Thumbs up for Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. Literature.
An amoral rich girl who is used to living the high life with her playboy father, likes and respects the sophisticated Anne very much. She just doesn’t want her as a stepmother…. This is a very short psychological novel that might be insufferable if the main character was without self-awareness and perspicacity.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The English Understand Wool by Helen Dewitt. Short story.
This was a weird one, but I enjoyed it a lot. How not to give anything away? Let us say it is a story of a young woman’s very satisfying use of her agency.
One would necessarily be in London for at least six weeks. Claridge’s had installed, at her request, a Yamaha Clavinova with two sets of headphones in the place previously occupied by the television and the furniture which supported it.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry. Literature.
A young monk-to-be is sent on a quest across Mongolia to look for the reincarnation of a previous religious master. With him is his twin brother, who was himself named as a reincarnated master as a child, but dropped out of religious life in favor of women and cigarettes.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Pétronille by Amélie Nothomb. Literature.
An authoress – who happens to share the name of the actual author – who is obsessed with Champagne finds a drinking buddy in the mercurial Pétronille. This is a brisk, readable, sometimes very funny little novella that is definitely not taking itself too seriously. Not bad. Makes me want a drink.
Intoxication doesn’t just happen.
… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
I enjoyed the previous book, Less, very much. This one, in which the eponymous Less stumbles across America, is even better. I wouldn’t suggest reading this if you haven’t read Less (though I suppose you could), but if you have and are wondering whether to read this one too, the answer is yes.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
What a delightful trifle of a book! I can’t believe a comedy – a truly funny and shockingly good-hearted comedy – won the Pulitzer Prize. (Can comedies win things?) Our titular character, Arthur Less, almost fifty, a good but not famous or rich novelist, is invited to the wedding of his younger ex-lover.… >> Read more
Two thumbs way up for Popisho by Leone Ross. Magical realism.
In Popisho – a vibrant archipelago in which everyone has a single magical gift – Xavier Redchoose will use his gift to cook a perfect meal for each resident, once in their life. The governor’s daughter is getting married, and the governor is pressuring Xavier to cook the wedding feast – jumping the line, so to speak.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories by A. S. Byatt. Short stories.
This was a recommendation from a friend and boy, was she right. I am grateful that there are people alive who can still write like this – I say “still,” because this style is 19th century, the best of the 19th century in fact, full of long elegant sentences, replete with allusions, and unafraid of paragraphs that take up a page.… >> Read more