Saturday We become a teen 13 years blogging

I was notified yesterday that it was my blog anniversary I started Winstonsdad 13 years ago. I had been reconnecting with books and over a previous couple of years, I had been reading more and more and was drawn to world lit. I had been on Twitter for a year which had connected with book bloggers. I got my first laptop around 15 years ago has not been into computers until then. So I  decided as someone that left school without maybe seeing my full potential and had drifted for years. Until I reconnected with reading I had read lots of books, maybe till my late teens. But then I had perhaps read a book a  month until I rediscovered a passion for books. As this grew I found that I had always loved European fiction since living and working in Germany in my early twenties. I had a number of books from around the world I had been buying. That was the Kernel of what is here. I got drawn into reading Translated fiction more and the idea of the blog was 52 books from around the world well 13 years later and 1100 plus books later the blog has become teen and actually I am in a purple patch of blogging I have over the last 13 years seen the blog go up and down much as my life has in the previous few 13 years. Anyway, let’s see what the teen years of Winstonsdad hold. The journey carries on I set sail on the sea of world lit. The plan is to carry on as I am I hope to eventually work a simple guide to world lit a simple book from me an open guide to encourage readers to try and discover and start their own journey around the world. So as I am currently in Brazil with the latest from Charco Press. One of the great joys in the time I have blogged is how many people now read translated fiction and how many wonderful small press have sprung up. The booker international seems to have sparked a wider audience for the listed books !! I love how it has grown and hope it carries on as is great to have lots more books to choose from. Thanks for all the comments and changes over the last 13 years here is to the coming years and let’s hope we just get more and more books in translation to discover and promote.

Shadow winner is for the last time for me

 

For the first time I have read but haven’t reviewed our winner it has been a strange year. We have spent time discussing books I had time to read the list as I was off work with stress but my focus hasn’t been around for months so I feel upset I hadn’t covered the winner we choose and still have books to review from the list. I will get to them but as time is over to review them we choose as our winner

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung translator – Anton Hur

A collection of stories well written but just not my thing I loved a couple and will mention in my review as I have never been a horror fan but a couple I loved. It was a close winner and the other book that just got pipped at the post is

`Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree Translator – Daisy Rockwell For me this was my personal favourite by a head and shoulders of all there books and will long be a favourite read for this reader just stunning a woman lives on after her husbands death and starts to open up about her life it is just such a great book on so many levels. So I reach the end of another year and this will be my last with the shadow jury as I feel it is time to change things round I will be doing something else next year with some new people. I look forward to see who Frank and his pals have chosen I miss the old iffy days when I was there but its amazing how big this prize is now!!

What has been your favourite read from the lists this year and who do you think will win ?

Home reading service by Fabio Morabito

Home reading service by Fabio Morabito

Mexican fiction

Original title – El lector a domicilio

Translator Curtis Bauer

Source – review copy

I take a break from all things German and one of those writers that I feel is at home in winstonsdad as the life of Fabio Morabito has seen him live in two countries and use two languages. Born in Egypt to Italian parents he grew up in Milan until his parents emigrated to Mexico when he was 15 although he didn’t speak much Spanish but learned and has since written all his books in Spanish. he has written four collections of Poetry and also four of Short stories. He has also translated a lot of Italian poetry into Spanish. He won one of Mexico’s biggest literary prizes with this novel.

I never knew if the Jimenez brothers had been married beofre. The thing now, as old men, they lived together like bachelors. Their home, and judging by the long hallway thart connected to living room to the rest of the house, it must have had lot of rooms, or at least I imagined it that way.

Luis, the one who looked a little dimwitted, was crippled andf seemed to be the older of the two. It was difficult to knpow if he really was dimwit or not. While I read out loud., he sat stifly in his wheelchair.

The opening lines as he read to the two brothers.

the book follows one man Eduardo he lives in the Mexican town of Cuernavaca. He has been sentenced to one year of community service and the task he has been given for his sentence is to read to the towns old people and disabled.  As his father says it was a misfortune that cause the sentence and loss of his driving license. So he sets forth to read to these people. So as he starts to read the books to his collection of listeners and in one case lip readers, he isn’t really absorbing books like Henry James or Dostoyevsky. to an odd cast of characters that makes up the people he has read to. People like the two brothers one mute that the other one speaks to a retired colonel (I was reminded a bit of Marquez, he had a lot of retired military men in his books) an opera singer in a wheelchair a deaf couple with hearing children. But as time moves of=n what happens is we start to see Eduardo a mna absorb in himself even though he lives in a crowd home with his father who is dying with cancer, his sister and a Celeste the women she looks after. But it is later on when he discovers his father had a long time ago Isabel Frarie as he reads this poetry it finally dawns on him all this reading and this poet’s words unlock a door. This is a tale of a man discovering a world he hadn’t seen that isn’t the violent Mafia lead world of his town.

