30 covers for #WITMONTH England through a German eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe not the most exciting cover Fitzcarraldo covers are all the same and are a homage to the original James Joyce Ulysses cover in their style. Here we have a recent favourite from them River by Ester Knsky saw her living in London and using the Thames as a launchpad for her memories of both London and the other cities and places as she was growing up by other rivers as the prose flow you are drawn into her world.

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That was the month that was July 2019

  1. The house of Ulysses by Julian Rios
  2. Vlad by Carlos Fuentes
  3. Quiet creature on the corner by Joao Gilberto Noll
  4. the posthumous memoirs of Bras Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
  5. The Hedge by Miguel Delibes
  6. Atlantic hotel by Joao Gilberto Noll
  7. The fish child by Lucia Puenzo
  8. The Iliac crest by Cristina Riera Garz

I managed eight books all for Spanish and Portuguese lit month. I start with a book about a book Julian RIos House of Ulysess. Then a Mexican take on the Vampire story a poet winds up in a prison writing poems after raping a girl in Brazil. A man whose life is a failure writes about his life from the afterlife. A man gets sent to the country to recover and gets hemmed in by an ever-increasing hedge and sees those around him as animals another trip to Brazil and a man falling apart in front of his eyes from a hotel with the murder happened he then went on a bizarre road trip. A pair of young girls from different sides of the tracks fall in love as one is the maid for the other.and lastly two women turned up at a mans ouse but is he a man and is all as it seems a wonderful selection of books from four countries, no new publishers but an interesting selection. It has taken the total of books reviewed this year to 53 lower than other years but still hoping to pass 100 by the end of the year.

Book of the month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a huge fan of James Joyce so this book was a great choice it follows a group of readers following their wat through the book.

Next month-

We’ll have more Spanish and Portuguese lit month offerings. Two writers, I have reviewed before one from Venezuela writes a book about the last year of Chavez from the point of view of one of his doctors then another book around a leader Tyrant Memory by Horacio Castellanos Moya about a 1930’s leader of El Salvador. Both spins on the classic Dictator novel a staple of Latin American literature. A Dutch classic set in China. I am working three of the next four days and on Saturday we will be visiting our local Food festival and celebrating our wedding anniversary. So I will be back on Tuesday unless I get time to review a book. I will add a few titles for Women in translation month.

Other none book events last month

I always like mention something new I’ve found well this month it is a great rediscovery and that is Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999 a seventies sci-fi series I had missed the great guest roles in the past from the likes of Christopher Lee and Leo McKern. It has a similar political undertone.  about it that we found in Start trek when it was shown. I have also been a huge fan of the return of Lloyd Cole his new album is rather good as he uses more Keyboards than he has in the past but still has that Cole feel.

What are your plans?

Five for woman in translation month

Stones in a landslide by Maria Barbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have chosen to do a list of five  books for the woman in Translation month. I have long held this up as the best book I have read from Peirene press for me it captures a microcosm of a world through the eyes of a Conxa a young girl that until she was thirteen knew just the village she grew up in the Pyrenees to move to a bigger village. I would recommend  Peirene books to everyone and they have published a number of great books by women in translation including Mussel feast and The blue room as two other to try. Here is my review of Stones in a landslide .

The white book by Han Kang

 

Image result for han kang white book cover

I loved this book when I read it as I was just getting over the greif of losing my mother and found this collection of Vignettes by Han Kang that wrote her own mother lost a child before she was born and she reflects on how grief is treated in Korea. The rice moon cake child she lost I was touched by that image. If you had read this I would point you in the way of Deborah smiths press she translated this book and started Tilted Axis publishing female writers from Asia.

The tongue’s blood does not run dry by Assia Djebar

 

 

I picked this as she was considered to be a Nobel worthy winner before she passed away a few years ago Assia Djebar was the first writer of Maghreb origin to sit on the French academy. This was a collection of stories and a long novella the later dealt with a woman that was dying and all had a female perspective on the modern Arab world. I will be reviewing soon three books from Nawal El Saadawi that Saqi books have recently reissued.

