Two Japanese classics

I hadn’t been to the local Oxfam (sorry anyone locally it has very little in translation on its shelves as I have them!) for ten day which for me is a long time due to training last week and other things I hadn’t got to town. But I was pleased to find two Japanese classics one had been on my radar a while and the other is by a writer I have tried before and want to try again as my first encounter wasn’t the best but everyone rates him as a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up is Kobo Abe’s Woman in the Dunes, a modern classic that is also a well-known film. It follows seven years in a man’s life as he is trapped by the woman in the dunes. A cat and mouse tale as the two try to escape and the woman uses here female sensuality to keep him there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we have another backlist book from Peter Owen (i do wish they’d make more of the backlist it is one of the best around) this is by Yukio Mishima whose sailor who fell from grace with the sea, I really didn’t get along with since then I have brought a couple of his books to read . Looking back it reminds me it is a year and half since I reviewed a book from Japan so I need to address that missing Tonys Japan in January which is when I would save my Japanese books to read.

What gems have you found recently ?

That was the month that was June 2017

 

  1. Maigret and the man on the bench by Georges Simenon
  2. Butterfly wings by Mohamed Salmawy
  3. Eve out of her ruins by Ananda Devi
  4. Our Dead World by Liliana Colanzi
  5. The portrait by Antoine Laurain
  6. Nevada days by Bernardi Atxaga

Now I always Knew it would be a thin month book-wise in June, I left my current job on the 2nd of this month and had a wedding in Croydon for the first weekend and Seven days in Scotland with Amanda, I had hoped to read more but time and sunny weather cut into my reading time. Then on Monday I started my new job for the NHS and had my first of two weeks training .so the total of books read has risen to 55 still on course for the 100 for the year mark.

Book of June

A selection of the Basque writers experience in the US gives us a glimpse at the country from an outsider’s eye, but also a writer looking back on his life and what is to come. This is what we need publishers to do publish the books from writers that aren’t straight fiction.

None book discovery

MY new job has opened my eyes to what I can maybe do in the future it seems an NHS service keen on promoting staff to learn and move forward.I hope to do when I am settled in my new job.

Next month

More training at the new job and starting the new job may slow my reading down, I am reading a French novel from the US press New vessel at the moment and have a couple from Maclehose waiting on my tbr pile . What are you reading this month

Eight years

 

I got a notification yesterday to tell me it was eight years since I started winstonsdad so i have posted 1400 odd posts which even after eight years is near one every other day , although this last two year I have slowed down due to life more than lack of interest in blogging . 109 countries have been covered in the time of the blog, I have nearly hit 100 french books and 50 german novels .But for me it is the people and place I have been because of the blog , people like Susie , Daniella , David ,Rob , Simon , Nicci , Paul , Frank and so on even last week I met Grant for the first time and had a wonderful chat.Events like the old IFFP and london book fair also a couple of great drinks and meals in london all of this because of this small blog. I have been so lucky that a support worker from derbyshire has managed to stretch a blog that has been seen around the world over the years and I have written about the world . I love to see what the next eight year bring the one thing I am sure now is we will contiune to see more books in translation. I feel it is great to have been blogging through what is a golden time for literature in translation .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book to help with Mum’s passing

I read a piece last week by Scott Esposito called On books we read (and write) to get by . The piece was about Naja Marie Aidt on her  struggle to get by with the death of her son . She was given a number of books by her fellow writers one of those was Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes , which hit me as it followed his life a year in little sections after his own mothers death, I have just had a numb hole in my heart and mind for the last few months as I put my Mum’s passing to the back of my mind as I struggle to process all that I have lost.This arrived yesterday and I already read half of it as a shared journey . This may not be the total but maybe like Naja reading her books which lead to her own book as she puts it her (translated ) Grief is giant fucking monster that destroys everything  , she wrote a book about her son Carl and how she dealt with the loss  .I’m not talented enough maybe to write a book about mum but I want her to be remembered so I may write something even if she gets a mention in a review.Have you ever find solace in a book ?

London Book Fair and Man Booker International longlist

I had a long bookish day yesterday. I set off just before 8 in the morning to London to go to the book fair for a third year . I took a Quebec novel to read on the train which I managed to finish before I got there .

Just as I pulled into London the Man Booker announced their second Longlist .

