Seiobo there below by László Krasznahorkai

Seiobo there below by  László Krasznahorkai

Hungarian fiction

Original title – Seiobo járt odalent

Translator – Ottilie Mulzet

Source personal copy

Just a perfect day
Drink Sangria in the park
And then later
When it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later
A movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

I choose perfect day by Lou Reed as it mix part of what is in this book there isn’t a perfect day and this wasn’t one but seemed it .

I wonder if I am the only one that tends to go the other way in times of trouble and read the tougher books to read when in times of trouble . So I found myself picking up my second novel to read by Krasznahorkai , the other week of course I had been remind I has it when he won the recent man booker international award .Krasznahorkai is best known for Satantango which is the other book by him I have read . He has since the fall of the soviet bloc traveled the world hence this novel which is written 20 plus years after Satantango  is set mainly in japan but also in various places and times . He has spent the last decade in both Japan and China .

Everything around it moves , as if just this one time and one time only , as if the message of Heraclitus has arrived here though some deep current , from a distance of an entire universe in spite of all the senseless obstacles , because the water moves .

The opening lines .

 

The premise of Seiobo there below is the Japanese goddess once every 3000 years has a peach tree in her garden that bares fruit and this fruit gives who ever eats it immortality . Now she decides to search for perfection on the earth thus setting up the sequences of stories that follow in the book as we see her follow various artist actors and such .Trying to find what is perfection but is perfection what it seems , is that great actor the face every one sees when he acts , or is he different behind the scenes ? How do you get the perfect colour for that picture .What makes great art and is their great art with great artist , do great artist make great art .Each story leads some how in some way to the next as we follow Seiobo on her quest .

Well as you see as ever something seems to escape me in Krasznahorkai  writing  but l, I can put my finger on it here for me as a reader it is time . This is like me being given Boy and Actung baby  by u2  or even Tender prey and push the sky away by Nick cave . Now these are all great records but can you list to Boy then actung baby ? it is like I have broken the sequence as with this book which chapters follow the Fibonacci sequence maybe I have jumped in my reading of him from boy to actung baby and am feeling a bit disjointed .I mentioned Nick Cave as to parapharse him when he was speaking to Blixa Bargeld in the documentary 20000 day on earth he wish he had learned to edit at an earlier age , but why to me Satantango is Krasznahorkai Tender prey rough uncut and totally addictive , but for me I feel I have to read the other books by him in english and at a later date return to this one to fully get the sense of this as a book .As for now I was reminded of the film pi by Darren Aronfsky , which sees a young mathematician driven to madness by the search for perfection in maths like that Seiobo search for the perfect person to receive the peach is actually a flawed one art is in the eye , the moment , the time , the subject and can be perfect for only a split second .So i will return with a longer review after I have in a few years read his other books as I get hold of them in english .

Do you like jumping about  in a writers life ?

Hello I’m back and lets get ready to blog

Now why start this post with Hitler as potrayed by Bruno Ganz .Well whilst I’ve been away ok my mind was elsewhere .I sadly lost my wonderful stepmother last week , but was thankful for the time spent with her and my dad more than in recent years , then this last weekend I rested and started turnong my mind back to the blog .But also to as Simon of Savidge reads does ever so often a state of the blog post came to mind .Partly set  on this track by reading The Ogre by Michel Tournier a 1970 Prix Goncourt winner .I remember the early days of this blog when I read just books I found and read everything I could lay my hands on at the Library .This lead to my blog maybe having the widest range of books in its early years , recently I feel as thou I ran out of steam I let things go I loved .Things I started I have let slip when I should be running and curating these things . I started both translation thurs on twitter and the shadow iffp both of which I have let slide this last year . I will be bringing t the fun back to this blog and to me in general I feel a weight has been lifted something in the back of my head that had been on my mind for over a year has gone now so I can set my body and soul  back on the blog . I started with Bruno Ganz as this is  clip well-known a clip to break free of being a world cinema film , like Je’t Aime by Serge Gainsbourg or Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larsson books . All these have broken out of the groove . Why well to me they appeal to something in all of us a base instinct  , not to a critical discussion on lit in translation , world cinema or world music . No they grab you Bruno Ganz as the angry Hitler losing control appeals as we would maybe love to get that angry or even to blow our tops that way , hence the number of spoof videos around the net .Serge singing we would all love to be the lover like him , or the blood and guts like Lisbeth . That is what I need to do not say how this book is in a large scheme of literature or discussion of the finer points of its merit” no” , there is plenty of quality magazines or books out there . I have a number books in this line western canon etc and  I get the LRB . But no to me the point of this blog is to be like that annoying kid in class that always had the latest music, that at time you went it isn’t for me , but then went home listen to and went damm this guy is in the loop . A cheerleader for translation anything but a bloody bore on the place of a book hell who the hell am i to say that  about it !! sorry I feel I was heading this way my reviews have been boring and maybe me just doing the motions , I not been trying to have fun to worried about word counts and maybe trying to seem like I know what I am on about , I don’t always 500 books in every book to me is still an adventure and an escape maybe I not been putting that across enough .So let’s go discover books together , lets find lists of great books around the world and start a collective cheer around the world .I will allow the feel shadow IFFP announce the winner tomorrow as I feel my part is to small this year to do it

