Day: June 7, 2016

Literature Reviews

Iain Pears: The Dream of Scipio

A Fascinating blend of philosophy, morality and historical fiction. Like probably nothing else, the breakdown of social order forces us to reach into ourselves, to draw for guidance on our innermost beliefs and moral values; for absent direction by the established rules of society, we only have ourselves to turn to for advice. – Such […]

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Literature Reviews

George Orwell: Burmese Days

   Pukkah sahibs An Assembly Such as This … Though uttered in much more genteel circumstances than the setting of this book, Mr. Darcy’s timeless put-down of Meryton society in Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice can’t fail to come to mind when referring to the characters populating George Orwell’s first novel. Burmese Days is, down […]

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Literature Reviews

Anna Maria Ortese: L’Iguana

Humanity’s fall from grace between reality, dream and lunacy. Born in Rome in the year 1914, Anna Maria Ortese grew up in southern Italy (primarily Naples) and in Lybia, the fifth of nine children of a soldier’s family often short on money. Like many poor girls of her generation, Ortese left school at age thirteen, […]

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Literature Reviews

Flannery O’Connor: A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

Oddball prophets caught in a web they wove themselves. They are misfits, wanderers, and souls searching for faith and absolution. Many of them are, to one extent or another, hypocrites; others are almost unbelievably naïve. All of them are Southerners – and yet, even the most outlandish among Flannery O’Connor’s protagonists come across as entirely […]

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Literature Reviews

Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works (Library of America)

A literary voice silenced way too early. Flannery O’Connor did not even live to see her 40th birthday; she died, in 1964, of lupus, the same inflammatory disease which had killed her father when she was a mere teenager and which all too soon began to cripple her as well. A graduate of the Iowa […]

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Literature Reviews

Edna O’Brien: In the Forest

Kinderschreck A boy, robbed off his mother’s love at the age of ten. Refusing to believe she is dead, clinging to the idea that she was buried alive while she was sleeping, digging a hole into the ground near her grave in order to speak to her. A loner who, then and there, decides to […]

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Literature Reviews

John Nichols: A Fragile Beauty

In Harmony With the Earth “An albatross around his neck” John Nichols called his 1974 novel The Milagro Beanfield War in an afterword to the book’s 1994 anniversary edition, because he felt that particularly after Milagro had, over multiple obstacles, been made into a 1988 movie directed by Robert Redford, it had eclipsed much of […]

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Literature Reviews

Sten Nadolny: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit (The Discovery of Slowness)

The North West Passage, and to each his own time. In recent years, polar exploration has regained much attention; particularly so the voyages of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. Relatively little, in comparison, is known about Sir John Franklin, who after several expeditions to the Polar Sea lost his life shortly after having discovered the North […]

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Literature Reviews

Guy de Maupassant: Une Vie – A Woman’s Life

A portrait of meekness, brilliantly drawn. Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born at Château de Miromesnil near Dieppe, Normandy, and educated in Rouen and Yvetot, likewise in that Northern French region bordering on the Channel and the North Sea. Introduced to Gustave Flaubert by his mother, an old friend of Flaubert’s, the creator […]

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Literature Reviews

Val McDermid: A Place of Execution

A multi-layered thriller which asks difficult questions. A Place of Execution is a chilling tale set in rural Derbyshire, and woven around the disappearance of Alison Carter, a teenage girl. The year is 1963, and the place is the (fictional) backwater village of Scardale; secluded from modern life, populated by only a few families who […]

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