Drilling Through Hard Boards by Alexander Kluge

Drilling Through Hard Boards by Alexander Kluge

German Political fiction

Original title – Das Bohren Harter Bretter

Translator – Wieland Hoban

Source – personal copy

This is the third book by the German writer Alexander Kluge I have read he is fast becoming one of my favorite writers this collection caught my eye as it is slightly different it was a collection of 133 political stories. This is including a couple stories from his fellow German writer Reinhard Jirgl as Kluge says telling stories is a very social activity. Kluge is one of those writers that isn’t easy to pigeonhole, he has so many talents he is both a member of the group 47 writers but is also a leading light of the New German cinema. Kluge has also written a lot of things for television. He is a truly unique talented individual and should be better known over here!

 A number of tourists arrive at the Federal chancellery steamboat jett. They do not want to visit the Federal chancellery but, rather, the HOUSE OF THE CULTURES OF THE WORLD. In front of this heritage protected building, two stalls offer Baked potatoes and Bratwurst respectively, accompanied by beerr. A band is rehearsing loudly for the evening on the roof of the building. They already knew how to use the loudspeakers before they start rehearsing. The rehersal serves to mark there territory in the culturual garden.

Maybe a sly look at how peoples nedds and views have changed in recent years

The book is divided into five rough categories of stories like in his other books he uses a style that is all his own he creates a sort of mosaic with his stories. They stretch from the mundane things like the description of the steamboat jetty near the Federal Chancellory one of the small vignettes that create bigger pictures through Il Duce intelligence. Obama this is Kluge he jumps from place to place each short piece. What he dies is mix the real and fake together. There is pieces from Jirgl which imagine the events around the  Keneady Krushchev meeting and what happened. Funny tales like the highest mountain taking a comment from Gorky and then explain that there was first Lenin peak then there had been a higher Stalin peak found. he moves from the mundane German politicians through Russian Politics and the events like Glasnost then minor observances like the Big wheel at Chernobyl set up at the time for the annual Mayday that stayed for years after. He also looks at how we view politics and those who serve us. The title comes from an observance from Max Weber described politics as ” a strong, slow drilling through hard boards with both passion and judgment “. this is what spurred Kluge to write this collection that makes the reader think like his other books.

The same organizational power that kept all sections of the USSr going was responsible for the annual preparations for LABOUR DAY, 1May, as well as the pouros planning (carelessness, techinical concentrates and disruption of responsibilties) that led to the ACCIDENT IN BLOCK 4 at Chernobyl on 26 pril 1986. The town had already been evacuated. But the leisure facilities for the 1 May celebrations, no longer noticed by anyone, were still set up. Towering above them was a striking big wheel that stayed there for another two years because no one dared take own this contaminated device. It stood there rigidly waiting for te rust in the coming winter. The mute witness to a memorieal day and the scenic ruin, covered by invisible lava, of the technological district: TWO POLTICALLY OPPOSING SIGNS OF HUMN LABOUR.

A nugget of information a small footnote in history the MAY day wheeel left after the disaster in Chernobyl

Kluge is a hummingbird of a writer he likes to fly from flower to flower he has a mind that seems to never rest. The book is one of those that like his fellow German writer Sebald that defies pigeonholes and like Sbebald he loves to mix fiction, non-fiction biography, and photos the images help build with the stories and vignettes. it becomes like a web of knowledge an interconnection tube map of stops that lead us one way and then back and then cross over. All in all,  It makes us all think about what is politics what does it serves and also lifts the lid on the post-war german years. Also the philosophy of politics and the history of politics. this is what I have come to expect from Kluge his books have left me as a reader feeling like I have been to a buffet or like a cosmos where there is a bit of everything you are full the food is rich and the here his ideas small large the vignettes from a few lines to a few pages each can lead you one a different tangent of thought. Have you ever read Kluge? if so which shall I try next.

Winston score – B thought-provoking work from a writer that needs to be better known in the UK

 

 

To see out the night by David Clerson

To see out the night by David Clerson

Quebec fiction

Original title –  Dormir sans tête

Translator – Katia Grubisic

Source – review copy

If you have followed this blog over the last couple of years. You will know how much I have loved the books that the Canadian publisher QC fiction has been bringing out. Here is the second book by one of my favorite writers David Clerson his book The brothers is a strange tale of two brothers on is made from the limb of his bigger brother here we have a collection of twelve short stories by Clerson. I decide to review it as early as I could get away with as like his earlier novel these stories are a real treat to the reader.