Two new arrivals a Czech classic and French Noir

I’ve had a bad week really , some really bad news .So a couple of books arriving has brightened a morning up to what is a sad time at Winston’s tower .

innocence by Heda Margolius Kovaly

First is a Czech crime novel the only novel from a writer better known for her non fiction work the biography  Under a cruel star .Heda Margolius Kovály was a Czech writer and translator , her book about the war and what followed from being a Jew in the Czechoslovakia . she lived in exile from the late 1950’s onwards ,where she worked as a translator translated many books from English to Czech including Raymond Chandler . I mention Chandler as John Banville has compared this book to his work .Set in Prague it follows the investigation into a murder at a cinema and the women that work as ushers in it .This is also translated by Alex Zucker .

boxes by Pascal Garnier

The second arrival today was Boxes the latest from Gallic books noir series , that has been putting out the novels of the Late Pascal Garnier .This one follows Brice and Emma a couple that have just moved into a new house . Their neighbour Blanche lives next to the grave yard and she says Brice looks like her Late father .

What books have you received recently ?

Out in the open by Jesús Carrasco

out in the open

Out in the open by Jesús Carrasco

Spanish fiction

Original title –  Intemperie

Translator – Margaret Jull Costa

Source – personnel copy

 

Well the drums rolled off in my forehead
And the guns went off in my chest
Remember carrying the baby just for you
Crying in the wilderness

I lost track of my friends, I lost my kin
I cut them off as limbs
I drove out over the flatlands
Hunting down you and him

The sky was big and empty
My chest filled to explode
I yelled my insides out at the sun
At the wide open road

It's a wide open road, it's a wide open road.....

I went for a early Triffid's track a band from perth in Australia a desert city source 

Jesús Carrasco is a rising star of spanish literature , this his first novel won a number of prizes ,including being the book of 2013 by readers of the spanish paper El Pais .Grew up in Toledo , his father was a teacher , he studied physical education .But when he started working start as a advertising copy writer .This is his debut novel and a star of the Frankfurt book fair where it sold rights to most of Europe .To tie in with the book a few weeks ago I picked my five favourite spanish readers for Harvil on their blog . Oh and he has one of the best writer moustaches in years !!

From inside his hole in the ground , he heard the sound of voices calling his name , and , as if they were crickets , he tried to pinpoint the precise location of each man within the bounds of the olive grove . The desolate howling of fire-scrotched scrub  . He was lying on one side , knees drawn up to his chest , with barely enough room to move in that cramped space .

the opening lines of the book .

So Out in the open is the story of one young boys escape from his home , but then he has to fight to keep free first evading the people trying to find him . Then the world around him barren desert like  plains , hot sun and people struggling for food .What faces him is how to live and get by in this world .All he has known is violence , does he carry on the circle of violence ? But will a night in this world with an old goatherder change the young boy , what does he gain from the old man and what does the old man gain from the young boy ?

Tiny and dark in the midst of that still-greater darkness , he wondered if he might find something useful on the imaginary line he was following due north . Perhaps some fruit trees along the road or fountains of clean water or endless springtimes . He couldn’t really come up with any concrete expectation , but that didn’t matter .By heading north ,he was travelling away from the village , away from the bailiff and from his father .

