Many of you are aware i just had a week from hell my Mum had been ill for a while but three weeks ago end up in Hospital intially for a few days but over time her liver was in failure due in part to a genetic condition , even then she was due to go to be assesed for a new liver in a month or so , we got a call from my aunt who had been there with my mum saying she was worse than we knew so My brother and I went a week last friday and saw how ill she was and planned to come on the weds but by sun she was in ICU which time Duncan and I went everyday a six hour return journey to see here and then on weds last week she lost her battle , even know I feel numb and books have been far from my mind i did manage to read Black mose and part of the Unseen so keeping track with Shadow Man booker duty . I hope to get my reviews done in time but this year I am taking a back seat on the prize for this year . I am thankful for all the nice messages everyone left me on facebook . I am taking it a day at a time at the mo ,still not sunk in .
16 Mar 2017 5 Comments
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.
12 Mar 2017 9 Comments
It is a few day til we see the longlist for this years Man booker international prizes , this is the first in the post Boyd era Boyd Tonkins being a judge in all the IFFP and the first man booker so it will beinteresting to see if the panel changes tack with the books on the list. I have select only from books I have read in the last twelve months since the prize .
Sudden death by Alvaro Enrique
A tennis match spreads around thew world at the start of the enlightenment , the second book by him I have read and the best mexican novel from last year .
Affections by Rodrigo Hasbun
A second spanish language novel , last year was a great yeaer for spanish lit yet none made the longlist , this follows a mad german explorer and his family in 1950’s Bolivia .
The winterlings by Christina Sanchez-Andrade
Another spanish novel this follows two ssters returning home after somehting cause them to leave the village many years ago .
Moonstone by Sjon
I am a huge fan of Sjon and the story of Mani is dickensian in style with a backdrop of classic films and a flu epidemic
Consteliation by Adrien Bosc
A french pklane crashes and we have pen pics of the crew and paassengers a cross section of the modern world from the disney merchandise cheif to some spanish shepards on hunt for a better life .
Trysting by Emmanuelle Pagano
love broken into bare words stripped of who and why beautiful in its brittleness like a leaf skelton of love
Land of my Father by Vamba Sheriff
A freed slave returns to Africa but then want to convert the locals to God at what cost
None like her by Jela Krecic
A man goes on the hunt for lovve a slovenian fonz tries to find the one
Panorama by Dusan Sarotar
Simply this is what translated fiction is about the ripple effect of a writer like Sebald hits Slovenian and produces a true gem , as I’ve said I can’t see why Istros haven’t been on the list !!!!!
2084 by Boualem Sansal
A new take on 1984 in a ISlamic style country , powerful writing from one of the best writers around
Compass by MAthias Enard
Another look at the arab world as a man can’t sleep we see his previous love and the run around the arab world that is no longer there , also the influence of east on western culture .
Book 12 –
Of books I haven;t read here is a selection I think could be there –
War and War laszlo Krasznahorkai
Fever dream by Samantha Schweblin
Transmigration of bodies by Yuri Herrera
are three that may make it also as ever Peirene have had three good books the empress and the cake is a great look at eating disorders .
09 Mar 2017 3 Comments
The Principle by Jerome Ferrari
Original title – Le Principe
Translator – Howard Curtis
Source – review copy
Well from a new French writer to me yesterday with Pierre Senges to an old favourite of this blog Jerome Ferrari has had his two earlier books translated into English The sermon on the fall of Rome and Where I left my soul. He won the Prix Goncourt with his last novel and lived in Abu Dhabi where he teaches Philosophy. but now lives in Casablanca , like his other novels I have read this is a look back at recent history this time he has looked back at those fever years of the war when scientists where trying to build the Bomb.
You were twenty-three years old , and it was there, on that desolate island where no flowers grow, that you were first granted the opportunity to look over god’s shoulder,There was no miracle, of course, or eve to be honest , anything resembling God;s shoulder, but to give an account of what happened that night, our only choice, as you know better than anyone, is between metaphor and silence . For you , there was first silence, then the blinding light of an exhilaration more precious than happiness
This the time he made his famous uncertain principle
we are drawn into the world of Germany in the early 1930’s and onwards when the country falls under a dark shadow of the Nazis, we follow the life of Werner Heisenberg , a man best known know for his uncertain principle .We glimpse into his world one of knowledge , but he was best known for something he worked out many years earlier his principle . we see his life unfold drawn into the Nazis world of the hunt for the Bomb as he was the one that made classic science become the atomic age of science he is at the forefront. What we see is how a man of science and his own principles has to walk a tight line of the age he is trying but not trying if you know what I mean ! Faced with a world he didn’t expect to be in from those early days of discovery .
