Archives de catégorie : author

#4022What I have read : Deborah Levy

But before I get to Levy, a few other books I have read in the last few months 
David Lodge: Paradise News (1991), bought at last year's Nelson second-hand book fair. The back cover presents the book to us with a reflection on the notion of paradise, a description that is quite accurate. I know the author for his books on academia and he always makes me laugh or smile. Even in this book, which takes place a long way from the academic world (Hawaii, in this case), he manages to infiltrate an academic who reflects on mass tourism and its evils. I liked the book even if the last part is a bit lost.

Isabelle Allende: Violeta (2022), offered by LG. A book that examines the life of a centenarian, Violeta Del Valle, born in 1920. It begins with the description of the Spanish flu and one really wonders if it is 1920 or 2020. It then guides the reader in the intricacies of the story of a woman, her emotions and her country, wealth, poverty, the loss of loved ones and love. I liked the book, but now I don't know if I want to read any more. Not for the moment. 
John Banville: The lock-up (2023), courtesy of LG. This book is part of the Detective Benjamin Black series, which Banville first wrote under a pen name, before reverting to his own. I had read April in Spain (the previous one, published in 2021), but his most recent one is more successful in my opinion. For lovers of detective stories seasoned with the best Banville has to offer. 

As for Deborah Levy's book, What I don't want to know 2018 (borrowed from Nelson's library, now 70% open!), it is the first volume of an autobiographical trilogy by the author from South Africa living in Britain since the age of nine. She wrote this book to answer the question about why she writes. It was during a trip to Mallorca that she seems to have found the answer to this question. As soon as she arrived, she started remembering her childhood in South Africa, her father imprisoned for three years because he supported the ANC, which forced the family to emigrate to Britain when he was released from prison, after he was no longer able work. I appreciated her beautiful writing more inspiring when she leaves the facts behind, and found the beginning and the end  particularly powerful. I still want to read the following two books of the trilogy and maybe some of her fiction as well. The following sentence touched me deeply: "The way we are wired to kill. Ourselves”. 

#4011 Alicia Stallings

A tous les quatre ans, depuis trois cents ans, Oxford élit un nouveau professeur de poésie (par des votes). Il s’agit du poste universitaire le plus prestigieux dans ce domaine, et c’est une Américaine de cinquante-cinq ans, Alicia Stallings, qui vientè de remporter cette élection, la première personne qui ne vient pas des îles britanniques et la seconde femme (en trois cents ans). Elle vit en Grèce depuis une vingtaine d’années. On dit d’elle, dans The Telegraph, qu’elle est bien sûr, Américaine et qu’elle est également poète, mais probablement pas une poète américaine. Elle-même se sent étrangère à ce qui se passe sur la scène américaine, en partie parce  que la poésie y vit surtout dans le monde universitaire et dans les programmes de « creative writing », alors qu’elle-même  gagne sa vie en écrivant des critiques littéraires et autres textes  typiques du travailleur autonome. Ce qui la distingue de bon nombre d’autres poètes est la simplicité de son écriture, compréhensible par tous et dont le sens augmente, en quelque sorte, au fur et à mesure des lectures. Autre détail important, elle écrit des poèmes en rimes, considérés par la plupart des magazines poétiques américains comme trop traditionnels et anciens, qui refusent de publier cette poésie mais qui, du même souffle, se pâment devant Rimbaud et Verlaine.

Je ne connaissais pas cette poète,  et je ne sais pas si je vais aimer sa poésie, mais elle possède à n’en pas douter  le trait principal que je recherche dans la poésie : la simplicité. Quant aux rimes, moi, ils ne me font pas  peur et j’aime m’amuser avec une forme ou une autre selon l’inspiration du moment. Un beau pied de nez aux snobs de la poésie, bravo Oxford ! Quant à moi, je vais de ce pas me familiariser avec son oeuvre.

L’article du Telegraph

What I have read: Ishiguro, de Vigan, Mazzeo

What I read in bulk, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize in Literature (2017) as well as Booker (1989) for The Remains of the Day, which I read a few years ago and which impressed me a lot. When I saw Nocturnes (2011), at Nelson's second-hand book market, I thought maybe I'd like it, even if it was five short stories, a genre I don't  usually like. And what had thrilled me in The remains of the day, the subtlety of the subject, the delicacy of the writing, bored me in these short stories having music as a common theme, with a similar subtlety, but without depth, or it's just that I don't like short stories. The Sunday Times reviewer actually summed it up nicely: 

Closing the book, it's hard to recall much more than an atmosphere or an air; a few bars of music, half-heard, technically accomplished, quickly forgotten. 

Maybe that's what he liked about the book, whereas for me, that's what bored me.
Delphine de Vigan. Nothing holds back the night (2011). Well,  I'm a little behind on new stuff, but it's too expensive to bring French books to New Zealand and I can't access Kindle or other electronic platforms either, which don't allow buying books from other countries (I don't understand why). But, I'm quite happy to have found five or six books in French at the Nelson second-hand book fair, including this one, by an author I had already read Based on  a true story (2017) , a kind of autofiction that I talked about in the blog (in French). In Nothing holds back the night, she reflects on the life of her mother, who suffered from mental illness, the silence of the family, its effect on herself and her sister, in an authentic way, where one can feel her tenderness. Many questions, a few answers, in short, she revisits in an original way, the bottomless subject of the past, the family, the origins and the reliability of memory.

The Hotel on Place Vendôme, by Mazzeo Tilar J. (2014). Basically, it's more or less the story of the Ritz hotel in Paris, through its famous patrons, since the late nineteenth century, including Proust, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Ingmar Bergman, Arletty, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, but also  the German Occupation and war journalists. The author knows her subject well and the historical context surrounding particular events are well documented. A light way to understand history.

Carl Jung

thistle, Nelson 2022, Sylvie GE

I will not try and introduce Carl Jung, as there are many sites doing it very well, and I am not into quotes, but this one from the great thinker, from The Symbolic Life rang so true to me, as well as reflect what I am looking for in poetry, beyond the words. It comes from the Carl Jung facebook page, affiliated to the following site :

« Every unequivocal so-called « clear » answer always remains stuck in the head and seldom penetrates the heart. The needful thing to know is not to know the truth but to experience it.