What I was sure of is that Papa didn’t know Isabel Faire, and that it hadn’t ocurred to him that he could have known her. For all he knew, Isabel Faire could have died thrirty years ago or already have been dead when he’d started to read her poems.

I ;ooked for the poe Papa’d copied in his ledger and I found it right away. I wpndered of he’d copied the poem to read to margo. I took it out of my briefcase to compare it to the orignal.Papa’d copied it out perfectly without adding or omitting anything, and that unfailing fidelity made me sad.

As the door opens and he discovers his father like the poet Isabel Faire !

When this arrived I knew it would be one for me. Eduardo is a man that isn’t moving anywhere fast in middle age living with family it isn’t to this sentence sends him around meeting people he didn’t know was there and people that slowly along with the discover life in a book that mixes dark parts of the world they all live in but also past romance those people getting by day to day. so what we get is a mix of dark humor at times and discovery of his own family’s past through the poems his father had once slowly copied and spent time writing for a romance many years ago. Another interesting writer from Mexico. as it is described it shows the healing powers of words and how they can transform one man’s life. If you love poetry and fiction and the power they can have this is the book for you it shows how we can all be touched when the find that key to unlock the door to the library of literature. All through Eduardo’s eye an everyman for a lot of modern Mexican men stuck in a groove just above being a criminal. Do you have a favorite book that involves books and reading?

Winstons score – -A nearly perfect read.

All the Land by Jo Lendle

All the Land by Jo Lendle

German fiction

original title – Alles Land.

Translator – Katy Derbyshire

Source – Personal copy

I’m on another of this year’s german lit choices. l I am now in Greenland partly for this book based on an actual person Alfred Wenger the son of the Minister for Berlin in the early thirties he was an explorer and scientist for the next book for my German Lit month books. A novel from Jo Lendle the Publisher of Hanser Verlag, he is the editor of the lit Magazine Akzente. He has lectured on German literature been involved in German pen. He has also translated a number of books including books by Jachym Topol. He has published a number of novels this is the first book by him I have read.

Alfred Wegener had more siblings than one would wish upon a person. They stood around him and stared at him, elbowing each other and pointing at him, some even grabbing over the woven edge of the willow cradle to pinch him , out of love.

It cost his mother some effort to hold the children back. The birth had taken twenty-four hours, a whole day . It Hard to unsettle a woman like Anna Wegener, but attempting to restrain this horde had her at her wit’s end

his Birth and the Orphans gather round see his birth

I hadn’t heard of Alfred Wegener when I read this book I read his Wiki page and got the sense he was like many of the British explorers of the time. What we see here is him in 1930 as he is stuck trying to survive in the middle of Greenland one of the most remote places in the world on the mid -ice as it is called and also one of the coldest on the planet as he and his team have set off to see if they can get by and to study the weather and survive the conditions this was his fourth trip to Greenland the first was around the time he had to meet his with Else. The book sees his attempts to be both a successful family man.  He was brought up by his parents in an Orphanage so he want to be a real father and husband. The fact he was called into to fight in world one means that the years away from his wife they have drifted apart. We see the romance and his earliest years growing up. He tried his best he thinks but as he looks back we see that wasn’t always so. this is what he is most famous for in a way his studies of weather and things like continental drift. This is a tale of one of those men that like his British counter parts tried to push back the barriers of what men can do endure and see. the furthest the coldest etc.

Early in 1906, he read in the newspaper about a plan for a Danish expedition to north-eastern Greenland, which was to spend two summers charting the coastline. Under the writer Mylius Erichsen’s command , they would attempt to cross the ice of the greenland sea to ereach the spot where the Germania expedtion had been forced to turn back in 1870, and set up a base from there, they hoped to explore the unknown section to cape bridgeman,

A base station in the ice. All that could be studied there! Wegener closed his eyes. It required some effort to gather his wishes.

The  report that maybe inspired him to do his expeditions to Greenland, a few years later.

