Archive for August 2013

Book Review: The Time in Between by María Dueñas

The Time in Between by María Dueñas Overly wordy and too drawn out to keep my interest.

Link: Huffington Post: 10 Forgotten Classics You Need To Read

Huffington Post: 10 Forgotten Classics You Need To Read

A great list of some nearly forgotten classic novels that you may not have heard of before.

Article: The Books We’ve Lost

Browsing on Charing Cross Road, London Browsing on Charing Cross Road, London

Charles Simic looks at “The Books We’ve Lost” in a piece about the closing of used bookstores.

(From The New York Review of Books, August 13, 2013)

Book Review: Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto by Maile Chapman

Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto by Maile Chapman Definitely a strange book. Part historical fiction, part literary fiction, with a touch of creepiness mixed in as well. I’m not sure it’s entirely successful though, but I wouldn’t say it was entirely bad either.

First and foremost, the writing was a mixed bag. At times, I really liked the way the author described things and set the scene for the reader. But often, that feeling would be ruined by long, boring, and overly detailed stretches of scene descriptions or inner dialogues. And I’d often stumble on a sentence that felt like it was dancing around the meaning, requiring a few rereads that didn’t always clear things up. It felt like the author was sometimes referencing things I couldn’t identify, but really I think they were things only she got, like an inside joke amongst friends. Simpler language would help with a lot of these issues.

As for the story, not much happens. Things meandered for a very long time — touching upon a lot of characters without fully developing most of them — and then eventually, very near the end of the book, a lot of big events happen, one right after the other. It was a bit too much really, despite all the build-up, and it didn’t feel like enough of a reward for having slogged through the rest of the book to get there. I have the feeling that this book started as a short story, but wasn’t really enough to work well as a full book, which is a shame.

That said, I did like some aspects of the book, so I don’t feel this was a complete waste of time. I think this author has some strong skills, but with some room for improvement. The setting and story of this book are certainly unique, and it’s not a book that is easily fit into a single category. I might read some other pieces of her work, but maybe not right away.

Book Review: Life Goes On by Hans Keilson

Life Goes On by Hans Keilson Not quite what I expected after reading the summaries, but it was all right. It gets a bit heavy in parts, both in terms of writing and mood. It reminded me of some of Hans Fallada’s books, written around the same time.