Tag: Literature

Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Feb 26 2018

The Naive and Sentimental Novelist by Orhan Pamuk

If I had read The Naive and Sentimental Novelist before reading Orhan Pamuk’s novels, I probably would not have bothered with them. That would have been a pity because most of them are very good, and one, Snow, is among the best I have ever read. So there’s a considerable gap between this collection of …

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Dec 23 2017

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

I really liked this book, with one huge exception, which I’ll get to in a minute. It’s a very accurate depiction of life among the jetset in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, which I grew up lifestyle-adjacent to as an upper middle-class kid in Malaysia. Much has been written about how South and Southeast Asia …

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Aug 07 2017

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman (translated by Jessica Cohen)

Today I learned that there’s a difference between the Man Booker and the Man Booker International Prizes, doh. As with other Man Booker winners, this was eminently readable. But as also with far too many other Man Booker winners, this wasn’t as great as I’d expected. Maybe it’s just because I’ve spent so much time …

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May 24 2017

Traveler of Worlds by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

The important information on this book’s cover is the subtitle, Conversations with Robert Silverberg. Traveler of Worlds is entirely a set of interviews with Silverberg, who recently passed 80 years of age. He’s one of the grand old men of science fiction; he has attended every Hugo award ceremony; he was incredibly prolific back in …

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Apr 23 2017

The Foundation Pit by Andrey Platonov

Where to even begin with The Foundation Pit? The author, Andrey Platonov was born in Russia in 1899, the son of a railway worker, and later worked as a land reclamation expert. He was a fervent supporter of the Russian Revolution; during the 1920s he supervised the digging of wells, construction of ponds, and draining …

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Feb 25 2017

Wallenstein II by Friedrich Schiller

“Schiller’s Wallenstein is so great that there is nothing else like it.” — Goethe How’s that for a blurb? Goethe didn’t just offer praise, he directed the premiere of all three parts of Schiller’s Wallenstein trilogy. The third, Wallenstein’s Death (published as Wallenstein II, as the two previous plays comprise the first volume), comes from …

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Feb 04 2017

Wallenstein I by Friedrich Schiller

The best thing about zipping through Wikipedia’s entry on these two plays by Friedrich Schiller — the first volume of Schiller’s Wallenstein plays comprises Wallensteins Lager (Wallenstein’s Camp) and Die Piccolomini (The Piccolomini) — was learning that Goethe directed both premieres. (He also directed the premiere of the trilogy’s third part, but I am still …

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Jan 02 2017

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (The Austen Project #4) by Curtis Sittenfeld

Quite charming, and for the most part a note-perfect retelling of the classic for modern times. There were really only two false notes for me: the first was the laughable idea that, as a writer-at-large, Lizzy Bennett earns $105k a year, and the second was the last marriage proposal of the book, which I thought …

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Dec 31 2016

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol 10 by Bill Willingham et. al.

While I’m going to review the rest of the series as a whole, I thought this book merited its own review, as it contains the entirety of the crossover with Jack Of Fables and has a distinctly different tone from the preceding books, being very much more a metaphysical caper and thus closer in theme …

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