The summer was unbearably hot. Louis’s apartment was an oven, and he sat in the sweltering heat reading about primates. He learned that orangutans were solitary and territorial, that they ate fruit, shoots,eggs,insects, and invertebrates, and that they are constantly on the move building a new nest of branches every night. The cries of the males were powerful, and could be carry over a kilometer or kore. Louis could almost here them in the distance. The fangs of an ape in one photograph terrified.He saw others, victims of hunters or held in poacher cages

He vecomes obsessed and feels an ape with in him as he learns more about the great apes.

I am not a huge short story fan as the blog will show I have reviewed a few collections but my real love is novels except when in this case it is one of those writers I have loved in the past like Clerson so this collection really appealed to me as a reader and fan of books from Quebec on the whole.  So We start with the story of Louis he is a security guard that watches a show about orangutans and over time sees himself becoming like an ape over time as he starts to lose touch with the world first he loses his job then he loses his house and ends up living wild almost like an ape that is within him. Then we have tales about a writer and the next one story that grabbed me is a tale of a secret underground city hidden in Montreal in a way a sort of sly nod and joke towards and maybe at  Toronto’s Path system the series of tunnels walkways and underground passages that link that city up as a pascal discovers the city under the city is a maze of passages and secret tooms and secrets below the city. Then we have stories of woods and death there is always a sense of transition in the stories of becoming something at times of want to change. A really surreal tale of the dog with no head which in a way reminds me of the brothers a tale of a dog born with no head and its care is a bizarre tale that ranks along with the oddest stories I have ever read.

Clara’s dog was born without a head one July morning, during the hottest days of summer. The mother had whelped by the cedar hedge in one of the few shady spots in theyard, flies buzzing around ger, The bitch died as her only baby was being born. Paul the fat guy who lived nearby , had come to watch. Maybe , paul suggeted, the animals head had stayed trapped in the mother’s body in her womb. Paul’s twin sons laughed when they heard his explination. When they got back home, they drew pictures in marker of huge bellies filled with animal heads. But clara held the puppy inher hands, talking to him where his head would have been, as if she’d ben whisering into the shell of an ear.

The opening of the story the dog without a head a bizzare tale of a dog with no head and his owner.

If you loved the brother it is easy to say you will like this collection it has a dash of Kafka “dark twisted lives and sense of not know quite what is going on” and Will Self at his best years ago ” like his grey area where it had a feeling like this at times” then add a pinch of the surreal humor of comics like league of gentlemen and  noel fielding those dark corners of comedy and tragedy. there is a theme of man and animal whether becoming a beast or insect or caring for a dog with no head the connection with nature and man at times is dark here. I loved this it is a collection that will last long in the reader’s mind. Another gem from QC is a great evening read the stories are all short 12 pages being the longest stories in the collection. What is your favorite short stories? Winstons score – A+ just perfect

Come with me by Nicola Viceconti

Come with me Nicola Viceconti

Italian fiction

Original title – Vieni Via

Translator – Laura Bennett

Source – review copy

I have reviewed one book from the new publisher Aspal Prime that has here a prize-winning Italian novel from the writer-poet and sociologist Nicol Viceconti a writer of over ten books. A lot of his works have focussed on Latin America where he has worked particularly in Argentina where he was award an honor by the people of Buenos Aires and was called an Italian with an Argentina soul. He likes to travel and has a real interest in Human rights his writing has been called Novelas por la identidad”  which means in search of identity here it is an old professor looking at his past as he hunts an old flame.

Someone had taken Irina to Vladivostok, away from me forever. What if that was really happed, I wondered in a low voice.

Even just the vey thought of this theory sent a shiver down my spine. I dropped the coat on the floor and, still clutching the note in my hand, sank into the chair ]. I closed my eyes and fell back into the seat. I began to wonder about what had haoopend to her. While my eyes followedthe words from one side of the paper to the pther. I heard their sound, as if she was saying them. Suddenly eveything had imagined about her vainshed, bursting like a bubble.

