Day: June 6, 2016

Literature Reviews

Thomas Mann: Dr. Faustus

A Reckoning This review is dedicated, in friendship and grateful memory, to the late Bob Zeidler, one of Amazon.com’s best and brightest customer reviewers. It is partly inspired by an exchange with Bob, whose comments hereon are sorely missed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Yes … we are lost. That is to say: the war is lost, but that […]

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Literature Reviews

Sharon Maas: The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q.

Coming Home When Sharon Maas first made it known to her then-agent and then-editor that she was thinking about writing a book set in her native Guyana, she met with blank incomprehension and utter rejection: “Guyana? Whyever would anyone write about that little backwater country; a place nobody knows anything about and which probably at […]

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Literature Reviews

Sharon Maas: The Speech of Angels

On music, life, and the healing of torn souls. “Zwei Seelen, ach, in meiner Brust” – “Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,” sighs Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust in one of the tragedy’s most famous scenes, torn between love and destiny, between free will and divine providence. And two souls also are tearing […]

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Literature Reviews

Sharon Maas: Of Marriageable Age

Love and cultural heritage, and perfumes from India. An orphan boy adopted by an English doctor, living near Madras, in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu: Nataraj. A headstrong teenager, daughter of an Indian lawyer in Georgetown, British Guiana: Sarojini. Back in Madras, earlier, a cook’s daughter, of Brahmin descent but a servant girl […]

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Literature Reviews

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Longstocking / Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina

Well, one day I may well get around to writing proper reviews of Lindgren’s and Tolstoy’s books after all, too. But until then, quite unapologetically, my Goodreads Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament entry will have to do … Girl Power, or: Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination Tournament Review: Anna Karenina (12) vs. Pippi Långstrump […]

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Literature Reviews

David Liss: A Conspiracy of Paper

Clearly a “first,” but despite detractors a promising one. I usually don’t like books that begin with an explanation of their reason for being which is not tied in, in some more profound way, with the main storyline – this kind of thing strikes me as amateurish and unnecessary, even in a first person account. […]

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Literature Reviews

Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreting maladies. An Interpreter of Maladies is not, as Mrs. Das thinks (and as the reader of Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories may initially be thinking, too), a medical doctor or a psychologist; someone who interprets the origin and meaning of his patients’ various illnesses and malaises and then prescribes the adequate treatment. No: an Interpreter of […]

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Literature Reviews

Peter Høeg: Tales of the Night

Bridges built out of yearning “The great systems that inform the world about the truth and life invariably claim to be absolutely truthful and well-balanced. In reality they are quaking bridges built out of yearning.” Thus, the protagonist of this short story collection’s last entry, Reflection of a Young Man in Balance, sums up what […]

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Literature Reviews

Tony Hillerman: Sacred Clowns

One of the biggest highlights in an outstanding series. Against his editor’s counsel, Tony Hillerman switched from nonfiction to fiction writing over 30 years ago, with a story ultimately entitled “The Blessing Way;” introducing an (at the time) new type of hero and a new setting to the realm of the mystery novel – a […]

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