I started this book without having the slightest idea of what it would be about, trusting that a Man Booker prize winner would worth the while. And ohI started this book without having the slightest idea of what it would be about, trusting that a Man Booker prize winner would worth the while. And oh it was. Anthony is a seventy-year-old man who has lived a perfectly normal life and feels quite content about it. One day he gets the notice that the mother of the girlfriend he had during university, Veronica, has left him 500 pounds and Adrian's diary - one of his best friends from highschool. He is completely dumbfounded by this and so he tries to remember the yars of his youth so to try to understand how this could've happen. This will lead him to contact with Veronica, which might bring more than he ever bargained for, or that he could understand. The outcome of this emotional journey is a reflection on memory - its nature, how we manipulate it so it becomes a make-believe of our past, its different versions -, on life - the different attitudes towards life, whether you're 'active' or 'passive', whether life is an accumulation of events or an increase, etc -, and on suicide. On top of that, as you may have imagined, it's beautifully written. Barnes conveys the sorrow of a missed life, the notalgic feeling of looking backwards, giving the impression that you're able to change your past and future, and the painful realisation of how you have deluded yourself in order to live with your past and move forward to the future. I loved this book. ...more
4,5 This book is just amazing, especially for me as I love everything concerning the French Revolution. This book is set in the year 1793, a very specia4,5 This book is just amazing, especially for me as I love everything concerning the French Revolution. This book is set in the year 1793, a very special one for the revolution, as it is the end of the period called the Terror. Actually, Hugo planned to write a trilogy and do two more "years" but unfortunately he wasn't able to. Anyway, the book follows many characters: Lantenac, a marquis that leads the revolt against the revolution (the Vendée), Gauvain, a young captain who leads the army against Lantenac, Cimourdain, an ancient priest who is now at the service of the Republic and of the Comité de Santé Publique, and a mother who looks for her children. Through these different points of view we are able to see all the aspects of the young Republic, from the grandeur of the Convention to the misery and the sufferance of the people, and the crimes committed. For this, the first "scene" is just astounding, so powerful... Hugo manages very well the art of the dialogue – having also written many dramas – and some of them I would like to remember them forever. Indeed, the discussions between the opposites, not only the republican against the monarchist but also the ideal in front of the practical, and the different visions of what the revolution must be and become. For this there is an incredible episode in the novel where Hugo creates a meeting between Robespierre, Danton and Marat, which is truly breathtaking and it doesn't matter whether you know who they were or not. And it's so beautifully written and it's so... inspiring. It is true that Hugo tries (and succeeds) to be unbiased towards the Revolution – and also towards the Terror, which is so often demonized –, and nevertheless he conveys the passion for its ideals. Indeed, in some way, it is really gripping to read the speeches written about it. But this is not an essay, what I've been writing here is only what I've "extracted" from dialogues and description and the action. Because Hugo is not a Realist or a Naturalist, he's a Romantic but also a wonderful story-teller. ...more
It's a brilliant novel. Orwell basically tells his experience in the Spanish Civil War. He went there as a member of the International Brigades, fromIt's a brilliant novel. Orwell basically tells his experience in the Spanish Civil War. He went there as a member of the International Brigades, from 1936 to 1937 and fought in the front against the fascists. Being Spanish myself, I was very interested in reading this book not only because it portrays one of the most (if not the most) horrible events in the story of my country, but because it was from the point of view of a foreigner. Not only this, someone who had abandoned his life, and risking it, to fight for his ideals, for what he thought was fair and right. And in fact, this book is just so intense. Just the way it is written, you can feel the passion of the author and the depth of what he lived. I couldn't stop reading this book, because it made me feel exactly what Orwell felt at that time. The events told in this novel – more like a documentary actually – are... well, heart-felt or maybe, it's just that it is impossible that they don't reach you. Sorry, I was very emotionally invested with this book. Read it.