The note is found is his imagined version of what happened right or was it different

Eighty-year-old franco Solfi had completely forgotten about a young Russian girl he had met in the sixties when he was a communist in Paris and not as tainted as he was now.  when she disappeared he thought she had died Irina. But when he finds an old note, that had been left for him in a coat he hadn’t used since that time and the discovery is like a Proustian Madeline as it reignites something he had forgotten.  he is convinced it is a sign and decides to go on a journey to discover what happened to Irina a journey that goes into the past and mix history the cold war and these two peoples journeys as he first goes to Paris and then into what was Irina Homeland as he tries to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago was it was he imagined was all that it seemed at the time as this is a flip of being a communist in the Paris and living under communism in the sixties in Russia the trip will take him to Moscow then through to Siberia and then even to Mexico city. Will he find out if Irina is alive will the present heal the past?

I decided to travel by tain for two reasons: on the one hand I wanted to enjoy the landscape of Europe I had almost forgotten on the other, I needed to give myself the time needed to reflect on some episodfes of my life spent with Irina, A thrity six hour journey seemed to take stock of the situation before I suddenly found my self catapulted into the past.

I have always lived travelling by train. I must have inherited the passion for it frommy uncle Renato, my father’s brother, who spent fifty years of his life as a train driver on the line that went from Rome to the lake as Castel Gandolfo. It was the fifties and to the delight of romans, this, one of the most scenic routes in central Italy had recently been open.

He heads into his past as he tries to foind put what happened to Irina all those years ago.

One of the things I have found over the years is there are so many books not translated you only have to look at the blog the untranslated that covers those gems that have yet to find a translator or have been signed up and never got to us in English so many great books await us so we have books like this a writer that has published a number of books but given his style which is a mix of Latin American and Italian in his style. this book finishes in Mexico and this is all parts that he wanted to bring into the bok the militants of the sixties a certain type of Italian that is marked by Franco then he wants to touch on certain events in Mexico in the 40s, 50s and 60s and then he wanted to use Irina as a way of connecting all these ideas as we follow Franco as he looks for her and in a way discovers what happened to make him the disillusioned 80 years old he is on a quest a short of Odessey into the truth. This is another perfect example of why small publishers do such a great job.

Winstons Score – B is a gem about one man’s journey into his past

That was the month that was August 2021

  1. The return of the Caravels by Antonio Lobo Antunes
  2. Some kind of company by Nan Ostman
  3. Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen
  4. The Liquid land by Raphaela Edelbauer
  5. The Innocence of Memories by Orhan Pamuk
  6. Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro
  7. The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan
  8. The Others by Raül Garrigasait

This month saw me read and review 8 books I am still on course to reach the 100 reviews for the year. We started with a novel that saw the great figures from Portugal’s past return to the post-Salazar Country and what had happened over time. Then I had released when I reviewed these two books for Woman in Translation month these two Nordic novels sort form a tale end of lives the first a look at that “Emptynester” world of people when their that sees the home is empty and they have to get on or not. Then a rough and poor childhood. Then a quirky novel from Austria a hidden village a grieving daughter that gather all isn’t well in the village as they just carry on. Then a companion piece to Pamuk’s novel follows a film he made about his Museum that was based on the novel or came because of the novel. Then a crime novel or more a novel about a mother finding out about her daughter’s death and what really happened and why? Then a childhood in Turkey is the first of three books following a guest worker’s life from when she grew up in Turkey and then in Germany. Then the last is a Prussian officer in a Spanish war Historic novel that has a fourth-wall-breaking narrative.

Book of the month

I just loved all the books this month but this book by Pamuk gripped me I loved the novel The museum of innocence about a doomed love affair is about that but also an ode to a lost city that isn’t there a city of dark alleys and uncertain places that has now gone as the city grew.

Other non-book events

We had a few trips to the peaks this month. But the main event in my life was a new car I had my late stepmother’s old car as my first car which although 15 years old had a low mileage it broke down just before my nights but was better than in the morning after a night shift. So after a visit to the garage we decided the cost of repairs was too much so with help from family I have a newer car yet unnamed but I have Suzuki Baleno which I am loving driving. But miss my first car as it had a large sentimental value to me and memories of Amanda and I trips out since I started driving a couple of months ago.

