"death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you"
I must say I didn't expect I'll like this short story as much as I di"death does not take the dead away; it only makes them grow more deeply into you"
I must say I didn't expect I'll like this short story as much as I did. It's a really good characterization and not only of the mail character but also those who plays episodes even if they appear in a single sentence. Really, really good. The main story is interesting all right but the side stories are what I liked more. Definitively worth reading. ...more
What a great story this is (though maybe I like it because someone I know is passing through the same situation as Bracha). I think Oz described perfeWhat a great story this is (though maybe I like it because someone I know is passing through the same situation as Bracha). I think Oz described perfectly stream (or better diffusion) of thoughts when you suddenly lose ground beneath your feet (which is what Bracha experienced). How she desperately clings at a straw of normality only to realize in the very next moment that it's in vain. That buying toothpaste or taking jacket to dry cleaner will not somehow make other things disappear. And then analyzing and reanalyzing her marriage (she's a cheated wife and a wife that is about to be left) that by all means was a really bad one. Of course I'm saying this from the distance in the way that I (!) wouldn't consider such marriage as a happy one. She actually reminded me on one woman who was wondering how is it to have orgasm because she never felt it in her 20 years of marriage (I've actually read that in an interview with (I think) Bjork where she mentioned that woman). Well I'm not sure if that's the case with Bracha (although there are some inklings) but I wouldn't be too surprised. Of course you see her husband in the real light (it's not that complicated) and really feel sorry for her for spending (wasting really) her life on such man but then I was really annoyed with her because of her submissiveness, lack of being vocal and ultimately being boring. So then, who would spend life with such woman anyway? No, her husband is a bad guy no doubt. But not because he's leaving her but because the way he's dealing with his decision. And then there is that possible ending (that's not the ending by the way) that lingers that she would be all too eager to forgive him if only he decides to be her husband again. Maybe you should be married to understand that logic. But anyway, lovely story, masterfully crafted which is no surprising for Oz. ...more
Average. There's nothing to like (or dislike) here. It's kinda interesting and that's it. I don't quite understand people raving about it which makesAverage. There's nothing to like (or dislike) here. It's kinda interesting and that's it. I don't quite understand people raving about it which makes me wonder would reaction be the same if the author is someone else (unknown)?...more
I've read this novel for the first time several year ago and then I came back to it. Fiction with vampires is usually not my cup of tea but this one cI've read this novel for the first time several year ago and then I came back to it. Fiction with vampires is usually not my cup of tea but this one caused quite a stir in Serbian literary circles once it was published that I just had to give it a go. There was even a play settled under the open sky, during the night on the Belgrade fort Kalemegdan (where the novel is set as well).
The novel is set in XVIII century in Belgrade under Austrian administration and the topic is one historical event: Investigation of vampires. By the way for the first time in the western world Serbian word “vampir” has been documented (and the adopted by everyone else)! In the year of 1725 in the Serbian village Kiseljevo peasant Petar Blagojević died and soon after him few peasants more. All of them in their dying moments were talking that late Petar is coming to them during the night and drank their blood. Then commission along with the priest exhumed Petar, stabbed his heart with hawthorn stake and burned the body. Peter has been proclaimed as “archvampire”, the report has been sent to Belgrade and from there to Vienna and after publication in The Wiennerisches Diarium it was the main theme in Vienna’s public circles.
So, theme for this novel is a historical fact from 1725, arrival of the commission from Vienna that supposed to investigate article in Wiennerisches Diarium about vampires in Serbia and the main role plays Devil himself! (in strange way similar with “Sympathy for the Devil” by Rolling Stones).So it seems by default this novel suppose to be horror and in some way it is: we have vampires, placed in the system of manipulations, money, politics … yes it is actually kind of political horror novel. Therefore there’s no problem to put in this sub-genre at the same place vampires, devil, princes, Maria Magdalene, Christ … Politics is the biggest horror because it is true horror. In politics, nothing is fiction!
As I said devil plays the main role and is one (of two, second is Princess Maria Augusta Turn and Taxis) narrators of the story. He is disguised in false count Otto von Hausburg (one of many historical allusions) and is coming with his servant Novak, Serb (amazing character, Christian who is willingly work for devil as a way of self punishment) to check if the rumors about vampires are true. He has his own reasons. In one moment devil says “I don’t have enemies among people. Everyone loves me!” and in some way you can believe in that (remember Rolling Stones from above) because we are meeting men that are much worse than the devil. Here, devil is an anthropomorphous being, almost common man who doesn’t have any supernatural powers but has flaws common to majority of human beings. And that is the irony: Devil meets people much worse than he is and he’s afraid and wants to avoid them. It seems that devil is afraid of Serbia (and Serbs)!
So this is mixture of horror and fantasy with postmodernistic elements. This is the story where the history is turned upside down! Vision of Christianity through the eyes of the devil, from the night in the Gethsemane Garden through the centuries is so intelligent and with amazing humour! We see devil as a common man who drinks, smokes hashish, sleep, is running away from love and is afraid of vampires! And why’s that? Well, think! If dead people are arising Judgment Day is near, meaning farewell to the devil!
Images of Belgrade from the early XVIII century are magical! The city has been divided in two parts: “Austrian” (which means: European, Christian, white (Belgrade means Beli-White Grad-City)) part and the second “obscure other” part that is on the other side of the Wall, behind the Prince Eugene Line, where through the night and fog roam vampires, ghosts, road bandits and other Serbian and Turkish natives. I said that the history has been turned upside down but there are many historical facts, especially about the history of my Belgrade.
Through entire novel many pseudo-biblical stories are interweaving and are initiated with the constant devil’s self-reexamination, his desperate need to treat Christ with irony and author with many beautiful marginal allusions is canceling linearity of time. We are sailing from the New Testament to Ludwig Wittgenstein, from Dante to Rolling Stones and through the huge part of Serbian literature.
In the same time, Novaković is telling story about one Belgrade that is nothing but apocryphal place for any nowadays Belgradian because there is almost nothing left from those past times. That was "deorientaled" place, with three circle of strong walls, full of cathedrals build by Austrians, and destroyed by the same Austrians when the Austrian regent sold Belgrade back to Turks. And if there is a place where that town still exists, it must be in that other world where, even today many undead souls of the always obscure, dark Balkans are roaming; about which Mirjana Novaković is writing with cheerful, ironical tenderness, precisely in the way one should write about something that is dear as much as is crazy, about place where even devil himself in one moment is putting cross around his neck!...more
This is my first Munro and I honestly don't know why I waited for so long. Especially because short form is one of, if not my favourite literary form.This is my first Munro and I honestly don't know why I waited for so long. Especially because short form is one of, if not my favourite literary form. And really, who can be better in it than someone who earned Nobel for writing precisely short stories?! So I picked this one (I think I do have almost everything she published) and dive into it. My expectations were quite high and they are surely fulfilled. The prose is gorgeous, you can sense the master behind every sentence. Sentence that seems to be quite simple and often is but when you think about it (really analyze one single sentence) you see that you got so many information from that single sentence! Many writers would need entire passages to deliver what Alice Munro delivered in one simple sentence. And the topic is equally, at the first glance simple: ordinary people living their ordinary lives but behind those doors, hidden from the public eyes there is a whirlpool of emotions. Relationship between woman and man is in the focus here and indeed, it's such a vast canvas to be painted and we are lucky that Munro was the one holding the paintbrush ...more
This really is such a good book. I guess we all have at some time when sailing through the internet stumbled upon the image of Endurance stranded in iThis really is such a good book. I guess we all have at some time when sailing through the internet stumbled upon the image of Endurance stranded in ice. Many (me included) searched to see what happened with her and her crew. So how interesting can be the book you know how will start, what will happen and how will end? Well, the answer is one thought that has stuck into my mind: Upon almost reaching the shore of South Georgia island but still remaining far from it facing again the current and wind and ice that convinced folks in the ship they'll fail after so many months of trying, one of the members whose soaked diary was in the ship thought how the diary will be lost along with the ship and their lives and was overwhelmed with sadness because loss of that diary will mean that the world will never found out how they struggled and how close they were to save themselves. You should read that diary. This is such a good book that beside the obvious (chronology of the events and struggle with nature) shows us something that is equally valuable: the relationship, camaraderie between the people and how nobility can (and should) be preserved in spite the circumstance. And under these circumstances it was such an achievement that they managed to stay alive....more
