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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 137

post #2041 of 2053
List (Click to show)

1. All Tomorrow's Parties
2. Undivided: Part 3
3. High Fidelity
4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
5. Polysyllabic Spree
6. Armageddon in Retrospect
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
8. What we talk about when we talk about love
9. Norweigan Wood

10. The Master and Margherita

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. Of Mice and Men

13.Fade to Black

14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

15. Watchmen

16. Captains Courageous

17. A Brief History of Time

18. The Trial

19. Wind up Bird Chronicle

20. A Visit from the Goon Squad

21. Neuromancer

22. Count Zero

23. Shadowboxing

24. Hell's Angels

25. Anansi Boys

26. Steelheart

27. A Hero of Our Time

28. Mona Lisa Overdrive

29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

30. The Last Blues Dance

31. Gularabulu

32. The Glass Canoe

33. The Lies of Locke Lamora

34. Handmaid's Tale

35. Girt

36. Museum of Innocence

37. Neverwhere

38. The Ghost's Child

39. Picnic at Hanging Rock

40. Submarine

41. Name of the Wind

42. Wise Man's Fear

43. A Million Little Pieces

44. The Promise

45. Father's Day

46. Swan Book

47. Red Seas under Red Skies

48. Republic of Thieves

49. Labyrinths

50. Carpentaria

51. Snow

52. Straw Dogs

53. Wrong about Japan

54. Wish

55. Monkey's Grip

 

55. Monkey's Grip

 

Another Australian classic - this story follows Nora as she falls in and out of love with Javo - a heroin addict ('junkie'). Living in the inner-North of Melbourne, Nora's life seems to involve a revolving door of guests, lovers, friends, enemies and activities - her daughter is one of the only constants, but even she leaves Nora's life for a significant portion of the novel - this constant barrage of characters, activities is exhausting, and even Nora begins to reflect and show signs of tiredness as the novel continues.

 

Nora's love for Javo the junkie is inexplicable - there doesn't seem to be much that she can articulate - she likes his eyes and the way they fuck - but she keeps pining for him and wanting him. In many ways, Helen Garner creates a story where the love Nora feels mimics the heroin-addict's cycle of addiction: a tumbled and racey beginning, and then tumultuous and trying experiences to quit/get off it or him, depression and pain when separated, and knowingly made poor choices that, ultimately, do not fulfil anything.

 

I didn't mind this book, but I did find it a bit long and repetitive. Nora is a broken person - and that doesn't really change or get addressed in any meaningful way - and I found that bizarrely shallow. However,r eading about streets and suburbs I know well, 40 years ago, is always fascinating.

 

CD/GF - thoughts?

post #2042 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

List (Click to show)
1. All Tomorrow's Parties

2. Undivided: Part 3

3. High Fidelity

4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World

5. Polysyllabic Spree

6. Armageddon in Retrospect

7. South of the Border, West of the Sun

8. What we talk about when we talk about love

9. Norweigan Wood
10. The Master and Margherita
11. The Fault in Our Stars
12. Of Mice and Men
13.Fade to Black
14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
15. Watchmen
16. Captains Courageous
17. A Brief History of Time
18. The Trial
19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
21. Neuromancer
22. Count Zero
23. Shadowboxing
24. Hell's Angels
25. Anansi Boys
26. Steelheart
27. A Hero of Our Time
28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
30. The Last Blues Dance
31. Gularabulu
32. The Glass Canoe
33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
34. Handmaid's Tale
35. Girt
36. Museum of Innocence
37. Neverwhere
38. The Ghost's Child
39. Picnic at Hanging Rock
40. Submarine
41. Name of the Wind
42. Wise Man's Fear
43. A Million Little Pieces
44. The Promise
45. Father's Day
46. Swan Book
47. Red Seas under Red Skies
48. Republic of Thieves
49. Labyrinths
50. Carpentaria
51. Snow
52. Straw Dogs
53. Wrong about Japan
54. Wish
55. Monkey's Grip

55. Monkey's Grip

Another Australian classic - this story follows Nora as she falls in and out of love with Javo - a heroin addict ('junkie'). Living in the inner-North of Melbourne, Nora's life seems to involve a revolving door of guests, lovers, friends, enemies and activities - her daughter is one of the only constants, but even she leaves Nora's life for a significant portion of the novel - this constant barrage of characters, activities is exhausting, and even Nora begins to reflect and show signs of tiredness as the novel continues.

Nora's love for Javo the junkie is inexplicable - there doesn't seem to be much that she can articulate - she likes his eyes and the way they fuck - but she keeps pining for him and wanting him. In many ways, Helen Garner creates a story where the love Nora feels mimics the heroin-addict's cycle of addiction: a tumbled and racey beginning, and then tumultuous and trying experiences to quit/get off it or him, depression and pain when separated, and knowingly made poor choices that, ultimately, do not fulfil anything.

