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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,178 ratings  ·  228 reviews
La nuit descend sur Vienne et sur l’appartement où Franz Ritter, musicologue épris d’Orient, cherche en vain le sommeil, dérivant entre songes et souvenirs, mélancolie et fièvre, revisitant sa vie, ses emballements, ses rencontres et ses nombreux séjours loin de l’Autriche – Istanbul, Alep, Damas, Palmyre, Téhéran… –, mais aussi questionnant son amour impossible avec l’idé ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 19th 2015 by Actes Sud
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,178 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this finally, unintentionally in the perfect way, reading from three to five in the morning when I couldn't sleep. It's the perfect way to finish because this is an insomniac's diary, or more so, its conceit involves an Austrian insomniac's cognitive perambulations in bed in Vienna as he makes his way, only ordered by the increasingly late hour, through the occidental experience of alterity (the novel's keyword) in the orient. It's about the interpenetration of east and west, self in th ...more
Paul Fulcher
Now on the outstanding longlist for the 2017 Republic of Consciousness Prize for 'gorgeous prose and hardcore literary fiction' from small, independent presses.

In Germany they impose the Scriptures on you in the back of the bedside table drawer, in Muslim countries they stick a little compass for you into the wood of the bed, or they draw a wind rose marking the direction of Mecca on the desk, compass and wind rose that can indeed serve to locate the Arabian Penisula, but also, if you're so in
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We Europeans see them with the horror of otherness; but this otherness is just as terrifying for an Iraqi or a Yemenite. Even what we reject, what we hate, emerges in this common imaginal world. What we identify in these atrocious decapitations as ‘other’, ‘different’, ‘Oriental’, is just as ‘other’, ‘different’, and ‘Oriental’ for an Arab, a Turk, or an Iranian,

My initial bliss digging into this rich novel soon gave way to more serious labor. Whereas Jim Gauer's masterful Novel Explosives was a
Philippe Malzieu
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I remembered the beginning of Salammbô. "C'était à Megara, faubourg de Carthage, dans le jardin d'Hamilcar." In only one sentence, I live in the Mysterious Orient, there is the color, the scent, the wet suffocating heat (in french we name it touffeur) of the luxuriant vegetation. I was already in love with Salammbô.
I did not want to read this book. It belongs to the short list for the Goncourt Prize then which the best french book (Laurent Binet) has been eliminated.
And I read the beginning of t
Laura لاورا
I mille e un Oriente

Vincitore nel 2015 del prestigioso premio letterario francese Goncourt, “Bussola” non è un romanzo di facile recensione. Che cosa racconta?
Una storia d’amore, anzi due storie d’amore: prima di tutto, quella tra una donna e un uomo, due orientalisti che per anni s’incontrano, fuggono e s’inseguono tra Europa, Turchia, Siria e Iran; sullo sfondo, superba e affascinante cornice, la seconda storia d’amore che per gran parte del libro sembra offuscare la prima: quella tra Occident
Compass takes place over the course of one, long night during which Franz Ritter, a Viennese musicologist, suffers from a terrible bout of insomnia. The symptoms from his recently diagnosed illness, the memories of an unrequited love, and the dissatisfaction at his mediocre academic career all contribute to his sleepless night. Instead of chapters, Énard uses time stamps to denote the hours that are slowly ticking away as Franz runs through years of memories. Sarah, a French Academic with whom F ...more
Gumble's Yard

Fitzcarraldo Editions is an independent publisher (their words) specialising in contemporary fiction and long-form essays ….. it focuses on ambitious, imaginative and innovative writing, both in translation and in the English language . Their novels are (my words) distinctively and beautifully styled, with plain, deep blue covers and a "French-flap" style ....

