Well the first book I got sent this year is from a writer I have reviewed before Boualem Sansal is an Algerian writer that has had his works banned and censored in his homeland. I reviewed Harraga Two years ago. This is of course an homage in a way to Orwell’s great book 1984 and also a work against all totalitarian regiemes here in the future a country called Abistan after its spiritual leader a place where like in Orwell’s world every move is watch we find one man who is trying to find a new truth. What was your first book of 2017
13 Jan 2017 4 Comments
07 Jan 2017 3 Comments
I treated myself for five books that were on various end of year lists that I read up and I hadn’t come across.
A new translation of an old book from a Nobel great is always worth reading this is a saga style tale of two brothers that use the past to look at the cold war which was effecting Iceland at the time. as the two brother crazy ways leaves them with nothing a metaphor for the modern world.
Another from archipelago books , Cockroaches is a memoir of a family growing up Tutsi in an increasingly Tutsi run Rwanda we see through the piece her the tensions that lead up to the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda this is also the first book from Rwanada I have read.
Another novel from the mexican writer Yuri Herrera this is the story of two families at war during a plague and the man trying to help them return their dead to one another , a man called The redeemer is trying to help them out.
We follow a poet that has been accused of rape and has been sent away and his task when he is sent away is to write poetry in this darkly lynchian type tale.another of those short novels from Latin America that is much more than its meager 110 pages.
this is the story of a man researching his family discovering he is related to a great anarchist ,which leads him to going to New york. as the occupy Wall street movement is in full swing this leads him to Pittsburgh and the ghosts of the 1920’s
What books have you treated yourself too ?
05 Jan 2017 17 Comments
It was three years ago I did the first Pushkin press fortnight in 2014. As a publisher whose books I have enjoyed not just reading but also there design . Since the original fortnight Pushkin Have grown with a number of new imprints Pushkin Vertigo doing crime fiction One of their books I recently saw was by Frederic Dard,which caught my eye , he was a friend of Simenon he wrote nearly as many as his fellow writer with 200 books in french.Pushkin Children whihc has been publishing the Dutch fantasy series by Tonke Dragt. Pushkin Collections this is where all those Tranlsated classics we all love . The most recent is The Odessa stories by Isaac Babe was a paperback of the week in the Guardian l. One the best of english lit The fisherman was on the booker list from this imprint. As for me I’m looking forward to reading The Evenings by Gerald Reve for the fortnight.Why now you ask well it is thanks to Lizzy from Lizzy Siddal who herself is trying to cut her TBR pile and in doing so found a number of Pushkin books so ask me if I would do a second Pushkin press fortnight , SO the last 15 days in Feburary if you could try and read one of more books from Pushkin press it would be great . Have you a favourite from them ? Please leave a comment of post on twitter with the Hashtag#ppf2
03 Jan 2017 8 Comments
Brothers by David Clerson
Canadian (Quebec ) fiction
Original title – Freres
Translator – Katia Grubisic
Source – review copy
When I got an email from the small Canadian based press QC fiction , I was happy having seen a couple of reviews of their books they were a publisher I wanted to try to also the news that my great Aussie mate Tony was having his first translation published by them. David Clerson won a prize for his first novel this book and was praised for his mythical prose as a genuine literary revelation.His second book crawling (english title, original title en rampant ) came out late last year which is great news as you see this is one of those books i just want to shout about.
She had told him that his brother had been shaped from the severed limb, and born with two stumpy arms , imperfect but attached to a body that was intact, the body of his brother, with whom he loved to run along the shore and in the hills, and who like him had deep, dark eyes, the same eyes they both shared, the same look of brother
That same day and the days that followed, his mother told him, she had repeated time-worn gestures, rituals from the dawn of the world, taking care of her little boys, tending to the wound of the older brother and watching the other one grow, and she soon brought them to her breast, like twins born of the same flesh
The Older brother told the story of his younger brother or his arms.
Brothers is a story of two brothers the older has an arm missing the younger was formed by his mother from that missing arm of the older brother by the mother so the older brother would always have someone to be with and to look after. They live on a slat marsh a sort of place that has an area of mystery. They decide to set out on a quest to find the father along the way they meet kids from the next village that make a living collecting leeches ,hence they are called the leeches boys by the brothers on their hunt for the dog of a father ! Then they find a puppet whom becomes a member of the family and they also along the way adopt so pig kids to take home to their half mad mother who makes a living growing goats and looking after the small garden in the end the boys take a boat to get to the place beyond the water.
