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 ?

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Brecht at night by Mati Unt

BRECHT AT NIGHT MATI UNT

This Book is part of dalkey archives Baltic literature series .the book is set in the early 1940’s and follows a journey the German playwriter Bertolt Brecht took in 1940 fleeing germany en route to the U.S.A he had to stop in finland for a while whilst awaiting visa clearance to travel to U.S.A .the book unfolds like a docu drama with two main  strands Brecht’s journey and time in Finland and also a history of Finland and Unt’s own Estonia during the war years .We find that Brecht a socialist ,is what maybe termed nowadays a champagne socialist ,that when even fleeing his own country on the run so to speak still really wants the creature comforts ,as well as a mistress a fling with an older women a well-known Finnish playwriter  .In the other strand of this novel we discover the soviets land grab during the second world war grepping Finland ,with a short and bloody warwith Finland that the soviets wrongly considered a soft target, and the Baltic states including Estonia .what happens once this has taken places the book banning by russians and new rules ,a new governor for Estonia named M.Unt no relative to the writer Unt points out ,we also get little glimpse of what happens in germany the oddness of the german leaders and what lead to Brecht leaving his homeland .This book is a wealth of info and pin points a small event i n a great writers life ,it isn’t the easiest book to read but is rewarding in the end .It brings to a wider audience Unt’s undoubted talent and unique style of writing ,and the translation is wonderful by Eric Dickens .

 Brecht decides :I’m taciturn by nature . i won’t reveal anything about myself or my plans.he remembers that Ibsen came from somewhere up here ,and said ………yes,what was it he said ? something about silence, and something about being on your own -you where stronger alone – and silent .If Ibsen did say something like that,he refuted it later on .

Brecht just about to arrive in Finland .

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