Non sono un grande fan di Simenon, e anche questa volta ho esercitato il mio Diritto Di Saltare Le Pagine durante la seconda metà del (peraltro breve)Non sono un grande fan di Simenon, e anche questa volta ho esercitato il mio Diritto Di Saltare Le Pagine durante la seconda metà del (peraltro breve) libro, ma i concetti affrontati sono interessanti. Come in tutte le analisi narrative del concetto di colpevolezza, l'influenza di Fyodor Dostoevsky è inevitabile, ma su questo Simenon intreccia domande più "sociali" sulla ricerca della felicità personale, sulla frustrazione del desiderio come motore dell'etica e sull'incomunicabilità che ne deriva, finendo per minare i rapporti interpersonali. Il finale è prevedibile, ma proprio per questo realistico e credibile rispetto alle premesse e al carattere del protagonista. Per una volta non c'è bisogno di super-ispettori (uno fa capolino ma è visto solo da lontano e usato come spauracchio, come temporaneo diversivo per forzare ulteriormente il protagonista su percorsi su cui sarebbe comunque finito da sè). Tutto sommato è un bel racconto, raccomandabile anche ai non-seguaci della setta Maigret.
La traduzione di Laura Guarino è asciutta, evitando (per quanto possibile) l'iper-logorrea del quotidiano, tipica di Simenon. L'edizione per Kindle include indice e copertina originale....more
I was favourably surprised by this book. I'm not a regular reader of fantasy because I hate formulas; I expected the average "Chosen One" story, and iI was favourably surprised by this book. I'm not a regular reader of fantasy because I hate formulas; I expected the average "Chosen One" story, and instead got a gripping tale of politics, crime, abuse, duty, sacrifice, prostitution, love, and obviously a lot of killings. I'm buying the other two books RIGHT NOW. ...more
I'm slightly disappointed by this. King builds up a reasonable amount of suspense and mystery, then abruptly solves it all with quite a pedestrian expI'm slightly disappointed by this. King builds up a reasonable amount of suspense and mystery, then abruptly solves it all with quite a pedestrian explanation. I love baseball and some characterizations were great, but in the end I felt somehow cheated....more
Anthony Cartwright pulled off a masterpiece here. More of this, please.
"Heartland" contains layer upon layer upon layer of pure literature, photograpAnthony Cartwright pulled off a masterpiece here. More of this, please.
"Heartland" contains layer upon layer upon layer of pure literature, photographing post-1990 Britain in a unique and powerful way. A mixture of Joyce and Gadda pulls you into this study on the modern role of football in small communities, how these communities struggle to replace old, fading bonds with new values and aspirations, how people get dragged in situations and how they react to life's inexorable disappointments.
Cartwright doesn't provide moral recipes or an easy way out, and it doesn't try to lecture its characters. Non-white protagonists sound slightly tin at times, they really work better when "seen from the outside", but maybe this is just my background talking, or maybe I've been sucked so much in the white protagonist's world (nice-guy Rob, with his football shirts and his failures) that I struggle to get out.