He just wants to head north to find a new different place .

Again like last few books I have reviewed it is another nameless character , in this case also in a timeless place .This suits this book as it harks back too , some classic spanish literature in some ways the boys quest so to speak has since early days of spanish literature been a motif , the boy is maybe hunting for a life that is different the same way Don Quixote hunted windmills .The brutal nature of the book remind me of another spanish classic The family of Pascal Duarte by Cela , which sees another violent life and world  .Of course looking further afield it is hard mot to mention McCarthy’s The road as they both see people trying to survive in unfamiliar brutal world . This is a book full of the violent nature of life but so wonderful written it draws you into this dark hinterland .

Have you a favourite book that isn’t tied to a place just about nature of people ?

A perfect crime by A Yi

a perfect crime A Yi cover

 

A perfect crime by A Yi

Chinese fiction

Original title  -Xiamian Wo Gai Ganxie Shenme (下面我该干些什么)

Translator – Anne Holmwood

Source – Review copy

 

 

live in a town called Millhaven
And it’s small and it’s mean and it’s cold
But if you come around just as the sun goes down
You can watch the whole town turn to gold
It’s around about then that I used to go a-roaming
Singing La la la la La la la lie
All God’s children they all gotta die

My name is Loretta but I prefer Lottie
I’m closing in on my fifteenth year
And if you think you have seen a pair of eyes more green
Then you sure didn’t see them around here
My hair is yellow and I’m always a-combing
La la la la La la la lie
Mama often told me we all got to die

I choose a murder ballad from Nick Caves murder Ballad album another teenager going round killing people . source 

I said when this one arrived it was the first Chinese novel I had read the blurb of and thought I would like . I’ve not really hate the other Chinese novels I ‘ve read for me they miss what I want to see and that is the experience of living in a mega city or living in a country that is so in flux and yet so traditional in other ways . A Yi was a police officer for five years then turned his hand to writing first as editor at Chutzpah a lit magazine and he then moved to Xiron publishing where he set up a literary imprint “Iron Gourd ” he has written numerous short stories and has his own blog in China .He was on a list of 20 future literary giants in 2010 .

it struck me with an incredible force that she was letting me kill her . It wasn’t my decision to make . She was the one in charge , walking in front of me , leading me up the stairs towards her death .

“Why are you still wearing your cap ?” She said

“It’s part of the plan ” , I said

She didn’t understand , so I repeated . “It’s part of the plan ”

He is rather delude in some ways !!

A perfect crime this isn;t that at all ,of course the perfect crime is the one where the person doing the crime doesn’t get caught ! This book follows one teenager as he kills the Aunt whom he shares the house with and then tries to run away and get away with the crime .He kills her stuffs her in a washing machine and then decides to run . He some how in a country of billions manages to get capture where he is interrogated and sentence by the court  and then … Why did he kill her , why did he run ? The book follows a bleak teen into a bleak world .

My body kept sinking and I had to fight for the right to rest . Sometimes my poor hands would let my feet take the burden , sometimes the other way round .

“I need a pee ” I shouted at one point , the response to which was the sound of clanging from outside and then “go on then ”

In the middle of the interrogation after he is caught .

The book is told in short choppy chapters you see he is a writer that is maybe more at home with a short story eac h chapter is self-contained . Yet tell a part of the whole story  from the early stages to deciding to kill his aunt the killing then we see how he runs off in three chapter then we see the judicial and police process from the teenager view point . The whole story is told in the first person .This shows a brutal crime and the outcome . A Yi style is trimmed and brutal , he hasn’t hidden Chinese  police and justice systems behind rose-coloured glasses , no this shows the brutal nature of justice in China ! Now the cover mentions Kafka , Camus  among others . For me I was reminded of communist writers like Herta Muller a book like the appointment which like this book shows the inner working of the bureaucracy of Communism .But it is also about a world that is being lost clashing culture the aunt generation and the hi speed ,hi tech world of the teenager .A novel that lifts the veil of growing up faceless and in this case nameless in a nameless city that could be any one of a thousand small cities in china !

Have you a favourite Chinese novel ?

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