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Babilon

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,203 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Elisabeth, o femeie de șaizeci de ani, locuiește împreună cu soțul ei, Pierre, într-un mic apartament din Deuil-l’Alouette, în suburbiile Parisului. Din plictiseală, Elisabeth hotărăște să iasă din coti dian și să organizeze o „petrecere a primăverii“, la care cei doi își invită prietenii, dar și vecinii, pe Lydie și Jean-Lino, cu care au făcut cunoștință de curând.

După pr
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Paperback, Romanian Edition, 208 pages
Published 2019 by Litera (first published August 31st 2016)
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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,203 ratings  ·  153 reviews


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Anya
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“When Jean-Lino was a child, from time to time, after the evening meal, his Father would take the book of Psalms and read a passage aloud. The bookmark always opened to the same place. It never crossed his Father’s mind to move it, and as such, he always read the same verse, the one about exile. “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion…” (self-translation)

Yasmina Reza’s “Babylone” was an interesting experience in literature for me. The book was unlike any other book tha
...more
Andy Weston
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, translated
This super little book could be described as a mixture between noir and a ‘cosy’. Despite all that goes on around her, the narrator’s is most concerned with watering the plants and looking after the cat, Eduardo, who actually gets quite an important role throughout the story.
A dispute over free-range chicken has fatal consequences in the aftermath of Elisabeth’s party. The plot then drifts back and forth through time as Elisabeth tries to justify why she didn’t just call the police, at times go
...more
Lucinda
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did read to the end of this book—in spite of the slow story and rather uninteresting reflections by the principal character. I thought there might be something interesting ahead! Spoiler: there isn’t. I never did understand Elisabeth’s failure to call the police. The intriguing aspect of the story is why there is tension at all—and for that aspect I gave 2 stars rather than 1.
Bart
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
Actual rating: 3.50
Tom
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction, french, women
Like the rivers of Babylon, to which this book alludes in its title, Yasmina Reza's Prix Renaudot winning novel tends to just ripple along without ever really causing a splash. In typical French fashion, it succeeds in creating a sort of sleepy and sentimental atmosphere, insisting on the reflections of the protagonists more than the story that brings them together. A choich which does not really help to bring the book to a higher level.

Reza paints the portrait of a woman in her sixties, Elisabe
...more
Meaghan
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book to take me out of my head while I dealt with the crippling anxiety that came from awaiting my bar exam results. (I passed, thank goodness!) The narrative wove in so many thoughts at once that you truly had to pay attention or else you would miss something key. This book also opened my eyes to the incredible art of translation- I couldn’t believe this wasn’t originally written in English! This was an interesting and beautiful story that unveiled the many mysteries involv ...more
Abigail
I thought this book would be one of the quiet character studies I enjoy, and it both was and wasn’t. Narrated by a middle-aged woman, Babylon mixed a sense of nostalgia and sentimentality with regret and a desire for something, anything, exciting to happen in one’s life again. In order to force something interesting, Elisabeth hosts a spring party that propels the evening toward a darker turn. I was not expecting the twist. Overall, it was compelling and the ending left me quite melancholy.
Amelia
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, novel, library
2.5
I really like Yasmina Reza, but this has been my least favourite book I've read by her so far. It was a dark story, but a bit too pointless for me. And the writing was not as sharp and witty as for example in Happy are the Happy.
...more
Cecile
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant book but which comes across a bit like a play, you would easily imagine it staged in a theatre. Which makes sense given that Yasmina Reza has mainly written and staged plays. The story is amusing and it is an easy read.
Dr G
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this. (I am not sure quite why I have it. During a flurry of books arriving at my favoured bookshop following a flurry of ordering focused on the Booker shortlist, I was advised of this arrival. Perhaps I ordered it on the recommendation of a now-lost review; I suspect, however, that someone else ordered it and it was mistakenly attached to me: I didn't want it and the person who did, didn't get it.)

The protagonist/narrator is a 21st Century comfortable, educated, middle-
...more
Deborah
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very slender novel, a mere 200 pages. The narrator is a middle-class, 60-ish woman with a very ordered life, living with her husband in a Paris apartment building. She has a platonic friendship with one of the upstairs neighbours. She uncharacteristically decides to throw a small party, inviting friends, people from work, the upstairs neighbour and his wife. As the dust jacket describes, "And then, quite suddenly, finds herself embarked with him on an adventure that is one part vaudeville and ...more
Remi
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In ‘Babylone’, Yasmina Reza takes one more close look at the bourgeoisie parisienne – and I’ll probably never tire of her close looks. This time, a dead body is involved, and as I expected, it worked well with Yasmina Reza’s dry sense of humor. So, I knew from the beginning that someone would die – although for some reason I had settled on the wrong candidate at first. What I liked about this book apart from Yasmina Reza’s writing is that the protagonist finds herself in a situation that’s credi ...more
Nicholas
Nov 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popsugar2020
This was a very strangely gripping novel that seems to go nowhere.

The first 40 pages or so, the narrator just kind of talks about her life while she's getting
ready to throw a party for her friends and neighbors.