This is the second novel based on this last expedition on his Wiki page for Alfred Wegener it said this last expedition had inspired John Buchan to write his novel A Prince of captivity three years after the events. What we have here is an in-depth novel about his life that mixes the actual facts with what Lendle feels must have been Wegener’s thoughts of his own life as they sit in freezing weather and looks back over his life. I loved the flow of the book I ‘ve always been a fan of stories around the pole regions things like the worst journey in the world which in parts this reminds me of or a film like Scott of the antarctic the is a part where they cut back on what they are carrying you can see where the story will end it reminds me in parts of Scoots story or more so the Shakleton Television series that followed his life as the relationship of husband and wife when they spent time apart was similar. Have you read any books by Lendle or have a favorite book set in the Polar regions. So if you like a tale of a man how tried his best in everything and in many ways was very human this is a book that you should enjoy. As he is a flawed character but aren’t we all !!

Winstons score – B+ A well-written novel about a man that we should know more about!

some new arrivals at winstons towers

I have’ not the last few months brought the books I have brought and as I have decided to buy more new books and less second-hand books it be a good idea to do a post as I may have to wait a while to have so many second-hand books. I just running out of room so need to slow down till I have a good sort out of books to keep and then donate somewhere. A problem I’m sure we all have from time to time. I fetch these first two books today from a small shop in Bakewell that I often visit as it always has a gem or two.

The first is Thomas Pynchon’s epic against the day one of the few books from him I didn’t own and to find a nice condition hardback is rare. I have read a number of his books over the year. This is another Historic novel that starts around the Chicago world fair. A book that has used a number of styles of storytelling that were the vogue during the time frame the book is ser from 1896 to just after the first world war. I can’t see me getting to it for a while as it is over 1000 pages long and with a 900-page polish novel, 700 pages translated Indian novel and a 600-page French novel I am wanting to read before the end of this year. I can see maybe this time next year as I always feel winter is the time for epic novels in Winston’s towers. Have you read Pynchon ?

The other book I fetch was a later work from another great writer Saul Bellow’s The dean’s December a writer I loved years ago that I am wanting to try again and have brought a number of books from him in the last few years. Follows an academic returning to his wife’s communist Romania as her mother has died and a view of a totalitarian regime. Bellow maybe isn’t in fashion these days have you read his works at all ?

Now a trio of African novels. Firstly two from the African writer series A cowrie of hope by Zambian writer Binwell Sinyangwe set in the ’90s follows Nasula and her daughter as they seek a better life. I haven’t review a book from Zambia so it will add another to the list of countries covered by Winston’s dad. The second novel is Gods bits of wood by the Senegal writer Sembene Ousmane follows the strikes of the late forties on the Niger railway. I love the African writer series so to get to more is great I have reviewed a number over the years.

Then the third is another writer from Senegal Boubacar Boris Diop he recently won the Neustadt prize la prize much in the vein of the Nobel for the body of a writer’s work in fact a number of past winners have also won the Nobel! this described Rwandan massacres from the point of view of a Rwandan history teacher. This is his best-known novel. I hadn’t read him so his best-known work seems to be the place to start.

I always run down on German literature after German lit month so I sent for another from Boll. I haven’t many left to review from him but there is a few out there I still have to get this short story collection from him children are civilian too. Have you read Boll? if not there are eight of his novel under review on the blog. So the short stories will be a change from him !!

Then lastly is a recent book from Portuguese writer Antonio Lobo Antunes follows the tale of an African boy that comes to the Portugal when a soldier that destroyed his home village brings the young boy back then later he kills this father figure that was enough to pique my interest in this book. another writer in with a chance of winning the Nobel. I have reviewed three books by him on the blog. Have you read anything by him?

What new books have you got recently?

 

Child of All Nation by Irmgard Keun

Child of All Nation by Irmgard Keun

German fiction

Original title – Kind aller Länder

Translator -Michael Hofmann

Source – Personal copy

We go back with my next read for German Lit Month and a  modern Classic a book that seem to be everywhere last year I hadn’t read anything by her I was vaguely aware of her connection to Roth not sure if I heard a review of one of her books or read it in another book. She had been married but left her husband in the early thirties when he got drawn in by the Nazi party. She then had a relationship with a Jewish doctor then spent time with the writer Joseph Roth and she traveled around Europe he was a huge influence on her writing. it is felt that the father figure in the book is a write like Joseph Roth. Like Roth, he also criticized the Nazis Keun herself had seen her books withdrawn by the Nazis. A gem of pre-war german Literature that signaled what was to come and the attempt to flee from the shadow of the Nazis.

