Powerful work with sensual descriptions of even ordinary events. Considering his lack of education (left school at about 12 or so) it's a work of geni...morePowerful work with sensual descriptions of even ordinary events. Considering his lack of education (left school at about 12 or so) it's a work of genius, and he is not fettered by conventional uses of narrative. (less)
It may have taken until the late 1960s for the expression ‘the personal is political’ to condense an important truth, but — as Lucy Moore’s fascinatin...moreIt may have taken until the late 1960s for the expression ‘the personal is political’ to condense an important truth, but — as Lucy Moore’s fascinating new book shows — that truth is not a new one. Liberty tells the story of the French Revolution through the lives of the great salonnière Germaine de Staël, the passionate middle-class ideologue Manon Roland, the kind-hearted flibbertigibbet Thérésia de Fontenay, the feisty former courtesan Théroigne de Méricourt and the much younger Juliette Récamier — whose beauty and chasity (a very rare thing, to judge by this book) caused her to become an icon of the Republic, not to mention the intimate life of Josephine Bonaparte. This book takes them, jointly and severally, through exile, intrigue, imprisonment in rat-infested jails, multiple lovers, bloodbaths and reversals, not to mention some fabulous parties.(less)
Loving it so far. "Oscar and Lucinda are two of the most perfectly realised characters in modern fiction. An immensely skilful and absorbing juxtaposi...moreLoving it so far. "Oscar and Lucinda are two of the most perfectly realised characters in modern fiction. An immensely skilful and absorbing juxtaposition of a gently comic, obliquely ironic, and deeply compassionate vision of human existence." (less)
This is the 1978 edition by Triad/Panther Books. The cover shows a detail from a painting of Chloe Boughton_Leigh c. 1907. by Gwen John (Tate Gallery,...moreThis is the 1978 edition by Triad/Panther Books. The cover shows a detail from a painting of Chloe Boughton_Leigh c. 1907. by Gwen John (Tate Gallery, London). (less)
There is a lot of Yiddish in the book - such as.....Im hayu samim et hamo'ach shelcha b'tarnegol, hu haya ratz yashar l'shochet tafsik lezyen = "If th...moreThere is a lot of Yiddish in the book - such as.....Im hayu samim et hamo'ach shelcha b'tarnegol, hu haya ratz yashar l'shochet tafsik lezyen = "If they had to put your brain in a chicken, it would run straight to the butcher". Quite a lot I am still trying to translate.
I was shocked at the ending, it takes you places mentally that you might not want to go. (less)
Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood is a colorful literary jazz arrangement where the author's narrative improvisations transport the reader throug...moreBlack Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood is a colorful literary jazz arrangement where the author's narrative improvisations transport the reader through the streets of Paris, deconstructing in their wake many fixed preconceived ideas about France and its influence on African American artists. The interest these virtuosos show for the city of lights is still undeniable in spite of, or due to, the present tumultuous situation between the United States and France. However, one must confront the image of a haven that is free of racism with other more paradoxical representations in order to gauge the full extent of the French influence for African American artists of the twentieth century.
I really enjoyed this book and some quotes give food for thought.Embraces the Blues and the Jazz in the vein of Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin or Ishmael Reed. Good stuff.(less)
This is not your average gypsy story. Rather, this tale is about the authentic European Gypsies of Romany, nomadic farm workers caught up in Hitler’s...moreThis is not your average gypsy story. Rather, this tale is about the authentic European Gypsies of Romany, nomadic farm workers caught up in Hitler’s reign of terror as he strove to purge the impure from his homeland. Beginning in 1927 in the Moravian countryside, where an infant is born in a dilapidated barn, the gypsies are slowly forced into a census program -- a method of tracking their movement that ends in a mass assignment to an all-gypsy labor camp.
Although much has been written about the Nazi death camps, Fires in the Dark specifically addresses the decimation of the Gypsy population of Eastern Europe. The story follows a number of families, one in particular, as the novel chronicles the gradual movement of fascism across the country, beginning with mandatory registration and specific “rules” that govern the gypsies’ mobility.
I found the book a bit tedious in the beginning though it picked up the pace when the focus of the book centres on one character and his survival of the war. Although a fiction it would have been nice to have a bibliography of the research and a glossary of Romany terms and language. (less)
Satire on the funeral business, in which a young British poet goes to work at a Hollywood cemetery. I had seen the 1965 movie of the same name by dire...moreSatire on the funeral business, in which a young British poet goes to work at a Hollywood cemetery. I had seen the 1965 movie of the same name by director Tony Richardson and Richardson seems to have followed the script quite well.
The Loved One is full of sly, macabre humour, and some of the funniest scenes occur when Aimee goes home with Mr. Joyboy to meet his mother–a miserable woman whose bosom companion is a naked parrot named Sambo. The Loved One is one of the oddest novels in the English language, and it’s certainly bizarre that a funeral home is the setting of a comic novel. Waugh–ever known for a biting, wicked sense of humour, exploits the language and internal politics of the funeral industry beautifully and mercilessly. I highly recommend this novel for an odd, distracting read–I doubt you’ll ever forget it.(less)
Václav Havel grew up in a well-known entrepreneurial and intellectual family, which was closely linked to the cultural and political events in Czechoslovakia from the 1920's to the 1940's. Because of these links the communists did not allow Havel to study formally after having completed required schooling in 1951. In the first part of the 1950's, a young Václav Havel entered into a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant and simultaneously took evening classes to complete his secondary education (which he did in 1954). For political reasons he was not accepted into any post-secondary school with a humanities program; therefore, he opted to study at the Faculty of Economics of Czech Technical University. He left this program after two years.
The intellectual tradition of his family compelled Václav Havel to pursue the humanitarian values of Czech culture, which were harshly suppressed in the 1950's. Following his return from two years of military service, he worked as a stage technician - first at Divadlo ABC, and then, in 1960, at Divadlo Na zabradli. From 1962 until 1966, he studied Drama by correspondence at the Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Musical Arts, and completed his studies with a commentary on the play "Eduard", which became the basis of his own "The Increased Difficulty of Concentration".
Beginning in the 1960s, his work turned to focus on the politics of Czechoslovakia. After the Prague Spring, he became increasingly active. In 1977, his involvement with the human rights manifesto Charter 77 brought him international fame as the leader of the opposition in Czechoslovakia; it also led to his imprisonment. The 1989 "Velvet Revolution" launched Havel into the presidency. In this role he led Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic to multi-party democracy. His thirteen years in office saw radical change in his nation, including its split with Slovakia, which Havel opposed, its accession into NATO and start of the negotiations for membership in the European Union, which was completed in 2004.
Letters to Olga were written to his wife during his imprisonment.(less)
Loving it so far, very Hunter S Thompsonish (Death in Vegas) but with a Cuban feel. Set in the early 90's in Havana. Raw and savage and poetic. It's a...moreLoving it so far, very Hunter S Thompsonish (Death in Vegas) but with a Cuban feel. Set in the early 90's in Havana. Raw and savage and poetic. It's a trilogy, the first section is much better and declines in the later 2 sections. In the last section each chapter's focus is on a different character - people the main character has met. They also function as stand alone short character pieces. I was disappointed that by the end of the book it's main thrust (pardon the pun) was the central character's obsession with sex - the first section of the trilogy held great promise but fizzled out in the 2nd and 3rd parts. It also reminds me of Henry Charles Bukowski's writing buy less polished. (less)