Hemingway once said that the strength of a good story is not in what it's in the story, but in what's left out of it. Other writers have also repeatedHemingway once said that the strength of a good story is not in what it's in the story, but in what's left out of it. Other writers have also repeated this concept in many different ways: even Saint-Exupéry did when talking about perfection. One of the weaknesses of this novel is precisely that Larsson wasted a bit too much paper in unnecessary details that make you shiver in embarrassment. There are a dozen of geeky details that 1. people not acquainted with computers won't understand and 2. those who are familiar with them will know them irrelevant and, sometimes, plainly wrong. Why distract the reader from an otherwise fluently told story with such nonsense? Larsson needs not to try hard to impress the readers with his knowledge of technology: there is plenty in this novel to assert his dominance in its main themes.
Unfortunately this is not the only weakness of this novel. Many of the cliches that are to be found in page-turning crime books are also here: monologues that are too long and elaborate to actually happen in casual conversation; characters that unveil information leaving the crucial details out from early descriptions, only to reveal them later and keep the reader engaged despite it being terribly unnatural in real life; self-references to the author's ability to tell a story and keep their readers interested. I will not deny that these and other tricks of narrative are what makes books in this genre so popular, but the serious reader cannot but feel cheated every single time that these cliches pop up. And then the characters decide that it is a good idea to switch off their phone before putting themselves in a dangerous situation.
As a light summer read, this book achieves something. It is entertaining, its characters are solid, and the story is worth reading. But this book will hardly stand the test of time and become a classic. Hence the three stars....more
A throughout critique of Eduard Bernstein's "Evolutionary Socialism" that goes to lengths to show the idealist nature of Bernstein's work and how, insA throughout critique of Eduard Bernstein's "Evolutionary Socialism" that goes to lengths to show the idealist nature of Bernstein's work and how, instead of presenting a consistent path towards the emancipation of the working class, it merely justifies the existing social structures and places social democracy as nothing but a tool for the amelioration of the conditions of workers, but always inside the limiting frame of capitalism.
Bernstein's work is particularly important because, through its criticism of the Marx-Engels doctrine, became a theoretical foundation of the reformist Social Democracy which developed in Germany and other parts of Europe. Luxemburg at the time was still a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany but, with this and later works, made clear her strong criticism of the reformist faction lead by Bernstein. Her rethoric and the quality of her analysis of Bernstein's theory made her a prevalent figure within the revolutionary socialism faction. Eventually, realizing that Social Democracy had turned entirely opportunistic and that it would be futile to attempt to change the party from within, she and Karl Liebknecht left and went on to form what would later become the German Communist Party.
Beyond the historical relevance of this work as a departure point for the Marxist left away from social democracy, most of the points raised by Luxemburg are of significance in the contemporary struggle against the domination of the working class....more
While C. Wright Mills does an interesting analysis of Marxist-Leninist theory in this book, it is a terrible disappointment to find out that only 150While C. Wright Mills does an interesting analysis of Marxist-Leninist theory in this book, it is a terrible disappointment to find out that only 150 pages are written by him. The other 300 pages (two thirds of the book) are extracts from classical texts of the left by Marx, Engels, Bernstein, Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Khrushchev, Mao, Guevara, and others.
The extracts that Mills has included in this book are fairly good (ranging from classical marxist-leninist introductory texts to many different revisionists of the post-Stalin era), but there is very little analysis on them. It is hard to understand the goal that Mills had in mind with this book, other than, perhaps, introduce the liberal and sectarian US-audience of the '60's to a theoretical overview of Marxism, without all the propaganda of the era. But is this enough of a contribution from a man who is regarded as one of the fathers of modern sociology? I think he falls short, and the event of his sudden death, the same year this book was published, left what would have been a very rich discussion out of the question.
Also, Mills might not explicitly admit his bias against Stalin, but he is not very subtle either in under-representing him and other Stalinist authors and going to lengths to let critics of Stalinism and the early soviet years to explain themselves: about 50 pages are dedicated to this, including a rather large section of Trotsky's "Revolution Betrayed".
All in all, despite that this can be considered to be only slightly above the traditional western criticism of Marxism, I think I'd recommend to anyone interested in Mills', the thinker, to read the first 150 pages and then move on. There are better introductory programs to Marxist thinkers out there than this one....more
Qué pedazo de libro. Brillante, confuso, tosco, de un lenguaje tremendamente chileno y una construcción de diálogos y personajes brutalmente auténticaQué pedazo de libro. Brillante, confuso, tosco, de un lenguaje tremendamente chileno y una construcción de diálogos y personajes brutalmente auténtica. Es que la chilenidad de este libro se desborda por los costados. Es además uno de aquellos libros que, aunque uno trate una y otra vez de aislar un párrafo o frase para citar, no logra conseguirlo: el libro es demasiado bueno, complejo, enmarañado como para aceptar citas.
Curiosamente, este pedazo de literatura de Donoso no parece ser particularmente popular en Chile. Otras de sus obras, como Coronación (un libro terrible, a mi parecer) gozan de mucho más reconocimiento. No puedo más que recomendarlo a cualquiera que haya gozado de libros como Pedro Páramo, Rayuela, o Sobre Héroes y Tumbas. Para mi, El Obsceno Pájaro de la Noche está a la altura de todas estas obras maestras....more