A bunch of the most hilarious Sedaris short stories ever including some with him trying to learn French in France. It's hard to believe that he has beeA bunch of the most hilarious Sedaris short stories ever including some with him trying to learn French in France. It's hard to believe that he has been underrated for such a long time. Not a 5 star piece just because a couple of stories at the end of the book are a bit too childish. ...more
David Remnick reports on the final uproarious days of USSR.
As a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post he managed to look at the regime in a peDavid Remnick reports on the final uproarious days of USSR.
As a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post he managed to look at the regime in a personal way. Under the fiery socialist frown of gigantic Lenin statues he noodles around more as a Moscovite than as a foreigner.
Remnick met interesting people of all social censes and visited unusual places to give us an intriguing picture of the melt of a Colossal Snowman during the Russian thaw.
It should be nice having a part two of this book, almost twenty years later. It could easily be entitled Putin's Gold....more
I discovered Shteyngart reading a reportage by him from Baku and Azerbaijan on The New Yorker. That was an exilarating and yet apparently honest accouI discovered Shteyngart reading a reportage by him from Baku and Azerbaijan on The New Yorker. That was an exilarating and yet apparently honest account of one of the most controversial post-soviet ex-Russian republics, the bird shaped one on the shores of Caspian Sea. The same Baku and Azerbaijan on which Shteyngart has modeled his fake Svani City and Absurdistan. Refineries, bribes, Western companies billboards, Radissons, Park Hyatts, pipelines, hookers, Halliburton trucks.
Now that I'm halfway through the pages of the original version of the book I have to admit that this novel by Shteyngart is all but original. The writer likes to fill his pages quoting ironically masters like Goncarov, Dostoevskij, Gogol', Pushkin and even Solženicyn (one chapter is titled "One day in the life of Misha Borisovich" sic!) but Absurdistan has nothing to share with White Nights, Dead Souls or Oblomov.
However it can't be denied how Shteyngart joins the same club of an author like Jonathan Safran Foer especially in his way of satirizing the contemporary Russian parvenus.
In its best moments Absurdistan has a shade of the underrated comical talent of John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces". The unbearable overweight laziness mixed up with unexpected moments of boyish impetuosity of the main character here resembles Ignatius J.Reilly's one.
Anyway, even if Absurdistan has the tendency on insisting too much on the use of self indulgent yiddish stereotypes and unpolite Russian words suffering a kind of Borat Syndrome, it is a funny reading in these days.
Update: it's getting worse and worse reaching the end. Too much attention on unrealistic sex. Too much confusion on Halliburton tycoons. Too many parrots. Too much of everything. And why Mr. Shteyngart dedicates one page on Genoa G8 accidents in the middle of an ex KGB members banquet?...more
Absolutely brilliant! I've never laughed that much while reading in English. A bunch of amazing short stories which takes place in the same Raymond CarAbsolutely brilliant! I've never laughed that much while reading in English. A bunch of amazing short stories which takes place in the same Raymond Carver scenarios. But where Carver is monotonous, Sedaris is hilarious.
Short stories like "Jamboree" and "Season's greetings to our friends and family!!!" are staggering works of a humor genius....more
Last summer I rented a room for a few months. It was more than a furnished room. It was a personal room full of books, dvd movies, Russian dictionarieLast summer I rented a room for a few months. It was more than a furnished room. It was a personal room full of books, dvd movies, Russian dictionaries, photos, a couple of cactuses at the window and abandoned white socks in the corners. The girl who rented me the room left there a lot of her things because she just had to do a three months stage at a cinema summer festival in Milan.
Dropsie Avenue by Will Eisner was packed among a ton of Jean Claude Izzo noir books. At that time there were afternoons in which all I had to do was filling the washing machine chewing on the meaning of existence.
I took the book and I started to read it carelessly, just for curiosity. I'm not that much into graphic novels, but this looked like a good one.
Dropsie Avenue is the story of a street of South Bronx, NYC from its very first settlement to modern times. It's like watching a documentary on tv about the rise and fall of a civilization, with the subtle difference that Eisner draws and writes just on a single and apparently unimportant road.
Indeed Dropsie Avenue is very important being a microcosm of an American macrocosm. From pioneerism age, til prohibition years, from the Great Depression til the New Deal, from Vietnamese to Iraqi war, all that hits the US hits Dropsie Avenue as well. And racial conflicts, speculation, drugs.
Eisner is able to create the sensation of a neighborhood century after century, albeit his drawings are not always as evocative as the events they should describe....more
What should had happened if Nazist Germany had won World War II? This novel is a possible answer to the question and it's a rare example of "earthly sWhat should had happened if Nazist Germany had won World War II? This novel is a possible answer to the question and it's a rare example of "earthly science fiction".
Quoting the Italian title of the book, Swastika is over the sun and Dick tries to explain us the reasons why.
Yet I remember how I was disappointed while reading at this book for the relatively few interesting elements given by the author. I mean, starting from such a premise Dick could use more imagination while he hadn't, mantaining a low and dry profile in narration.
On a similar theme I'm curious to have a look to the more recent "The plot against America" by Philip Roth which imagines the anti-semite aviator Charles Lindbergh defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the American 1940 presidential elections. ...more