Then my father suddenly walked into our hotel room where I was crying and my mother ewas groaning, and said to my mother. “Well a mircale has happened – it might yet save us. I’ve just had a call from Tulpe. You don’t know him; well, I don’t know him either, I crossed paths with him once in Berlin. He reads my books , heard I was in town, called me. He travels in Ladies underwear, I beleive; probably has a bank account- rock solid character. Two thousand francs will be enough to get us out of trouble. I can’t pay him back with the fights to the polish translations. The money for that is due in the next few weeks.

Her father tries to scrape together enough money for them to get by.

I am a fan of child narrators when done well and here in Kully the ten-year-old daughter of Peter a writer who is outspoken about the changes he has seen in the time since the Nazis seized power in Germany (much the same as Roth did at the time). This means that Kully her mother and her father are exiled from Germany what we see is the journey around Europe from hotel to hotel as they head from country to country as their visas, funds, and options dwindle a journey that many made at the time. But as this also happens her father is still talking and wanted. He is a chancer and liar to ht mother and her. He is trying to get as they are constantly on the run though he is constantly wanting the family to move on from hotel to hotel but as he heads out to settle them in a new hotel leaving her l=mother and her to sneak off. We see a girl that is a bit wild she smokes sees what is happening but has that childlike view of what is happening she is just caught up in the journey here there and everywhere. A path that many did in those pre-war years.

My mother says my father can’t settle the hotel bill from Warsaw anyway, because the Polish goverment dosen’t alow you to send mony out of Poland. My father often tells fibs to get a bit of peace and quiet. We’re happy about that sometimes, though he performs miracles and everything he says comes true.

My mother is crimping her hair in front of the mirror, she wants to have a round curl either side of her fac, to make her look beautiful.If she looks beautiful, she feels better abiout walking through the lobby, or talking to people to ask them for money: I don’t mind not looking beauitful.

I loved this image of her mother very thirties sounding

I said I like Child narrators when they are done well and Kully voice is so evocative a girl that is a little wild due to the lack of boundaries she is a brat but she is caught in this downward spiral of running from Place to Place. This is a book I am pleased I tried I tend to be put off when I see translations that seem overhyped or here there and everywhere. In  Peter, we have a writer that is like Roth a writer that stirred up the Nazis Roth himself like Peter went out of Germany when Hitler came to power. Roth never got fully away. This is like the Passenger I read earlier this year we see the journey of trying to escape the the Nazis. This is a path that many trod at the time and here we have an angle from the view of a child grasping at the facts seeing her father pushed out aware of what happens but in the black and white nature only children have. I must read her other books which would you recommend?

Winstons score – B a child’s eye view of a horrific time

New Year By Juli Zeh

New Year by Juli Zeh

German Fiction

Original title – Neujahr

Translator – Alta L. Price

Source – Review copy

November is German Lit month and I start with a book I feel a few people will review as it is the latest from bestselling German writer Juli Zeh.A writer that won the German lit prize (the German booker) with her debut novel. She has published a number of novels since then with a number being translated into English. This is the second I  have reviewed Decompression by her in German lit month in 2015. I liked her writing so when this arrived I knew I’d like it and like the earlier book it used a holiday as the catalyst for the story. Juli Zeh is a lawyer and judge. You can see in her writing that she has seen a lot of Human Nature. This book follows a man on holiday over Christmas and New year.

His legs hurt. In back, where there arer muscles one rarely uses with names he’s forgotten, With each piush of the pedal his toes come up against the linings of his shoes – sneakers meant for jogging, not cycling. Henning’s cheap cycling shorts don’t fully protect him from chafing, he has no water and the bike is far to heavy.

But the temperature is almost perfect. The sun hangs white in the sky, but doesn’t burn. If henning were on a lounger sheltered from the wind , he’d be warm. If he were walkingalong the seashore, he’d need a jacket

The opening and he is a typical new years day cyclist ill prepared and unfit !!