Next Month

Well as there isn’t anything in particular in the blogging world unless I have missed something so I have a lot of new books to read as I near the 2000th post on the blog which is 19 posts away. So I have a number of books from Eastern Europe near the end of the month I am taking a trip to Scotland for a welcome break after the last 18 months. what plans do you have ?

The Others by Raül Garrigasait

The Others by Raül Garrigasait

Spanish (Catalan) fiction

Original title – Els estranys

Translator – Tiago Miller

Source – review copy

I end this year’s Spanish lit month with another book from the publisher of Catalan fiction Fum D’Estampa press.This interesting take on a historic novel has an interesting angle and style to it. This was the prize-winning novel from the Translator and writer Raül Garrigasait he has translated a number of books from both Greek and German into Catalan.Plato, Goethe, Alexandros Papadiamandis, Joseph Roth, and Peter Sloterdijk are all writers he has translated he is involved with a project to translate a number of classics into Catalan. The other is his debut novel and won a couple of big [rizes when it came out in Spain.

Wieldemann wandered through the grounds of the sanctuary.Next to an entrance both of old, dark stone, the roofless pillars and arches held themselves aloft among the nettlesx and weeds, surrounded by an assortment of discarded rocks. It was nothing more than half finished, abandonedbuilding but there was something apocalypitic about it. He went into the empty church; all the pews had been removed all the way up to the Baroque altarpiece where golden figures ornaments shone in one gleaming glorious mess

Erarly on as he heads to the war but does he he finds an abandon building .

The others are set mainly in the late 1830s as the Carlist war is being thought in Spain. We view the war we viewed through the adventures of a young Prussian that has come to fight in the war.  Rudolf Van Wielemann is a young man trying to prove himself. He believes in the war and has high hopes to be in the forefront of the action but when he ends up in a small town he is struggling to get on with the odd set of locals he is a true outsider no language skills the comrades he wants think at times he is |Russian that is how he ends up at the hospital with a doctor in the small town as he is fish out of the water. The only real connection he makes is with a doctor who when they talk we see how the war has touched them both. as they have a shared love of music.  We follow his adventures on the edge of the war as he tries to find out who he is what to do when the war isn’t at his door. it tackles the absurd nature of the war and the absurd nature of it. The book has another dimension which sees Rudolf and his time being looked up by the writer as a number of chapters do a clever piece of autofiction as the fourth wall is broken and the writer becomes a character in the book and how he came up with the idea for the book with a character he found that was there at the time.

Between the pages on Wielemann, responisibility dictates I must translate, at least a bit

When it came to writing ,Prince Lichnowsky had no time for verbose or ornate prose, trather making his words fall in with the style of a competent commander, sure , efficent, exact. Given his importance he placed on calling things by their name, his book it as free from lyrical outpouring as his life was. Nevertheless, on the few occasions he did feel inclined to poetry he drew less on his military resolve, always knowing where to draw the line.

One of the chapters about the writer writing ther book, her finds a prussian charcater from the time.

I enjoyed this book it takes that over the approach to war we that of not being in the frontline so we have a chance to see the boring side of a conflict where we can sometimes gleam the absurd nature of war but also young men can discover themselves at the same time as not fighting a war.I also liked the way he moved to his writing of the book by breaking the fourth wall narrative about researching the book and how he came up with the idea of a Prussian character. There are touches of books like The good soldier Schwelk and The tartar steppes the latter where we see a young man guarding a similar distant outpost of the war. There is a mix of absurd nature and pathos of wart also of not quite getting to the front.An interesting mix of war and coming of age in a way Rudolf set of to find himself and prove something to his family but winds up not doing so but maybe finds out more about himself. Have you a favourite novel that is set in a war but not at the front line ?

Winstons score – +B An interesting take on the historic novel with a clever second narrative in the present.

The Blacksmiths Daughter by Selim Özdoğan

The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan

German fiction

Orignal title – Die Tochter des Schmieds

Translator – Ayça Türkoğlu and Katy Derbyshire

Source – review copy

I’m a bit late reviewing this book from the German/Turkish writer Selim Özdoğan the book was a cult hit when it came out in Germany as it seemed to capture the experience of a lot of the Turkish families that came to be foreign workers in Germany. This is the first part of a trilogy around the life of one girl in Anatolia Turkey. the first part is her childhood in the ’50s a story of many that came to Germany at the time. This is the German equivalent to me of Windrush literature in the Uk as a lot of Turkish people came to do those jobs that Germans wouldn’t do.

