Tag: Literature

The Portrait Of A Mirror by A. Natasha Joukovsky

As someone who cherishes the idea of eventually writing fiction professionally one day, it is 100% infuriating to read books like this, books so elegant, so intelligent, so perfect and modern that it makes any effort I could possibly make feel superfluous. Having a healthy ego, I will get over my sheer envy in days, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/06/07/the-portrait-of-a-mirror-by-a-natasha-joukovsky/

Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein

I found this book shockingly, uncomfortably relatable, and would fight anyone to defend its heroine, the precocious 15 year-old Gracie Welles. I, too, was sent to a “prestigious” boarding school at that age by a well-meaning dad who didn’t really understand the realities of what I needed to survive it, and I too spent countless …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/27/slingshot-by-mercedes-helnwein/

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

At this point in my experience with Lily King, I know what to expect: a meticulously rendered milieu with quietly simmering emotions that are universal despite the very specific circumstances and locales of our narrators, and then BAM! a figurative punch to the face, and then the throat, and then the solar plexus, rendering this …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/12/04/writers-lovers-by-lily-king/

Bluebeard’s First Wife by Ha Seong-nan

Happy December, everyone! Let’s start the month with a chilling read! I have a bad habit of not remembering why I picked up certain volumes, not helped by the often considerable lag time between me deciding I want to read a book and me actually getting the opportunity to read it. So I vaguely recall …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/12/02/bluebeards-first-wife-by-ha-seong-nan/

The Story of Flamenca: The First Modern Novel, Arranged from the Provencal Original of the Thirteenth Century by William Aspenwall Bradley

What a delightful thing to read in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Being both thrifty and impatient, I actually read the online copy for free at The Hathi Trust digital library, as the original came out in 1922 and is yet unavailable for e-reader. Since I’ve been listening to Rosalia’s El Mal Querer on …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/02/12/the-story-of-flamenca-the-first-modern-novel-arranged-from-the-provencal-original-of-the-thirteenth-century-by-william-aspenwall-bradley/

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I expected more. While well-written — in the sense that, as with real life, the moments of sublime beauty are interspersed with observations of banal minutiae — it’s essentially a deep dive into the mind of a young, heterosexual white couple. Marianne is a girl from a rich, abusive family. She’s unpopular in the Carricklea …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/01/18/normal-people-by-sally-rooney/

Molotov’s Magic Lantern by Rachel Polonsky

Molotov's Magic Lantern

Early on in Molotov’s Magic Lantern Rachel Polonsky quotes Osip Mandelstam as saying “Ask me for my biography, and I will tell you the books I have read.” (p. 6) From that perspective, Polonsky braids three biographies. One is Vyacheslav Molotov, erstwhile foreign minister of the Soviet Union whose former apartment a banker friend of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/30/molotovs-magic-lantern-by-rachel-polonsky/

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

One of the problems with the classics is that their motivations can seem so far removed from our everyday lives. Even if the works can stand alone on their artistic merits, there’s often a lot of phobic nonsense distracting to modern-day readers who don’t have the privilege of merely ignoring such in our day-to-day: must …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/16/home-fire-by-kamila-shamsie/

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

I’m pretty sure I would have liked this more if it had been more speculative fiction and less MFA. Thing is, it’s an entirely worthy book. If it wasn’t for Freshwater, I would have no idea what a non-binary trans person is, and I’m richer for having found out. But I didn’t find out from …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/02/freshwater-by-akwaeke-emezi/

Schellingstrasse 48 by Walter Kolbenhoff

Schellingstrasse 48

For all that it is a Millionenstadt, Munich can also be quite a small town. Literary and artistic Munich even more so. Thus it’s not very surprising that in Schellingstrasse 48 (48 Schelling St.), Walter Kolbenhoff’s memoir of the Nazi era, POW internment in America, and early post-war Munich, other authors from the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/21/schellingstrasse-48-by-walter-kolbenhoff/