Henning is a young man on the cusp of middle age man that has what every man in his position should have a wife two children young 2 and 4 . He and his wife Theresa as they have gone to Lanzarote. But as we see things aren’t that rosy when his wife flirts with another man  The book opens as we see the Christmas period as they celebrate it and Henning looking back we see he has it all but recently has been having panic attacks. These panic attacks have started to affect his job but also his home life as he starts to lash out at those around him more and more and like when we see his wife flirt maybe it could be too late. He can’t quite work out why but as it is now New years day he has decided like most of us do that is to get fitter so as he sets out to cycle up a hill as he does the past comes into his head and this is the second part of the book which sees us going into Hennings his Childhood which has an event that until now was buried this event is maybe what has been causing his stress as dark secrets from his childhood resurfaces, It shows how we can bury the past no matter how dark but then they do rise to the surface in other forms like Panic attacks.

Henning likes making his parent laugh, they like it when he says clever things. Once he saic “the time we have on earth is as tiny as a pebble”. Mama hugged and kissed him and Papa wrote the sentence down and put it on the first page of a photo alim. The bit about the pebble came to Henning because he thinks so much about time, He can’t read a clock yet but often looks at the arrows. Yopu cant see them more, unless you look away and then after a while look back at them, The thing he finds most disturbing about time it that is always goes too fast or too slow. It never seems just right. Henning doesn’t believe time is his friend

I lived this poasage as it seems so true time isn;’t always our friend and especially in Hennings case as time doen’t forget !!

I liked the way she set this book up the first part is Henning in the present but the sense that all isn’t quite right creeps in as we see them on the holiday with their two young children but these panic attacks he has started to lose control of than when he takes that ride we have Henning looking at the past as a child so the narrative has two voice the old Henning and his world now and then him as a young boy as we find what has hidden in the past a sense that is there in the first part of the book then as he cycles he has a Proust like a moment of remembrance and then is in the past. It shows how the past can be hidden and how the darkest moments can’t always be hidden away or forgotten. A journey into a dark past that deals with how the mind works and human nature as I said you can see she has worked with people there is a sense of how the effects of our past are presents which is at the heart of all our lives but when they are dark like these no matter how much we try to avoid it there is always an elephant in the room !! Have you read any books by Juli Zeh

Winstons score – B+ is a solid book about one man’s dark childhood and its effects on the man that was a boy.

Kafka’s Prague by Jiří Kolář

Kafka’s Prague by Jiří Kolář

Czech art/literature non fiction

Original title – Kafka’s  Praha

Translator – Ryan Scott

Source – review copy

Jiří Kolář is one of those people that had many strings to his bow as a person, poet, writer visual artist, and political activist. He was a founder member of th Skupina 42 group of writers and artists that included the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. He did many jobs over his life early on in the communist regime he was arrested and imprisoned for one of his manuscripts he later when the Prague spring happened was a member of a group of artists that meet regularly in the Cafe Slavia this included from Czech Leader Vaclav Havel but when the regime change he went to live in exile and this is where this work was originally published by the exile publishing house Index in Germany.  the book is in two sections the first called responses is a sort of interview about Kolar and his beliefs the second is a collection of Kafka quotes and visual art in the form of crumbled photos to go with each quote of famous views in Prague.

I wrote a musical score named for Baudelaire ` because the majority of sound poets, didn’t know how to express themselves other than as cabaret artists. Only a few of them managed to surpass the Dadaist, such that almost all of their magnetic tape has seemed to me merely a recording of their own recital, or more precisely, of a recital of their “products From the outset Mallarme in mind. Perhapsin him lay the starting oint and solution: to make poetry through music – to write a musical scroe for a recital – recitation of a single word ! obviously I canot deny the influnece of specific music, especially several americans and others in the age of contemporary musical experimentation, the image suddely wanted to be read anew and moreover, heard. Most musical compositions require esembles and a conductor to interpret them – I was working with this objective in mind.

He writer music poems art so talented her is one of his responses .

The first part of the book is a series of vignettes about art, writers, and the world. Then the world of art and science is questioned, with questions such as does art expand our knowledge, digressions like did einstein go to this exhibition. The view of Poets like Baudelaire with a piece about hypocrisy and a piece called the “Hypocrite reader- fellowman – my twin” Meditation and art. Too his own art how it used be surrealism and then changed after the war and over time his world view changed he became Avant garde. Baudelaire crops up he was disappointed with the sound poets so he chose to write music about the poet. Then the second part of the book he takes a number of images of Prague that he has used a technique called crumplage that he made new images out of the old buildings of Prague along the side of these new images he uses a quote from Kafka most of which are perfect companions to the images.

