Saturday, December 04, 2021

Le restaurant de l'amour retrouvé

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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Kalpa Imperial


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.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Gideon the Ninth


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.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Shibumi


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


Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin

Well-told story in Le Guin's characteristically calm depth.


Sunday, August 01, 2021

Nineteen Eighty-Four


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.