Chester and Chest infections

Well I said last week I had a cough well it turns out it was a chest infection and I have to ride it out as it is viral  ,I’ve been off work this week on holiday which is lucky as I hadn’t felt up to work last couple of days I worked the last week. I had no real plans this week other than meeting my mum in Chester for the day as it is halfway between us. Which was a lovely day even if I cough too much.I enjoyed seeing my mum and showing Amanda a new place.

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There is one of the most famous sites of Chester the clock , it was strange going there as it was more than twenty years since last time I had been and on that occasion we had seen the band the Damned wandering around the city. This event strangely echo when a punk with a full pink Mohican passed us as we had a coffee. Anyway like all book bloggers a new city is a chance to visit a book shop but I am a fan of Oxfam so I choose there and found this three books

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I have long wanted to find a few Saul Bellow books to read having read herzog and the dangling man years ago and this set of two from the same Penguin series was a great find , especially as Bellow described the character in Henderson and the rain king the nearest to him as an actual person . Then I found this gem from Ukraine

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The Odessians follows three families through the 20th century described as a beautiful and evocative story and a timeless message of hope . Well I hope as I’m now taken lots tablets to help clear my chest infection I may in the next day or two be able to catch up on some reviews and reading . How are you all what you been up to recently ?

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What became of the white savage by François Garde

What became of the white savage by François Garde

French fiction

Original title –  Ce qu’il advint du sauvage blanc

translator – Aneesa Abbas Higgins

Source – Prize winner

 

In eighteen hundred and forty-six
On March the eighteenth day
We hoisted our colors to the top of the mast
And for Greenland sailed away, brave boys
And for Greenland sailed away

The lookout in the crosstrees stood
With spyglass in his hand
There’s a whale, there’s a whale
And a whalefish he cried
And she blows at every span, brave boys
She blows at every span

The captain stood on the quarter deck
The ice was in his eye
Overhaul, overhaul! Let your gibsheets fall
And you’ll put your boats to sea, brave boys
And you’ll put your boats to sea

I choose a Pogues song about Whalers in the 1800’s seemed fitting to this book .

This was a lucky win for the French inisitute on their facebook page , which ask for comments on the cover , I put this is what happens when you fall asleep and leave the pens out for the kids , which won me this book . The book is a prize winning French novel it won the Prix Goncourt Roman , which is the section of the french prize that is awarded to the best first novel . This is The first Novel by Francois Garde , he worked as a senior civil servant for many year in the french overseas territories in Pacific and Indian oceans .

When he reached the top of the small cliff he realised that he was alone . There was no sign of the dinghy drawn up on the beach , no sign of a boat floating on the blue-green water . The schooner lying at anchor in the entrance to the bay was nowhere to be seen , no sails visible on the horizon . He closed this eyes , shook his head .Nothing they had left .

The opening as he sees he is all alone .

This like an earlier Goncourt Roman winner I reviewed HHhH is a novel based on a historic event .This is the true life story of  Narcisse Pelletier a young French sailor who in the 1840 was apart of a french ship that left him behind and was shipwreck in the far reaches of Australia .He is lucky to have been found by a tribe of Aboriginals whom adopt him after he removes his clothes and they see he is a man just like them  . The  story starts when he is discovered after seventeen years in the wild and taken under the wing of a French geographer whom brings the young man named the White savage because of the way he looks .On the way back to France the two men try to discover what happened to Pelletirer , who he is where the rest of the crew are and what he has done for the last seventeen years .

“He belongs to neither the black nor the yellow races . This is evident from the colour of his skin , his build and the texture of his hair . Nor is he of the semitic races this can be seen from his high forehead , straight nose , straight brown hair and full beard . I must also point out that he is circumcised , not in the way that Jews and muslims are , but rather in the manner of the natives of this country .

Narcisse when he is first found is a mystery where did this White savage come from .

To be truthful I hadn’t heard of Narcisse Pelletier or his story before this book . But have always been a fan of Robinsonade  books like The island before tomorrow  , pincher martin or even my childhood favourite Abels island , books inspired or similar by Robinson Crusoe .This in a way is the flip of that story when Crusoe tamed the savage , This sees the white man go native to survive another reason I love these stories is traveling up every year to my grans we passed through the village of lower Largo the home of Alexander Selkirk , whom many thinks was the role model for Robinson Crusoe after he spent five years on an island of the coast of Chile . If you like a novel with a lump of true life this is the one for you as the story unfolds from the two mens points of view , Narcisse telling his story and Octave the geographer telling the story of the journey back via a collection of letters . A book about who we really are where we from or where we have grown !

Have you a favourite novel from the Robinsonade Genre ?

