Man tiger by Eka Kurniawan

 

Man-tiger-cover600-max_221

Man tiger by Eka Kurniawan

Indonesian fiction

Original title Lelaki Harimau

translator  Labodalih Sembiring

Source – personnel copy

Winstons score B+ a fresh voice from an emerging country in translation in English , owes much to Marquez but worth reading.

Eka Kurniawan had been on my radar since his first novel beauty is a wound appeared last year, so when the second book by him Man tiger appeared on the man booker I was pleased to get the chance to add Indonesia to the list of countries this blog has covered. Eka Kurniawan grew up in a small coastal town and studied philosophy he is also a graphic designer. Also in the introduction to this book there is talk about how Eka discovered books and the two books he loved that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the old crime novels of the detective Nick Carter.

 

Boar hunting had become their pastime many years ago, back when Sadrah was still the town’s military commander. Anwar Sadat himself had always been highly enthusiastic every time the harvest season ended, when people were no longer bound to the soil, which was left fallow temporarily. Although he had never raised a spear or run up and down the hills, he always provided boxed meals of rice and fried egg and a truck to take the hunters to the jungle’s edge. Three times a year they enjoyed this sport, going on the season’s non-stormy Sundays. Between hunts they would tame ajaks and train them to course their prey.

Anwar like Margio was a hunter as well .

I don’t often read introductions to books but am pleased I did to this one as it placed the work in context to me. Baring in mind the book is 11-year-old, its safe to say this is a book written firmly under the spell and style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. If Marquez had grown up in a small coastal town in Indonesia this is possibly the book he would have written. Man tiger follows, the death of Anwar Sadat (am I the only one that find it is strange the choice of a Egyptian president that also like the main character in this book is shot) . Now this is a not a who dunit as we know who shot him it is more a whydunnit in a way.Anwar was shot by Margio a young man with a white tiger as a friend whose famlies past has often crossed with the womanizer Anwar Sadat a failed artist. What drove the young man to kill the older man who had been a thorn in his families side for so long. Margio talks about the tiger also being inside him.

The coffin was covered by a golden sheet with silvery tassels, inscribed with the words of the Shahada. Kyai Jahro led the salawat chants as it left the surau, a few people following behind, mostly Margio’s friends who had been hunting boars on the mountain and gave no thought to their mud-smeared clothes. Margio was among them, right next to the coffin, scattering the flowers Mameh had picked along the way. Komar bin Syueb was to be buried at the Budi Darma public cemetery, accompanied by frangipani and champak, a furious little Marian waiting for him on the other side

I loved the atomsphere of this passage it evokes the place so well .

I enjoyed this As I said it remind me of Marquez but also of Classic crime from America where it isn’t always a whodunnit but more of whydunnit as I said this also harks back to the classic crime novels of Latin America where it is more about the scene than we in the uk have to try to find out who did the killing. We also have a trying to pay himage to Marquez without going full magic realism in a way lots of talk about having a tiger in a man but no men becoming tigers here bu the lines nearly get blurred at times. I do wonder about the chhoice of Sadat as a name is that a wider comment on his homeland it wasn’t til 2004 when this book was published the country had its first free presidential election.Well will it make the actual shortlist I think so our I am not sure it is close this year I think you will have to wait to tomorrow and the Shadow shortlist is announced. I have now reviewed all this years longlist.

 

Winstons Post Down the Una

Two books that I received this week .The first is a Novel that follows one man’s journey through the past through the Bosnian war , but also the world around him the river Una and also the flights of fancy every child and young man has. The book has the original cover and illustrations that were in the Bosnian edition of the book. This book won the European union prize for literature. Another gem from Istros books who as ever is bringing us the best of Balkan Lit .

Another arrival is a book I was told about a couple of years ago. I was lucky with a couple of other blogger to have an afternoon tea with the great Christopher Maclehose. Whilst having tea we were told that this book had just been signed to be translated and that Kurkov considered it his best book The book follows characters through the soviet years from the end of world war to to the edge of the crumbling communist world . The title comes from the inventor of the fuse for Dynamite. The book has a lot of what is best in kurkov it say I have reviewed two of his books before The milkman at night and his famous death and the penguin  and love the way he shows the madness and satirical side of the communist years.

 

Doing David Bowie’s reading list ?

giphy

When David Bowie died this list which I had seen before did the rounds a list of books David drew up a few years ago of a hundred books every one should try to read well. The list has books I have read books I wanted to read and a few I don’t know well I fancy trying to fill this list in I fancy doing a few books a time off this list could change my reading as it is a real mix of books on it. I have eye the 1001 books but that is so huge but this is a nice target and I’m not putting a date on completing the list I have three already under review at the blog which on the page I have made I have indicated I have read. I own about another 15 books of the list. There is three magazines  collection mentioned I shall replace them with other titles conected to Bowie in time. There is this Jake arnott article that has a few books mentioned on it. Have you read any books on this list would you add any Bowie connected books to the list ?