And that serves as som

Énard has written a masterwork, a long meditation on the Other, as embodied in his two main characters and their lifelong study of the idea and reality of the ‘Orient’ and the West. The entire work consists of the reminiscences of insomniac, fiftyish (?) Franz over one night as he wrestles with the knowledge that he has a fatal disease and has failed in a lifelong attempt to win Sarah, the object of his obsession. The irony, we come to see, is that despite his long academic meditations on the ne
ميقات الراجحي
إلتقاء الشرق بالغرب في عمل "ماتياس إينار" جعله يستحق وبجدارة الـ"غونكور". من قرأ رواية (أنبئوني بالرؤيا) للناقد والكاتب "عبد الفتاح كيليطو" (1) سيعرف ظاهرة الرواية المعرفية. تقرأ العمل فتظن أنك لوهلة أمام بحث معرفي لكن بسردية ناجحة وتواجد لكل مقومات القصة أو الرواية وحقيقة ما تتجاهله ليس عدم قدرتك على تمييز نوع العمل بل أنت قد أحسنت تميزه بينما كرهت المعلومات الموجودة في سياق النص. أعلم أنك هربت من فضاء الكتب العلمية والأبحاث والدراسات ثم فجأة تقع بين يديك مثل نوعية هذه العمل وهنا يكون مأزق المث ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-mbi, 2017, 2018-rofc
I made a start on this book several months ago when it was long listed for the Man Booker International prize. I gave up after a third of the book because I felt like I was being tortured by being force-fed Wikipedia articles.

This time, I stuck with it and made it to 100%.

I’m not at all sure what it is I want to say about this book, so I took the unusual (for me) step of looking at some other reviews before writing my own. There are two quotes from The Guardian that, I think, sum up my sentiment
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: Франція
Ніч, заповнена книгами, платівками і східними дрібничками кімната віденської квартири і ще не старий музикознавець Франц Ріттер, який, отримавши невтішний лікарський вирок, прокручує перед собою кіноплівку спогадів про своє життя. Ні, він не готовий прощатися із ним. Просто йому не спиться, ніч довга, згадати є що. А задурманена опіатами свідомість підсовує поміж реальних спогадів дивовижні видіння. І в центрі цього видива, цього плину думок і почуттів, — дві великі любові Ріттера, — Схід, музик ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Une thèse vaguement déguisée en roman. Alors que ça commençait plutôt bien, soudain le texte devient un prétexte à une longue thèse sur l'orientalisme et les rapports entre Orient et Occident. Comme toute thèse qui se respecte, le narrateur cite ses sources et de temps en temps entre deux citations érudites, une intrigue narrative essaye de se développer. Elle n'est pas vraiment développé et personnellement au bout de 100 pages je me fichais complètement de la vie de ce narrateur insomniaque.
Jim Coughenour
A superb book, perfect for insomniacs – being one long night's reverie by an ailing Austrian musicologist Orientalist who cannot sleep. It is a slow read, it will doubtless appeal only to a few, but what a fortunate few we are. On one level the novel is a spirited, comical refutation of Said's Orientalism (much of which I would have missed without the work of Robert Irwin); on another, it is a fantasia on Orientalist themes, infusing the spleen of Thomas Bernhard and the musing melancholy of W G ...more
Michael Kotsarinis
Από τα βιβλία που δεν μπορώ να αποφασίσω τι βαθμό (αν έχουν καμιά αξία αυτά) να δώσω. Εύκολα, όμως, μπορώ να καταλάβω όποιον του δώσει 1 αστεράκι και όποιον του δώσει 5 και πιο εύκολα μπορώ να καταλάβω όποιον το παρατήσει.

Είναι ένα βιβλίο δύσκολο στην ανάγνωση αλλά όχι δυσνόητο. Για να διαβαστεί θέλει ρυθμό και χρόνο καθώς είναι ελάχιστα τα σημεία που προσφέρονται για διακοπή. Ο αναγνώστης κινδυνεύει να χαθεί μέσα στο δαίδαλο των ονομάτων, περιστατικών και τόπων. Αυτό γιατί ο συγγραφέας γράφει σ
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Boussole” had been one of my top reads last year, and (in my opinion), a very deserving Prix Goncourt winner. I was thus happy to plunge into this dense and atmospheric novel a second time, as part of the 2017 Man Booker International challenge.

