Eyrie by Tim Winton

bookshelves: published-2013, lit-richer, fraudio, contemporary, australia, midlife-crisis, teh-demon-booze, next, abandoned

Read from March 03 to 05, 2014

 

rosado mp3. Read by Michael Veech (sp?)

Description: Eyrie is beautifully written and wonderfully funny and marks the return of master storyteller Tim Winton. Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Zikes, the opening tips one straight into an overblown thesaurus session voiced by a whiny middle-aged self indulgent waster. Surely I must have to give it more than 10 minutes to be fair :O/

[not much later] I think this is where Winton and I agree that we are wanting to go to different horizons.

2* Land’s Edge
AB Eyrie

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, paper-read, hardback, midlife-crisis, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, norway, spring-2013, bellybutton-mining, re-visit-2014, re-read, published-1996, spring-2014, under-500-ratings, oslo, trondheim, newtome-author, feckless-procrastination, food-glorious-food, lit-crit, politics, philosophy

Read from April 26, 2013 to May 06, 2014


First time around I abandoned this but I have been persuaded to give it another try: REBOOT 2014:

Description: An existential murder story. A master of Norwegian literature critiques contemporary society with wry wit.

It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.

Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off to a local sushi bar, only to find himself face to face with the murderer.

Professor Andersen’s Night is an unsettling yet highly entertaining novel of apathy, rebellion and morality. In flinty prose, Solstad presents an uncomfortable question: would we, like his cerebral protagonist, do nothing?

Discarded from Tower Hamlets Libraries
Translation by Agnes Scott Langeland

Opening: It was Christmas Eve and Professor Andersen had a Christmas tree in the living room. He stared at it. ‘Well, I must say,’ he thought.

Trondheim Cathedral

A wooly, waffley story of three parts: politics and dinner; dither and literary criticism; then sushi with philosophy for dessert.

At least I made it to the end this time, however I do feel that Solstad is not the writer for me.

The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann

bookshelves: translation, spring-2014, under-500-ratings, published-2011, mystery-thriller, norway, currently-reading, books-about-books-and-book-shops, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, abandoned, bettie-s-law-of-excitement-lost, casual-violence, contemporary, doo-lally, duck-shit, families, gulp, lifestyles-deathstyles, mental-health, midlife-crisis, newtome-author, ouch, next, room-101, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Read from April 10 to 30, 2014


Description: Ullmann’s characters are complex and paradoxical: neither fully guilty nor fully innocent

Siri Brodal, a chef and restaurant owner, is married to Jon Dreyer, a famous novelist plagued by writer’s block. Siri and Jon have two daughters, and together they spend their summers on the coast of Norway, in a mansion belonging to Jenny Brodal, Siri’s stylish and unforgiving mother.

Siri and Jon’s marriage is loving but difficult, and troubled by painful secrets. They have a strained relationship with their elder daughter, Alma, who struggles to find her place in the family constellation. When Milla is hired as a nanny to allow Siri to work her long hours at the restaurant and Jon to supposedly meet the deadline on his book, life in the idyllic summer community takes a dire turn. One rainy July night, Milla disappears without a trace. After her remains are discovered and a suspect is identified, everyone who had any connection with her feels implicated in her tragedy and haunted by what they could have done to prevent it.

The Cold Song is a story about telling stories and about how life is continually invented and reinvented.

Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J Haveland

Dedication: For Niels

Opening quote: ‘Tis Love that has warm’d us?’ – John Dryden

Opening: Jenny Brodal had not had a drink in nearly twenty years. She opened a bottle of Cabernet and poured herself a large glass. She had imagined the warmth filtering down into her stomach, the tingling in her fingertips, but there was none of that, no warmth, no tingling, nothing, so she drained the glass and waited.

Linn Ullmann is the daughter of actress, author and director Liv Ullmann and director and screenwriter Ingmar Bergman.