David Bowie’s top 100 must-read books

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick (1986)
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1986)
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey (1984)
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (1984)
Money, Martin Amis (1984)
White Noise, Don DeLillo (1984)
Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes (1984)
The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White (1984)
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980)
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester (1980)
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980)
Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
Raw, a “graphix magazine” (1980-91)
Viz, magazine (1979 –)
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979)
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz (1978)
In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan (1978)
Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976)
Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders (1975)
Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975)
Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara (1974)
Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich (1972)
n Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner (1971) Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky (1971)
The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillett(1970)
The Quest for Christa T, Christa Wolf (1968)
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn (1968)
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr (1966)
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
City of Night, John Rechy (1965)
Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
Puckoon, Spike Milligan (1963)
The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1963)
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea, Yukio Mishima (1963)
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell (1962)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (1961)
Private Eye, magazine (1961 –)
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding (1961)
Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage (1961)
Strange People, Frank Edwards (1961)
The Divided Self, RD Laing (1960)
All the Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd (1960)
Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse (1959)
The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957)
Room at the Top, John Braine (1957)
A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1956)
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
The Street, Ann Petry (1946)
Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945)

 

Winston’s covers Greenland to Iceland Via The congo

the prophets of Eternal Fjord

Some books in the post before my next review , first up is a huge epic from Atlantic The prophets of eternal Fjord  by Kim Leine , A Danish novel following a priest sent to Greenland to convert the locals but he finds they have their own settlement at the Eternal Fjord on his arrival. An interesting book I know little about Danish history and very little about their time on Greenland so be a chance to learn some more.

tram 83

Now this is one that has been on my radar for a while Tram 83 came out earlier in the year in America , set in a war-torn city it follows the locals , students and ex-pats as they spend their evenings in the only night club in the town Tram 83. One that I had want to read for a while so great it is being published here by Jacaranda books, the publisher that  does mainly African fiction.

snow and night blind

The there is the second in the dark Iceland series, a series following Ari Thor Aarson a young detective sent to a small northern town , in the first he has to deal with the death of an elderly writer and this Night blind his second book follows him investigating the death of a well liked policeman. Ragnar Jonasson has translated Agatha Christie into Icelandic, sure some of her writing skills have rub off on him whilst he translated her books.

What have you had arrived recently ?

Sheffield day with Amanda some books

This past weekend saw Amanda and I both off for the weekend for the first time in a long while so we decided to have a day in sheffield. We started the day with a trip around the large indoor shopping centre Meadow hall , it has two small waterstones bookshops but I was waiting for later in the day and the chance to go too the large main city centre branch of waterstones but one treat I did have in Meadowhall was a Donut .This was a Biscoff donut anyone that knows me is I love my Bicoff lotus biscuits the perfect coffee biscuit I say and this donut went great with my espresso.

biscoff donut

I have a rule of three in bookshops never buy more than three books in one shop these days so my three choices weren’t so easy but in the end I settle for an old favourite writer and two new names ,

Laszlo krasznahorkai

 

I brought war and war earlier in the year but had wanted to read The melancholy of resistance more , so brought it to complete my Laszlo Krasznahorkai collection. THe book rather like Satantango follows a small town as it reacts to an incomer , this time it ia s mystery show with the worlds largest Whale and just that the locals are wary of these new circus folk. I’m in a circus mode as we are busy watching the fourth series of american horror story the freak show series. The book has also been made into a film by Bela Tarr who also did the film for Satantango.

Schlump Grimm

I had this on my list of books to buy since its Translate Jamie first mentioned this book  Schlump is the story of a 17-year-old on the German front at world war two a story that is brutal and funny at the same time the writer wasn’t truly known to 2013 many years after Grimm had died he later was in the nazi party even thou this book was burned he bricked up his original manuscript in his house, he later was called in 1950 to talk about his war-time record and two days later he committed suicide .I hope have this read for end of German lit month .

Ippolito Nievo

The confessions of an Italian is the story of Carlo altoviti an old man looking back at his life in Italy this happens to be in the period called the Risorgimento, which saw the small states that had made Italy at the time join together to make it a bigger country. An epic novel Italo Calvino called it the one 19th century Italian novel which has that charm and fascination so abundant in foreign literature . What better recommendation could you have .

What books have you brought recently ?

 

 

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