When he bagan working in the Timur took up this habit from his father. He would often put sweets in Fatma’s skirt. He must have been 14 or 15 at the time, and she was 10 years younger he remembered the girl’s smile, Nobody knew anything specific about Fatma’s parents some said they’d be greek , some Aramaeans and others claimed she was the daughter of Circassians. All they could agree upon was that the  couple had arrived in the town after the confussion of the first world war.Fatma’s father died before she was born, One day he complained of a back poain, and two week later cancer had taken hold of his entire body. fatma mother began working as a  nanny to a rich family to feed herself and her daughter.When she was six months old her mother was trampled to death by horses in the marketplace

There mother had a tough life

The story follows the early years of a little girl called  Gül she and her two sisters were the daughters of the Blacksmith Timur and his first wife Fatma. They live in a small village as the girls live in this idyllic yet closed world they go to school as they see that as the only way to go beyond the village there is some great little scenes in the school like when she takes the fall for a boy who is the naughty school kid. Timur has followed his father into the blacksmith trade the life seems perfect until their rural village is hit with typhoid and their mother passes barely in the bed cold when his father takes a younger woman just a few years older than his daughter. Arza had been married to a man that hadn’t given her a baby so she marries Tuimur as she wants a baby. But whilst Fatma was dying he let his business slip add to this he had fallen out with a fellow villager that had turned on Timur so they head to a town but this is where the girls start to feel that they don’t need and the new mother would love to see them out of the scene. This sets up the second book which follows them into Germany.

“It was me,” Gul said; she had no idea whyit slipped out. Recep wan’t eben her friend.He was the son of a good friend of her mother’s and people thought the reason he was so naughty was that he didn’t have a father; the man had gone to Istanbul one day and never come back, or so they said.

The teacher turned around and looked at Gül  for a few sconds. He knew it hadn’t been her, but he called her to the front and made her stretch out her left hand, palm upwars, He had to amintain her authority.

I loved this little scene in the book

I loved the feel of this world a village life that I feel has now gone anyone that knows me and the blog knows that villages have long been a favorite setting for this blogger. This had a feel of the world I read in stones in a landslide another book that sees a girl grown then move to a new bigger place. The book is also a testament to those guest workers that went in the ’60s and ’70s to Germany their story hasn’t been told much. As Katy said in an interview this is why she used a co-translator as she wanted the book to keep some of the Turkish feels it had in the german version. Gul has guts her story as Katy says in the interview it is one that is rarely told. This is a county novel a place that is timeless but is now gone these are Pamuk’s characters before they are drawn to Istanbul or as in the case her to Germany to try and find a better life like those who came to the Uk from the Caribean in Windrush era. Have you a favorite book set in a village?

Winstons score – A . this is a gem of a book about village life in a bygone world on the cusp of change

Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro

Elena Knows by Claudia  Piñeiro

Argentinean crime fiction

Original title – Elena sabe

Translator – Francis Riddle

Source – Review copy

I have often looked at books by the Argentina writer Claudia Piñeiro her books were previously brought out by Bitter Lemon press I have one on my shelves All yours which I have had on my shelves for a couple of years but when this arrived from Charco Press a publisher whose books over recent years.  I have really enjoyed it. The new book also mentions she is one of the most translated writers from Argentina and also has won awards for crime and lit fiction.  I decided it was time to read a book by her and with the mention of Thomas Bernhard on the back of the cover and a quote from his book Gargoyles at the start I knew this was the right book to start. The book is set over the course of one day as a mother tries to find out what happened to her daughter.

The trick is to lift up the right foot, just a few centimetres off the floor, move it forward through the air, just enough to get oast the left, and when it gets as far as it can go, lower it. That’s all it is Elena thinks. But she think this, and even though her brain orders the movement, her right foor dosen’t move forward through the air. It does not lower back down. It’s so simple. Nut it doesn’t do it So Elena wits and waits. In her kitchen. She has to take the train into the city at ten O’clock; the one after that , the eleeven O’clock, won’t do because she took the pill at nine.