I didn't mind this book, but I did find it a bit long and repetitive. Nora is a broken person - and that doesn't really change or get addressed in any meaningful way - and I found that bizarrely shallow. However,r eading about streets and suburbs I know well, 40 years ago, is always fascinating.

CD/GF - thoughts?

Literary aside I knew one of the people whom Gardner used as a character model for the novel when I lived in St Kilda sadly he ended up dying from a Heroin OD.

Read it about thirty years ago enjoyed it at the time.Have you read Candy LM?
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 9/13/14 at 11:45pm
post #2043 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

52. Straw Dogs

John Gray (a philosopher) goes on a rant about how absurd all forms of humanism are, praises nothing, and complains about the vast stupidity of humankind. There were some genuinely thought provoking points among this book, but it was almost banally nihlistic.

Some random sent me 4 books earlier this year - everyone I've asked says it wasn't them - this was the first random book I read.


Oh, damnit...for a second there, I thought, Wow, the movie Straw Dogs was based on a book? Was a great book?, well, was it, was it!

Frustrations all around.
post #2044 of 2053
Clockwise counting 77/50: Marie-Hélène Lafon - L'Annonce (2009)

Northern French small-town single mum meets Southern French farmer through a newspaper ad. The woman moves to the farm with her teenage son and they try to adapt to rural life where local people are not particularly welcoming. A solid but rather average novel.
post #2045 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

Literary aside I knew one of the people whom Gardner used as a character model for the novel when I lived in St Kilda sadly he ended up dying from a Heroin OD.

Read it about thirty years ago enjoyed it at the time.Have you read Candy LM?

Aaargh. It's "Monkey Grip" and "Garner", please.

I read the book years ago, but it always felt to me like a bit of an insiders' tale; Garner writing about her friends for her friends. I didn't connect with Nora much, and found Javo to be just as boring as all the other doomed druggies infesting Australian literature and film.
post #2046 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

Oh, damnit...for a second there, I thought, Wow, the movie Straw Dogs was based on a book? Was a great book.

Yes, it was.

http://www.amazon.com/Siege-Trenchers-Farm-Straw-Dogs/dp/0857681192/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-2&keywords=straw+dogs

I read it in my teens, but I can't remember a thing about the book.
post #2047 of 2053
Oh, awesome. Thanks, I'll definitely add this to my list. (Even if it's bad, I'm sure it will be instructive to compare it to what -- IMHO -- the original film got right).

Just started DeLillo's Running Dog, an earlier effort that, just going by the plot, might resemble my ideal bespoke DeLillo piece.
post #2048 of 2053
Gettig there; 70 is looking pretty doubtful though.

43. Judges
JudgesJudges by Andrea Camilleri

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I picked up Judges in the library, principally because it contains a story by Giancarlo de Cotaldo, the writer of one of my favourite European TV series – Romanzo Criminale. I have yet to encounter a novel of his in English, so this was the next best thing.

Judges is an anthology of three novellas by leading Italian crime writers; each story centres on an Italian Judge prosecuting a case. (The reader needs to bear in mind the investigative role of a Judge in Italy).

Andrea Camilleri, renowned author of the Montalbano series, kicks off with Judge Surra. This is a story set shortly after Italian unification, about a Judge from out of town who is parachuted into a Sicilian village, blissfully unaware of the criminal undercurrents that swirl around him. Surra seemingly blunders along, narrowly avoiding continuing disasters and amazing the locals with his sang froid and coolness in the face of the local mafiosi. Or is he a lot smarter than we might think? This is an excellent and humorous short story, but it is marred by a clumsy and unnecessary afterword.

The Bambina by Carlo Lucarelli was probably my favourite story of the three. It’s centred on a female Bolognan Judge who looks so young she is nicknamed “The Baby” by the cops. While she has police protection as a matter of routine, it seems totally unnecessary, as she is only investigating a minor white collar fraud. Events then take a turn that gives her case a lot more significance. Lucarelli is able to surprise the reader and pack plot twists into a very short space. (The ending will make more sense to people with a bit of knowledge about real-life crime in Italy, BTW). I’ll certainly be looking for more of Lucarelli’s work.

De Cotaldo’s story is called The Triple Dream of the Prosecutor. This is a tale about a Judge who is prosecuting a corrupt local mayor, a man who bullied him as a child, giving rise to the suspicion that the Judge is biased. In the story, he dreams about things going wrong on the day of the trial, in a looping fashion somewhat like Groundhog Day. The construction is complex and a little confusing, and I found this story rather unsatisfying. I guess I expected something more hard-boiled from the author of Romanzo Criminale. (Could somebody PLEASE publish Romanzo Criminale in English, BTW)?