Compass – Mathias Enard (France) translated by Charlotte Mandell.My review 

Swallowing Mercury – Wioletta Greg (Poland) translated by Eliza Marciniak.My review 

A Horse Walks Into A Bar – David Grossman (Israel) translated by Jessica Cohen.my review 

War And Turpentine – Stefan Hertmans (Belgium) translated by David McKay.Part read

The Unseen – Roy Jacobsen (Norway) translated by Don Bartlett. have to read

The Traitor’s Niche – Ismail Kadare (Albania) translated by John Hodgson. on order from Library

Fish Have No Feet – Jon Kalman Stefansson (Iceland) translated by Phil Roughton.Have read will reread

The Explosion Chronicles – Yan Lianke (China) translated by Carlos Rojas.On order from library

Black Moses – Alain Mabanckou (France) translated by Helen Stevenson.Not out ask serpent tails due in next week then be sent out for review

Bricks And Mortar – Clemens Meyer (Germany) translated by Katy Derbyshire.read will skim through then review

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal – Dorthe Nors (Denmark) translated by Misha Hoekstra.half read

Judas – Amos Oz (Israel) translated by Nicholas de Lange.Have to read

Fever Dream – Samanta Schweblin (Argentina) translated by Megan McDowell.Finished yesterday

As you see I have three reviewed two more read at time list out and one read since so have seven books to read before the short list . I then sped across london to the Fair and head to the Lit translation centre where there are talks given around translation , I grabbed a coffee and bumped into David Colmer the translator  he had done the Bakker novels we chatted he has a classic dutch novella he is translating for archipelago , then Louise Roger Laurie for a quick chat then sat in on a panel with ra page of comma press chatting about metropolitan fiction and the lack of fiction from outside cities and other things .

Then I wandered I want to meet and say hello to Karen at Orenda books as they had a small stand and she had been a support of the blog back in her Arcadia books day > I went and said hello and she was just as she is on-line a really warm friendly person , I also chatted to her editor Camel West about translation and various other things , I got a sample of her latest novel in translation and a new star she has just published .

 

then I was due to meet Susie from Istros . We meet and went for a bite to eat and a drink , I said how shock I was Panorama missed the longlist !! From the first world series she has done with Peter Owen , luckily they had three of the second in the series which Spain is the focus , I could have and also a nice hardback film tie in of Silence .

We also chatted about the longlist, I said Compass for me was the best book of the ones I have read a wonderful book , whilst chatting Susie met the publisher of another small press she knows Archane press , they don’t as yet do translation but have some interesting short story collections . Then we bumped into Rosie Goldsmith whose euro lit network has now gone into print called The Riveter . I then left the fair and meet my dad who was also in London doing some shopping , we had a nice meal at Barbecoua in Piccadilly then I went and got fever dream and Mirror ,shoulder and signal . I had hope with a couple of hours to my train and two and half train journey . I managed to read Fever dream which I will review soon.

 

Winstons books some New arrivals a epic Basque novel

Well its been a good first week of Pushkin Press fortnight, I reviewed Four books and I was so pleased to see my fellow blogger joining in with there own choice. Well a break for the weekend and some new books at Winston’s tower are here –

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first up two from Alma  Death on credit is a later novel by the well-known but controversal French writer Louis Ferdinand Celine , a story of a doctor taking in the poor and darker sides of Paris . Then we have Cheese about a Clerk in a cheese company that makes a slight over order leaves him with tens of thousand of cheese to get rid of and he hates cheese him self this seems like a great comic work .

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Next two from Daniela of Europa Jerome Ferrari is a writer I have twice visit on the blog with where I left my soul and The sermon on the mount , which won Prix Goncourt like his earlier books this book takes a look at good and evil in the world here in pre war Germany . The is the first book since we maybe know his wife is Elena Ferrante , but Domenico Starnone was also thought by some to be the writer of the books , he is a fellow neopoltian  writer a story of a marriage also worth mentioning  this is translated by Jhumpa Lahiri .

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Next to Holland and a Dutch debut novel about Van Goch that tries to go behind the man and discover what he really was like. An interesting idea as we all have ideas of what he was like .

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Next the first of a number of books from Maclehose as part of a new series celebrating writing from around the world for their first ten years. Bella Donna is the latest from Dasa Drndic the Croatian writer , I have reviewed her two previous books Trieste and Leica format . Belladonna finds a man in old age trying to work out how we got here from what happened in the past the madness of the world we live in that has left him a true intellectual struggling. I’m looking forward to this as I really like her writing style and the way she picks apart the  world .AS I said last week I want to do some event for Maclehose tenth anniversary and for the fact they have been a support of my blog for a long time .

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Jacob the translator of this book contact me , the book follows a long lost story The Major refutation is a lost book about a voyage that didn’t find a new world and came back to tell the truth.

