While the women are sleeping by Javier Marias

Source Library

Translator Margaret Jull Costa

Javier Marias is one of Spain’s top current writers his your face tomorrow trilogy is considered on fo the best spanish books published of recent year ,Javier ran away to paris at a young age ,translated English books into Spanish and taught Spanish literature at Oxford university.I did have your face tomorrow from library last year but was unable to reach it in time and read it so had to return it un read ,so saw this slim collection of short stories from the various points in his career   which is his most recent translation .

the stories all centre strange and unnatural ghost stories an homage to the English ghost stories in some ways ,the title story follow a large voyeuristic man  watching different women on the beach in their bikini’s   then his steady descent into darkness and shadowy world  ,in other tales a butler recounts an incident involving the lady of the house ,another tale is told by a dead man ,some one meeting the double in another .There are stories set around the world ,a lot involving english people Marias is well-known for his huge love of england .these range from the late sixties to mid nineties so show the breadth of Marias writing

It is quite possible that the main aim of ghosts ,if they do still exist ,is to thwart the desires of the mortal tenants ,appearing if their presences is unwelcome and hiding away if it is expected or demanded .

opening of one of the tales a kind of nostalgia perhaps

Now this book is only 128 pages long and contains ten tales ,what did I learn from it ? well Marias definitely likes england and the english there are enough characters thrown through these tales to mark him out as a Anglophile ,His pace is slow even in these shorts the pace is slow almost like watching Barcelona play gentle passing the ball or in this case slowly build the stories every time .One story has a made up bio of an English writer Lord Randall , which is a bit like Bolano another Spanish language writer and one of my favourite themes in writing ,made up writers bio just imaging the books that don’t really exist .    A great intro to a writer I want to get to know well in the future .the translation is by Margaret Jull Costa who has won awards with her other translations of his work

Have you read him ? if so what to try next ?

Merry christmas from winston and me

wow dad snow merry christmas from us

seasons greetings all .Hope you have a great christmas .

2666 XMAS TIME HAVING ROBERTO OVER FOR XMAS .

Well a quick post ,just wondering if any one fancy joining me with a Xmas readalong of 2666 Roberto Bolano’s masterpiece I m think starting about 20th of this month and reading through the Yuletide period and through to new year .I know its a busy time of year for people but any company be great as I tackle my second 900 plus book of the year .I ll be reading the us paperback version ,think it is same page count as UK version .

what give a book the X FACTOR !

Well call me shallow I ve used the fact it is the X FACTOR final tonight to do a book related post I hate the show it is a meaningless money-making venture for mr Cowell and doesn’t high light real talent which would be writing the songs they sing as a lover of sing /songwriters  a show that focused on that talent and help people establish a realistic career rather than a Warhol  15 mins of fame !

Well to the point what makes the X factor of A book I ve Pick 8 from the last year that on cover and style would make me buy them above others on the shelves .

 

The books are from top left clockwise –

The Whitsun wedding by Philip Larkin ,I love Larkin this is from Faber’s Poetry first collection the book reminds me a little of a ladybird books from my youth if a little large and with lovely end papers inside .

The last brother by Nathacha Appanah ,Now I think Maclehose always do wonderful covers this cover sums up this book tropical but sorrowful and would always catch my eye on the shelf .

Senselessness by H C Moya ,this is a wonderfully produced book from New directions ,and like last brother catches the spirit of this book a blood soaked report being read during the book .

The thousand autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell ,this is a tactile book ,but evokes its setting Japan also love the fact it goes all round the book so both front and back cover are beautiful wonderful foil detail make it glisten in the light .

Beside the sea by Veonique Olmi ,what more can I say I m a huge fan of all thing Peirene the cover ,font and flaps all perfect make reading these little gems a pleasure .

A year in the woods by Colin Elford ,the simple drawing throughout this book and eye pleasing font size made it a lovely book to read and own .But most of all a gift from my lovely wife made it special to me .

Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher ,I ve yet to get to this but read few Arabic books in summer so will get to this early next year I love the raised effect on this cover making it very tactile in your hand ,this was the arabic booker winner .

 

lastly

Intimate stranger by Breyten Breytenbach ,this is one of the lovely books published by non-profit publisher Archipelago books in the us I ve three from them and will get more next year there books are truly wonderful and quirky square print on heavy paper with unusual cover art .

SO WHAT GIVE A BOOK THE X FACTOR FOR YOU WHEN IN THE BOOKSHOP ?

 

 

Purge the Prize winner

winner 2010 sofi oksanen

Sofi Oskannen together with Robert Saviano for a essay called beauty and Hell won the Le PrixLivree europeaan the European book prize in its third year the award site is here .This goes with the Nordic Council prize Purge won earlier this year .My review is here

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