If you've ever lived in Britain outside London, or you've ever played football in a team, you'll love this book. If you're a middle-class twat, or you think everyone outside M25 should be shot, then you could do worse than reading this....more
Coupland is far from his best here, patching together a cast of forgettable characters that mostly feel as simple narrative devices in an otherwise unCoupland is far from his best here, patching together a cast of forgettable characters that mostly feel as simple narrative devices in an otherwise unplausible plot. Yes, yes, the social critique, the observation and bla bla bla, but a novel is supposed to deliver characters and plot as well as background, and "Generation A" fails at the former. The story follows five twentysomethings from all over the world, living in a not-so-distant future where bees are extinct, fruits have all but disappeared, and life is pretty boring. The older generation is longing for a disappeared past (including YouTube, which apparently required bees and fruits in order to run), and people survive on hi-tech antidepressants. When the five are suddenly stung by reborn bees, they are quickly "interned" and exhamined by the authorities, then briefly released and eventually led to a remote island in order to tell each other new stories and encounter their fate thanks to a couple of unplausible deus ex-machina (including the almighty Google). Of the five (eventually six) characters, three are mostly caricatures; the lonely Tourette-suffering spinster, the lonely hepburn-ish NewZealander and the lonely alienated gamer are little more than (you guessed it) lonely figures with nothing much to say or do. It gets a bit better with the wasted American hunk and the clever call-center worker from India, albeit the points about them are hammered into the reader with unseen brutality ("they all think the Indian guy is stupid, but he's clever! and he's smart! did I tell you how clever he is? they call him Apu! But he's clever!"). One senses that Coupland would have wanted to write the entire novel from the Indian point of view, but chickened out (and rightly so, in my humble opinion) and had to go back to his classic anglo-pop settings, where he's more confident. The bad guy is from Europe, he's arrogant, works for Big Pharma, and gives Alan Rickman another job opportunity. This said, there are a couple of good moments: the final twist about the intentions of "Alan Rickman" is quite horrifying, if completely disjointed from the rest of the novel; the five referring to themselves as "the Wonka children" is funny; the definition of "Craigs" should be added to wikipedia; and there is a lot of trademark Gen-X irony, as you would expect from the Gen-X author par excellence. All considered, this book is not pulp, but it's hardly the stuff of dreams....more
I like Cory Doctorow, he is one of the Good Guys, doing a lot to push the issues out and make the public aware of the looming dangers of digital surveI like Cory Doctorow, he is one of the Good Guys, doing a lot to push the issues out and make the public aware of the looming dangers of digital surveillance... However, I didn't particularly like this book.
The main character, a teenager, often sounds like a constitutional scholar, and it feels like the various adventures are an excuse to then explain what crypto is, or what Linux is, or even what torture is.
I'd give it 5 stars for the effort and 1 star for the actual result. If you are an activist for digital rights, you will find most of this book very boring; but you can try pushing it on your friends and see if they "get it"....more
This book is a plethora of calembours, puns and in-jokes on two literary genres: classic fables and detective stories. It's so post- and meta-, it wilThis book is a plethora of calembours, puns and in-jokes on two literary genres: classic fables and detective stories. It's so post- and meta-, it will make your brain laugh as much as your belly. One would expect that the investigation on the death of Humpty Dumpty after falling from his wall would be a pretty dull affair, but in this "Fforde-verse" nothing is what it seems. Taking place in a world where detectives are literally literary, and characters of classic tales walk among humans, this story could have easily ended up in the usual bunch of banal parodies; instead, it sustains a believable tone throughout, delivering suspense and hazardous plot twists as much as jokes. The book works at several levels, one being the sheer fun of guessing all the links to classic fables and detective tales, from the most famous to the most obscure; and even if you don't like to play that game, you can just enjoy a by-the-book whodunit with a bit of absurd situations thrown in (the victim is, after all, a large humanized egg). "The Big Over Easy" is easy to read and easy to like, but very clever as well. Bravo to Fforde, and it's nice to see yet another take on crime-stories delivering quality as well as quantity. ...more
After a few years in the wilderness, Coupland finally managed to refine his style in a way that makes all his recent books extremely accessible and abAfter a few years in the wilderness, Coupland finally managed to refine his style in a way that makes all his recent books extremely accessible and absolutely unmissable. "The Gum Thief" is light and deep at the same time, touching on such modern themes as "failure", "conformity" and "literary themes" with a candid approach and a bittersweet attitude, and with such a soft prose that will make it a breeze for everyone. Coupland's trademark "lovely losers", all stuck in failed lives, full of remorses and regrets, will once again try to escape their own skin, angered by the surrounding cruelty of a mediocre world. The plot is simple: a divorced alcoholic called Roger, working in an office-supply megastore, gets caught writing a diary by one of his fellow clerks, a twenty-something Goth girl with a white-trash mother. The girl appreciates Rogers' attempts at portraying her thoughts, and they start a virtuous circle of encouragement; they will both try to find a way out of "Post-It hell", with inevitably mixed results....more
This was probably the worst Hornby I've ever read: very simplistic, unable to create three-dimensional characters, elaborating on flimsy concepts.
