Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category
This collection of short stories is intriguing and memorable, firstly for its peculiar themes and obsessions, secondly (contrary to what one might expect) because the earlier pieces seem far “better” than the later.
Itâ€™s been a long time since Iâ€™ve read such a light hearted crime novel. In fact Teresa Solanaâ€™s latest mystery A SHORT CUT TO PARADISEis so amusing, it is very likely to stretch its appeal beyond the usual crime aficionados. The novel, however, is not a cozy, by any means. Instead itâ€™s a satirically funny inside look at the highly competitive world of prize-winning Catalan literature. Some of us may not automatically think of bitter, murderous rivalry between competing authors who seek a lucrative prize, but then again the Booker Prize manages to stir some controversy every year–along with the occasional highly entertaining “what-the-hell-were-they-thinking” comment from judges, authors and readers.
n his latest book, THE CONVENT, Panos Karnezis hints at the ambiguity that underlies religious faith in the first sentence: Those who God wishes to destroy he first makes mad. (Does he mean mad as in furious? Or does God drive the damned crazy, first?) And so, when a baby boy appears in a suitcase on the doorstep of an isolated Spanish convent a few paragraphs later, I was ready to be led through an oscillating narrative (is he or isnâ€™t he a miracle?), that explored the tensions between faith and reason, independence and obedience, progress and stasis inherent to organized religion. Unfortunately, thatâ€™s not the tale Karnezis delivers…
David Trueba has written an interesting intergenerational family saga translated from the Spanish by Mara Lethem. At nearly 600 pages, this book is truly a tome. LEARNING TO LOSE follows the adventures of 16-year-old Sylvia, a high school student, her father Lorenzo, and her paternal grandfather, Leandro. The book is also about a professional soccer player named Ariel. The story is told in chapters that alternate between the perspectives of these four characters
The first several pages of this Spanish gothic melodrama might be enough to discourage even the most intrepid readerâ€”overblown prose, trite imagery, clichĂ©s, self-conscious attempts to play on the readerâ€™s heartstrings, and an undeniable straining for â€śeffect.â€ť Then in a twist, the reader discovers that this excerpt is merely the beginning of a manuscript about a child murder written by Luisa Davila, the main character in the larger novel. And as the reader is saying â€śWhew,â€ť at the thought of having escaped three hundred pages of such writing…
It must be extremely difficult for an author to write a brilliant, literary bestseller and then have to deal with the expectations of a worldwide audience waiting for him/her to do as well, or even better, with the next novel. I congratulate Carlos Ruiz Zafon on his latest offering, THE ANGEL’S GAME, a superb work of fiction where magical realism meets gothic horror and romance.
June 15, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1920s, Doubleday, Gothic, Writing Life Â· Posted in: Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Spain, Speculative (Beyond Reality), World Lit, y Award Winning Author