Archive for May, 2011
World War I was the deadliest conflict in Western history, but contemporary portrayals of war in literature and cinema primarily focus on examples of combat from the past fifty or sixty years. At a time when the Great War is receding into the annals of distant history, this elegiac and edifying novel has been released–a small, slim but powerful story of a young soldier, Josef Vinich, who hails from a disenfranchised and impoverished family in rural Austria-Hungary.
May 25, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: Bellevue, Mining, Real Event Fiction, Time Period Fiction, War Story, WWI Â· Posted in: Austria, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, World Lit
DOC relates how it might have been during 1878-79 when Dr. John Henry Holliday lived in Dodge City, Kansas. “The Deadly Dentist” who later gained fame or infamy, depending on perspective, for “pistoleering” along with the surviving Earp brothers at the O.K. Corral, saved Wyatt Earp’s life in Dodge first. Earp is said to have credited Holliday with saving him, but apparently didn’t share details, so history isn’t sure of the facts. But this novel presents its own story of how it might have happened.
May 24, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Fictional Biography, Real Event Fiction, Real People Fiction, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Facing History, US Frontier West, Wild West
In 1971, Lobo Antunes, recently qualified as a doctor, was drafted into the Portuguese army and sent for two years to Angola, mired already for a decade in a bloody war of independence. Six years after his return, he used this experience for his second novel; it now appears in a magnificent translation by Margaret Jull Costa, whom readers will know from her work with JosÃ© Saramago.
First, a quick background about Indian (specifically Bengali) cinema: The great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, was from the state of West Bengal and is one of Bengalâ€™s most revered sons and cultural icons. It stands to reason that years after Rayâ€™s death, the incredibly talented Rahul Bhattacharya (a fellow Bengali) would use Rayâ€™s famous bildungsroman, Pather Panchali, as the inspiration for his debut novel.
At its most basic essence, Bhattacharyaâ€™s THE SLY COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO CARE is also a bildungsromanâ€”it traces the growth and coming of age of its protagonist in a country far away from home, Guyana.
THE WHITE WOMAN ON THE GREEN BICYCLE by Monique Roffey takes an intriguingly different view of the corrosive impact of colonialism. This tale covers fifty years of tumultuous Trinidad history seen through the lives of a married couple–George and Sabine Harwood. The novel begins in 2006–fifty years after the arrival of the Harwoods in Trinidad. They are now in their 70s, and even though theyâ€™ve spent more than half a century together, they still, basically, donâ€™t understand each other. Neither do they understand Trinidad.
Julian Poulter, the first-person narrator of Rebecca Frayn’s DECEPTIONS, is a somewhat priggish individual who says things like, “I’ve always believed one must strive to put painful episodes behind one with the minimum of fuss and bother.” He is a master of denial who, in flashback, tells how he and Annie Wray, a teacher, tried to forge a permanent relationship when he moved in with her and her two children by her late husband. Annie is flightier and far more spontaneous than Julian; each provides a quality that the other lacks.