Encontré este tío (Ralf König) por casualidad pero seguro que voy a buscar otros libros de él. Este, primer parte de la trilogía "Génesis" es una sátiEncontré este tío (Ralf König) por casualidad pero seguro que voy a buscar otros libros de él. Este, primer parte de la trilogía "Génesis" es una sátira del cuento del jardín de Edén y primer hombre ("¡gruñ!") junto con el serpiente, Luci y al final con la primera mujer. Claro el omnipresente es presente también en las letras góticas. Es una vista muy inteligente, también filosófica, muy, muy divertida sobre las cuestiones eternales. ...more
Truth, not as entertaining and witty as the first book but then I didn't expect it will be. Characters became a little bit annoying which I didn't expTruth, not as entertaining and witty as the first book but then I didn't expect it will be. Characters became a little bit annoying which I didn't expect but all in all it was OK read. ...more
"We're all the same under the skin" It sounds like a cheap wisdom but here under these, quite different circumstances not quite. Hmm... I don't know w"We're all the same under the skin" It sounds like a cheap wisdom but here under these, quite different circumstances not quite. Hmm... I don't know what to think about this one. I picked it up only because I've read and find quite interesting Faber's last work [i]"The Book of Strange New Things"[/i] so my hopes were probably a bit higher than it should. I found myself not knowing (in the way not-having-a-clue) what is all about for the big chunk of the story. She's picking up the lonely beefcakes of Scottish highlands wile they're hitchhiking and quite intentionally putting on display her lavish, artificial bosom while thoroughly scanning bulging bulges of her travel companions. And when you think "is this really my mug of tea?" comes something you don't even know how to pronounce that I believe, everyone who have read the book googled straight away, only to find out "you're reading a fiction so here it is: a fiction!" Sweet :) And nope, you still have no idea what's going on but you have some macabre idea... And then when new characters are introduced, when some histories are revealed it turned out that I do like what I'm reading although if I knew before I took the book what is all about (or even what genre is this) I would quite possibly drop off the idea of reading it. It's interesting read. I love that I had zero sympathy for the devil! I see there is a film as well and I really can't even imagine how they put all this on the screen. I assume there must be either heavy special effects or heavy acrobatic in the interpretation of the story. ...more
I've read this one few months ago and I think I liked it but not as much as I hoped I would. I wasn't convinced about the society as restrictive. SureI've read this one few months ago and I think I liked it but not as much as I hoped I would. I wasn't convinced about the society as restrictive. Sure, we shouldn't neglect human ability to be inexplicably obedient and submissive. We have more than one example in the past but also in the present. But still the predominant feeling was "this is just impossible" (fictional moment aside). Also I remember, the ending was kind of abrupt....more
Not that I disliked the story. It's just... there's nothing to be crazy about here. It's not boring either, Just OK. I'm writing this some ten days afNot that I disliked the story. It's just... there's nothing to be crazy about here. It's not boring either, Just OK. I'm writing this some ten days after I've read it and just couldn't remember what is all about. Or to be more precise if I've read it at all. I guess that nicely illustrates my impression....more
Fantastic! It so well researched and elaborately presented work. I love it. It was a bit of a surprise because I expected something different, i.e. thFantastic! It so well researched and elaborately presented work. I love it. It was a bit of a surprise because I expected something different, i.e. the story about the sixth extinction. However I've got class in the history of science, early archaeological works, beginning of classifications, process of revelation prehistory and making the image out of puzzles. Stories about oh-so-many extinctions but most profoundly about us. This one goes brilliantly accompanied with the work of Jared Diamond!...more