She captures Elena’s struggle to move through her Parkinson’s

Elena is in her sixties and has Parkinson’s the book follows the day. The book follows her medication regime so we see how the symptoms of the disease mean this day will be a real ordeal for her so as the tablets help ease the pain she has she heads out across the city.As Elena does this she fills in the parts of Elena’s life. She has set out to find out what happened to her daughter Rita a devout churchgoer that was found hanging in the church she used to go to but it had been stormy and raining that day and she never went in storms as she had a phobia of lightening These and other things around her daughters’ death that aren’t just right. And she feels the police who opened and closed the case quickly saying it was suicide. She found out that her daughter had a connection to a woman Isobel a friend of the two of them whom she hadn’t seen in 20 years and this is what the day is about to find out what she had to do with Isobel and can she find some more out about Rita. Will it answer the questions she had? will she learn more and why did Rita end up at the church?

From the start Father juan was one of the least willing to talk about it, repeatedly deflecting Inspector Avellenda’s attempts to meet with him. Either you’re not insistent enough on Father Juan takes you for an Idiot, Inspector You’re not saying I should add him to the list of suspects are you Elena ? i already told you, you have the obligation to investigate all possible theroies Elena waited for the right time,, not too close to the daily masses, or the hours reserved for confessions, or to siesta.

Such a tight window to talk with dfather Juan what had the church to do with Rita’s death ?

This is the afterword is an attempt to relaunch Piñeiro as a more lit writer which this book is at its heart is a question that are larger than Rita death of the Church and the country the book was written just as the laws around Abortion changed in Argentina when the book came out in 2007  maybe that was something to do with it but you need to read the bok=ok. Know the question of Bernhard it is mention there is a style of writing like his and there is Elena journey has pacing like a Bernhard novel I think of something like his book which also takes place over a period of time and there is also a bitterness driving Elena to discover the truth of what happened. As her books from what I read have a crime element but also a large dollop of woman and Issues and social Issues. I will be reading her other book for next year’s Spanish lit month as her is a perfect crossover for both the second month of Spanish lit month and Woman in Translation month. Have you read her other books ?

Winstons score – B+ A great intro to a new writer to the blog

 

The Innocence of Memories by Orhan Pamuk

The Innocence of Memories by Orahn Pamuk

Turkish Non-Fiction

Original title -Hatıraların Masumiyeti

Translator – Ekin Oklap

Source – Personal copy

I take a move away from Spanish and Woman in translation. I brought this a week or two ago and just had to read it I have loved Pamuk’s book and was drawn into his love of his hometown Istanbul when he did an episode of the Imagine art series a couple of years ago. This book is about a film he made with the British director Grant Gee about his Musual which came about from the novel he wrote about a distant relative Kemal who married a poorer cousin that is the basis of the novel the Museum of Innocence which I reviewed a when it came out.

I wrote the novel while thinking of the museum, and created the mesum while thinking of the novel, The museum was not just some idea i chanced upon after the succes of the book, nor was it a case of the succes of the Meseum begetting the novel, like the boook  ersion of some blockbuster film, In fact, I conceiived the book and the museum simultanesouly, and explained their intricate connection in the novel; a young man from a wealthy, weesternised Istanbul family falls in love with a poor distant relative, and when hus love goes unrequitted, he finds solace in collecting everything his beloved has ever touched, finally as we learn at the end of the novel hje takes all these everyday objects he has accumlated- post cards, photographsm matchsticks, saltshakers, keys,dress, film clips, and toys, mementos of his doomed love affair and of the Istanbul of the 1970’s and 1980s whose streets he wandered with his lover 0 and puts them on display in Istanbuls Museum of Innocence

The opening paragraph sums up what happened and how it all came about!