It is not that you are buried in a mine and the masses of stone separte you, a weak individual, from the world and its light, but instead you are outside and want to penetrate to the person who has been buried and are powerless against the stonesm and the world and its light make you even more powerless

Postumous writings and Fragments Kafka

14  crumplage from Kolar.

This is something leftfield for mand the blog. e but I love that Kolar was a figure at the heart of the group of writers in the early 40s and then in the Prague spring than was a strong voice of resistance in his years of Exile so this is a work from an important figure in modern Czech history as ever with twisted spoon it s wonderfully presented the crumplage prints tie so well with the bilingual Kafka quotes on each page symmetry to them in his choice of the pairing of quote and art. This is partly an insight into Kolar’s mind and the world around him the first part sees him looking at art and himself as a sort of interview without questions vignettes insightful and questioning without questions. Then we have his art the art that he pastes after destroying the images to create something new and this may be a way to provoke a feeling of unease and oddness in the images. A collection unable to be seen in Czechslovakia at the time it came out. A homage to the hometown and its best-known writer Kafka a man that they used in the letters at the time a figure that spurred them on when in Prison. A powerful insight into art and the artist view of the world

Winstons score – B thought-provoking and with insightful art and quotes.

 

 

Drilling Through Hard Boards by Alexander Kluge

Drilling Through Hard Boards by Alexander Kluge

German Political fiction

Original title – Das Bohren Harter Bretter

Translator – Wieland Hoban

Source – personal copy

This is the third book by the German writer Alexander Kluge I have read he is fast becoming one of my favorite writers this collection caught my eye as it is slightly different it was a collection of 133 political stories. This is including a couple stories from his fellow German writer Reinhard Jirgl as Kluge says telling stories is a very social activity. Kluge is one of those writers that isn’t easy to pigeonhole, he has so many talents he is both a member of the group 47 writers but is also a leading light of the New German cinema. Kluge has also written a lot of things for television. He is a truly unique talented individual and should be better known over here!

 A number of tourists arrive at the Federal chancellery steamboat jett. They do not want to visit the Federal chancellery but, rather, the HOUSE OF THE CULTURES OF THE WORLD. In front of this heritage protected building, two stalls offer Baked potatoes and Bratwurst respectively, accompanied by beerr. A band is rehearsing loudly for the evening on the roof of the building. They already knew how to use the loudspeakers before they start rehearsing. The rehersal serves to mark there territory in the culturual garden.

Maybe a sly look at how peoples nedds and views have changed in recent years

The book is divided into five rough categories of stories like in his other books he uses a style that is all his own he creates a sort of mosaic with his stories. They stretch from the mundane things like the description of the steamboat jetty near the Federal Chancellory one of the small vignettes that create bigger pictures through Il Duce intelligence. Obama this is Kluge he jumps from place to place each short piece. What he dies is mix the real and fake together. There is pieces from Jirgl which imagine the events around the  Keneady Krushchev meeting and what happened. Funny tales like the highest mountain taking a comment from Gorky and then explain that there was first Lenin peak then there had been a higher Stalin peak found. he moves from the mundane German politicians through Russian Politics and the events like Glasnost then minor observances like the Big wheel at Chernobyl set up at the time for the annual Mayday that stayed for years after. He also looks at how we view politics and those who serve us. The title comes from an observance from Max Weber described politics as ” a strong, slow drilling through hard boards with both passion and judgment “. this is what spurred Kluge to write this collection that makes the reader think like his other books.

The same organizational power that kept all sections of the USSr going was responsible for the annual preparations for LABOUR DAY, 1May, as well as the pouros planning (carelessness, techinical concentrates and disruption of responsibilties) that led to the ACCIDENT IN BLOCK 4 at Chernobyl on 26 pril 1986. The town had already been evacuated. But the leisure facilities for the 1 May celebrations, no longer noticed by anyone, were still set up. Towering above them was a striking big wheel that stayed there for another two years because no one dared take own this contaminated device. It stood there rigidly waiting for te rust in the coming winter. The mute witness to a memorieal day and the scenic ruin, covered by invisible lava, of the technological district: TWO POLTICALLY OPPOSING SIGNS OF HUMN LABOUR.