I can happily say that “Boussole” certainly holds up to a second reading. The book is about Franz, a middle-aged Austrian musicologist, who is having a sleepless night. He spends what should be his sleeping hours revisiting memories of his past travels a
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Commencé en septembre, terminé en janvier. 4 mois pour le lire , l'abandonner, le reprendre. une ou deux dizaines de pages à chaque fois, jamais plus sous peine d'indigestion. C'est d'une érudition étonnante, effrayante même, a la fois passionnante et immotivée. Le souvenir qui me vient de sa lecture est une dose d'ennui qui se dégusterait avec plaisir, comme un thé un dimanche après midi pluvieux.
Et l'ensemble de l'objet littéraire (difficile de parler de roman),- en fait le souvenir d'un amour
Fernando Jimenez
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Brújula' es el exhaustivo relato de 'Las mil y una noches' en solo una; la enciclopedia del orientalismo europeo en forma de corriente de pensamiento; la constatación de que lo que nos separa del Otro es justo a lo que nos une a los europeos: una visión del extranjero, del bárbaro, del turco o el persa basada más en la erudición que en los prejuicios; un paseo por los límites de esa tensión (Viena, Estambul) que luego se extienden a casi todo el planeta (París, Alepo, Teherán). 'Brújula' es una ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
Ein Kompass, dessen Nadel nach Osten zeigt? Im Bonner Beethovenhaus kann man so einen Kompass aus dem Nachlass des Komponisten besichtigen. Zur Zeit Beethovens begann Europa sich für den Orient zu interessieren. Der alte Goethe schrieb seinen west-östlichen Divan , inspiriert vom persischen Dichter Hafis, dessen Divan damals gerade von Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall übersetzt wurde. Abenteurer, Künstler und Suchende aller Art bereisten Ägypten, die Levante, Persien und brachten die Kund ...more
Yuliya Yurchuk
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Мені сподобавлося все: переклад, тема Сходу, тусовка академіків, Європа, Відень. Сирія тут постає не з новин, я зовсім інакше - країна, яку люблять, в якій люблять, яку вивчають, якою захоплюються. Хороша книжка, одним словом.
Jim Elkins
Sebald's Pernicious Influence

One of the challenging properties of painting is that influences are immediately visible: there's no hiding indebtedness from Pollock, Richter, or Schiele. Novels are complex in time and structure, and influences can be masked by masses of detail. "Compass" is at first intermittently, then forgivably, but finally overwhelmingly and depressingly indebted to W.G. Sebald. Enard has Sebald's penchant for travel in Europe, and he loves weaving histories of places and peop
Κατερίνα Τσαγκαράκη
Ένα παράθυρο στον κόσμο της ανατολής πλημμυρισμένο από ενδιαφέρουσες πληροφορίες για τη λογοτεχνία, τη μουσική και τη συνεχή επιρροή των πολιτισμών ανατολής και δύσης μεταξύ τους.
Héctor Genta
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Gli orientali non hanno alcun senso dell’Oriente. Il senso del’Oriente siamo noi occidentali ad averlo.”
Énard è considerato uno dei nomi più interessanti della narrativa contemporanea e con Bussola ha vinto il premio Goncourt nel 2015. Autore da leggere quindi, anche se di non facilissimo impatto.
In effetti ho impiegato oltre un centinaio di pagine per riuscire ad entrare in empatia con la sua scrittura, ma devo dire che nel mio caso la perseveranza è stata ripagata.
Non è certo l’intreccio a
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
My first thought before deciding to read Compass was, would this be a betrayal?

“Sarah had mentioned the Great Name, the wolf had appeared in the midst of the flock, in the freezing desert: Edward Said. It was like invoking the Devil in a Carmelite convent.”

Would Mathias Enard's Compass be an attempt to appropriate or redefine Edward Said's Orientalism?