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Last but not least I treated myself to this epic basque novel that follows a couple through the decades from the fire and passion of trying to be independent then setting into their every day lives a look at what it is to be Basque .

 

A dutch pair new arrivals

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This is the first of two Dutch novels to arrive in recent days , I have actually read this one finished it last night it is a tale of one mans story about the first world ar David is a teacher but he has an attraction to a shy pupil that needs a bright world that is what david tries to bring , but the war catches up and as he tries to teach then men un der him about the world and how to read and write he decides to try and escape the horror of the war. This was a big hit in Dutch speaking world it was pick for a dutch talk show as a book club read.

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Then we have a book by a writer I have featured before Otto de kat his man on the move was reviewed here seven years ago. This is story of Emma Verweij she is now 96 and waiting to die and looking back on her life and the war years when her home the house she is in now was stronghold for her friends during the war. As she tries to hide the first husband and the nazis past in Germany. Otto de kat is the pen name of the dutch publisher jan Geurt Gaarlandt he choose the name after a relative also called Otto de kat a successful Dutch painter in his day .

What books have you had arrive ?

Jan 2017 that was the month that was

I am terrible at round ups as all of you may know but every year I try to keep track of what has been read and reviewed this year I am just marking books I have reviewed on the page of my blog not read then reviewed.So I have reviewed 13 books this month . I have gone from Belgium via Quebec, Latin America and Africa and back to europe with books from 13 countries reviewed and 8 new writers to the blog and five with books already on the blog. Three new to the blog publishers as well. Last all Translated of course .

  1. Maigert’s dead man by Geroges Simenon
  2. The old king in his exile by Arno Geiger
  3. Brothers by David Clerson
  4. Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg
  5. Otared by Mohammad rabie
  6. Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
  7. The final bet by Abdelilah Hamdouchi
  8. Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga
  9. The Potato eaters by Manuel Rivas
  10. A horse walks into a bar by David Grossman
  11. The African shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
  12. 2084 by Boualem Sansal
  13. Havoc by Tom Kristensen

Now book of the month

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For me it is the Danish modernist classic Havoc , simply a classic of its time worthy of Waugh , Joyce or any of the great modernist writers . 600 pages of a man struggle with drinking and falling down that rabbit hole of drinking to much.

Books read

I have read 13 books as well some I have reviewed this other will be reviewed next month. You can follow via my Instagram what I am reading at the moment  as I have been recording my current reads this year over there .

Non book discovery

Each month I want bring some non book related to the month end and this it is a Tv series I have been enjoying over on Netflix it is the series A  series of unfortunate events from the Lemony Snicket ,childrens books. I missed the film with Jim Carey in back when it came out I had by time the film came out had my fill of Mr Carey so came to this not knowing much about the books or film. So for me it was a treat the series style wise reminds me at times of Wes Anderson the same twee world his films live in  the tales of the Baudelaire children as they try to get by after the death of their parents , as the evil relative Count Olaf wonderfully played by Neil Patrick Harris , was he really that loveable kid Doogie Howser MD years ago here as a mad actor and his troop of actors  trying to catch his three relatives for the fortune. What has your month been like ?

The French compass points to Lithuania

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I decide as two books arrived today I would talk about them and save you another review til tomorrow. The first is the first from this years Fitzcarraldo editions and it is a big prize-winning French book this won the Prix Goncourt , I have read a number of the recent winners, this is from a writer I have really enjoyed before Mathias Enard. The book follows a night in Franz Ritter as he is unable to sleep but as the night pass he travels the middle east from Istanbul through Aleppo to Tehran. a bridge from east to west I read an interesting interview about the book and its Orientalist angle of the book from a french website L’orient Litteraire  a very insightful piece. Mathias Enard is one of of the most inventive writers around this is the third book from him I have.

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Then I was contact by the publish of this prize-winning Lithuanain novel as he noted I had yet to review a book from their and this is the first book published by a living writer Laura Sintija Cernauskaite won the 2009 eu prize for this book. The book follows a family with a son with epilepsy whom mother adopts another boy a young Orphan taking him to their country home where their lives will never be the same . This is first of two book they are publishing at Noir press .

What books have you had arrive ?

1984 no sorry its now 2084 the first book in the post of 2017

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Well the first book I got sent this year is from a writer I have reviewed before Boualem Sansal is an Algerian writer that has had his works banned and censored in his homeland. I reviewed Harraga Two years ago. This is of course an homage in a way to Orwell’s  great book 1984 and also a work  against all totalitarian regiemes here  in the future a country called Abistan after its spiritual leader a place where like in Orwell’s world every move is watch we find one man who is trying to find a new truth. What was your first book of 2017

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