The book is formed from the audio tour of the Museum which won the best European Museum in 2014. The idea had been in Pamuk’s mind since the 1990s when he started to collect things as he says in the book the city had started to change at such a pace he needs to keep some of the past there. o when he found the 2000 cigarettes Kemal had kept smoked by Fusun with the touches of her lipstick that he, as he said, wrote a novel that became a real museum. HE brought there home and the floors above and he has made a place that captures what it was like to be Kemal and Fussun at that point. The guide has Orhan talking, Kemal, and people they knew. Then Orhan saw a film by the English Director Grant Gee the one he made about Sebald’s book the rings of Saturn, I myself have watched this film a number of times myself. So he asked if Grant could do a film on this and they met this is a later section in the book where he tells of him and Grant wandering the city for eight hours talking and Gee talks of his lover of Maker’s work especially Sans Soleil another work I like what they came about with is a film that is the title of the book is also the title of the work that Grant Gee and Orhan Pamuk made together I have yet to see this but will love it.

AYLA: There is no daylight in the Museum of Innocence. It feels like night and dreaming. Perhaps this is why it was so easy for me to feel at home there. Once I found myself starting with a powerful sense of Deja vu at a photograph of a salep vendor on the Galata Bridge at night. It took me a while to realise that, like many of the other photographs in the meseum, it is by Ara Giuler. Like all Istanbullus of my generation, I have seen some of his photographs o many times that I confuse them with my own memories of the city

I lived this reaction and the theme of the night and the city is here

I think this is a book that most people that read this blog will love. It has a lot of traits that I like a book around memories I love books that talk about the past about what has been lost and her it is the Istanbul of his youth and at its heart the love story. of Kemal and Fusun even thou it is doomed. This has inspired a novel, a film, and a Museum. The book is interspersed with pictures of the museum and exhibits. What leaps out of the book is his love of Istanbul especially at night and the way it used to be the lost place the streets have gone things like the wild dogs wandering the streets. He talked about this on the Imagine show and how he wandered at night. Have you read any Non-fiction by Pamuk?

Winstons score – A A ode to a book and city

 

The Liquid land by Raphaela Edelbauer

The Liquid Land by Raphaela Edelbauer

Austrian fiction

Original title – Das flüssige Land

Translator – Jen Calleja

Source – review copy

My second woman in translation month book takes me to Austria and a book that was on both the German and Austrian book prize lists make the German book prize shortlist in 2019. Raphaela Edlebauer studied philosophy and has published in numerous publications since 2009 and has had three books published two of them novels and this her first novel was written with a grant she got to write it. She grew up in Hinterbruhl which has a location near it that was the inspiration for the village of Gross-einland in the novel Liquid land a satellite camp, that was making plane parts in the second world war in an area surrounded by former mining sites. Which is similar to the village in the novel.

It was the fourth day of my journey in the Alpine foothills, and I sat down with the nearly split bread rolls in order to plan my trip for the day. As id this inconsqnential rhythm of stopping off at inns, contemplation, dinner, sleep and breakfast buffets were leading me to utter lethargy. I decided every morning  to uphold it. I hadn’t yet been able to let go of the hope of finding Greater Einland I loved simplicity of the conditions.

A village that has disappeared into the ether !

The book follows Ruth Schwarz as she has to deal with the death of her parents in a car crash. She is in the middle of her final thesis at university about the fluid nature of time and is struggling to finish this when the death arrives. This means she has to go back to her parent home village the lost vilage it seems of Greater Einland a village that her parents was form but seems to have diappeared in the time since they left eventually she arrives and start to dort out arrangments of her parents funeral. She is only thinking this may take her a few days but as she starts to speend time in the village she finds the village is caught out of time as the countess the head in a way of the village has tried to stop the effects of time on the village so it is a place oiut of time and also siting in the middle of lots of former mines as this is causing holes to appear around the area and the village seems to be oblivous to this and she evens finds that they already have the answer to why these things are happening with the details held with in the town Library ? What has happent ot make thew Countees act like this what has happen to the village and as time seems to stretch and days become weeks will Rith ever leave Greater Einland as those days she had intend to spend become weeks as she is drawn into find out why all this has happened.

It wasn’t until a few days after the strange encounter with the Countess that it occurred to me that I’d had missed my appointment for the funeral arrangements. I hurriedly called the company’s office from the reception and invented a tall tale about a psychological breakdown, The lady in the secretary’s office gave me a new appointment for the following day without complaint, and asked whether I happened to already know when my parents be transferred.

I said that I didn’t, and [romised to be in touch again soon, Too restless to work, I listened, lying on the floor back in my room, to a coulle of  Chet Baker albums I’d brought in a second hand shop, which fused with the autumn weather.