THOUGHTS DURING READING: Not far enough in (~40 pages) to say if the storyline is good or not but two points have struck me thus far:

1) affected, forced and belaboured descriptions that say more about a writers’ workshop than sincere heartfelt scribbling:

exhibit 1: the brushing of the hair
exhibit 2: Liverpool FC

2) too many views of Ullman’s real-life family connections – it smacks of thinly veiled name-dropping and it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

exhibit 1: Fårö
exhibit 2: Liv

That said, I am intrigued enough to continue on…

Trivia – two hours south of Oslo is Arendal and a spit off shore is the island of Tromøy, where the main man and I hunkered down for a year. Knausgård’s book one of My Struggle (A Death in the Family, first published 2009) was set on that island, an estate just up and over from our gaff. SO, the point I am getting to is this bit in Ullman’s book:

The final part of his trilogy was to be about time. Jon planned to write a hymn to everything that endures and everything that falls apart.

It all seems connected in a plate of worms type way.

Dreadful is closest.
;O)

The Guts by Roddy Doyle

bookshelves: radio-4, britain-ireland, dublin, series, fradio, amusing, music, families, published-2013, spring-2014, midlife-crisis, medical-eew, religion, roman-catholic, lifestyles-deathstyles, lit-richer

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from January 31 to April 28, 2014

 

R4

Description: Twenty six years on and we are back in Dublin with Jimmy Rabbitte, the ex-manager of The Commitments. Jimmy is now 47, married to Aoife and has 4 kids. Life has been rather good since we last met him, keeping a foot in the music industry and doing well during the boom. However, life is about to change for them all as Jimmy has just discovered he is ill. This is a story about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life and maybe, just maybe, realising you can still live the dream.

Who needs an excuse to play van Morrison anyway! And this one. My significant other and I loved listening to this.

Going To Hell was performed by More Than Conquerors.
Adapted by Peter Sheridan
Producer: Gemma McMullan
Directed by: Eoin O’Callaghan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b041v063

4* The Commitments
3* The Snapper
3* The Guts
WL The Van
1* Bullfighting: Stories

Orkney by Amy Sackville

bookshelves: orkney, britain-scotland, hardback, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, spring-2014, library-in-norway, seven-seas, newtome-author, contemporary, lit-richer, under-500-ratings, handbag-read, midlife-crisis, mythology, fantasy

Recommended for: Wanda, TA
Read from March 26 to April 19, 2014


Dedication: For my grandparents, Nancy and Joseph

Description: On a remote island in Orkney, a curiously matched couple arrive on their honeymoon. He is an eminent literature professor; she was his pale, enigmatic star pupil. Alone beneath the shifting skies of this untethered landscape, the professor realises how little he knows about his new bride and yet, as the days go by and his mind turns obsessively upon the creature who has so beguiled him, she seems to slip ever further from his yearning grasp. Where does she come from? Why did she ask him to bring her north? What is it that constantly draws her to the sea?

Opening: She’s staring out to sea now. My young wife. There she stands on the barren beach, all wrapped up in her long green coat, among the scuttle and clatter of pebbles and crabs. She stares out as the water nears her feet and draws back, and when that soft and insistenet suck of the tide gets close enough to slurp at her toes she shuffles herself up the shore. Soon the beach will be reduced to a strip of narrow sand and she will be forced to retreat to the rocks; and then, I think, she’ll come back to me.

I ordered this paying little attention as to just what the story was about. An Orkney island, Westray, and a one-penny deal on a hardback – sorted!

However after 50 pages or so, I was thinking that this is going to a place I don’t particularly want go. And if you had missed the subtle leads up to that point, Sackville starts lumping her readers over the head with clues for the rest of the book. You are left in no doubt at all and it all ends the way these myths are supposed to end.

The writing is worth the ramble, it is what kept me to the end – those wonderful descriptions of the bays, skies and seas I am a sucker for.

There is just one question left: did he?

