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A Chilling Summer Read: 'The Birds' by Tarjei Vesaas

Tarjei Vesaas’ The Ice Palace was one of the most memorable reads from my immersion in Nordic literature last January.  After the magical and terrifying evocation of winter in that most chilling of Norwegian novels, I was fully prepared to shiver my way through the next Vesaas translation on my bookshelf this February, only to discover how untimely such an attempt would be.  372 more words

Book Review

Musings on Time and Space: 'Flights' by Olga Tokarczuk

With its beautiful stark blue cover, the Fitzcarraldo Edition of ‘Flights’ doesn’t give away much about the book’s content.  The blub, starting with the sentence ‘ 373 more words

Book Review

Melancholy Beauty: 'The Hour of the Star' by Clarice Lispector (translated by Giovanni Pontiero)

It is hard to know where to begin with this review.  ‘The Hour of the Star’ is a novella that is so short and so full of perfectly crafted sentences and images, my strong temptation to fill the blog post with quotations is tempered by the knowledge that this would end up in me copying out a ridiculously large percentage of the book itself.  531 more words

Book Review

Les Misérables and Les Mystères de Paris: a comparison

When raving about ‘The Mysteries of Paris‘ last week, it was clear there was an elephant in the room, because when you describe thousand plus page novels using characters to explore social issues in 19th century Paris, no-one thinks you’re talking about Sue’s little-known melodrama.    675 more words

Reading In Translation

Addictively Silly: The Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue (1842-43)

The Mysteries of Paris begins in the dank alleyways of the Parisian underworld.  A mysterious stranger ‘darted with hasty step into the Cité, that labyrinth of obscure, narrow, and winding streets which extends from the Palais de Justice to Notre Dame.’ 367 more words

Book Review

Isolated and Hidden Away: 'The Drinker' by Hans Fallada

A couple of years ago I read the wonderful ‘Blood Brothers‘ by Ernst Haffner, a book which explores the desperate underbelly of interwar Germany.  546 more words

Book Review