Icelandic Nobel Quartet

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s rarely you come accross such a great second hand find as I did the other day, when I found four of the old Vintage international books from the Icelandic writer Halldor Laxness. I have three other books from him on my shelves and had intend to try and read one of them for the blog this year at some point so the addition of three more is a welcome bonus. The Four books are –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paradise reclaimed – a farmer from a small farm goes in search of the promised land of Utah as he takes his wife and two children on a disastrous journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland Bell follows a man who happened to make a bawdy joke about the Danish King in the 17th Iceland under the rule of Denmark. He becomes a fugitive .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A young Emissary from the Bishop of Iceland is sent to snaefells glacier to find out what is going on and finds a community that thinks it is the center of the world. and creation is a work in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lonely Orphan who wants to become a poet we follow his affairs poverty, loneliness and the scandals he becomes involved in.

A great haul and I love the simple cover art in the series as well.

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That was the month that was August 2018

  1. Zero by Gine Cornelia Pedersen
  2. The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa
  3. One hundred twenty one days by Michele Audin
  4. A cat, a man and two women by Junichiro Tanizaki
  5. The tree of the Toraja by Philippe Claudel

I only managed to review five books last month as I had a long break no new countries and no new publishers. Three new writers to the blog including Tanizaki which is a writer I wanted to feature on the blog for a while. I also feature another from the Nordisk books which has brought a few gems out so far.

Book of the month

 

I was touched by this book. I am finding books that deal with death and grieving have come more important to me. This is the latest by Philippe Claudel which is a writer I had featured a few times on the blog. For me this is his best book and one will be recommending to people in the future. 
The month ahead
I had read a few other books last month so some catch-up reviews. Which will give me a number of days at the start of this month to read The end the last volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s autobiographical novel. I started it earlier today and am drawn in already 100 pages in of the eleven hundred pages. I then have a few review copies to read and to start prepping for german lit month with a few German novels.

I’m back Where to go now oh and a few new books !!

I am returning to reviewing tomorrow after nearly three weeks away, I’m rested up but also thinking of what my blog means to me. It has open so many doors over the years that I wouldn’t have opened without this blog. I have met so many people. That I had in a way become lazy about what I wanted and that is to make this the place for translated fiction and this means I have to maybe be more critical when I am reviewing books. I was listening to an open book about Literary criticism  . It made me think yes I love Translated fiction and in a way, for many years I have been the cheerleader for this cause. But after nearly 800 books I feel I need to guide and let people know more of what I think of books I had started this in small ways recently with a Llosa review that I was a little less cheerleader and more objective as I felt readers be better with other books by him to read first! I view this blog and my position as a gatekeeper of translated books but also translators and the publishers the whole team that gets the books out there. I have my own goals for the blog the first is the 1000 review mark.Also, the 100 German books mark to reach and of course the hunt for new countries and publishers is an ongoing quest. For me this is my hobby and passion a way to get cnnect to fellow lovers of translated fiction and spreading the love for world literature. I hope to spread the love but also be a beacon to the new readers by guiding them to what to read. I needed a break after nine years just put the blog in standby and stick the charger on well it charged quicker than expect and with an Epic autumn due of long books. Including the Jan Brandt Against the world a novel that references german from the 70’s to the present day.  I got today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which arrived with French Poets Philippe Jacottet Obscurity his only novel. Tip Marugg a Curacao writer a book that sees a man watching the day dawning and uses a magic realism style. Werner Kofer an Austrian writer compared to Bernhard for his use of Satire. Noemi Jaffe memoir follows the journey she took with her daughter to Auschwitz following in her mother footsteps.

That was the month that was June 2018

  1. Soumchi by Amos Oz
  2. Blood of the dawn by Claudia Salazar Jimenez
  3. Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain
  4. Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane
  5. The Radiance of the King by Camara Laye
  6. The kites by Romain Gary
  7. Fleeting Snow by Pavel Vilikovsky
  8. King Stakh’s wild hunt by Uladzimir Karatkevich
Fleeting snow is the book of the month. I always like books that make you think after you have read them and also would consider rereading this title has both of them a journey into what is life and memory also who are we what is the meaning of our names in a way. The first Slovakian title from Istros book was a real joy as much of there books have been.
Next month
Looking forward I have a Columbian writer I have featured a number of times with what for me is his best book. The lost debut novel of a Portuguese great as the first couple of Spanish-Portuguese lit months books. I also have the 100th French title for the blog and a Baltic novel.
Non-book discoveries

Well the latest Album by Sons of bill came out a band I have been a fan of a  for a number of years. Oh and the world cup started, I have watched some games. But somehow I am still not as spirited as I have been previous years  Maybe as we move on England I may get the spirit somewhat. I have returned to work and am back on track being a bit more open and facing things that have happened. But back to the books looking forward to seeing what everyone chooses for Spanish Portuguese lit months.