They’re all bored to death
Something in them becomes gradually worn pout over the endless weeks
Professor Heisenberg plays Mozart sonatas, by heart on the piano. Nobody listens to him anymore. Every day, Professor Hahn walks for hours in the garden, never tiring .He calculates the distance he’s covered. If he’d walked straight ahead , he would have crossed the sea. By know he would have been ages in Germany
They struggle to get the Bomb made .
This was a clever novel that is a good autobiography in a novel form of a figure , that was at the heart of the burning atomic age a man who provide the turning point in the way people thought of Physics. Like his earlier books lament and sorrow under lie the main character in a way also like his earlier books he deals with how people deal with those situation where we have no chance to turn and the world seems in utter chaos. In Where I left my soul it was the Algerian war and the sermon which was an angrier look back at his childhood homeland as ever using his poetic writing style to look at one person struggle in this world . Here it is the madness of the Nazis and Hitler wanting the Bomb before the allies. There is similarities in style too In search of Klingsor by Jorge Volpi which was also a look at the same group of people in this novel from a different angle where they try to find the top man in the programme. An interesting look at the times .
08 Mar 2017 3 Comments
The Major Refutation by Pierre Senges
Original title – La réfutation majeure
Translator – Jacob Siefring
Source – review copy via translator
I have from time to time be contacted by the translator to review their latest book and this was the case with Jacob , whom I knew vaguely via twitter and the fact he has been championing this writers work. He has translated a number of works by Pierre Senges . Pierre Senges start initially as a jazz musician , this I note as later I do wonder if this hs influenced his style of writing . He has been a writer since the 1990s and has written over fifteen books and also a large number of works for radio in France. He is noted for his baroque style and the way he twists history with a way of keeping the original style to his works .
If this New world actually existed, if its measure could be had in hectares and in tons, or maliciously in carats to reflect the value of its diamond mines, or in nautical miles because it is semmingly capable of devouring an entire hemisphere as a crab would , going from north to south and from east to west- if this were the case , then adventures would have set foot there long ago ,smugglers failing to find better use for their discovery would have taken it as their refugee
From the opening page of the Major Refutation , this seems true how could something so large be unknown !
This book is meant to be a work that was written by Antonio De Guevara , this is a work that was mention supposedly and lost then found and it is a work The book is a work about trips to discover what is the new world then to send people these written as a treatise to Charles V , about the falsehood of the new world. this is back in a time when of course some people thought the earth was flat and places unknown on maps were often just marked with the words here be monsters ! De Guevara argument is that the new world isn’t all it is meant to be and is a creation by others to deceive the king and other and De Gueveara brings many arguments to why this is the case in what are letter like chapters.
The invention of the new world and of the useless islands supposed the invention of evidence, fabricated on this side f the earth, on the continent, in the portuguese colonies perhaps but always brought back into port; for it is impossible to make a country of fog,of phantoms and of gleaming gold exist out there with out having some exotic but tangible scraps wash up on our beaches .Some talk might have sufficed; our taverns are full of those boasters returned from afar, full of one-armed men who clasped in an embrace the great Khan of China and the incestuous gang of prester John
The New World is made up of lies , boasters and false goods
When I started blogging the real hunt for me wasn’t just world lit , no I could just count countries I do but not in a race . For me the reason I blog is to be like an explorer of books a discoverer of fiction , an adventure on the edge of what the novel is and this is why getting connect with guy like Jacob and been introduce to a writer like Pierre Senges this book is a book that has thanks to the time Jacob spent translating it , you can find out more on Jacobs blog . This is a book that defies pigeonholed .For me the fact in his early life he was into jazz and was a musician plays a part in this book , great jazz can take something ordinary and twist it and bend it into something totally new.so like John Coltrane in his working of my favourite things we have some part of the original . Well lets break this down Fray Antoino de Guevera was a preacher and his preaching was about peace and a different vision of what empire was , Charles the fifth was the spanish lead at the time the new world was discovered. So the parts are their want Pierre Senges has done is create a rift on the two men and the idea of there being a treatise on there not being a new world . I loved this as Jacob said it is a unusal book and one that if he hadn’t pushed we wouldn’t have read , one great thing is so many transltors have there pet projects and maybe publisher need listen to them more (a sublte nod here to Horcynus Orca which I know is a pet project of Andrea Camelleri translator ), how many more are out there !!