YouThis was probably the worst Hornby I've ever read: very simplistic, unable to create three-dimensional characters, elaborating on flimsy concepts.
You can feel how hard he tried to build an entire novel out of a couple of mildly-interesting thoughts and reflections, almost all of them already explored in his previous works. You can imagine him sitting at his desk, thinking "Oh, I need a 'chav' character here, but that would be too banal, let's twist her background a bit... I need a 'repressed woman' here, let's give her a family tragedy to justify her condition..." and so on and so on, in order to build a cacophony of ideas on depression and suicide; but in the end, there is always just one real voice, and it's author's own.
In a sense, it's Hornby's damnation: shot to fame with almost-entirely-autobiographical stories, he tries hard to break out of his "trademark" style... and, inevitably, fails. ...more
Funny and well-written, a divertissement on the brutality of american football and the joy of living in Parma, Italy, as a rich American with little tFunny and well-written, a divertissement on the brutality of american football and the joy of living in Parma, Italy, as a rich American with little to do. Grisham proposes a very rosy, tourist-like view of Italian living, fairly accurate in describing the luxurious food, the tempting (but inaccessible) women, the somewhat-random legal system and the chaotic traffic. There's also a lot of American football, which you won't understand unless you already know the sport. Overall, a quick and fun read for lovers of American football or Italy, but everybody else can certainly give it a miss....more
Abandoned after a few chapters. The 2nd-person gets tiresome very quickly, and the tone could come straight out of some sanctimonious "web 2.0" blog.Abandoned after a few chapters. The 2nd-person gets tiresome very quickly, and the tone could come straight out of some sanctimonious "web 2.0" blog. Lots of useless, unexplained jargon is thrown at the reader, who is supposed to get all excited about this geek technodream. Does anybody want my copy?...more
This is one of those books where you cannot be sure whether the author is just poking fun at you. In a celebration of brooklynite craziness, Auster crThis is one of those books where you cannot be sure whether the author is just poking fun at you. In a celebration of brooklynite craziness, Auster creates a bunch of heterogeneous characters looking for their place in the world. A queer bookshop owner with a dark past, an intellectual cab driver with a disgraceful sister, and a down-to-earth baby-boomer writing stories he'll never publish, they will together try to make sense of a world ruled only by fate and coincidence, and will eventually be saved by a scheming little girl who doesn't want to speak. At times, it feels like Auster is really writing another "Smoke" film, mixing and matching stories with very little in common, and dragging on for a few pages too many. After desperately searching for the Hollywood-style happy ending, though, the author takes the last page to completely destroy the mood, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth in a completely unnecessary way. I guess the point is that you can work as hard as you want towards redemption (and even be successful), but fate has no rules and no obligation towards any of us. This is an easy read for a summer holiday, but certainly not a McEwan-grade novel....more
One of the best short stories I've read in the last few years, "The Uncommon Reader" is an entertaining parable on the pros and cons of being a citizeOne of the best short stories I've read in the last few years, "The Uncommon Reader" is an entertaining parable on the pros and cons of being a citizen of the "republic of letters", explored through the eyes of the modern monarch by definition, Elizabeth II, the Queen of England. What is "the act of reading"? How would it affect a person whose existence is the very embodiment of life and action of an entire country? Is the act of writing a necessary consequence? This little page-turner will entertain and engage even the casual reader, and would be perfectly suited for a couple of hours to spare between opening a swimming-bath and having luncheon with the Archbishop of Canterbury....more
Either DeLillo played me perfectly, or this book should have been shorter. I understand the main point of the book (society is just "white noise" desiEither DeLillo played me perfectly, or this book should have been shorter. I understand the main point of the book (society is just "white noise" designed to hide our fear of death), and I understand that this has to be reflected in the language, but it seems to push the reader down too many rivers of thought, too many pointless diatribes, dragging on for a good hundred-pages more than strictly required. This said, I'll have to re-read it sooner or later, because it's a powerful and deep work, one to thoroughly mine for ideas and to carefully analyse for its style... maybe not THE Great American Novel, but probably in the top league....more