After a great start with a fiction (actually sf-nal) piece by L. Erdrich about a near future in which corporations offer immortality (for a price andAfter a great start with a fiction (actually sf-nal) piece by L. Erdrich about a near future in which corporations offer immortality (for a price and of a sort) and a woman must make a hard choice given her past which is revealed slowly and a non-fiction piece by M. Gevisser about the transformation of a Michigan teen girl into a boy which was very intriguing, the issues follows with shorter pieces that were generally ok but not something to remember (there was a longer piece by W. Self but i cannot stand his prose so that was a skip); also there was a short piece by J. Roth (the famous Jewish-Austrian writer) about the start of WW1 which I found somewhat in poor taste as it was written some 13 years after the Sarajevo assassination and bemoaned the destruction of Europe while that city was still standing untouched and given what happened some 6 decades and a half later, well I wouldn't have reprinted that...
overall, not as good as other issues but enough stuff to make it worthwhile still...more
Another issue that offers excellent - though quite emotional, disturbing and dark - writing with five pieces by D. Malouf (fiction, an unusual love stAnother issue that offers excellent - though quite emotional, disturbing and dark - writing with five pieces by D. Malouf (fiction, an unusual love story), M. McFadyen (nonfiction about growing up in different houses when parents divorce, remarry etc interspersed with historical remembrances as the author is the daughter and granddaughter of Germans forced out by the Nazi's), R. Miller (fiction about a pregnant mother of two and the perfect nanny), J. Lanchester (non-fiction, part of his memoir and detailing the retirement and death of his father), J. Seabrook (non-fiction and a story of two very apart twins despite growing up together), while the rest are also ok to good pieces too
highly recommended but again stories that you want to be up for as they present the manifold joys and sorrows of loving ...more
excellent issue with moving and outstanding pieces by C. Messud (this starts with the startling "I went to Beirut in June of 2010 because my father waexcellent issue with moving and outstanding pieces by C. Messud (this starts with the startling "I went to Beirut in June of 2010 because my father was dying" and unpacks the sentence and a lot of history thorugh the prism of her parents and grandparents lives), J. Chicurel (about the dilemma: is is a good idea to close an orphan children care place because a volunteer abused one of the girls there - well, it happened but the result was that the kids were placed in foster care with tragic results a few years later), V Manko (a piece of the comic absurd in the form of an interrogation in the US of the 1920's), C. Okparanta (about a Nigerian woman quest to rejoin her loved one in America - though it just happened said loved one is another woman), A Beattie (a man struggles to deal with the accidental death of his wife), A Munro (this I won't give away the twist but it is great writing and a brutal story) and A Hemon ("War dogs: in Sarajevo - enough said) with the rest of pieces readable to good also
great thematic and great execution for one of the best issues of the literary magazine...more
disappointing at least compared withe expectations as it is more polemic than literary critique and kind of vague and repetitive; the one main idea isdisappointing at least compared withe expectations as it is more polemic than literary critique and kind of vague and repetitive; the one main idea is that the brutal repression of the Romanian literature and spirit by the communists under soviet orders in the 1948-1954 period led to a counter-reaction later (encouraged by the Party leadership and especially by Ceausescu as supreme embodiment of the Romania spirit and heir to all the supposed greatness of the past) that idealized and deified the main Romanian literary figures which made their critical evaluation next to impossible and I would largely agree with that but the way this thesis is presented is not coherent, clear or at least ironically/sarcastically entertaining ...more
excellent issue that i read end to end (i usually read some of any current Granta issue but rarely end to end) with two pieces that stayed with me - aexcellent issue that i read end to end (i usually read some of any current Granta issue but rarely end to end) with two pieces that stayed with me - a non-fiction account of killing for a small piece of land in Maramures ("pentru o palma de pamant" or literally a "hand's breath of land") and a fiction piece by David Szalay about a Belgian academic and his Polish journalist girlfriend, but all the rest and the nature pictures are worth checking out 9there is a moving account of the death of a beached whale despite all people could do to save it, an interesting story by Ben Marcus, an Alaskan one and more)...more
compelling and intense but considerably way over the top in plotting as it features the usual in the contemporary literature about the "best, brightescompelling and intense but considerably way over the top in plotting as it features the usual in the contemporary literature about the "best, brightest and most handsome or beautiful" - irresistible man with secrets that would become his undoing, perfect suffering wife from a super rich family etc etc; irony, sarcasm and smart footnotes add to the novel but ultimately it is tabloid fare written in a literary style...more
A page turner about long ago events and dramatic secrets that impact the present day of the novel; there is a sense of reality disconnection on occasiA page turner about long ago events and dramatic secrets that impact the present day of the novel; there is a sense of reality disconnection on occasion as events and modern day (the book's "present" action is in 1996, while the book itself is presumed written as a manuscript by an aging lawyer in 1998) do not quite match, while the novel's timeline is again somewhat blurred; however the book is very engaging and kept my attention from the first page till the last as I read it in essentially one sitting
The story-line is fairly simple - charged with fulfilling an unexpected codicil in the will of famed architect Samuel Grafton-Hall, young lawyer Carlyle Richards (her unusual name actually gets explained at some point!) must convince Elizabeth, the widow of the architect and a landscape architect in her own right to listen to said codicil or else lose the right to famed estate Upuna Rose where she continues the work of her husband and the "Forum" - his school/firm - which seems like a simple thing as it after all in Elizabeth's interest to do it, only of course for things to be much more complicated than that - while the "real" story is put together and told to us by Arthur Dollinger, the architect's friend, lawyer and Carlyle's boss -
However the novel delves into interesting questions of morality and we also see the evolution of society in the second half of the 20th century, as for example Elizabeth has to take a decision that could shake things badly and bring to light shattering secrets or keep the status quo at a price, Carlyle's foremost goal is to become a partner - among the first women such - at the prestigious law firm of Arthur Dollinger, and while this is definitely possible today as is Elisabeth's work as a landscape designer, not the same thing could be said about Samuel's first wife and Arthur's secret infatuation, the regal Catherine, who was an accomplished architect in her own right, highly prized by her professors at university - Samuel met her as he was sitting on a jury at a contest she won - but who could not get a qualified job in the respective years (1950's or so) and basically married Samuel and put up with his ego and affairs just to secretly collaborate on his designs which in large part were due to her as she was the only one who could distill Samuel's architectural insights in real plans to be made in real buildings, with obviously no one being aware of that.
As the story moves between the present and the past, one is drawn into the novel and its fascinating characters and the pages turn by themselves
Highly recommended and one of this surprising novels I saw by chance and then couldn't stop reading it once opened
very interesting premise but too disjointed writing to make it as good as other stuff I've read from the author ; kept my interest and will definitelyvery interesting premise but too disjointed writing to make it as good as other stuff I've read from the author ; kept my interest and will definitely try volume 2 which seems better written from the amazon sample...more