Tag: Books: Translated Texts


Review: The Lost Daughter

Posted 20 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Lost Daughter
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

From the author of The Days of Abandonment, The Lost Daughter is Elena Ferrante’s most compelling and perceptive meditation on womanhood and motherhood yet. Leda, a middle-aged divorce, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence. Ferrante’s language is as finely tuned and intense as ever, and she treats her theme with a fierce, candid tenacity.

This is the final book from her list of fiction that I haven’t read. After reading the fraught-ness that was The Days of Abandonment (review) I was looking for something a bit quieter to read. Good thing I left this for last 😛

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 8 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Another day, another round of mini reviews! This is another poetry edition as I’ve read a bit of poetry in the last few months that I wanted to talk briefly about 🙂 Included in this batch are:


The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

More than a century has now passed since F.T. Marinetti’s famous “Futurist Manifesto” slammed the door on the nineteenth century and trumpeted the arrival of modernity in Europe and beyond. Since then, against the backdrop of two world wars and several radical social upheavals whose effects continue to be felt, Italian poets have explored the possibilities of verse in a modern age, creating in the process one of the great bodies of twentieth-century poetry.

Even before Marinetti, poets such as Giovanni Pascoli had begun to clear the weedy rhetoric and withered diction from the once-glorious but by then decadent grounds of Italian poetry. And their winter labors led to an extraordinary spring: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s wartime distillations and Eugenio Montale’s “astringent music”; Umberto Saba’s song of himself and Salvatore Quasimodo’s hermetic involutions. After World War II, new generations—including such marvelously diverse poets as Sandro Penna, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Amelia Rosselli, Vittorio Sereni, and Raffaello Baldini—extended the enormous promise of the prewar era into our time.

A surprising and illuminating collection, The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry invites the reader to examine the works of these and other poets—seventy-five in all—in context and conversation with one another. Edited by the poet and translator Geoffrey Brock, these poems have been beautifully rendered into English by some of our finest English-language poets, including Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Paul Muldoon, and many exciting younger voices

I bought this monster of a tome on sale at Book City; I’m always up to reading more translated texts and more Italian literature so the intersect between Italian literature and poetry with this book was a win-win for me.

Like the title and blurb mentions, the book covers Italian poetry over the course of the twentieth century, convering everything from life in Italy at the turn of the century to the two world wars, to experimentation in the latter half of the the twentieth century in culture. It’s a bilingual text, which I always enjoy checking out, and whilst there were some I didn’t care for or felt moved by (the really weird experimentation from the mid-century just will never appeal to me) there were others that did intrigue me and whose works I will keep a lookout for as solo collections, such as Giovanni Pascoli and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Overall, I’m glad to have checked out this collection 🙂

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Review: The Days of Abandonment

Posted 4 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Days of Abandonment
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published. It is the gripping story of a woman’s descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.

Oh man, this book has long been on my wish-to-read list. Aside from her Neapolitan books, The Days of Abandonment is Elena Ferrante’s other most notable work, and I was keen to read it and find out what everyone was talking about. Plus, I’m slowly making my way through the remainder of her bibliography so it was high time I got around to it 😉 However, I wasn’t sure if it was the best of ideas to bring it with me to work to read during my break as I knew it was going to make for a bit of a hefty read, but it was also one of the slimmer volumes sitting on my TBR pile at the time 😛 Contains spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Summer Book

Posted 4 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Book of Summer
By: Tove Jansson
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

I had been eyeing this book for ages (I’ve been saying that a lot with some of these books, but it’s true!). Her Moomin comics are popular but I wanted to read her fiction as the premise of her books sounded quite interesting. Well, I finally got my hands on this book and thought it would make a perfect summer read.

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Review: On the Point of Erupting

Posted 3 July, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

On the Point of Erupting
By: Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson has achieved international renown as a novelist, with his books being translated into over 30 languages. But when he first burst onto the Icelandic scene in 1980, it was as a poet.

Guðmundsson’s poetry is bold and moving, sharp, sarcastic and funny. The 50 poems collected in this volume have been interpreted by some of Iceland’s best translators.

I picked this book up whilst I was in Iceland. I was looking for something written by an Icelandic author to pick up just because I was there (I try to do this whenever I’m in another country) and thankfully this was one poetry that was translated into English.

Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson’s poetry in a way reminded me of Leonard Cohen with some of the phrases, the infusion of the popular culture he was in, some of his approaches to the subjects he was writing about. What struck me especially was how that sort of punk 80s popular culture he was writing in is very much present in many of his poems. But the ones I like more were the poems about the countryside and about Iceland’s culture and atmosphere; through those poems I have a greater sense of how an Icelandic person views his or her country, and indeed just the country he lives in.

Overall I’m glad to have read On the Point of Erupting which I should mention is a collection of selected poetry from Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson over the course of his career. Indeed it can be witty and there’s a sense of irony in many of the poems he’s written, but I especially enjoyed the poems about the country he lives in, I just had a greater sense of the country through those poems. Definitely a collection to check out if you’re looking to check out something different.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Visit the author’s official website