The sailboat was small and light, made of wood, and it glided on the ocean, attended by graceful seagulls and a few cormorants. This craft was much easier to handle than the brothers rowboat.This time, the older brother headed straight out to the open sea, pushed by fair , warm summer winds.
He had secured Puppets head to the bow o, leaving his figurehead clad in the grey pelt. Often the wind would fill the pelt moving the body and limbs. It seemed to dance at the bow, and it made the older brother smile, a fleeting happiness
In the myth Odysseus is given his Pelt (cloth ) by a goddess ! here is an old pelt and a puppet
This is one of those books that needs to be read to be absorbed. I don’t know a lot about Quebecian culture but I was remind that a surreal in parts this is it is also a way of looking at a world as mythical, like the Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin does in his films I was remind of the sight of the frozen horse he describes in My winnepeg and we see in the film something that happens but seems surreal and looks surreal , this is the world Clerson has conjured here . The same Mythical feel can be said here of marshlands by their sheer nature breed a surreal nature even Dickens in great expectations has this feel as the young pip describes the marshlands when he finds Magwitch on the marsh.or the woman in Black another marsh land set adventure the sheer barren and changeable nature of the environment makes it a place of fantasy add to this a tale of a brother and the arm brother , Is the younger brother real or maybe like the character in fight club that Edward Norton character creates to forfuil his life .Then we have a nod to classic greek literature this has nod the odyssey not least in the fact that when he returned home it was Argos his dog that knew who he was when he was dressed as the beggar maybe the father is Argos ? or maybe their father is a myth ? A short novella that leads you thinking afterwards and one that I’m sure all my fellow translation fans will seek out.A new voice and the first novel from Quebec on the blog .
30 Dec 2016 12 Comments
Well I reviewed less than other years this year so I am only going pick a few highlights of my year this year.
The Prophets of the eternal fjord by Kim Leine
Was an epic Danish novel following a priest sent in the 18th century to Greenland to try to wrestle the natives back to the christian line a tale of times now gone. This would make a great HBO series full of mud and ice .My review
The Dirty Dust by Maitain O Cadhain
This was one of two translation of this classic Irish novel into English. Set in a small village graveyard we here the generations buried there talk about their lives and the past they had together and the hates they had together and the loves together.My review
Byron and the beauty by Muharem Bazdulj
Bryon in the Balkans falls for a beautiful woman only to find she is out of his reach for once the bad boy of british poetry struggle to gets what he wants .My review
Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue
A fiction tennis match between an italian painter and a spanish poet is the backdrop to this tale that flows around the world of the time just as man is discovering science and thought the age of enlightenment is on them.My review
One Million cows by Manuel Rivas
This was a gem of short stories by one of my favourite spanish writers Manuel Rivas by a press started by his translator her we see the shackles of Franco be shaken of a people return to spain other have their last day at school looking forward .I have recently read his debut novel also from small station press .My review
Constellation by Adrien Bosc
The stories of a plane that crashed told from the point of view of the flight but also the stories of those on board from the man from Disney to a group of poor Spanish shepherds .One of those french novels that remind how great french lit can be . My review
Trysting by Emmauelle Pagano
A book of voice another French gem this is clips of what love is bits of people lives this is love stripped to the bone no names places or times just the acts of love shown. My review
Land of my Father by Vamba Sherif
A freed slave returns to Africa from the Us to Liberia but not all is as he imagines it , he has to follow his calling and try to convert the natives .My review
Revulsion Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador by Horacio Castellanos Mayo
A man returns to sort his mother affairs and gives a speech during the evening denouncing the country of his birth and why he had to leave and become Thomas Bernhard on his passport. An homage to the great writer from a great latin American writer .My review
Panorama by Dusan Sarotar
My book of a year by a country mile this is simply why I read books in translation that once a decade discovery of a voice so exciting and fresh yes part Sebald but also a new tale of traveling from the very western tip of Europe back to the Balkan heart of it.My review
There are my books of the year been lots of other great books