Tag: Books: Spanish Literature

Review: The Good Suicides

Posted 5 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Good Suicides
By: Antonio Hill
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Random House Canada via GoodReads First Reads programme

Young, free and . . . dead.

Senior staff at Alemany Cosmetics company come home with a secret after a team-building course in a remote country house. Now, they are committing suicide, one by one. Soon, they may all be dead. Each has received a photo from an anonymous source of three dogs hanging dead from a tree near the house.

Deciphering the personalities of these high-earning executives and their power structure, Inspector Salgado has his own way of making them speak. But Barcelona is now freezing cold and the city is hunkering against an unusually cold spell. Can Salgado break the ice before it’s too late?

I first heard about this author and his Inspector Salgado series through GoodReads as they have been slowly coming out here in North America in the past year or so. I guess the part that intrigued me the most was that the setting was in Barcelona (intriguing city). The Good Suicides is the second novel featuring Inspector Salgado and the premise sounds very chilling. This book will be available on 17 June 2014

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: Soldiers of Salamis

Posted 2 April, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Soldiers of Salamis
By: Javier Cercas
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, a writer and founding member of Franco’s Fascist Party is about to be shot, and yet miraculously escapes into the forest. When his hiding place is discovered, he faces death for the second time that day-but is spared, this time by a lone soldier. The POW becomes a national hero and a member of Franco’s first government, while the soldier is forgotten. Sixty years later, Cercas’s novel peels back the layers of truth and propaganda in order to discover who the real hero was.

I honestly can’t remember how long ago I came across this novel; it was during one of my many searches on GoodReads for novels written by Spanish authors. The premise sounded really interesting, of a man who was able to escape death on two occasions during the Civil War. I had picked up a copy of the book for my eReader a year and a half ago but did not get around to it until now (becasue of the following reading challenge ;)).

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: Stories by Foreign Authors: Spanish

Posted 6 March, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Stories by Foreign Authors: Spanish
By: Various Authors
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Stories by Foreign Authors: Spanish was published in 1898. This collection gives an excellent look into the writers in Spain at the time. Included in this collection are:

  • THE TALL WOMAN by Pedro Antonio De Alarcon
  • THE WHITE BUTTERFLY by Jose Selgas
  • THE ORGANIST by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer
  • MOORS AND CHRISTIANS. by Pedro Antonio De Alarcon
  • BREAD CAST UPON THE WATERS by Fernan Caballero.

So here’s the thing: I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment (which you probably couldn’t tell a few days ago with the 5 books listed under GoodReads that I was reading =P). I find that one way to get out of the reading slump is by reading short stories 🙂 So I decided to read this title, which I picked up on a whim during my many browsings on the Gutenberg Project. This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

I was pleasantly surprised by this collection. On the one hand, it was fairly eclectic in that the first three stories are short and more supernatural/Gothic in theme while the last two are more historical fiction in nature. The first three were far more interesting for me because of the Gothic theme, the mystery and the strange occurrences happening. The Tall Woman was rather creepy while The White Butterfly was quite eerie but with an interesting twist/message at the end. My favourite story was The Organist; while short, it had just the right amount of small-town interest and a truly Gothic twist. The other two stories were interesting enough and more novella-like in length.

Overall, this collection was an intriguing one with some really great stories. I recommend it, especially if you’re looking for some stories written by Spanish authors 🙂

Rating: ★★★☆☆

DNF: In the Night of Time

Posted 10 January, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

In the Night of Time
By: Antonio Munoz Molina
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

October 1936. Spanish architect Ignacio Abel arrives at Penn Station, the final stop on his journey from war-torn Madrid, where he has left behind his wife and children, abandoning them to uncertainty. Crossing the fragile borders of Europe, he reflects on months of fratricidal conflict in his embattled country, his own transformation from a bricklayer’s son to a respected bourgeois husband and professional, and the clandestine, all-consuming love affair with an American woman that forever alters his life.

Winner of the 2012 Prix Méditerranée Étranger and hailed as a masterpiece, In the Night of Time is a sweeping, grand novel and an indelible portrait of a shattered society, written by one of Spain’s most important contemporary novelists.

I was approved of an ARC of this title from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was so happy that I was approved a copy of this novel because Antonio Munoz Molina has been on my want-to-read for AGES (his other books that were translated to English, Sepharad and Manuscript of Ashes have been on my want-to-read list for a very long time).

I started reading this novel sometime last week and it started off nicely; there wasn’t much dialogue but there were some lines here and there that I really liked, I thought they were beautiful. After two – three chapters, I started wondering what was going on, where was the story headed. But at 20% into the novel, I finally had to put the book down and label it as a DNF. It pains me to do this–I had been looking forward to reading something by this author for so long–but I was already several chapters in and I’m still not feeling the story or the characters and it was actually quite a labour to get through those chapters. The writing, while curiously particular, is very dense. A lot of the time it’s just prose, with scant dialogue and without frequent paragraph breaks to break the ideas down. It makes it difficult to really understand what’s going on or why the information in the prose is important. The mind wanders. And this book is a big one: at 656 pages hardback, I don’t think I can handle the narrative style for any longer.

I may pick this title up again in the future but for now, I sadly place this book on the did-not-finish pile. (As a side note, yes, this is the first time I’m actually using the DNF designation here on my blog)

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Everything España: a 2014 Reading Challenge [Master List]

Posted 30 December, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 9 Comments

Everything España: a 2014 Reading Challenge hosted by caffeinatedlife.net

Spain is a very interesting country with a very rich culture and history. I’m personally always on the lookout for novels either set or coming from this country so I thought it would be interesting to host a reading challenge all about this Iberian country (something I haven’t really come across online in the blogosphere) 🙂

Please sign up for this reading challenge IN THIS POST, thank you! (all sign-ups posted int his list will be moved to the appropriate list)

This post contains the master list of all the book reviews made by participants for this challenge. Linking your reviews here is optional but strongly recommended just so that we can share titles and thoughts with other bloggers, learn new titles out there and get to know each other in the process 🙂

Friendly reminder about what books are acceptable in this reading challenge:

  • Books set anywhere in Spain (either completely or partly)
  • Books written by a Spanish author (born in or is a citizen of Spain). Authors like Arturo Perez Reverte and Carlos Ruiz Zafon are acceptable but authors like Gabriel GarcĂ­a Márquez and Isabel Allende are not (unless their novels are set in Spain). If you need help figuring out what books are written by Spanish authors or are set in Spain, please refer to this Pinboard I made on Pinterest, this GoodReads list or this Wikipedia page.
  • Books either written originally in Spanish or translated to another language (but still falling under criteria 1 & 2 (within Spain))
  • Re-reads are acceptable
  • Fiction and non-fiction titles are acceptable

And that’s about it! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment or email me at webmaster [at] caffeinatedlife [dot] net. Have fun and I look forward to reading your reviews!