Category: Fabulous Ones

Nov 10 2014

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

As Stalin’s purges neared their apogee, show trials in Moscow featured heroes of the Russian Revolution confessing to the most astonishing things: that they had conspired with foreign powers, that they had plotted to kill Stalin; that they had knowingly and willfully wrecked whole sectors of the economy; and more. How could these men — …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/10/darkness-at-noon-by-arthur-koestler/

Oct 14 2014

Tintentod by Cornelia Funke

This was the immensely satisfying end to a very good trilogy, although I will have to think about it a little longer to say just why. The author thanks her English translator in the acknowledgements to German edition, so she is presumably very happy with its rendering as Inkdeath.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/14/tintentod-by-cornelia-funke/

Sep 20 2014

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Walker Percy’s foreword to the book cannot be bettered: Perhaps the best way to introduce this novel — which on my third reading of it astounds me even more than the first — is to tell of my first encounter with it. While I was teaching at Loyola in 1976 I began to get telephone …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/20/a-confederacy-of-dunces-by-john-kennedy-toole/

Oct 23 2011

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

“What do I think about the legacy of Atatürk, General? Let it go. I don’t care. The age of Atatürk is over.” Guests stiffen around the table, breath subtly indrawn; social gasps. This is heresy. People have been shot down in the streets of Istanbul for less. Adnan commands every eye. “Atatürk was father of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/10/23/the-dervish-house-by-ian-mcdonald/

Jul 08 2009

Gold and Iron, by Fritz Stern

“This is a book about Germans and Jews, about power and money. It is a book focused on Bismarck and Bleichröder, Junker and Jew, statesman and banker, collaborators for over thirty years. The setting is that of a Germany where two worlds clashed: the new world of capitalism and an earlier world with its ancient …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/07/08/gold-and-iron-by-fritz-stern/

Feb 19 2009

Aid Worker Shashlik

From Geert Mak’s visit to Sarajevo in 1999: Batinic leans over and looks me straight in the eye. ‘Tell me, Geert, honestly: what kind of people are you sending us anyway? The ones at the top are usually fine. But otherwise, with only a few exceptions, the people I have to deal with are third-class …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/02/19/aid-worker-shashlik/

Feb 16 2009

Sentence of the Day

Describing some events in the last months of 1989: Meanwhile, an unknown KGB agent in Dresden, Vladimir Putin, had tried to pile so many documents into a burning stove that the thing exploded In Europe, by Geert Mak, p.718 I’m nearing the end of the book, and it’s living up to my initial impression. More, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/02/16/sentence-of-the-day-2/

Dec 15 2008

Premature Evaluation: In Europe

Less than 10 percent of the way into the book (to be fair, my edition weighs in at just under 900 pages), I’m liking In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak a great deal, and looking forward to the rest. In 1999, Mak was commissioned by a Dutch newspaper to travel around …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2008/12/15/premature-evaluation-in-europe/

Jul 31 2007

More of Mr Potter’s Magic

Last night I was in the downtown bookstore to pick up some stuff for travel planning, and I glanced over at their bestseller rack. Number one was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In English. The German edition won’t come out until October. The best-selling book in the store is in a foreign language. That’s …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2007/07/31/more-of-mr-potters-magic/

Jul 24 2007

H. Potter and the Dearth of Regular Blogging

At least I’m not the only one. Good discussions here, here, here, here and here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2007/07/24/h-potter-and-the-dearth-of-regular-blogging/