I may have not understood this novel, but I get a feeling this is a case of a glorified author, not so much a read one.
I can't put my finger on what I...moreI may have not understood this novel, but I get a feeling this is a case of a glorified author, not so much a read one.
I can't put my finger on what I didn't like in this book. Inefficient bildungsroman? Annoying teenager as a first-person narrator? I couldn't find him charming. Entertaining yes, but not charming. Dramatic tone without drama? Maybe. I think the author didn't care for any of the characters and the stream-of-consciousness style didn't help. I felt cheated, like reading social propaganda disguised as novel. I hate when I can clearly see the author speaking through his characters.
However, I liked the nightmarish atmosphere that reigned on this simple story, and I love that Kafka read Walser and got the better out of it to put on his own stories.
The inner-life of such a Jakob von Gunten is a great argument, not so greatly developed. I appreciate that Walser existed to impel modern writing into being, but that's it.(less)
It gave me more insight on Robert Walser, so I could understand a little better what he wrote, but sti...moreThis was the last bookclub choice for this year.
It gave me more insight on Robert Walser, so I could understand a little better what he wrote, but still I don't like Jakob von Gunten. However, this book is really good as a biography, albeit an unconventional one. I like how Seelig was able to capture the whimsical and complex personality of Robert Walser and that is more important than knowing some facts about him. At the end, I felt for the poor man, and I can see how he was a great man.(less)
That said, I have to agree that Florescu has a strong style and his descriptions and characters are not devoid of liter...moreThis book wasn't my cup of tea.
That said, I have to agree that Florescu has a strong style and his descriptions and characters are not devoid of literary merit. I felt he was painting delicate pictures with a huge paintbrush, so the edges were sharp and harsh. I also think Florescu is original and a true storyteller. I liked how he handled the blind Ion and the big names of literature. However, I cannot bring myself to believe that Romania is really that bleak. I also hope Romanian women are not all as described. Right now I'm under the impression Florescu has had some big heartbreak (or something else) that makes him tend towards misogyny.
Thus, I'm not rating the book according to its real merit, but based on how I enjoyed it. I always feel bad when doing this, so I thought I could as well warn a hypothetical reader about it.(less)
This book was an unexpected pleasure. Given the nature of the latest choices of my "real-life" bookclub, I expected it to be dry, witty prose that dea...moreThis book was an unexpected pleasure. Given the nature of the latest choices of my "real-life" bookclub, I expected it to be dry, witty prose that dealt with suicide, depression or some other social problem. Although I can't say these were happy stories (it is a collection of them), the sad ones were told from a quite happy -or at least contented- point of view. I've never known how to summarize the plot of short stories that are like a page long, so I won't start now, but don't expect to read something usual. At all. And anyway, the writing is what draws me to the book. Sergi Pàmies has a succinct style I really appreciate. In his own words (in Spanish, I'm sorry!):
"Si fuera un vendedor de coches diría que el cuento es el género con más prestaciones: tiene intensidad, excluye la grandilocuencia, no permite demasiadas digresiones y, en el peor de los casos, se acaba rápido."
Also!: This book really is a 2.5 star reading.(less)
This is a daring book. It tells the story of a teenage mother who has a kid with cerebral palsy. In case that wasn't enough, she has no one to support...moreThis is a daring book. It tells the story of a teenage mother who has a kid with cerebral palsy. In case that wasn't enough, she has no one to support her: her boyfriend left her, her mother suffers nervous crisis and her father (a policeman) beat her as a child. And she is happy.
Apparently, this book is based on a real story. The author was neighbour to this woman when she was younger. And that is what I like the most about this book: the protagonist is real. She has done what she thought was better at the time, she's been mistaken and she's realized it. She's not a teenage, despite her age, she's a full-grown woman. She's happy with what she's got, but that doesn't mean she's not desperate and angry sometimes.
The book also deals with many important subjects, as anyone would guess based on what I've said.
But. (There's always a but :) It's too summarizing. That prevented me from connecting with the main character. Sometimes I wanted to grab her and tell her: Oh, come on! How could you?! Other times she just seemed unemotional, and I think it was because of the lack of development of the book.
Honestly, I doubted whether giving it two or three stars, because the end made me smile, but I couldn't (under)stand the protagonist.(less)