2.5* Orkney
2* The Still Point

Any Human Heart

bookshelves: impac-longlist, booker-longlist, fraudio, published-2002, winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, spies, historical-fiction, lit-richer, lifestyles-deathstyles, art-forms, epistolatory-diary-blog, south-americas, uruguay, britain-england, cults-societies-brotherhoods, sport, gr-library, france, paris, oxford, glbt, spain, books-about-books-and-book-shops, norfolk, teh-brillianz, greece, adventure, cover-love, epic-proportions, eye-scorcher, london, madrid, war, wwii, lisbon, portugal, filthy-lucre, nassau, bahamas, switzerland, britain-scotland, iceland, suicide, teh-demon-booze, new-york, germany, picaresque, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, travel, edinburgh, those-autumn-years, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, washyourmouthout-language, north-americas, music, midlife-crisis, african-continent, afr-nigeria, skoolzy-stuff, dodgy-narrator, afr-somalia

Read from November 28, 2013 to January 16, 2014

Read by Mike Grady

From the description: The journals begin with Mountstuart’s boyhood in Montevideo, Uruguay, then move to Oxford in the 1920s and the publication of his first book, then on to Paris where he meets Joyce, Picasso, Hemingway, et al., and to Spain, where he covers the civil war. During World War II, we see him as an agent for naval intelligence, becoming embroiled in a murder scandal that involves the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The postwar years bring him to New York as an art dealer in the world of 1950s abstract expressionism, then on to West Africa, to London where he has a run-in with the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and, finally, to France where, in his old age, he acquires a measure of hard-won serenity. This is a moving, ambitious, and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.

In the fashion of Zelig, Forrest Gump and the 100 year old man, Mountstuart is in all the right places meeting all the important people, however Any Human Heart is an absolute joy as Boyd’s writing leaves those also-rans in the starting gates.

Purringly enjoyed Logan’s slamming of the Bloomsbury set, that circle of spite who lived in squares and loved in triangles. Not sure about the portrayal of Duke and Duchess and for this reason I support a flawed, dodgy narrator scenario.

And that goodreads product description box – WTF! It is just a review filched over from Amazon book sales, with its inherent bias. Bad News! Check the product description elsewhere.

Born on April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Joan Miró Ferra was a Spanish painter.

From wiki: Sir Harry Oakes, 1st Baronet (December 23, 1874 – July 7, 1943) was an American-born British Canadian gold mine owner, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He earned his fortune in Canada and in the 1930s moved to the Bahamas for tax purposes, where he was murdered in 1943 in notorious circumstances. The cause of death and the details surrounding it have never been entirely determined, and have been the subject of several books and four films.

Have the TV miniseries to watch at some stage, however, for now, I will mull over the full life of Logan MS – I am in my weeds for you.

4* Restless
5* Any Human Heart – recommended
4* Brazzaville Beach
WL Waiting for Sunrise
3* Armadillo
AB Solo

Hotel du Lac

bookshelves: published-1984, tbr-busting-2014, winter-20132014, booker-winner, switzerland, love, books-about-books-and-book-shops, fraudio, lit-richer, dog-steals-the-show, midlife-crisis, newtome-author, contemporary, women, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, gr-library

Read on January 13, 2014

 

 photo redboyhydra_zpsfe9a9108.gif

Readying this for an audio TBR busting venture, I thought I’d check out the description and look what is says in the grrramazon box:

No Internal Markings, Tight Binding. Faint Wear To Wrap Edges.

That’s it. Chaos. bwhahaha

Gone are the days when fastidious goodreads librarians were hard at work for our betterment. Amazon took over and those sorely missed unpaid angels are deemed to be irrelevant by the Bezos world-eating blackhole.

Anyways, this novella length story (192 pages) is unabridged and read by Anna Massey.

Our Edith is in the dog-house and has been shuffled off, under considered direction of friends and family, to Switzerland to lie low until things die down a bit. Ostensibly, she will use this time to finish off her novel ‘Beneath the Visiting Moon’ however people-watching seems to take up all her mental capacity.

So Brookner sets up a tale where she can display her powers of descriptive prose, and she does it so very well that I, indeed nigh-on everyone, seem to have forgiven her this obvious conceit.

So why is this woman, Edith Hope, writer of romantic fiction, in disgrace? Reasons become clear as the story unfolds in an end-of-season, sparsely-peopled hotel in Switzerland.

Although this was published in the mid ’80s this has a feel or being about thirty years earlier. I can’t remember the 80s being so stifling for women.