Devon Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Anyone else love the Russians? Some of my favourite books are by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov; The Idiot etc: Tolstoy - Anna Karenina in particular: Chekhov Anton Pavlovich 1860-1904 - I loved The Steppe (has the best thunderstorm in literature in my view). People think that they are daunting to read but they are not at all. I think they are great stories, with the most wonderful insights into the human condition and the brooding, often dark sub-culture is haunting. And what about One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovichby Solzhenitsyn - I read this in my teens and 3 or 4 times since. An amazing book about a day in the labour camps from a brave author who exposed Russian brutality. Such a rich culture.


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments I don't like Chekhov's plays very much, but really enjoyed his short stories.Short Stories


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is one of my very favourite novels. It is really gripping.Crime and Punishment


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Talking of Tolstoy, did anyone see that Michael Portillo went on one of his train journeys the other day to the house and estate where Tolstoy lived? It showed the station room where he died, when he fled from his wife. She was outside the door, shrieking, trying to be let in!
I think that one of the causes for discontent was that she produced 13 children!


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is one of my very favourite novels. It is really gripping.Crime and Punishment"

Yes - I love that too. That it tells you what the crime is from the outset and then explores reactions to it and explores issues of remorse etc is gripping.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Talking of Tolstoy, did anyone see that Michael Portillo went on one of his train journeys the other day to the house and estate where Tolstoy lived? It showed the station room where he died, when ..."

I didnt see it but saw that scene on a film once - can't remember what is was called.


message 7: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments I also really enjoyed The Steppe and Other Stories, 1887-1891 and felt the need to wrap up warm in order to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,an incredible story. Also, as our book group (Barnstaple Pageturners) choice, I recently read Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky which is about the German invasion of a French town.


message 8: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 173 comments Ian wrote: "Carol wrote: "Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is one of my very favourite novels. It is really gripping.Crime and Punishment"

Yes - I love that too. That it tells you what the ..."


I think the film is called The Last Station


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Ley wrote: "Ian wrote: "Carol wrote: "Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is one of my very favourite novels. It is really gripping.Crime and Punishment"

Yes - I love that too. That it tells y..."


Thats the one - thanks for putting me out of my misery


message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Ley wrote: "Ian wrote: "Carol wrote: "Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky is one of my very favourite novels. It is really gripping.Crime and Punishment"

Yes - I love that too. That it tells y..."

That title sounds particularly apt!


message 11: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments Ian wrote: "Anyone else love the Russians? Some of my favourite books are by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov; The Idiot etc: Tolstoy - Ann..."
No, but I love Nordic/Scandinavian crime fiction. Books by Arnaldur IndridasonArndaldur Indridasson, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir,Camilla LäckbergStieg Larrson,Jo NesboÅsa Larsson and light-heart ones likeThe Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Perhaps it's the months of near total darkness in Iceland and scandinavia that make them such good crime writers?!


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Ellen wrote: "Ian wrote: "Anyone else love the Russians? Some of my favourite books are by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov; The Idiot etc: Tolstoy. A bit like a Chinese Inspector Morse.


message 13: by Ian (last edited Nov 09, 2014 11:45AM) (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Don't know what happened there - message got corrupted. I was saying that our reading group recently read The Bat by Jo Nesbo but gave it the thumbs down. I recommend XIALONG QIU who has written the Inspector Chen series - reminds me of Inspector Morse. Love Stieg Laarson. As you say all very Scandi Noir


message 14: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments Ian wrote: "Ellen wrote: "Ian wrote: "Anyone else love the Russians? Some of my favourite books are by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov; The Idiot etc: [aut..."
Yes, I'm afraid[book:The Bat|23511013] was his first and not his finest! It was only translated into English when his later, better, books had been popular for a while!


message 16: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments I have to say I didn't get the fuss about Garcia Marquez. I read his One Hundred Years of Solitude recently and was pretty appalled. I guess it's well written and a clever twist to the story line at the end but, it's basically just a list of human depravity. How one large extended family can be so depraved as to manage to wipe themselves and the community they founded out of existence! I think I must have missed something.... I also remember reading Love in the time of cholera years and years ago and remember it just as a sordid catalogue of one man's conquests!