I recently discover running and I'm afraid I jumped into that so fiercely that I can't remember too many things I can compare with. So of course thereI recently discover running and I'm afraid I jumped into that so fiercely that I can't remember too many things I can compare with. So of course there was initial obvious interest into reading this. This was such an eye opener about seeing myself while I'm running. I have also an audiobook of this one that I was listening during my runs :) Love the story about Tarahumara (never heard of them before) and their philosophy. Love the story about ultra-runners as well. And as a result (quite possibly) of reading this one I applied for my first half-marathon even though I never have ran before that distance nor I was trained properly. But somehow I was convinced I'll make it. Didn't have any doubts. And I did make it. It was much harder than I thought it would be but the feeling was fantastic. And I have suspicion that precisely this book inspired me to do it :) ...more
"You let bloody Jehovah's Witness not only into your home but into your bed!" was something I kept telling myself and consequently constantly question"You let bloody Jehovah's Witness not only into your home but into your bed!" was something I kept telling myself and consequently constantly questioning my sanity. I'm not quite fertile soil for that religious gibberish (as if there's non-gibberish variant. Oh well...) so I felt a bit annoyed, molested but... I kept letting him into my space. Why? Because I liked (loved!) the idea. I was quite interested to see how on earth this little priest will preach his things to a whole different life form? How he'll bend that famous story so that its world will expand on the soil few (hundred? thousand?) light years away? I was sure flexibility will not be a problem, just wanted to see how it'll be executed. And so we slept together, priest Peter and I (think I felt a bit of masochist's pleasure).
First part of the book was a bit "yeah, right" in its naivety because so many things were just way too odd to be realistic. And I'm not talking about the SF element (which I'm fully ready to accept as possible, Why not?) but more about the common, everyday things we are experiencing in our 20th-21st century lives. How we react on certain things, how governments, corporations, etc. are reacting (and would react). But at the same time you're sensing something quite different below the surface of that world we think we know. Something is not quite the same and definitively not quite right. And exactly that feeling was an antidote to that "yeah right" sentiment which allowed me to continue with the story. Eventually we find out what's wrong and aside from climate changes that I think are a bit too much (and I'm everything but climate change denier) everything else (economy, governments, gangs, demise of human values, utter collapse of pretty much everything...) I'd say is plausibly realistic. The link with our world was the priest's wife Bea who was going, or better say, forced to go through a massive transformation. A remnant of sanity in utterly deteriorating environment. Beautifully executed characterization.
And then there's other planet (I only asked "Please don't be something "Interstellar" - like story" and indeed it's not) and things that are enrolling there. Quite interesting and (even more) interestingly selected earthlings to do their stuff on behalf of one enormous Orwellian corporation without being quite aware why (which apparently don't bother them whatsoever).
And then there are natives and their inexplicable hunger for Christianity. It all looks like the stories of Christian missionaries that converted natives in black Africa or jungles of South America (minus killings for really obvious reasons) but it's still confusing. How they can even understand? Why would they bothered? so many questions and all of a sudden there's the answer. Dropped quite nonchalantly in one very R.E.M. ("loosing my religion") moment that could have been missed easily. I remember I was like "oh wow!" (semi-spoiler alert) The idea and then the result (or better conclusion) of Christianity being grafted into human alike but still non homo sapiens species was really amazing. They were so thirsty and yet no matter how greedily they were gulping, thirst remained. Why? Well depends what you're inclined to believe. It could be biology/evolution (science) or it could be divine touch. Or of course it could be both.
Anyhow, in the end I have to say I don't regret letting this Jehovah's Witness into my bed. I have to admit he satisfied me quite a bit. ...more
Oh gosh ... I was quite excited when all of a sudden I saw announcement of Ishiguro's new novel. I totally love his work. I haven't read yet "The RemaOh gosh ... I was quite excited when all of a sudden I saw announcement of Ishiguro's new novel. I totally love his work. I haven't read yet "The Remains of the Day" and "When We Were Orphans" but in all others I enjoyed quite a bit ("The Unconsoled" is one of my all time favourite) so I had some higher expectations from this one. Alas ... I really wanted to like this book, I even liked it for quite a while but then after the last page I could say only meh. If this could be book written by someone else I'd probably like it more but for Ishiguro, this is a disappointment.