Overall I thought these three novellas were worth reading and something a bit different from the usual police procedurals. Good stuff.



View all my reviews
post #2049 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Gettig there; 70 is looking pretty doubtful though.

43. Judges
JudgesJudges by Andrea Camilleri

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I picked up Judges in the library, principally because it contains a story by Giancarlo de Cotaldo, the writer of one of my favourite European TV series – Romanzo Criminale. I have yet to encounter a novel of his in English, so this was the next best thing.

Judges is an anthology of three novellas by leading Italian crime writers; each story centres on an Italian Judge prosecuting a case. (The reader needs to bear in mind the investigative role of a Judge in Italy).

Andrea Camilleri, renowned author of the Montalbano series, kicks off with Judge Surra. This is a story set shortly after Italian unification, about a Judge from out of town who is parachuted into a Sicilian village, blissfully unaware of the criminal undercurrents that swirl around him. Surra seemingly blunders along, narrowly avoiding continuing disasters and amazing the locals with his sang froid and coolness in the face of the local mafiosi. Or is he a lot smarter than we might think? This is an excellent and humorous short story, but it is marred by a clumsy and unnecessary afterword.

The Bambina by Carlo Lucarelli was probably my favourite story of the three. It’s centred on a female Bolognan Judge who looks so young she is nicknamed “The Baby” by the cops. While she has police protection as a matter of routine, it seems totally unnecessary, as she is only investigating a minor white collar fraud. Events then take a turn that gives her case a lot more significance. Lucarelli is able to surprise the reader and pack plot twists into a very short space. (The ending will make more sense to people with a bit of knowledge about real-life crime in Italy, BTW). I’ll certainly be looking for more of Lucarelli’s work.

De Cotaldo’s story is called The Triple Dream of the Prosecutor. This is a tale about a Judge who is prosecuting a corrupt local mayor, a man who bullied him as a child, giving rise to the suspicion that the Judge is biased. In the story, he dreams about things going wrong on the day of the trial, in a looping fashion somewhat like Groundhog Day. The construction is complex and a little confusing, and I found this story rather unsatisfying. I guess I expected something more hard-boiled from the author of Romanzo Criminale. (Could somebody PLEASE publish Romanzo Criminale in English, BTW)?

Overall I thought these three novellas were worth reading and something a bit different from the usual police procedurals. Good stuff.



View all my reviews

Not surprised that Lucarelli was the best of the three. I recently read his Carte Blanche, the first in a trilogy about Inspector De Luca, working on murder cases in war-time fascist Italy. I thought it was very very good. Camilleri is in my view more light-weight but of course also decent entertainment.
post #2050 of 2053
64 Shark Will Self
Picked it up from the library this afternoon read Umbrella his previous novel found that a bit of grind at times due to the actual construction of the narrative. Was going to start The Children Act but Mrs GF grabbed it before me.baldy[1].gifcensored.gif
post #2051 of 2053
Clockwise counting 78/50: Diego Marani - New Finnish Grammar (2000)

Italian author Marani, who is a linguist, has written a strange novel with some similarity to The English Patient about a man found viciously beaten in the Trieste harbour in 1943. The man has lost his memory including his language. The doctor who cares for him believes him to be a Finnish sailor. The man without memory is repatriated to Helsinki where he gradually re-learns his lost language through the help of a Christian priest / shaman.

For being written by an Italian, the novel is extremely "Finnish" in style and subject matter. Large parts of the novel references Finland's national epic, the obscure mythology Kalevala, which sometimes makes it rather heavy-going.

This is about learning a language, searching for one's identity and finding meaning in times of war. It should be a brilliant book but it left me quite frustrated.
post #2052 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

64 Shark Will Self

WILL SELF! icon_gu_b_slayer[1].giffistbump.gif

Are you a huge fan? I'm a huge fan. Let's be huge Will Self fans!

I didn't even know there was a new one out (possibly not in the US just yet) but wow -- glorious day!

In personal reading news, William Gass's The Tunnel has knocked me way, way, WAY off course. I've all but given up, two hundred pages from the end. Short stories have rushed to filled the void, sad little numbers, uncounted toward any goal: Egan, Nabokov, Lagerkvist, and a few from the massive Ballard omnibus (surprisingly good).
post #2053 of 2053
Will Self is something of a dynamic droll and dry chap outside of his books if you haven't seen Grumpy Old Men check out his appearances in those. Aside from the novels I read a lot of his short articles in the Guardian. if you thought Umbrella was fun wait till you start this its the textural equivellent of hell to read. Good story so far but fuck me, shudder.
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