Happy 9th blogiversary

 

 

 

 

 

I like the App tells you now when the anniversary of the blog. Well, mine was last night nine years have flown with 832 books under review on the blog averaging nearly a hundred books a year over the course of nine years also a total of 1568 post over that time as well a post every other day over the course of the nine years. I have enjoyed many things through this blog and have met many people over the course of the last nine years. I move on to the decade of this blog next year I want to try and add a few more countries and maybe get nearer the 1000 books under review. Many thanks to all that comment and like the post over the last nine years.

Holiday books a Mexican death and some great new books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I failed in reading Middlemarch, I didn’t actually read much on this holiday as I wanted to spend time with Amanda my in-laws and their foster baby who bless her she is only nine months old. It was a joy to see her experience, so much for the first time. It was also the first time since our Honeymoon eleven years ago. Amanda and I had returned to Torquay. Unfortunately, the restaurant where we had our meal on honeymoon in. We had hoped to return but it had gone in the years in between Which was a shame. But we did manage to take a steam train ride and a tour of a replica of the golden hind.Lots of nice meals and I couldn’t resist a few books along the way. When I decide after fifty pages of Middlemarch this maybe wasn’t the holiday read for me.But here are my book buys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waterstones in Torquay was the first bookshop. I found these two from not a great selection of translation. Well for someone that read as much as me there is not many that I hadn’t read but there was a few Georges Simenon and this the latest Maigret was one that was most interesting as the great man is looking back on a case he may have got wrong. The I have read nearly all my current Modiano books. This is the one I next wanted as I know Frank the translator really wanted to translate this book. It is his first three novels all link by being set during the occupation of France or the effects of that on people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then We visited Totnes and they have a great independent bookshop. In which I found these three gems. The day before happiness by Erri de Luca an orphan boy coming of age and his relationship with the guardian. It is also an ode the city of Naples where the book is set.Then I am really keen on this one Death in spring another coming of age novel of a teenage boy in the Catalan mountains. It reminded me of the great book Stones in the landslide which is also a coming of age tale. But a young woman in the Catalan mountains. Then A book by Arto Paasilinna, I loved his year of the Hare so hope this one is as interesting.It follows a man called Gunnar restoring a MIll in a small village but  Gunnar isn’t all he seems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I find an Oxfam shop hard to resist when I see one like the one in Totnes and here I found two old Penguin modern classic. Boris Pasternak’s Last summer came out long before Doctor Zhivago and heralds the last summer before world war on and the Russian revolution. Then a lesser know Faulkner work he is a writer I loved when younger but haven’t read for years and have been adding to my copies of his lesser known books. The Tove jansson this is her only novel and seems to have similar themes to her other adult books. The Noght wood a classic modernist novel that I have heard is quite a challenge to read. 

Then there was the sad news of the passing of Sergio Pitol. A writer who I have on my kindle after kindly been sent it by his Publisher Deep Vellum had passed so I felt as I had never got to this great man’s books. This trilogy is about his life and those writers he meets and what inspired him as a writer.I ordered these and they were here at home when I arrived home today off holiday.Also, I had three other books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I had these books at home Scenes from a childhood is a selection of Short stories from Jon Fosse the Norweigan writer is often cited as a future Nobel winner I reviewed him a few years ago Then Romain Gary last novel one of the great French writer and also a twice Goncourt winner the only one as he used an Alias to writer his other winner. Then last is The blind spot essay of fiction by Javier Cercas and the line between fact and fiction which is one his own books walk like a tightrope at times.

Winstons books a few old favourites and an English classic

I haven’t done a new book post for a while so I will bring some recent purchases and a couple of review books.First two for review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up is the latest translation from French writer Antoine Laurain. Smoking kills is the tale of Fabrice a headhunter in France that is trying to give up smoking in the wake of a ban on smoking at work. As an ex-smoker I will find this fun and I have reviewed the four other books by Antoine Laurain in recent years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next from Canadian publisher is the second book they have been published by them from Eric Dupont Like life in the court of Marane this is a complex book that weaves tales from the last century. He has been called the Quebec Marquez. I read his debut in English and am looking forward to this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now a couple of books from the Yale University series and A Margellos world republic of letters. This is the only novel of the great Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz he won the Nobel prize and is maybe fading out of sight a bit he was a lit critic that struggled with the decadent world of the west which is a theme in this novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another from them is this novel by French writer Hedi Kaddour set in the Tunisia of 1920’s following a group they  have an influence over the local society a mixture of French, Arabs and Americans present a clash of cultures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I had ordered this at the library but it seems to have got lost in the system so when I spent a while ago on some books from Waterstones and got a free ten-pound voucher. I decided I would get this book as I only have a couple of the Man Booker list to read this is a mystery built out of the death of French writer Roland Barthes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No don’t fall back in Horror but I am on Holiday in April down In Devon with family. I couldn’t think of which books to choose so decide to read a British classic and this is the one that I decided on as its length means I will probably not need to take any other books. But I more than likely will buy some whilst on holiday.

