How do you write about failure?
Early in this book, its protagonist, Ulrich, a young Bulgarian man studying chemistry in Berlin, is walking down a corridor after Albert Einstein, who drops a sheaf of papers. When he picks them up and runs after the great man, Einstein thanks him by saying “I would be nothing without you.” Much later in life, after his own career has been a failure by all outward measures, and life has almost been crushed out of him by Soviet austerity, Ulrich comes to learn more about Einstein and his callousness to some of those closest to him, and realizes that genius feeds off the failure of others.
If UNDER FISHBONE CLOUDS doesnâ€™t attain the high readership it deserves, there is no justice. Itâ€™s quite simply one of the most lavishly imagined, masterfully researched, exquisitely written contemporary novels Iâ€™ve read. And if that sounds as if Iâ€™m gushingâ€¦well, itâ€™s probably because I am.
December 7, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: Chinese, Communism, love, lyrical, Magical Realism, Myth, Real Event Fiction, Real People Fiction Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, China, Facing History, Family Matters, World Lit
Emperor Haile Selassie ruled Ethiopia for more than four decades. Stories about him are legendary even today. Debut author Maaza Mengisteâ€™s book BENEATH THE LION’S GAZE is set during a period of history when the emperor is just on his way out; it takes place over a few years around 1974.