any list Frank be involved with would be great. I owned the tilted axis books as I have a subscription for this ear which was great. I have read Love in the big city and reviewed it but hadń reviewed Tomb of sand I am suffering a real crisis in confidence around doing reviews and this is one of the two books on the list I had read think they be on the list then I panic reviewing them and now will have to reread it which is great as it was one of my favourite books of this year. As for happy stories, mainly had partly read.   I had the Fosse but not read book two of this series and this is book three I have both so will read them I had reviewed the first part and The book of Jacob Iis the other book I had read and then sat panicking around my review I doń know why after 1100 reviews I just started to worry  I maybe need to go back and this post is maybe a way of going back in how I used to blog. The other Fitzcarraldo book Paradais isń out yet and I doń get sent many as over the year I haveń reviewed the ones I’ve been sent I have reviewed a number of their books so I may have wait until it comes out. I checked my library they had the  David Grossman which is one I would be able to borrow from my library at some point as I have reviewed three of his books on the blog and enjoyed his books I fetch that yesterday morning. They had Huisman this is one I had missed I mean I not able to remember every book I see mentioned but I tried to find it in the library but it must have been about somewhere so I ordered it to collect and will do so in the week. I then looked for the three I could get now they are Heaven that I picked up yesterday and then After the sun coming today and Phenotypes coming next week. I was sent cursed rabbit but it has hidden may be gone down a book rabbit hole Iḿ not sure if I shelved it somewhere or if it may have accidentally been thrown out in a pile of the weekend papers anyway I look again if not I’ll order it next week then it will turn up !! That’s it so I knew about an hour after the list came out that the list would be in the house by this time next week. I decided to start with Happy stories, mostly which is the second book I have read from Indonesia and I had part read it and was grabbed by the style also the interview between the translator and writer at the end of the book is very insightful. I chose this just to hit the ground running I thought I could knock off the short books and this is the case as I finished that earlier and had to start Heaven last night I hadń read Breast and eggs and I may be as yo know avoid hype books this is a quick read and shall finish that tonight. I think by this time next week or so I will have four reads and then the week after finish all the others bar the two epics. then leave time for Tomb of sand which is a large book but a quick read and then Books of Jacob. I finished it in January but will read it again. So David set up a slack group for this year and then the longlist was put in individual chats? anyway, we have started discussing each book we also have our spreadsheet that we score to get our long list to our shortlist and this year we will be having a group chat over the video, which for me was the highlight of the year it is so good to put a face and also I struggle so much with tweets these days after yet again having my grammar highlighted I know my grammar is poor its slightly better than it was but still a let down for me. So we are on our way this will be a weekly post where I talk about reading the books mention my reviews maybe other bits I just fancied trying something different and I will be back with the first review of the book Happy stories mostly.What are your thoughts on the list?

Stu’s Booker international longlist guessing list for 2022

I wasn’t actually going do a post this year and have left it to the day before which is the last possible day before I always feel that I haven’t read enough to do a guessing post but that is just me and I have read enough although I have a couple that I am reading that I will mention and a few at the end that I haven’t got or read that I think will be on the longlist this time round. I will be interested to see what Frank and his gang choose as I have met Frank on a couple of occasions years ago on the old IFFP prize days I am delighted to be on the shadow jury for another year. Anyway, as ever this is the list for today the day before it might have been different any other day.

Liquid land by Raphela EdelBauer

Translator – Jen Calleja

I enjoyed this novel that saw Ruth trying to get back to her home village where she grew up after the loss of her parents and discovering there is a huge web of secrets there. just a little quirky.

Special needs bu Lada Vuckic

Translator – Christina Pribichevic

Our narrator has special needs and is on the autistic spectrum. As someone that has worked with Learning disabilities patients on the Autistic spectrum for more than twenty years for me, the voice of the narrator caught the characteristics and some of the thought processes similar to how I have seen people I worked with talk about their own worldview.

Painting Time by Maylis de kerangal

Translator – Jessica Moore

A trio of friends on the cusp of entering the world of work after being at art college faces the choice between what is Art ie creating and Craft making in a way as one of them makes Trompe L’oeil for a set design company.

Love in the big city by Sang Young Park

Translator – Anton Hur

Part of my Tilted Axis subscription this was one I really enjoyed a story of a young mans coming of age from coming to the big city to his first lovers and then a big romance and then the aftermath of that failing also this must be the best cover this year !!

Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp

Translator – Jo Heinrich

A poorer area of Berlin is told in little vignettes of a writer turned podiatrist as she works on there feet she talks about their lives and we build a picture of the locals a gem from Peirene.

Lemon by Kwon Yeo-suh

Translator – Janet Hong

Another book from Korea I liked this it is about a high school beauty death and is told when it happened and years after think back this is almost like a podcast in a book one of those true crime ones where we get different glimpses of what happen and every few pages change our mind about whether it was the poor boy or rich boy that did it or someone else.

Red Milk by Sjon

Translator – Victoria Cribb

I have always loved his books and this is a historic book that starts when a man that is found dead on a station platform in Englans we look back on the events that lead him to end up dead on a platform a million miles from his Icelandic home.

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Translator – the writer herself

This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English her self its lead character is a middle-aged and we look into her life very very short vignettes with title like in the shop etc.

Have read or am reading books but not reviewed I fancy on the list

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree

Translator – Daisy Rockwell

I struggled to write the review for this as it is a subtle book not much happens but it is so beautifully written and an insight into a world not often written about widows and being old. an old woman becomes alive when she is a widower and surprise her family with the changes and people she meets.

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk

Translator – Jennifer Croft

I decided to read and then reread it which I am just a hundred -pages in I may just review it if it is pon the list it is a melting pot of the time when Jewish, Catholic and others lived in Poland a time gone this is the story of prophet call  Jacob of the title. but maybe a wider story and that is of what happened in the years from the 1700’s to know using the past a prism to the present in a way maybe I,m trying to reread it to unlock it more.

Morning Star by Karl Ove knausgaard

Translator – Martin Aitken

A series of lives told after a star appears in the sky and a number of strange events happen in each of their lives as ever he captures the little events in people’s lives but here has added a little of a surreal nature to his work.

Planet of clay by Samar Yazbek

Translator – leri Price

A journey of a young refugee Remi and her escape as she reads the little prince and she views the world with a child’s eyes which makes the horror more poignant in a way as her world and the real world are different and you have to read between the lines and see the true horror of events.

Last, not sure if it is eligible but I am just reading it

Something strange like hunger by Malika  Moustadraf

Translator – Alice Guthrie

A series of short stories nearly lost to use that talk about being a virgin and needing to get the check before their marriage, sex workers having to get by having to sell themselves these stories lift the lid on life in Morroco.

What are your thoughts on the longlist this year? as ever I plough my own path on books as a reader it is all our own journeys over the last year? I have only chosen books I read or am reading this year.

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March 2022


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