Saturday, May 27, 2017

May (fourth week) 2017 Reads

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
The card this week: Six of Clubs which means the "story" this week is not-a-story, it's an essay:

Identities in Motion -- My Mythomanias by Julia Schoch; translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire
How do we remember when the landscapes of childhood are gone? Schoch grew up in a town modernized in the Communist era and the made obsolete by the 1989 revolution.

  "They say the only things that count in life are the things we remember. That seems to be all the more important when there is no longer any evidence of the past.
   I no longer have any evidence of my past."

From Literature Across Frontiers (LAF) "a European Platform for Literary Exchange, Translation and Policy Debate."

Card is a stock image from dreamstime
It seems to go with the deterioration of the town (both the original and the new) and the hammer suggests the politics involved.


other essays online...and slow reading

Dorthe Nors on the best Contemporary Scandinavian Literature
The Danish author discusses Scandinavian Lit in general and specific authors:  Naja Marie Aidt, Yahya Hassan, Karolina Ramqvist, Lena Andersson, and Sjón.

 All Writing is a Kind of Realism: In Conversation with Rodrigo Fresán, author of The Invented Part
A conversation between Fresán and Will Vanderhyden, translator of The Invented Part. I am slowly reading this novel as part of Chad Post's Two Month Review  project.Chad has put together comments, podcasts, a Goodreads group, and more to help guide us through a difficult book. So far, we have read only the first 45 pages (which I loved).

I am also slow reading The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol because that is the way I read Pitol. See: Pitol readings and More Pitol readings

Just because my card this week was for an essay doesn't mean I neglected short stories. In fact, I read some gems...

I read some of the O. Henry Prize Stories for 2017 that are available online:
Something for a Young Woman  by Genevieve Plunkett
The Buddhist by Alan Rossi 
Protection by Paola Peroni
Night Garden by Shruti Swamy
Paddle to Canada by Heather Monley
Mercedes Benz  by Martha Cooley
A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness by Jai Chakrabarti

Two other stories I read online...

An Affair Before the Earthquake by Samrat Upadhyay
Samrat Upadhyay is a Nepalese writer who writes in English. He teaches at Indiana University. This is from his collection of short stories, Mad Country.

The Great Disaster  by Alanna Schubach; with an introduction by Halimah Marcus
Young survivors of a community disaster play a Zombie game.

some novels from my shelves...

ME  by Tomoyuki Hoshino, Kenzaburō Ōe (Afterword), Charles De Wolf (Translation)
This started out as if it were going to be about telephone scams, but it turned into something else--a dystopian world of almost interchangeable ME's. Just when it seems to be headed in one direction, it makes a turn and is off somewhere else. A great read.

Advance review copy via LibraryThing

The Outlaw by Jón Gnarr; Lytton Smith (Translation)
The third volume of Gnarr's childhood memoirs covers his teenage years. Misunderstood and misunderstanding, Gnarr ends up in a remote boarding school in the Westfjords district of Iceland (a Google search shows that the school is now a hotel). After leaving school he returns home to face so many problems--drugs, alcohol, medical treatments, family--that one wonders how he ever go it together.

From my subscription to Deep Vellum Books

'Round Midnight by Laura McBride
It's always gratifying to see a second novel live up to the promise of the debut novel. This one does that without repeating the characters and plot of the first
(We Are Called to Rise). This one is also set in Las Vegas and, like the first, brings together a set of diverse characters and deals with immigrants and family problems. But the main characters are fresh and this one spans a long time period (about 1960-2010) as Vegas booms and busts. The four main characters are strong women in difficult circumstances. An absorbing read.

Advance review copy.

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