She meets the Countess and then time slips through her hands

The book has echos of things like the village in Whicker man an island but the way this village is hdden it could be a island itself also with a population that seems to oblivous to the outside world and the start of this is from the Countess that has something of the Miss Havishaim about her, in the way she has wanted time to stand still around here. Time is a large theme in this book a scientist that is sudying time, a village where time seems to move different to the world outside the village and the holes like black holes add ruth surname and the holes you have black holes and this is what is happening her a village caught in darkness as time is slowing down as it falls back but in Ruth’s eyes time is speeding past there. This has nods to a world of Kafkaesque twists and turns if Franz Kafka Dickens and Bernhard co written a book this would have been it a mix of great expectations , a kafka nightmare about to happen and a austrian sense to it all is an interesting mix I felt. Have you a favourite German language woman writer ?

Winstons score – A a new talent a clever tale of time and turniong a blind eye.

Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen

Childhood by Tove Ditlivsen

Danish memoir

Original title – Barndom

Translator – Tiina Nunnally

Source – personal copy

I am late to the party on this trilogy of books from the Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen. It was published in the 90s as a book with the second vol but it wasn’t till last year the full trilogy came out I was lucky enough to find the first two books in the trilogy in a local Oxfam shop and thought it would be the perfect choice for  Woman in Translation month. Although she wasn’t that old when she died only 58 she was one of the best-known writers in demark having written over 29 novels a lot based around her childhood which was tough and this lead to struggles with alcohol and depression in her adult life. She was married four times and eventually the struggles lead to her taking her own life.

Down in the bottom of my childhood my father stands laughing. He’s big and black and old like the stove, but there is nothing about him I’m afraid of. Everything that I know about him I’m allowed to know, and if I want to know anything else, I just have to ask. He doesn’t talk to me on his own because he doesn’t know what he should say to little girls. Once in a while he pats on the head and says “Heh ,heh.” Then my mother pinches her lips together and he quickly takes his hands away. My father has certain privileges because he’s a man and provides for all of us

Her father a socialist and maybe a typical father of the time.

This is the story of Tove and her friend Ruth a red-haired girl that to Tove was a lot of things that she couldn’t be when she was growing up, From the gruff parents her socialist father that doesn’t want her to be the writer and struggles to connect to his kid this typical father of his time. Add to that a brother that is maybe a few years to old to connect too She wants at times. she has and the friendships she has made.  the lack of being able to express herself what comes across is a world that hard she lives in the slums of Copenhagen a tough place where they are considered worse of as the flat hasn’t a view of the street. At the heart is her childhood growing up a reader poor but in love with books. There is a passage I love a piece where the teacher talks about children books and the young Tove turns around and says she is reading Victor Hugo which made me smile in what is a dark world this is what is at the heart of the problem to Tove her childhood is tough as she is different to the other kids it is lat on when she discovers poetry the first light appears.

I was born on December 14, 1918, in a little two room apartment in Vesterbro in Copenhagen. We lived at Hedebygade 30a; The”A” meant it was in the back building, in the front building, from the windows of which you could look down on the street, lived the finer people. Though the apartments were exactly the sames as ours, they paid two kroners more a month in rent, It was the year that the Worl War ended and the eight hour day was insituited. My brother Edevin was born wne the World war began and when my father worked twelve hour days. He was a stoker and his eyes was always bloodshot from the sparks from the furnace.

The tough world she lives in and her brother who is distant as well.

that reminds me of the stories I heard of the thirties in the northeast an industrial area where life was tough and parents and children relationships were far more traditional than they are now what she draws is a world that has gone even though it is Denmark and Copenhagen it could easily be Newcastle, Belfast, glasgow any of those cities where there are large slum areas and poverty was a way of life for many and like her fathers view culture wasn’t for his daughter. It was easy to see why so many people fell for this trilogy there is clarity to the writing. She is like a color-lego figure in a grey-lego city out of place and never quite in place. She depicts a world that has gone but we needed to be reminded off. this is another of those lost gems that keep turning up. also shows that being a biography it doesn’t need to be huge this is under 100 pages long and is a gem. I  have the second part which I will save for the next woman in translation month. Have you read this book?

Winstons score – A+ perfect lost gem.

 

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