The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
The narrator and his friend, Paul, an AIDS patient, spend Paul's last few months constructing an elaborate story about an Italian family in Helsinki and their lives throughout the Twentieth Century--elaborate, but ultimately unfinished.
"The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton"
The narrator, visiting a friend in D.C., attends a concert of Vietnam War veterans in a ruine ...more
I was browsing the new fiction section at the library and saw a book of short fiction by Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi. I was a little leary when I found they were stories he had written before Pi. The thought crossed my mind that maybe he was just cashing in on his popularity by putting out some old stuff that wasn't that good. I was wrong, though. The stories were very well written and I'm glad I took the chance and checked the book out.
The title story was ...more
these breaks apply to both helsinki and manners of dying, obviously because of the morbidity, but don't get me wrong, they were both so amazing. manners of dying was only about 20 pages long i ...more
The best of the bunch was the title story: "The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios" which is a brilliant tale of suffering and ...more
The other two stories, "The Time I Heard The Private Donald J. Rankin String Conce ...more
And certainly not short stories that are padded out so much that they become tedious to read. Youthful efforts, I wonder whether anyone would have published them if it hadn't been for the superb Life of Pi. Certainly the stories could have done with a lot more reflection, a little work on honing the execution of the ideas so that they actually felt like short stories, so that they encourag ...more
The second The time I heard the private Donald J. Rankin string concerto with one discorant violin, by the American composer John Morton tells of a 25 year old attending a concert at a partially knocked down theatre and the emotions he feels listening to the music and a chance meeting with one of the performers afterwards.
The third Manners of dying t ...more
Then I was blown away by the writing in "The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton." Jaw dropping description of a musical experience, really, just incredible imagery as always. I love the way Martel writes - I can't think of any other writers who can capture a moment/experience/person/thing as vividly as he can. The actual stor ...more
That said, I really enjoyed this compilation.
There are four short stories in this volume. I found three of the four to be very worthwhile. I struggled through the fourth one - titled "Manners of Dying" - which is simply many versions of a letter written by a p ...more
In “The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios”, a novella of about 85 pages, the main character describes how he touches the life of his friend (Paul) dying of AIDS. Together they write stories based on historical facts from each year of the 20th century. I wanted to know more about the story within the story, the story that they wrote together, but that wasn’t what it was about. It was about the tragedy of the young man’s early death. It is fitting ...more
So Yann Martel + short stories seemed pretty inauspicious. But then I read all four stories in one sitting, and the first three left me with the satisfying emotional gut punch Life of Pi so conspicuously lacked.
They're not perfect. Martel is a little obsessed with his own ...more
In general, I was kind of sad that the title story, the novella, isn't so much a delicious treat AS THE OTHER STORIES WHICH ARE SO AMAZING OMG!!!! UGHGHGHGH!!!
Oops. Lost my cool.
(get your shit together, Luis. Gushes are for later.)
Anyway, I liked all the characters of all the stories. Also I admit that I expected that I would heave a lot of imaginary puke from too much emotion and sentimentality and all that crap from a book ...more
What made Life of Pi so transcendent was Martel's astonishing ability to weave magic from deceptively extraordinary circumstances. If you haven't read it and you have no idea what the preceding means, maybe you really should start with Roccamatios, which presents Martel's formati ...more
Первый, пожалуй, самый для меня тяжелый. Медленное подробное повествование как девятнадцатилетний друг автора умирает от СПИДа. Если автор хотел передать мучительную медлительность болезни и ее разрушающее действие на семью и родных больного, то у него это получилось блестяще. Я страдала.
Зато остальные два коротеньких рассказика изумительно сгладили впечатление.
Второй - многократное повторение истории последней ночи и смерти одного человека, построенное в форме ...more
Four stories. The first emotionally driven; the second examining the relationship between making art (music) and bonding between people... followed by a discussion with the conductor about art and how it fits in with a regular working life. This was my favourite of the four.
My second favourite was the third one, which appealed to my sense of the absurd, macabre and quirkiness. How dark but how funny, how morbid and yet life affirming: the absurd idea of cata...more
Well, my interest wasn't satisfied. There are four short stories in this book, of which the Roccamatio one is 82 pages.
On the back cover of the book it says: "In 'The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios', two young friends discover the transformative power of the imagination as they join togeher to craft a story about a Fi ...more
This is a collection of 4 shortish stories. When you write a book like Life of Pi and then go back and publish some of your early books they just will not measure up. Having said that, I enjoyed reading this collection of stories. You can see that this is a young man writing as the author reminds in the stories. It is full of youth's earnestness and seriousness and certainty and doubt (oxymoronic as that is).
The first story ( ...more