Trieste by Dasa Drndric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A powerful tale by another great writer and one I was lucky enough to have met Dasa has a number of books now available in English this was the first to be translated and had the harrowing list of every Italian Jew that died in the second world war. I would also point you towards to more books from that region Farewell cowboy and Hah both from the great Istros books.

The Passport by Herta Muller

 

I read this early on in my blogging Career as it blew my mind with her descriptive skills and imagery it follows Windisch as he attempts to get a passport as a German in a small enclave in Romania. Two other great German books from Women I have read in the last year are The giant Dwarfs and River 

I will be publishing Five more next month from the many female’s writers I have read in the last ten years.

The Hedge by Miguel Delibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hedge by Miguel Delibes

Spanish fiction

Original title – Parabola del Naufrago

Translator – Frances M. Lopez-Morillas

Source – personal copy

I again add an older writer and her it is one of the stars of post-war Spanish writing one of the Generation of 36 writers Miguel Delibes sat on Chair E of the Spanish Academy from 1975. He wrote about mainly city dwellers that had lost touch with the natural world. He was also considered one of the leading Catholic writers of the second half of the 20th century like Greene and Boll. He won most of the major Spanish lit prizes. His books in English seem to be out of print.

He (Jacinto) appears to be rather meticulous man and he yearns for personal security. A few months ago he went through a very uneasy peroid when he observed the progress made by the adding machines in the office, thinking that the expert calligraphers were a dying breed, but Don Abdon, who is a father to everyone, reassured him with his end-of-the-year speech, when he said that the most perfect electronic brain wasn’t worthy to untie the shoes of a good solid craftsman. That was what Don Abdon said, Don Abdon who is a father to evryone, and this calmed Jacinto, who often, in view of the conquests of technology, belives that he is dispensible and lives of charity.

The quiet Jacinto and his changing workplace as machines take over.

The book follows a caligrapher Jacinto working in an office for the overpowering as he is described Don Abdon he runs the factory but also the town they live in and he is Jacinto’s boss. Jacinto is a loner a sort of everyman. But he is also worried that his job is about to be automated. The boss is described as” the father of them and the mother of the fathers” It is when he has a relatively series of zeros to copy out this meek man finally breaks it is shown when the language we see has the punctation spelled out so it is comma this and full stop that almost showing his mind breaking. He is sent to the town’s country retreat in this remote cabin but far from getting away he is given a bag of seeds to plant and then wakes up the next day to find the cabin he is in cover and surround by one almighty hedge and one of his colleagues is now dog he tries to tunnel burn and otherwise get past the hedge whilst himself seeing his body grow fluffy hair.

Sometimes Jacinto loses his footing , the bend or fork of the hedge fails him and he is again submerged in that vegtable sea and observes that he is asphyxiating and  moves his arms and groans until he comes to the surface again and then he sighs deeply, but as night falls , and the yellow petals closes over the stamens and the enervating odor of the flowers began to spread, Jacinto thinks the end has come , but he tries no to give in he rejects the intoxicating prefume and yells “Damm You!”

The hedge is all around and is hold Jacinto with inside it as he tries to escape it !

This is a strange book Delibes was known for his playful use of language it is shown here in part when we see the punctation seep on to the page out of the reader or Jacintos mind as we see him breaking before he moves to the county and faces a struggle with nature and maybe finally becomes part of nature. It is easy to compare this to Orwell it tells me that on the back of the book itself written in the later years of the Franco regime it is obviously a sideways punch at Franco with the Don Abdin character obviously a veiled Franco esque character . For me I was reminded of the book restraint of beast in the later part of the books as we see the character Jacinto getting trapped in the hedge was like the characters in the book restraint of beast that see themselves fencing themselves in separate from the world.It also showed Delibes love of nature and how he felt people were losing touch with the world around them which it seems was a theme in a lot of his books. Have you read any books by Miguel Delibes ?

 

The Storyteller by Pierre Jarawan

The storyteller by Pierre Jarawan

German/Lebanese fiction

Original title – Am Ende bleiben die Zedern

Translators – Sinead Crowe & Rachel McNicholl

Source – review copy

I have joined the Blog tour for this Novel as I loved the sound of it and I have reviewed a lot of books from World editions and am pleased to have another title from them to review. This book from the German Lebanese writer Pierre Jarawan who’s parents like his characters fled Lebanon when he was three years old and settled in German His father was Lebanese and his mother is German. He started out doing poetry slams and this was a play that later he expands out into a novel. It has since been translated into Dutch where it was also a big seller.

Meanwhile, history was being made in Lebanon. Beirut, once a dazzling beauty, rubbed its disfigured face and staggered out of the ruins. A city felt for its pulse. In neighbourhoods, people thumped the dust out of their clothes and wearily raised theirheads. Thge war was over, militiamen became citzens again, laying down their guns and taking uop shovels instead. Bullet holes were filled in. Facades painted, burned-out-cars removed from the pavements. Rubbkle cleareed away, the smoke disperser. The huge sheets hanging in the streets were takendown, as there were no longer any snipers whose view needed to be blocked. woman and children swept debrisoff balconies and removed borads from windows, while fathers carried mattresses back up to bedrooms from cellars thatr had served as bunkers.In short, the lebanon did what they’ve always dfone: they carried on

The country awakes from the turmoil of the civil war that tore it apart and ripped the heart out of the land.

This is a classic story that of a son going in search of a lost father. Samir decides he wants to find his long-lost father. He leaves the safety of his life in German. He has an old photo of his dad and the stories he remembered his father told him when he was a little boy that painted a vivid picture of Lebanon his father lived in. He tries to find out what happens to his father as he tries to find out what happens the characters from his father’s stories become real people as he finds out what happened when his father returns after twenty years he slowly builds a picture of his family and what happened to them. The father Brahim disappeared when he was eight and he told one last story and left. He returned to his homeland. The son has held his lost father close for all those years as he retraces his father’s steps after all those years you see in the past and the events in war-torn Beirut when his father had when he returned. The past and present grow close but will they ever meet again?

Father was quick to realise how important it was to learn German. After fleeing burning Berut in spring of 1983, the first refuge myu parents found in Germany was the secondary school’s sports hall in our town. The school hall in our town, The school had been shut down the previous year when routine inspections during the summer holidays had revealed excessive levels of asbestos in the air. But there were no other options, so the sports hall ended up asa refugee reception centre. Fathersoon managed to get hold of books so that he could teach himself this foreign language. At night, while others around him slept wrapped in blankets on the floor, he clickedon a ;ocket torch and studied German

His father got to German and quickly learned german as the slept in a codemened school hall.

This is a tale that has been told a number of times of over then years. A son on the hunt for a lost father or even parent for me the recent film Lion is a similar story top this a young boy loses his family and goes home all he has like Samir is the slimmest of memories about his father the old photo and his stories for Samir and in the film Lion it is the lie of the land around his home and the fact it was a train ride away from where Saroo end up in the book and film. This builds a picture of their parent’s bit by bit and this is the case here we see that Brahim stories had those friends and families around him as he told his baby son those bedtime stories but also planting a love for his homeland and also maybe like a magician weave a magical past and also leave a trail of breadcrumbs that his son follows twenty years later. Here are the other blogs on the tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was the month that was March 2019

  1. Small Country by Gael Faye
  2. Aviaries by Zuzana Brabcova
  3. Nocilla Lab by Agustin Fernandez Mallo
  4. Mama’s boy by David Goudreault
  5. Mouthful of birds by Samanta schweblin
  6. At dusk by Hwang Sok-yong
  7. Four soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli
  8. The death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa

I managed to review eight books last month which still keeps me on course for 100 reviews this year. I managed to pass the 900 books reviewed mark this month. I read books from seven countries no new presses. I read five books from writers I have read before. It also saw me start on the Man Booker longlist having opted to leave the shadow Jury, for now, I may decide to start my own in the coming years. When the longlist came out and I had read so few of these books I wanted to compare my thoughts on what should have been on the list as I hadn’t a single book on my prediction list right. So although I had thought I wouldn’t get to read them all I have nearly now I put my head down the last few days of March to make sure I had only a few left to finish in April. The reviews will follow but for me finishing the longlist is the most important thing.

Book of the month

I will choose Mama’s boy as I don’t want to indicate which of the man booker books I like and Mama’s boy is an interesting view into growing up in care and the knock-on effect that can have on one’s life this is a book that in its heart is universal in its themes. Again showing the strength of French language literature from Quebec.

Non book events or everyday life

The world flies by so the first event I need to mention is expanding my penguin reading week is now going to run for a month this is because I decide we need a holiday so I book that initial week off I had chosen for the Penguin reading week. I won’t be blogging the days I am away we visit Alnwick in Northumberland as Amanda and I will spend time in a place I lived in my twenties also itis home to the biggest second-hand book shop in the UK Barter books which I’m sure I will find some books to read. I have turned another year older this month. It has seen two years since I lost my mother and we went to coroners court.  It hasn’t been the best month add to that on the last weekend I was injured at work I am happy to turn the corner I did manage to get four more of the Man Booker list read so will be reviewing them from tomorrow. Elsewhere I listen to the latest Lambchop album and the Beth Gibbons Album that came out on Friday of her singing Henryk Gorecki symphony no3 symphony of sorrowful songs a modern classical album. Film wise I watch a lost eighties classic They live by John Carpenter a film that imagines the world has been invaded by aliens but you can only see them with special sunglasses.

What events and books have you been reading ?

Winstonsdad Annual Man Booker prediction post

I have let the days lip by mainly as I have just worked four 12 and half hours shifts in the last five days I have just got home and have decided too do my man booker dozen this year it will be nine books I have read and mostly reviewed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End by Karl Ove Knausgaard

I have chosen first the one I have read but not reviewed and the first of two books that sees the end of a series. It is a huge book that rambles on and follows the time the first of the series comes out and has some large digressions around the title and some other writers I like it but missed reviewing it. My reason the end of epic series an Epic book from a writer that is overhyped but so readable when you read him he makes the mundane so compelling.

 

Nocilla Lab by Agustin Fernandez Mallo

The second book also sees the end of a series this one is the end of a trilogy this has three stories and all are different styles of writing and was to approach prose like the rest of the series it shows how Mallo is on the wave of new writers from Spain.This is one of two from Fitzcarrldo.MY reason pushing the boundaries and experimenting with what stories do using various styles

Tell them of Battles, kings, and Elephants by Mathias Enard

A short novel that images what would happen if Michelangelo had gone to Constantinople to design a bridge to go over the Golden horn and he also falls for the East another slice of West meets east from Enard. My reason  a clever reimagining of history

My Name Is Adam_TPB.jpg

 

 

My name is Adam by Elias Khoury 

A writer called Elias Khoury discovers a manuscript from a man he briefly meets and it is about a piece of history from the other side he wrote in an earlier book. A writer viewing his homeland from the other side in a way.

 

Among the lost by Emilano Monge 

A Mexican novel about the hinterland that is the people crossing the border reimagines as hell like the world through the eyes of two lovers as the let you into their horrific world. My reason an interesting hell like vision of the journey of the trafficked in Mexico and those who do the trafficking

 

ResistanceJulian.jpg

Resistance by Julian Fuks

The tale of two brothers who are the kids of a family that had to quit Argentina and move to Brazil this is the first of two books from charco I have chosen they have been bring some interesting books out in the last year. My reason this is is partly Fuks own personal hostory he is the son of exiles as well.

