Tag: Books: Translated Texts

Review: Headhunters

Posted 3 June, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Jo Nesbø

Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he’s a master of his profession. But one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife’s fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that’s been lost since World War II—and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to Roger Brown.

Jo Nesbø is pretty popular in the Scandinavian thriller genre at the moment and I first found out about this book after seeing a trailer for its 2011 movie adaptation starring Aksel Hennie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. So I decided to pick this book up for my Kobo; after reading as something as heavy as Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (review), I was in the mood for something different. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: Yevgeny Onegin

Posted 24 May, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Yevgeny Onegin
By: Aleksandr Pushkin

Tired of the glitter and glamour of St Petersburg society, aristocratic dandy Eugene Onegin retreats to the country estate that he has recently inherited. There he begins an unlikely friendship with the idealistic young poet Vladimir Lensky, who welcomes this urbane addition to their small social circle and introduces Onegin to his fiancée’s family. But when her sister Tatyana becomes infatuated with Onegin his cold rejection of her love brings about a tragedy that encompasses them all. Unfolded with dream-like inevitability and dazzling energy, Pushkin’s tragic poem is one of the great works of Russian literature.

Yevgeny Onegin is considered by many to be the greatest work in Russian literature; not to go into too much detail, it’s considered a crowning achievement not only because of the story and all of the elements and themes associated with it but because of Pushkin’s use of the Russian language. During the time that Pushkin wrote this work, French was still considered to be the primary language for the arts. I actually have a copy of this book in Russian but given my elementary knowledge of the language, I opted to read it in English instead (especially as this book has been sitting on my shelf for about two years now). May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: Silk

Posted 23 April, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Alessandro Barricco

The year is 1861. Hervé Joncour is a French merchant of silkworms, who combs the known world for their gemlike eggs. Then circumstances compel him to travel farther, beyond the edge of the known, to a country legendary for the quality of its silk and its hostility to foreigners: Japan.

There Joncour meets a woman. They do not touch; they do not even speak. And he cannot read the note she sends him until he has returned to his own country. But in the moment he does, Joncour is possessed.

I read this novel a few years ago, maybe around the time that the adaptation came out (lovely adaptation, though I wished someone else had been cast for the character of Herve Joncour; Michael Pitt was too wooden for the role). I decided to re-read it again recently, as part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge and in part because I own both the Italian and English editions and wanted to practice my Italian reading comprehension (I ended up reading half and half). Contains some spoilers!

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Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

Posted 16 April, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Devotion of Suspect X
By: Keigo Higashino

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step. When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.

I received a copy of this book from GoodReads a short time ago (but it is now available to purchase in bookstores). The premise sounds interesting and it has received a lot of positive reviews from many book reviewers and journalists thus far. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: Invisible Cities

Posted 22 March, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Invisible Cities
By: Italo Calvino

Città reali scomposte e trasformate in chiave onirica, e città simboliche e surreali che diventano archetipi moderni in un testo narrativo che raggiunge i vertici della poeticità.

“Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when he describes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartars does continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiosity than he shows any other messenger or explorer of his.” So begins Italo Calvino’s compilation of fragmentary urban images.

I’ve had two of Italo Calvino’s books sitting on my shelf for some time now in both English and Italian, Le citta invisibili being the second of the books I picked up. I decided to read this book first (before If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller) because I heard how different this novel was and how interesting the descriptions of the cities were; I’m also reading this novel as part of the I Love Italy reading challenge that I’m participating in. What I didn’t expect from this novel was how there is so much more going on than just mere descriptions. Contains a few spoilers ahead!

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