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Balcony of Europe

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  28 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Aidan Higgins’s greatest novel has long been unavailable, and is here reissued in a new and revised edition. Balcony of Europe, which was shortlisted for the 1972 Booker Prize, tells the story of a complacent young Jewish wife from San Francisco and a middle-aged Irish painter who meet in a village on the coast of Spain, beginning an affair during the coldest European wint ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published January 1st 1972)
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So, I like Impressionism. I mean, I never had the phase in high school like some of my friends did where it was the breath and the life, but I like it. I enjoy light and color as much as the next girl, and the last time I was in Paris, I happily wasted several afternoons that I probably should have spent doing new things at the Musee d’Orsay. It makes me smile, mostly. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes a shadow or two will get to me, but (for the most part), that’s pretty much it. I’m not a ...more
Me and fine literature aren't exactly seeing eye to eye these days. I can appreciate good books still, and I intellectually know when something is 'good' but me and (maybe Modernism? is a better term) good books just aren't falling in to step. I feel like a philistine bastard for feeling this way, I feel like some yokel who presented with some nice pieces of steak shrugs and says but I could get a Big Mac for cheaper. Who is given some fine wine at a meal and shrugs and says that tap water quen ...more
Sorry, Ruttle, but you're due back at the library. Though I got over your weird anti-/philo-Semitic fetishism to see the charms of your rueful hangdog pose and occasionally stunning descriptive powers, I don't care enough about you, or your saucy, ungraspable, ever-receding mistress to renew (why don't you hang out with that Nazi more? Sure he's a Nazi, but trust me, man, he's by far the most interesting person you know). Perhaps we'll resume someday. I mean, I don't let just anyone ramble on fo ...more
It's terrible when life sucks. The world is fully of people who suck, and are Nazis and Jews and stuff. And affairs suck because you have to worry about getting caught and stuff. It sucks how everything sucks. And people don't appreciate your art and how you are like James Joyce and stuff.
Add to the list of beautifully written novels about (among other things) infidelity and drinking in hot climates, along with The English Patient, The Sheltering Sky and Under the Volcano.
An adulterous love affair in post World War Spain, blatant dismissal of Americans as insignificant ( doesnt bother me), ethnocentric view of Ireland as the center of the civilized world (typical), chapters being told by different, not always apparent characters, ( challenging, but not daunting) but 200 pages into this book, I am putting it down for good. It is just plain BORING!! Life is short.
...there are too many foreign language words used pretentiously, too much post-research info put into the places and things. maybe I'll finish this someday. It just feels too contrived and completely unnatural. I don't always want to know what things are.
Oct 09, 2010 Olivia marked it as to-read
Shelves: tls
TLS published 2 April 2010:
Why doesn't anyone write like this anymore?
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