Image result for trout belly up rodrigo

These interlocking stories follow a man trying to set up a trout fishery in the middle of the Guatemalan countryside away from the violence of the cities there. Another gem from Charo press My reason compelling stories that show a gritty world of the trout farm and those connected to it.

 

Published on 24 September 2018, paperback original with flaps, 180x120, 115 pages

Now, now, Louison By Jean Fremon

A close friend of Louise Bourgeois images here life piece bits he got to knew here over the year he showed her works. MY reason from a small press this is the reason I love translated fiction those unusual gems that small publisher bring out.

 

The Capital

The capital by Robert Menasse 

An EU bureaucrat for culture is given a job to celebrate culture in Europe as well as a number of stories that all link together. My reason a wonderful satire on Europe and the city at the heart of it

My three wild card books I havent read but feel may be on the list

Tentacle by Rita Indiana

Vernon Subtext two by Virginie Despentes

White shadow  by Roy Jacobson

I may read the list when it comes out on Wednesday it depends on what is on the list and what finds I have to buy the books on the list.

 

Winstons books some recent arrivals

I haven’t done an arrival post for ages anyway here are a few recent books I have been sent or I have brought my self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never got my copy of this just think it was lost in the post.  I have been waiting a while so I decide to buy this as I am a huge fan of her writing this is a novel that features two stories that mirror each other in a way I have already read the first half when it arrived this afternoon. I love this cover as well which suit the first story so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An arrival from QC is always exciting this slim novel is about a woman’s life and a novel about her life blurs together her lover dream of prague as always I have high hopes for this as I haven’t read a bad novel from QC and so much of contemporary Quebacian fiction is cutting edge and appeal to me as a reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, a new arrival from Maclehose press The office of Gardens and ponds follows a village when there Master carp catcher suddenly drowns putting the future of the lives in the village and the palace that takes there carp. Written by the Secretary General of the academie Gincourt and is also a member of the Academie de marine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Maclehose title here and the sequel to Roy Jacobsen The unseen, back on the island of Barroy we see Ingrid trying to save her lover from being caught by the Germans as Norway is no under there rule and she saved the man from a bomb ship and now has to try and get by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been seeing that the Scottish publisher Vagabond voices bringing a number of books in translation out so I had a look at some of them and this one appeals to me shortlisted for the Russian booker it follows a Russian Estonian man and an Indian man in a Danish refugee camp their daily lives in the 90’s  and life on the road as they  dream of other places. Based on Ivaanov own experience as a stateless man in Denmark in the 90’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a recent post from Messy bookers blog about a Carlos Fuentes novel Old gringos   I remarked it had been a while since I read him well looking back I had one review from him and have a few books but decided to add a few this one I had my eye on a while is a retelling of the Dracula story transport to Mexico city as Fuentes says ten million blood sausages (people) and a police force that  won’t mind a few disappearances

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other is an epic his tenth novel is narrated by a baby in the womb just before the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovering the new world comic work this sounds different.

Have you had anything exciting to arrive at your house recently?

 

That was the month that was feb 2019

  1. The spirits of the earth by Catherin Colomb
  2. Agnomia by Robert Gal
  3. Resistance by Julian Fuks
  4. Any means necessary by Jenny Rogneby
  5. Now, Now, Louison by Jean Fremon
  6. The capital by Robert Menasse
  7. The pianoplayers by Anthony Burgess
  8. Trout, belly up by Rodrigo Fuentes

I managed eight reviews last month which just about keeps me on course for 100 plus reviews this year. I read books from seven countries no new publishers or countries my journey has taken me from France country mansions then to Prague and New York from a Slovakian twist to a family on the run in Brazil with two kids A Swedish policewoman playing both sides of the fence. I read a wonderful book about an artist a satire about the EU after that a memoir about a piano playing father and trying to set up a trout farm in the Guatemalan countryside.