message 17: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Oh well, each to her own! As someone who generally avoids fantasy and magical realism, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed Marquez's writing. I found One Hundred Years of Solitude to be a very cleverly constructed allegory of the chaotic and violent, social and political, history of Columbia.


message 18: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (ickle_ellen) | 111 comments And there you have it: allegory- would never have occurred to me! Obviously not a book to take on face value- I should have perhaps started with one of those study editions that has a foreword had explains the background!


message 19: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Many of the major events in the novel actually took place in reality, e.g. the massacre of the workers is based on a historical mass killing in Marquez's home town.
This book was one of our reading group's choices a few years ago, it opened up a whole new area of reading interest for me.


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
I loved One Hundred Years of Solitude - one of my favourite books - but not universally admired by our book group. As Angela says it is highly allegorical and I also thought the structure of the book very clever. It's circularity over that expanse of time conveyed for me the way that Colombian history (and probably other countries too) repeated itself. A novel of many layers. I must read it again.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Agnieska has added some books and poetry translated from Polish on her profile - some really interesting work there, which might be of interest


message 22: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments These books could be a great start for the 'Around the World in 80 Books' challenge!


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
An interesting article re books translated into English

http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/b...


message 24: by Emily (new)

Emily Lezzeri | 23 comments I'd like to recommend the writer Grazia Delleda. I've only read one of her books, 'Reeds in the Wind' ('Canne al vento'), but she's a Nobel Prize winner, so many others obviously rate her work! Delleda writes about her native Sardinia in a deeply poetic way. My son is half-Sardinian and so I am keen to get him reading this book; it provided me with many fascinating insights into this amazing island's culture and people.


message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
Thanks for the recommendation Emily. I've nit heard of her but live reading authors from around the world, so will add her to my list. What form do her novels take?


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
"not" and "love" !


message 27: by DrMama (last edited May 03, 2015 03:57AM) (new)

DrMama | 332 comments The website 'The Complete Review' which is run by the US writer, critic and reviewer Michael Orthofer is a gem of a site for information about works in translation. Some of the best books I've read - by a wide range of world authors - I first heard about on this site. The 'CRev' does also comment on works written in English, but Orthofer is a staunch crusader for more translation. There are just so many superb works and writers out there, yet most of us readers in the English speaking world often know nothing about them.


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Some works obviously translate well into English- particularly where the language is not too descriptive. I have never read a translation of Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire, but it is difficult to think that there could possibly be a good translation of his poems.
I presume Shakespeare is never translated into other languages. It would just not be the same.


message 29: by Emily (new)

Emily Lezzeri | 23 comments I have a parallel text of Les Fleurs du Mal - translated by James McGowan and published by OUP. ISBN: 978-0-19-953558-3. I seem to remember reading somewhere that 'L'Albatros' is the most translated poem ever!If you look it up online it's amazing to see how much the various translations differ from each other.


message 30: by DrMama (new)

DrMama | 332 comments The joy of the Michael Orthofer site is that he is himself a multilinguist. He is often asked to judge on some of the US's major prizes for books in translation, and frequently in his blog pieces will comment favourably (or not) on different translations of certain works.
There does appear to be a whole new breed of excellent translators out there, now. This also includes writer/translators who are familiar with archaic forms of the specific non-English language, so I find it hard to believe there are not wonderful translations of Shakespeare.
I also gather that the work and worth of translators is more revered by many now - although it is still often not well-rewarded by some of the big publishing houses. Increasingly, authors who win prizes in their non-native country/language are citing their translators as joint-workers/creators. There is still a long way to go, but how great to have peoples around
the world able to write in their own language and still have worldwide recognition, rather than all attention only going to the authors who write in English first - eg in Africa.


message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian | 3053 comments Mod
DrMama wrote: "The joy of the Michael Orthofer site is that he is himself a multilinguist. He is often asked to judge on some of the US's major prizes for books in translation, and frequently in his blog pieces ..."

Just had a look at teh CRev site - not the prettiest to navigate but a mine of references, blogs, reviews and articles. Thanks for alerting us to it Carol.


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