#BOOKADAY DAY 2 Best Bargain

Folio

Now my best bargains have been from my Local book sale are these 50p Folio  society books, yes you read right 50p for each one ,I have a few more these were at hand they are Maupassant selected stories ,Chekhov A life in letters ,Goodbye to all this by Robert graves and Father and son by Turgenev  .Now these aren’t the only one I have brought from there I have three or four more including a wonderfully colourful Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron.These are really treasured as I couldn’t afford them full price so was so happy to get these few .

Winston’s books and a visit for #savelibraries

Been a while since I posted books I ve got so done last few I ve got in last week or two .I manage to clear some library books as I always have my quota maxed out but had chance to get 8 books this time for a change .

Monseiur Pain By Roberto Bolano –

This is part of the ongoing translations of Roberto’s early novels a short novella ,A mystery book about a Peruvian poet ,this is the time Bolano changed from a poet to a prose writer .another for the Bolano challenge

While the women are asleep by Javier Marias –

Last year i got the first part of his your face tomorrow trilogy and never got to it so took it back to library ,this seems a better intro his first collection of short stories in a number of year ,characters on the edge of society.

Antipodes – Igacio Padila

Mexican writer ,the cover appealed and knew he was part of the crack movement that want to move latin american literature from the boom style .

The tree and other stories by Abdallah Al Nasser

Don’t know a lot about this writer but like short stories from Arabic ,,so thought I d give it a whirl ,he is from Saudi Arabia he currently live in london .

The character of rain by Amelie Nothomb

This short novella is told from the point of view of a two and half-year old and I thought be great to compare to the room that I want to read at some point this year .

Hidden camer by Zoran Zivkovic

This Serbian novel sounds wonderful a man is invited to a film show gets there and find he is the only one and the film is him on his lunch hour ,dark sounding this will do for my eastern European challenge .

Jia by Hyeiln Kim

A novel about North Korea ,It says it all based on true life accounts of growing up under an oppressive  regime ,I have another book I want about north Korea this caught my eyes as I scanned the shelves .

Lizka and her men by Alexander Ikonnikov

A new russian writer this follows a young women growing up under russia’s new freedoms ,spend time with a number of different men ,I like the cover of this and another for the Eastern European challenge.

The particular sadness of lemon cake by Amiee Bender

This is Bender’s new novel follows a young girl that finds she can sense people’s emotions via the food she eats this follows her to adulthood as she finds out how to cope with this unusual gift ,this was sent after a request from Harvey at windmill books .

Corrections by Thomas Benrhard

I ve been looking for a Bernhard for a while and happened on this at the local Oxfam ,the book is about a character similar to Wittgenstein driven mad by pure thought .

The Murder in the vicarage by Agatha Christie

This is a bargain from the shop the works ,a copy of the original crime club books ,this is the first Miss Marple book ,my Gran loved Christie so snapped this up .

Peter Camenzind By Herman Hesse

This is one of Hesse’s earlier novels I loved the Glass bead game and Steppenwolf ,so this Oxfam buy is great want to see what his earlier works were like and this book is semi autobiographical .

These come from the lovely Lila that has just started at Penguin these are four of the Mini classics for the 50th year of modern classics .The books consists of number of short stories by each writer .

The gift of translation for Christmas

Well yuletide is nearly on us and after a weekend of buying presents for the family I ve decided to put forward some gifts for people that loves books these may also spark a love of translation .

STEIG LARSSON TRILOGY HARDBACK BOXED SET –

Now there isn’t many people who haven’t heard of the late Steig Larsson ,and his trilogy ,well Quercus via their sister press the Maclehose press have brought out a wonderful hardback box set .These are truly beautiful I ve looked at them a couple of times in the local bookshop .They’ll make a perfect gift for close family member or crime fan or anyone that loves pretty books like folio ones .

Peirene press 1,2 and 3 and subscription .

Peirene the wonderful translation press run by Meike ,that this year has been like an adrenalin shot and electric shock into the dying european novella in English translation .the three books have all feature female characters at the centre of the books a women on the edge in a French seaside town a stoic Spanish women and a young pregnant women in Rome have all feature this year and next year there are three male stories as Meike says the year of the man .There is a gift subscription for either three or six books available here

An INTERLUDE IN SPAIN ?

now a duo of books the very short introduction to Spanish literature from Oxford ,a book I reviewed a while ago a great guide to Spanish literature  this is an essential way to find out whats beyond Zafon and Cervantes .and the perfect companion to this is Granta 113 the new edition of granta on new Spanish writing that contains 20 of the rising stars of Spanish language fiction .

A Russian winter ?#

lastly is the new Oxford version of War and peace by Leo Tolstoy .This is the definitive version in English and comes with extensive footnotes .This is the version I m using for the war and peace readalong start in January .I know people have favourite versions but this is a lovely book to hold and is an ideal introduction to the long russian novels .

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