A nugget of information a small footnote in history the MAY day wheeel left after the disaster in Chernobyl

Kluge is a hummingbird of a writer he likes to fly from flower to flower he has a mind that seems to never rest. The book is one of those that like his fellow German writer Sebald that defies pigeonholes and like Sbebald he loves to mix fiction, non-fiction biography, and photos the images help build with the stories and vignettes. it becomes like a web of knowledge an interconnection tube map of stops that lead us one way and then back and then cross over. All in all,  It makes us all think about what is politics what does it serves and also lifts the lid on the post-war german years. Also the philosophy of politics and the history of politics. this is what I have come to expect from Kluge his books have left me as a reader feeling like I have been to a buffet or like a cosmos where there is a bit of everything you are full the food is rich and the here his ideas small large the vignettes from a few lines to a few pages each can lead you one a different tangent of thought. Have you ever read Kluge? if so which shall I try next.

Winston score – B thought-provoking work from a writer that needs to be better known in the UK

 

 

The Innocence of Memories by Orhan Pamuk

The Innocence of Memories by Orahn Pamuk

Turkish Non-Fiction

Original title -Hatıraların Masumiyeti

Translator – Ekin Oklap

Source – Personal copy

I take a move away from Spanish and Woman in translation. I brought this a week or two ago and just had to read it I have loved Pamuk’s book and was drawn into his love of his hometown Istanbul when he did an episode of the Imagine art series a couple of years ago. This book is about a film he made with the British director Grant Gee about his Musual which came about from the novel he wrote about a distant relative Kemal who married a poorer cousin that is the basis of the novel the Museum of Innocence which I reviewed a when it came out.

I wrote the novel while thinking of the museum, and created the mesum while thinking of the novel, The museum was not just some idea i chanced upon after the succes of the book, nor was it a case of the succes of the Meseum begetting the novel, like the boook  ersion of some blockbuster film, In fact, I conceiived the book and the museum simultanesouly, and explained their intricate connection in the novel; a young man from a wealthy, weesternised Istanbul family falls in love with a poor distant relative, and when hus love goes unrequitted, he finds solace in collecting everything his beloved has ever touched, finally as we learn at the end of the novel hje takes all these everyday objects he has accumlated- post cards, photographsm matchsticks, saltshakers, keys,dress, film clips, and toys, mementos of his doomed love affair and of the Istanbul of the 1970’s and 1980s whose streets he wandered with his lover 0 and puts them on display in Istanbuls Museum of Innocence

The opening paragraph sums up what happened and how it all came about!

The book is formed from the audio tour of the Museum which won the best European Museum in 2014. The idea had been in Pamuk’s mind since the 1990s when he started to collect things as he says in the book the city had started to change at such a pace he needs to keep some of the past there. o when he found the 2000 cigarettes Kemal had kept smoked by Fusun with the touches of her lipstick that he, as he said, wrote a novel that became a real museum. HE brought there home and the floors above and he has made a place that captures what it was like to be Kemal and Fussun at that point. The guide has Orhan talking, Kemal, and people they knew. Then Orhan saw a film by the English Director Grant Gee the one he made about Sebald’s book the rings of Saturn, I myself have watched this film a number of times myself. So he asked if Grant could do a film on this and they met this is a later section in the book where he tells of him and Grant wandering the city for eight hours talking and Gee talks of his lover of Maker’s work especially Sans Soleil another work I like what they came about with is a film that is the title of the book is also the title of the work that Grant Gee and Orhan Pamuk made together I have yet to see this but will love it.

AYLA: There is no daylight in the Museum of Innocence. It feels like night and dreaming. Perhaps this is why it was so easy for me to feel at home there. Once I found myself starting with a powerful sense of Deja vu at a photograph of a salep vendor on the Galata Bridge at night. It took me a while to realise that, like many of the other photographs in the meseum, it is by Ara Giuler. Like all Istanbullus of my generation, I have seen some of his photographs o many times that I confuse them with my own memories of the city

I lived this reaction and the theme of the night and the city is here

I think this is a book that most people that read this blog will love. It has a lot of traits that I like a book around memories I love books that talk about the past about what has been lost and her it is the Istanbul of his youth and at its heart the love story. of Kemal and Fusun even thou it is doomed. This has inspired a novel, a film, and a Museum. The book is interspersed with pictures of the museum and exhibits. What leaps out of the book is his love of Istanbul especially at night and the way it used to be the lost place the streets have gone things like the wild dogs wandering the streets. He talked about this on the Imagine show and how he wandered at night. Have you read any Non-fiction by Pamuk?

Winstons score – A A ode to a book and city

 

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