“The Orient and Islam have a kind of extrareal, phenomenologically reduced status that puts them out of reach of everyone except the Western expe
Manel Haro
Oct 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Me ha parecido una novela aburridísima, soporífera hasta la extenuación. El autor llena estas páginas de referencias, de información, pero más allá de eso no encuentro nada. Al protagonista le han diagnosticado una grave enfermedad y sabe que morirá, esa misma noche empieza a recordar lo vivido y lo aprendido, pero lo vivido queda sepultado por la erudición gratuita, el exceso de nombres, anécdotas, episodios históricos que no aportan nada al relato (o, dicho de otro modo, todo eso es el relato) ...more
Was für ein eigenartiges Buch. Ein derart literarisches Sachbuch oder sachliches Literaturwerk habe ich noch nicht gelesen. Die gegenseitige Durchdringung von Okzident und Orient und umgekehrt - vor allem in den Künsten sind das große Thema dieses Buches. Mit einer ins Anstrengende gehende Akribie erzählt Enard von den Forschern, Eroberern Dichtern und Sängern der gegenseitigen Durchdringung. Bei vielen Lesern, wie auch bei mir, stellt sich das eigene Unwissen in Anbetracht dieser detailversesse ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Es la primera vez que leo un Goncourt, y la verdad es que la experiencia no ha sido positiva. De hecho, solo he llegado hasta la mitad, y porque es lo que me autoimpongo leer antes de abandonar una lectura. Es una novela sin dirección, densa, con un narrador pedante y aburrido, lleno de datos sueltos, que no aportan nada y lejos de ser interesantes. Lo siento pero Enard y yo no estamos hechos el uno para el otro.
Vanni Santoni
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Il flussone Énardiano, testato in Zona con un agente segreto sotto speed in un treno verso Roma, trova un passo più lento – ma anche più avvolgente – con un orientalista oppiofilo (e un bel po' sfigato con le donne). In ogni caso uno dei migliori romanzi dell'anno e una prova di impressionante maturità.
Robert Wechsler
For what it is, this long novel is very good. What I realized from reading nearly half of it was that a novel such as this — not so much a novel of ideas as a novel that details people and activities involved in an idea — has to be extremely good to keep my interest. Something else is needed to make such a novel work for me. I found myself increasingly hungry for that something else, and when it was clear that it wasn’t coming, I moved on to another book.
Compass takes place over the course of one, long night during which Franz Ritter, a Viennese musicologist, suffers from a terrible bout of insomnia. The symptoms from his recently diagnosed illness, the memories of an unrequited love, and the dissatisfaction at his mediocre academic career all contribute to his sleepless night. Instead of chapters, Énard uses time stamps to denote the hours that are slowly ticking away as Franz runs through years of memories. Sarah, a French Academic with whom F ...more
Faye Baxevanidou
2.5* B.R.A.CE 2019. (6) Ένα βιβλίο συγγραφέα που αν και δε σας άρεσε θα του δίνατε μια δεύτερη ευκαιρία. 4/75 αδιάβαστα
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The Mookse and th...: 2017 MBI Shortlist: Compass 20 55 Apr 14, 2017 11:22PM  
ManBookering: Compass by Mathias Enard 7 55 Apr 04, 2017 12:01PM  
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French fiction author. He mainly writes novels with Arabic themes. At university he studied Arabic and Persian. In 2000 he moved to Barcelona (Spain), where he writes all his works.
His first novel was La Perfection du tir, released in 2003. Two more books were released before his first success, Zone, appeared in 2008. This book, written as a single sentence that continues along more than 500 pages
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“In der Liebe können wir die Leiden des anderen ebenso wenig teilen wie unsere eigenen heilen.” 1 likes
“(...) cet espoir se dilua dans le gris qui paraissait attrister même les arbres de la rue Custine, engoncés dans leurs grilles de fonte, cette limitation si parisienne à l'acharnement végétal (rien ne représente plus l'esprit moderne que cette étrange idée, la grille d'arbre. On a beau vous persuader que ces imposants morceaux de ferraille sont là pour protéger le marronnier ou le platane, pour leur bien, pour éviter qu'on ne nuise à leurs racines, il n'existe pas, je crois, de représentation plus terrible de la lutte à mort entre la ville et la nature, ni de signe plus éloquent de la victoire de la première sur la seconde)” 1 likes
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