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El impostor
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2018 International Longlist > The Impostor by Javier Cercas

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message 1: by Maxwell (last edited Mar 12, 2018 09:58AM) (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
This is a discussion thread for El impostor by Javier Cercas.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 363 comments In 2009 I read Cercas' Soldiers of Salamis and I thought it was great! so I'm looking forward to The Impostor if it makes the shortlist.

message 3: by Paul (last edited Mar 15, 2018 11:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) This will be my 4th Cercas after The Anatomy of a Moment, Soldiers of Salamis and The Speed of Light - and the other 3 have been solid 4 stars, so I am also looking forward to this.

Postscript: actually my 5th/6th as I had forgotten The Tenant and The Motive, a book consisting of two rather less Cercas works.

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Very impressed with this although I suspect it's circular, analytical nature, or its rather odd nature as a novel-without-fiction, a rigorously true story, devoid of the slightest trace of invention or imagination won't be for everyone.

My review:

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Tony of if the Messenger's Booker blog, and former long-standing member of the Shadow Jury, is no great fan of this.

Some of his criticisms I can understand but would disagree with - I love the Marias-like deliberate repetition.

But he points out a shocking translation error - the 'impostor' was actually unmasked on the 60th anniversary of the camp where he claimed to have been a prisoner, in 2005. But in the English translation this becomes the 70th! Which if it was just buried away on page 129 would perhaps be forgivable - but it's part of the publicity blurb for the book.

see e.g.

message 6: by Neil (new) - added it

Neil | 511 comments “Marias like” - oh, no! I have this up next.

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) To be fair there is a tedious book on the MBI list where the author has, Marias like, decided to release two more volumes to add to the pain - and it's not this one!

message 8: by Neil (new) - added it

Neil | 511 comments Perhaps predictably, given the comments above, I have DNF-ed this one. I am finding the story very tedious and the punctuation unforgivable (a surfeit of colons and semicolons with many of them in the wrong place).

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Perhaps they should have replaced the semicolons with swear words and the colons with the musings of whinging French intellectual hasbeens :-)

message 10: by Neil (last edited Apr 06, 2018 12:55PM) (new) - added it

Neil | 511 comments Yeah, that would have been more fun. But so would being slapped round the back of the head with a wet fish. It's not often I have physical symptoms when reading a book, but this and Compass created the same twitchiness to the extent that, with both, my wife asked me what was wrong with me.

message 11: by Paul (last edited Apr 06, 2018 12:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Gumble and I had lunch with Neil Griffiths today. He and Jacques Testard still haven't quite forgiven you. He also asked what was wrong with you.

Anyway I thought you were a professional twitcher (lights blue touch paper....)

message 12: by Neil (last edited Apr 06, 2018 01:04PM) (new) - added it

Neil | 511 comments Jacques Testard should be very happy with me. I've given nearly all Fitzcarraldo books I've read, except Compass, very high ratings. I think 6 out of 7 is a good score.

message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Actually he was apparently (bit of gossip for you) annoyed that he entered the 'wrong' book given that it didn't make it (I won't name names as to who advised him to enter that one). Flights would probably have been a contender for the overall.

message 14: by Neil (new) - added it

Neil | 511 comments Agreed - Flights would have been a strong contender.

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