Le restaurant de l'amour retrouvé, Ito Ogawa tr. Myriam Dartois-Ako
Excellent, short book with a depth unexpected from its easy tone. Reminds me of Milan Kundera.
Kalpa Imperial, Angelica Gorodischer tr. Ursula Le Guin
Should have been better. Very imaginative. Very epic. But just kind of overall bored.
It's strange because I have previously noticed that I like when Ursula Le Guin—when she is an author and not translating as here—is actually great when she's boring. By that I mean that there is something both powerful and peaceful in her the slowness and calm with which she treats her alien characters, themes and landscapes. In Kalpa however, while I see a very close match in Gorodischer and Le Guin's styles, I feel a remoteness that fails to let me be captivated by the story. It kind of feels like Gorodischer expects me to know her planet without telling me enough about it.
It's too bad, because it is a book of scale more staggering than I have seen elsewhere.
Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
Worth reading for the language itself. Check out that first sentence.
What follows is an incredibly promising story, warped imagination, drama, dialogue, tension, wit and jokes until the last page. It's just that that last page is a bit disappointing, the resolution feeling a bit cheap.
It's good enough that I'm reading the sequel and enjoying it. This is like Neuromancer meets ummm... The Addams Family? Never seen anything like it, and the flaw I feel a less challenging book might have avoided is more than made up for by Gideon's irreverent literacy.
Shibumi, Trevanian tr. Anne Damour
Super good story. A little compressed though. There's a fairly uneventful section on spelunking in the middle whose purpose I understand but of whose length I am a little unsure.
Nevertheless, the book shows an extraoridnary balance, making me think that maybe the middle is long for a mystic reason at which my shallow mind can only grasp.
On a personal note, Shibumi argues very strongly against American–and American-influenced Western–culture. I am looking at North Americans in a new light after this.
Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin
Well-told story in Le Guin's characteristically calm depth.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
Bad, then good, then really bad.
I've always felt that one should read all books that draw one's curiosity, but this book is one I would prefer to read about rather than read.