Also what is very interesting is that it was published before the war ended, so he had no clue of who would win. It is also a study –well, more like observations – of Spanish society at that time (at least from where he stayed: Barcelona and Aragon)....more
When I finished this book a couple of hours ago I wasn't sure about whether it deserved 4 or 5 stars. But I've spent this time just thinking about theWhen I finished this book a couple of hours ago I wasn't sure about whether it deserved 4 or 5 stars. But I've spent this time just thinking about the story and its characters, so I understood that it had had an impact on me. And also it's the best –and favourite– novel I've read about India so far. I think it captures pretty well the sense of overwhelming a foreigner might feel when visiting the country. Life there is so cruel and merciless, but then it seems to be surrounded by beauty. But this is not a book that might haunt the Romantics in the look for something exotic. It's down-to-earth and quite depressing. The characters try to thrive in such an unstable world and they find each other and are bound together and, finally, they fly away. The fact that there are many coincidences put me off in books like Q & A, but in this one it just makes complete sense and it doesn't seem far fetched at all. And I'll say more, I think it even makes the story take more strength, you get even more tied to the characters and their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the beginning to the end, during the evolution of the characters and their relationship to the others (and with the care and subtlety it is handled), in their bad and good times, in health and in sickness. The characters are flawed, but when you know about their past, every single trait of his (or her) personality makes complete sense. And also, it's an incredible telling of India's History, from before the Independence to Indira Gandhi's assassination, and especially about the first year of the Emergency. It's a must for those who are interested in India. ...more
Favourite poem book. I read a new edition, so to not be influenced by previous markings/readings. As always, I think, I've enjoyed the most 'Spleen &aFavourite poem book. I read a new edition, so to not be influenced by previous markings/readings. As always, I think, I've enjoyed the most 'Spleen & Idéal' and 'La Mort' "chapters". But I've discovered plenty of new poems I didn't pay attention to before. I love how he plays with the sounds, and the images and colours (I imagine some of them as an Impressionist painting), and contrast between what's beautiful and what 'should be' awful (corpses, poverty, death). No wonder why it was subject of a legal procedure for public scandal. ...more
I think this is the 4th time I read this novel and still, I can't get tired of it. Re-reading one of you favourite books is like visiting an old frienI think this is the 4th time I read this novel and still, I can't get tired of it. Re-reading one of you favourite books is like visiting an old friend and remember the great time you spend together long ago. As I read the novel I remembered the first time I read it, when I was fifteen, and the ones later. It was interesting to see how my view of the plot had changed in some ways. What can I say about it? I enjoyed Nelly Dean's narrative - the voice of reason and common sense – and Catherine and Heathcliff's character. They should both appear despicable at my eyes, they do nothing but spread the wretchedness in their hearts. But where does it come from? Heathcliff (or Catherine) are not the typical tormented heroes of a 'romantic' novel (I refuse to put WH in that category), even though others have been inspired by them. You can fully understand them – or almost –, even pity them, but you never feel sorry for them, it is impossible to excuse their inhuman behaviour. Catherine is torn apart between her need for comfort and propriety, and her passion for Heathcliff, who is nothing but a parentless, low-educated, gipsy. And Heathcliff gets progressively eaten up by an urge to take revenge upon those that have grieved him during his childhood, until it takes over his entire life. Even though they love each other in the most passionate and radical (?) way I've ever read, their personalities set them apart. Maybe only the most tormented souls can foster such an intense love, who knows. I only know that I have marked – and almost know by heart– both Catherine's and Heathcliff's declarations of love. When I read it for the first I was disappointed by the ending – maybe too happy in regarding the rest of the novel – but now it makes sense, especially Heathcliff's end, it's almost poetical....more
This book is beautiful. The writing itself is so magnificent. About the plot, it's simple – I mean, there are few turning points and one can easily imThis book is beautiful. The writing itself is so magnificent. About the plot, it's simple – I mean, there are few turning points and one can easily imagine what's the whole story. And nonetheless it "possesses" you. Not only because of the "current" plot, but because of the story surrounding Ash and La Motte. Even though it rather looks like something exceptional, it is so human, so natural, so heart-breaking. As I said, the writing is out of this world. Plus, the poets (Ash and La Motte), never existed, they both are creatures of Byatt's imagination, but in the book you find poems of both of them, even parts of literature books about them. So they look real, and that's the thing. Even though it's a novel, a tale of a Romance, it exists, when you read it all of it – the story, the characters, the places – come to life, and so they remain because this extraordinary novel sticks to your memory. I also liked the playing with the name "possession". About "possessing" someone, the loved one, or something very precious, as Ash's and La Motte's love letters.
The only likely problem for some is that it is, some times, a bit tedious. There isn't a lot of action (a bit at the end) and the writing is very descriptive, and the letters, journals and poems too and also quite dense and, well, maybe too "embellished". But that's definitely something you can cope with. And it really compensates. This book is just so wonderful....more