Tag: Books: Translated Texts


Review: Embers

Posted 11 June, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Embers
By: Sándor Márai
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains in the 1930s. Two men, inseparable in their youth, meet for the first time in forty-one years. They have spent their lives waiting for this moment.

Four decades earlier a murky, traumatic event – something to do with a betrayal, and a woman – led to their sudden separation. Now, as their lives draw to a close, the devastating truth about that moment will be revealed.

Embers is a masterpiece – an unforgettable story of passion, fidelity, truth and deception.

I’ve mentioned this in the past but I tend to buy books while I’m on holiday, local/national authors from the country I’m visiting. I picked up this book whilst in Budapest; it has long been on my wish-to-read radar anyway, but it was perfect picking this book up in Hungary 🙂 If I remember correctly I started reading this book on the travel back home, lol.

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Review: Frantumaglia

Posted 28 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey
By: Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In this collection of writings and responses gathered from over 30 years of correspondence, the reclusive Italian author addresses her unwavering decision to remain anonymous, her literary inspirations, Italian politics and culture, and the role of the writer (and the publisher) in modern society. Ferrante’s voice is as direct, penetrating, acute, inspiring, and intimate as it is in her acclaimed novels.

This book invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.

In these pages Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions she addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies. The result is a vibrant and intimate self-portrait of a writer at work.

I finally read it, omg. This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for some time now. I’ve read pretty much all of her books to date save for maybe one or two of the more recent stuff, but I was pretty excited for this one because it promised to provide insight into her writing process her thoughts aout writing and her stories and whatnot.

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Review: Eva Sleeps

Posted 6 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Eva Sleeps
By: Francesca Melandri, Katherine Gregor (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Out of the struggles and conflicts in the border regions of Northern Italy and Austria and the rich history that has resulted from this meeting of cultures, comes a family story that embodies the history of nations. Eva, a forty-year-old public relations professional living in Northern Italy, recieves an unexpected message from Southern Italy. Vito, a man she briefly knew as a child as a friend of her mother’s, is very ill and would like to see her one last time. He is a retired police officer who was stationed in the north during the late-sixties, a period rife with tension, protest, and violence. These troubles, however, did not stop a young hapless policeman from falling in love with the “wrong” woman, a girl named Gerda from Austrian Tyrol, an inventive and accomplished cook, a single mother with a rich family history of her own, a northerner, the sister of a terrorist, and Gerda’s mother.

Vito’s affair with Gerda was a passionate one, but what was the nature of their love? And if he loved her so passionately why did he return to Calabria? What scars did those years leave on Vito, and on Gerda? It’s time for Eva to find out.

I love how diverse Europa Editions is in bringing translated fiction to the English-speaking audience. I’m always interested to read the latest from the European literary scene, like in Italy. So this book has been on my wishlist for some time; picked it up a few years ago, but then it took me another few years before I finally read it 😛

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Review: History. A Mess.

Posted 21 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

History. A Mess.
By: Sigrún Pálsdóttir, Lytton Smith (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

While studying a seventeenth-century diary, the protagonist of History. A Mess. uncovers information about the first documented professional female artist. This discovery promises to change her academic career, and life in general . . . until she realizes that her “discovery” was the result of two pages stuck together. But she’s already reached the point of no return, and she goes to great lengths to hide her mistake—undermining her sanity in the process. A shifty, satirical novel that’s subtly funny and colorful, while also raising essential questions about truth, research, and the very nature of belief.

I picked up this book after a fellow book blogger featured it on his Instagram. It sounded interesting–the main character is a protagonist! The author is Icelandic!–so I snatched it up right away.

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Review: Bloodhoof

Posted 10 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Bloodhoof
By: Gerður Kristný, Rory McTurk (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Bloodhoof is the re-casting into compulsively spare modern verse of an ancient Eddic poem – but this only begins to hint at its attractions. It is a minimalist epic telling of the abduction of Gerdur Gymisdottir from the land of giants to the court of Freyr of the ‘wolf-grey eyes’, and the subsequent events culminating in the birth of her son and her hopes of being saved by her own kin.

It is full of iron-hard rocks and ice, serpents in the breast gnawing at the harness of hope, but also wide-reaching fields of corn whispering in the breeze and a throne carved with beasts and dragons-heads. You could read the whole book in perhaps half an hour but it will take many months or years to begin to clear the ghosts and long-dead heroes from your mind.

I first encountered this book while I was in Iceland; there was this bookstore I had visited the first time I was there and revisited it again recently. However I didn’t pick up a copy of this book until I returned to Canada–bought way too many books as it was at the time!

Bloodhoof was a wonderful read. I don’t remember encountering the original Eddic poem when I read the poems a few years back, but thankfully this book has an introduction that introduces the original poem and where Kristny draws her sources from to write this book. I especially love the fact that this book is bilingual, with the original poem in Icelandic set at the top and the English translation at the bottom; Icelandic is a complex language but I always appreciate it when a book is bilingual like that, you can refer to it. The poem itself is minimalist but rich in imagery and feeling.

Suffice to say I really enjoyed this poem and glad I picked it up 🙂

Rating: ★★★★★

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from The Book Depository