Tag: Germany

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/10/life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Feb 10 2018

Kabale und Liebe by Friedrich Schiller

From the subtitle, “A Bourgeois Tragedy” to the Romeo and Juliet references that crop up in discussions of the play, it’s clear that Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love, although I am glad to see that at least some translators go with the better order of Love and Intrigue) is not going to end well …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/10/kabale-und-liebe-by-friedrich-schiller/

Feb 03 2018

Berlin by Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean gave his book on Berlin the subtitle “Imagine a City.” His American publishers changed this to “Portrait of a City Through the Centuries,” which is odd because it loses the ties to MacLean’s prologue “Imagine” and epilogue “Imagine Berlin.” Further, the book is not a portrait but rather a collection of almost two …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/03/berlin-by-rory-maclean/

Jan 24 2018

Goodbye, Moskau by Wladimir Kaminer

Wladimir Kaminer left Moscow for Berlin in 1990, and since then he has lived and chronicled the life of a Russian in the German capital. In roughly two dozen books, beginning with Russendisko (Russian Disco, first published in 2000), he explores with droll humor what it’s like to make a new life in a changing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/24/goodbye-moskau-by-wladimir-kaminer/

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Dec 06 2017

The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

Y’all that was messed up. I’m a fan of mysteries from way back and have read or watched nearly every type of depravity imaginable, and the reason why Cora Bender, innocuous middle-class housewife, slashes the throat of a stranger on a crowded beach still strikes me as fuuuuuuucked up, even as it is thoroughly convincing. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/the-sinner-by-petra-hammesfahr/

Sep 18 2017

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

It’s a John Le Carré book, so you know that someone is going to get screwed in the end. In his Cold War books, which were on the whole more subtle in their plotting if not as deft in their characterization, it wasn’t always possible to tell who was doing just what to whom, because …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/18/a-most-wanted-man-by-john-le-carre/

Sep 14 2017

Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson

I should say two things right up front about Europe in Winter. First, intermittently during a bicycle tour across one of Europe’s smaller polities that steadfastly refuses to disappear completely is both the right and wrong way to read this book. Wrong, because it surely deserves closer attention that I was sometimes able to give …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/14/europe-in-winter-by-dave-hutchinson/

Jun 16 2017

Postwar by Tony Judt

Two things stand out for me about Postwar, by Tony Judt. First, it is a stupendous historical synthesis that aims to tell a mostly political history of all of Europe — East and West, North and South — from 1945 through its publication in 2005. Second, I should have been writing reflections about it as I …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/postwar-by-tony-judt/

Jun 16 2017

The Ottoman Endgame by Sean McMeekin

“So far from a sideshow to the First World War, the Ottoman theater was central to both the outbreak of European war in 1914 and the peace settlement that truly ended it.” (p. xviii) In The Ottoman Endgame, Sean McMeekin makes a strong argument that understanding the First World War without understanding the part of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/the-ottoman-endgame-by-sean-mcmeekin/