Image result for trout belly up rodrigo

Book of the month-

Trout belly up it has been a tight month as any of four books I read could have been the book of the month but there was something in his descriptions of struggling against nature in this book that grabbed me as I have finally given up on shadowing the Man Booker I had hope this was going be on the list but as I look forward over next month I have a packed list of books to read and review hoping to unearth more gems like this.

My month-

I managed the first weekend away driving there earlier this month not far just over the peaks to Macclesfield to visit my mums grave was the first timeI’d been by myself which I know she’d have been proud of me for driving although I made Amanda rather nervous when we slightly overshot a hairpin bend in the middle of the peaks but it was a reminder not to get too overconfident about my driving .I capture a number of Wim Wender films on Mubi and a couple of Korean films as well. I have been listening to new albums by Sleaford mods the same underbelly of Britain in their lyrics that capture modern Britain. Then mark Kozlek new album another set of monologues around his life a style he has had in his last few albums. But my favorite album this month Inferno by Robert Forester on half of the great band the Go-betweens. A collection of songs which all seem tinge with how it feels growing old. I am just finishing a set of nights which always cut my reading but they do help pay for my books. how has your month been

That was the month that was Jan 2019

  1. My name is Adam by Elias Khoury
  2. The wicked go to hell by Frédéric Dard
  3. Among the lost by Emiliano Monge
  4. The sound of waves by Yukio Mishima
  5. Katalin Street by Magda Szabo
  6. The last summer by Boris Pasternak
  7. Sometimes I lie and sometimes I don’t by Nadja Spiegel
  8. Soviet milk by Nora Ikstena
  9. A long night in Paris by Dov Alfon

So I managed 9 books under review this month nine countries including one new one country in  Latvia. No new presses this month. My reading started in New York and then Palestine. I then took a few nights in a French prison with an undercover cop and a spy put who was who. Then I joined some Mexican people smugglers that live in hell like world then romance in Japan. WOrld war two and one in the next two novel one about the falling out of the Nazis and the second world war on a single street in Budapest and then a man goes to his sister and remembers the last summer before world war One. Then female stories from Austria. Then Last years Peirene about a woman and her daughter getting by in a small rural time in exile in their own country. Then a modern thriller in Paris from a former special service and editor of a national paper.

Book of the month

Katalin Street

Katalin street by Magda Szabo something about the voice of the characters and the way it showed the effect of the war on one small piece of the world and the three families that were once so close end up all over the place living and Dead. The children show the world in the eyes and their friends as there positions change through the years.

The month itself-

I’ve decided to give a monthly recap of small life events and other things not book related. This month well today was my first day of driving in real frosty conditions I still nervous for the first snow drive. I also managed my first motorway drive when I visited my father the other side of Birmingham and had a good hour and a half on the motorway.  I’ve been driving two months and have done 1600 miles in my little silver car. The month saw a return of a couple of old tv  series on to tv. The first Sliders a sci-fi series that saw four characters travel to parallel earth this is similar to other shows like Quantum leap which came before this show saw someone  travel in their own life in this show the premise was what if things like the wild west lived on or the Soviets took over or you were a star. Then the other another retro show Rumpole of the Bailey were we see Leo McKern as the Poetry quoting a fan of the Q edition of the Oxford book of English verse a picture of a world maybe gone now. He plays the down at heel barrister hero of the underdog and working criminals. McKern playing of him is like Bretts Holmes Suchet Poirot or Guinness Smiley one of those actors that defined the character making it hard for anyone else to play him. Although there is a new series on the radio has a new Rumpole in the form of  Benedict Cumberbatch . Now a snippet of Music and I have been listening to a lot of the go-betweens a later comer to them I saw a great documentary on Sky the other day that follows the history of the band over the years to the sad loss of one of the two lead singers.

What has your month been like?

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