Then afterward the novel just upturns. I don't want to spoil anything (the book jacket kind of did), but I remember being very bored with the book and then very engrossed. Reza deals with something very serious in a mundane, sometimes darkly comedic tone and the narrator's motives are ne
...more
Katya Kazbek
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, france, jewish, iran
I’ve seen Carnage but I’ve never read Reza despite wanting to, so this is a first. And I can see how she comes from a theatrical background: the dramaturgy of the character is beyond comparison. I was so gripped with Elisabeth’s narrative from the beginning that if I didn’t have weird reading patterns, I’d devour the book in one sitting. The inception-like paradox of Babylon is that you read it while rubbernecking as Elisabeth rubbernecks, and morbid curiosity multiplies. It’s like a guilty read ...more
Adriana
May 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I expected more from such an accomplished playwright. It turns out she belongs to the category of people who excel in one field and are mediocre to the best in another. This novel is less than mediocre. The plot is half baked, the characters are weird, unrealistic and boring. The action is dragging. This novel wants to be philosophical and brings in memories from a wild youth, Frank's photography book, "the Americans" but it fails to fulfill it's ambitious goal. It all falls flat. The c ...more
Annie
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are several variations of this old saying, but that all go something to the effect of “A friend will help you hide but a great friend will help you hide the body.” In Yasmina Reza’s Babylon (smoothly translated by Linda Asher), we see the seeing play out over the course of 24 hours in a French city...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, for review consideration.
...more
Lisa
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel isn’t my favorite of her work, but her signature exploration of the banality and the absurdity of human existence is still here. I found the stream of consciousness difficult to get into but the pace quickened midway through the book. The narrator maintains an even, monotone, presence even as the tragedy occurs. The author is a master of giving the reader some information while holding back enough to make the characters more intriguing and real. The depiction of the cat and trying to ...more
Susan Zinner
French translated novel that was a quick read, this book explores how quickly a life can unravel. Here, a middle-aged French woman relates how her platonic male friend living in her apartment building attends a spring party she and her husband host one evening and a few hours later he knocks on their door with some very disturbing news (no spoilers). Things go downhill from there as she narrates her attempts to help him extricate himself from a sticky situation fraught with ethical implications. ...more
Mandy-Suzanne Wong
This book needs patience but totally deserves it. Reminds me of Veronique Bizot. The absurdity of concepts we're supposed not to think about so that we can be reassured by them & pretend we're not living in a totally absurd crisis.

A favorite bit: "'All under control' has the virtue of closing the chapter that's barely opened. The line says nothing about reality, nor even about the speaker's state of mind. It's a rather practical kind of existential readiness - a standing to attention. And funny
...more
Giulia Larigaldie
Disappointing. I had seen the movie "carnage", adapted from her book and really appreciated her incisiveness and sharp social descriptions.
This story is very forgettable, does not really leave a strong and lasting imprint. You don't really get attached to the characters, some parts seem a bit far-fetched...
...more
Lorri Steinbacher
What a weird little book. The way someone would react to the motivating action of the book seems pretty straightforward, but then you meet Elisabeth who acts so completely the opposite of how a rational person would act for what appears to be no real motive. She lets herself be carried along by her decisions. Interesting read.
Allison
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel recounts a tale of bourgeois party with an expected ending. The narrator meanders through time as she muses on photography, framing, memory and place. The staccato page breaks and sequitur paragraphs evoke the feeling of a cliffhanger every few pages. It is one of those books that makes me wish I have been a literature major.
adolfo rufatt
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A top best

Wonderfully written. Provocative and entertaining, it captures you into a simple and complicated story. Her narrative mirrors her mind jumping from the painful to the superfluous, from a live or death to trivial memories of past experiences! One of the best books I’ve read.
Mona
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was rather disappointed by the book. I had read Yasmina Reza's book 'Art' years ago and was keen on reading another book of hers.
With the exception of one scene - the escalation of a dispute between the narrator's neighbours - the entire book deals with the life's boredom of a middle-aged woman. For 200 pages she rambling about leading an ordinary life.
...more
MickPro
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A somewhat stream-of-consciousness stroy of and by a woman recounting her present days, reflections of how she came to today and a catastrophic occurrence after a party that she hosts. It's writing as visual history and superb. ...more
Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
Reza takes the tradition of French existentialist and miserabilist literature (think Sartre, Emmanuel Bove, or Simenon's roman dures) and makes it true to life and, at times, painfully funny. This gripping novel even has subtle echoes of Camus' The Stranger. ...more
Bill Berger
A brief novel by acclaimed playwright Yasmina Reza about a murder in a Paris apartment house. Well defined but truly incongruous how the woman would not be charged as an accomplice. All in all an interesting read but nothing very special and considering Ms Reza’s pedigree, I accepted more.
Betty Adams
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very French; almost existential; does not explain the characters' motivations, but is one of the most interesting books I have read this year. ...more
Anita
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Curious little novel that had unexpected dimensions.
Mary Conway
very odd book, kept going thinking it would be redemptive but maybe it was the translation
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Yasmina Reza began work as an actress, appearing in several new plays as well as in plays by Molière and Marivaux. In 1987 she wrote Conversations after a Burial, which won the Molière Award for Best Author. Following this, she translated Kafka's Metamorphosis for Roman Polanski and was nominated for a Molière Award for Best Translation. Her second play, Winter Crossing, won the 1990 Molière for B ...more

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“To have nobody is to have not even yourself. Somebody loving you provides a certificate of existence. When a person feels alone, he can't exist without some small social fable.” 1 likes
“This morning, before I left for the Pasteur I phoned the retirement home to ask after Jean-Lino's aunt. With the conversation finished, I think, You're really a good person, you're concerned for others. Two seconds later I tell myself, It's disgusting, this self-satisfaction over such an elementary deed. And immediately after that, Good, you keep a firm eye on your own motives, bravo. There's always some great congratulator who has the last word. When Denner, as a child, came out of confession, he used to stop in front of Saint Joseph, breathe deep, and say to himself, Now I'm a saint. And right afterward, going down the stairs: Oh shit-sin of pride. One way or another, virtue doesn't last. It can only exist if we're not aware of it.” 0 likes
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