 

 

3 from Maclehose and a Lithuanian crime novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am showing some recent arrivals for the blog first we have three books from Maclehose press. First off is After winter by The Mexican writer Guadalupe Nettel I have featured her book The body where I was born   This is a novel set between Prais and new york, two people on either side of the Atlantic have troubled lives until they meet.Nettel is regarded as one of the best Mexican writers around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is another writer from Latin America, that has also featured on the blog. this is the latest from Juan Gabriel Vasquez, he has featured three times on the blog. This is his most ambitious book The shape of ruins based on an actual event in Columbian history just after world war two, this event and one of the characters involved also inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his book one hundred year of solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last book is the one I am most intrigued about. One clear ice-cold morning at the beginning of the twenty-first century by Roland Schimmelpfennig. Is the first novel from the renowned German playwright. It follows a wolf as he wanders one cold morning into the Heart of Berlin and sees the morning through his eyes. An unusual sounding book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we have The music teacher the latest book from Noir books a publisher bring the best in Lit from Lithuania. This is their first crime novel. A small town police investigator who had an affair before with her music teacher. She is now investigating the murder of a teenage girl and her ex-lover now a local politician is putting pressure on too close the case.

pick up a penguin for a pound !

 

Penguin has done another series of small books for a pound each. This time they ask a number of the editors to pick small titles that reflected the 20th century and came up with a list of 50 titles which has a number of Translations in the list Penguin Modern. Or as penguin says here –  fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York’s underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.There is in the list two new translations in English for the first time. The Dialogue of Two Snails by Fereico García Lorca and Of Dogs and Walls by Yuko Tsushima  are both in english for the first time .

Winstons Dozen my favourite books of 2017

I read and reviewed more than in the last couple of years so have decided to pick 12 books of the year.

Brothers by David Clerson

 

QCFINF16 - CoverBrothers_v9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two brothers go on a quest to find the father in a mythical coastal world. The older brother has an arm missing, the arm is his younger brother with his stumpy arms and legs. One of the first reads of this year and one of the funniest and strangest books I have read.

Havoc by Tom Kristensen

Danish modernist novel one mans downward spiral from journalist to drunkard. A lost gem of European modernist fiction coming out in 1930. Partly inspired by the writer’s own life.

Summer before the dark by Volker Weiderman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fictional meeting of Stefan Zweig and Joesph Roth in Ostend in the summer of 1936 two men at the height of there fame. Both their lives will take different roots after this meeting.

Compass by Mathias Enard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lament for a lost world of Syria and for a lost love as a man goes through a sleepless night as Franz dreams of Sarah and his romance alongside their travels.

The Major Refutation by Pierre Senges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An imagined thesis that discredits the discovery of the new world another quirky book that has had a champion it like a lot of the books on this list.

Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer

Post east german history told through the oldest profession and the characters involved in that industry as they go from simple german girls to digital and woman of all nations. Another Fitzcarradlo novel on the list.

Hair everywhere- Tea Tulic 

A family saga told from the daughter in fragments of stories as her mother is dying of cancer another wonderful choice from Istros books.

Belladonna  by Dasa Drndric

A novel for today a warning of ignoring the rise of right-wing rhetoric as a retirng academic looks back and forward on his life. from one of my favourite writers.

The ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila

The Ultimate Tragedy

Ndani story in postcolonial Guinea Bissau is the testament to what many young women have to do in her position to get by working in a family homemade to join the church and avoid the advance of the male head of the householder.

That’s how whales are born by Anxos Sumai

THAT’S HOW WHALES ARE BORN

This follows a young woman who had escaped to study whales in Mexico but her mother ill health bring her home to her Galician home and the secrets of the past.

Three days by Thomas Bernhard

A film he made years ago has a companion book a wonderful insight into a great writers feeling. I still love the lines I am a story destroyer.

The house of remembering and forgetting by Filip David

A man remembers his survival of the death camp and recalls it all after visiting an exhibition. I have loved the six peter own istros titles this year but this was my favourite of them.

A common thread in these books is families, loss, past and remembering. In the year I lost my mum this list maybe reflects my journey and how books help us get over things. What have been your books of 2017?

 

 

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