Truth, it's really like no other of his books I've read (+ "The Remains of the Day" cause I saw the film) and I was telling myself that indeed fantasy is not my mug of tea but if I have to read it I prefer Ishiguro to write it. Yes, there are ogres and dragons and pixies but this is not fantasy novel nor is magical realism and while I have nothing against "unclassifiableness" this book failed in all three "categories". It's a mess of a novel. In spite the lovely narration Ishiguro creates (in all of his books) the novel just collapsed after a while. The characters were a bit boring (there was that irritating politeness also present in "The Unconsoled" but unlike here, there it had purpose). Endless dialog that leads really nowhere and actually makes the characters flat, even one-dimensional and emotionless. Even when they declare love to one another (which they (too) often do) it feels kind of superficial as if McDonald's worker is declaring it to their customers.
The idea is interesting, there are glimpses of ingenuity, the allegory is there (the ending is really good though not unexpected) but ultimately there's nothing spectacular here and by that I don't mean some crazy sh*t characters would do. The novel as a whole, the story, characters ... everything is kind of bland I almost have an urge to take a deep breath of dragon's breath (if you know what I mean and if you've read the novel, you do). ...more
This is first Sarah Waters I've read and I did like it. A lot. The story itself is fine but what I've found utterly bewitching is the language. The waThis is first Sarah Waters I've read and I did like it. A lot. The story itself is fine but what I've found utterly bewitching is the language. The way she picks words and weaves them in the tapestry of the early 20th century England is stunning. Which is the reason why I was reading this (rather big) novel so slowly. I was literally savouring its linguistic cream. OK some body liquids that appear in the novel just popped up but anyhow... the language, the style, was so alive I think i saw the mimicking, gesticulation ...
The story ... umm, it is interesting I think but for me it was secondary. It was interesting cause I don't read too often a crime novels plus... oh gosh I really wanted to avoid same sex in the review but I can't because it would be as not noticing an elephant in the room. It would be the same sensation with the novel settled today and not to mention in twenties of the last century? Well, it's not possible. Oh but there are no sex scenes as much as one would expect (or hoped for) and I think that's great. Not because it involves four boobs and two vaginas (not at all) but because I think it would damage the novel. It's like painter painting a sunrise and trying to avoid to make a kitsch. Almost impossible. So you can see/feel the yearning, passion, lust which is far better (for the novel) than some carnal feast.
I'd say characterization is amazing. She presented beautifully England after WWI, fall of English upper middle-class and its struggle to remain floating on the board that longtime sank ship left behind. And there's a crime, trial, suspense.... everyone involved are so beautifully drawn that actually I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone decide to place the story in a front of cameras. Not that I would love to, to be honest. C'mon people, read the book instead. It really is good. ...more
A friend whose taste in books I share and value offered this one in Book Swap and if anyone else has offered this one I probably wouldn't considered tA friend whose taste in books I share and value offered this one in Book Swap and if anyone else has offered this one I probably wouldn't considered taking it out of the game. And friend was reassuring me this is not how it looks :) Indeed it's such and entertaining story. Don is utterly likeable character. I'm telling people around me how Aspies are fascinating (I'm aware how frivolous this is). I don't know, is this chick lit? I can't compare with anything since this is not what I normally read. Far from it but the fact is I enjoyed it quite a bit and that's what counts....more
I was a bit reluctant to read this because I've seen the film. Usually I'm reading the book (or play) before watching the film and if it happens I seeI was a bit reluctant to read this because I've seen the film. Usually I'm reading the book (or play) before watching the film and if it happens I see the film I usually never read the book (or play). However, I've seen the film long time ago and I know what happened but the plot itself, not that much (truth, the plot is not the strongest part of the play) so I decided to read it. And I loved it. I loved the dialogue. It is beautifully written anatomy of grief (I've read this description and couldn't get rid of it). And what I liked as well (and I think it is thanks to the quality of writing) I couldn't see Mrs. Kidman as Becca even though I thought (and was afraid) that would be inevitable. ...more