Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

What makes a book a classic? Lionel Shriver was a guest on my favorite BBC program A Good Read.  You can listen to the program here.  It was the dullest episode of my favorite program ever. Knowing something of what Ms. Shriver is like in person, I almost didn’t listen, but I thought I’d be open-minded, give it a try. The conceit of A Good … Continue reading Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Before she was executed, Anne Boleyn’s head was shaved.  Afterwards, her hair was given to the executioner as part of the payment for his work.  He then sold it, at a considerable sum for the time, to a maker of tennis balls, which were often filled with human hair in that century.  Anne Boleyn’s hair was valued material for tennis balls because it was female, reddish … Continue reading Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

Nazi literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolano, translated by Chris Andrews

Roberto Bolano’s Nazi Literature in the Americas is an encyclopedic look at a fictional literary movement.  Novelists, poets, short story writers, magazine editors and publishers are all given detailed entries covering their lives and work.  Minor figures and publications are listed in the appendices at the back.  Even the least significant fictional fascist author is included, lovingly, even reverently described. Is Mr. Bolano playing a … Continue reading Nazi literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolano, translated by Chris Andrews

The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

I always get the sense that Roberto Bolano is up to no good.  He’s doing something very sneaky in his novels, but I can’t quite pin down what it is. The Third Reich is my third Roberto Bolano novel, after The Savage Detectives  and Nazi Literature in the Americas.  This is what I’ve noticed. In all three of these novels Mr. Bolano deals with a set of … Continue reading The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez takes place in the author’s familiar milieu–an isolated Latin American town, the sort that no one seems to enter or leave for decades, dusty, inactive, dying from entropy. The unnamed colonel has been waiting for his pension to arrive, waiting for fifteen years. His money and his options have run out, he has nothing left … Continue reading No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez