International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas scoops the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world’s richest literary prize, announced today by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Éibhlin Byrne, Patron of the Award.

Michael Thomas was born and raised in Boston. He lives in New York with his wife and three children. His debut novel has beaten off competition from 145 titles, nominated by 157 public libraries from 41 countries.

The winning novel, first published by Grove Atlantic, USA, and a New York Times top ten book of 2007, was chosen from a shortlist of eight, which included novels from the USA, France, India, Pakistan and Norway.  Man Gone Down was published by Atlantic Books, UK in 2009.

Also shortlisted were The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz; The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen, in translation; Ravel by Jean Echenoz, in translation; Animal’s People by Indra Sinha; The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; The Archivist’s Story by Travis Holland and The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt.

Posted in All

A Brief Wondrous Life

Golda’s pick

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) written by Dominican-American author Junot Díaz is an epic family saga for the MTV generation.

The frenetic energy of the novel skips and jumps between time, place, and narrative voices, from historical and fictional with out missing a beat. Diaz even manages to use footnotes to give the novel an extra-diegetic content that is self referential in a way usually only a film can achieve. Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised and deals explicitly with his ancestral homeland’s experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Fans of Diaz will recognize the central narrator, Yunior de Las Casas, as the protagonist of Díaz’s first book Drown who chronicles the "Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. Oscar is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels, with comic books and role-playing games and with falling in love and comes to be a physical embodiment of the general malaise that seems to characterize the Wao family. The reason for Oscar’s woes and those of his family we are told is that they are curse by the "fukú”, a curse so powerful it has not only plagued Oscar’s family for generations, but also the Caribbean (and perhaps the entire world) since colonization and slavery.You can not help but be enraptured by this tale or discontent, misfortune and struggle and though it does not conclude with the cliché surmounting of all challenges to find the underdog a transformed and victorious; there is no way you can walk away from this novel without a feeling of satisfaction.

Posted in All

A precious and brilliant mind

REBORN: Early Diaries 1947-1964             By Susan Sontag (Hamish Hamilton) Hardback held at Parramatta – Katherine’s pick

Susan Sontag was one of the great intellectuals of her generation. She is considered an authority on American popular culture, she wrote books of essays, novels and a well known book on American photography.

Her son David edited her first diary and it is a fascinating account of the coming of age of a precious and brilliant mind. It begins when she is just 14yrs old and charts her impressions, thoughts and ambitions as a university student, her young married life, motherhood and finally he escape from a suffocating marriage. Finally it places her squarely into the mileu her future life will follow, that of intellectuals, free thinkers, academics, writers and artists, first in Paris and later in New York City. Sontag is fearlessly and rigorously honest to herself in these diaries and espouses her credo throughout which is” that the most important thing in the world is freedom to be true to oneself.

Sontag sadly died in 2004 having fulfilled most of her life’s ambitions. Always a great role model for young women, she proved that a satisfying and successful career could be forged in the world of letters, no matter who you where. Just as long as you believed in yourself and strived to be the best you could be. This publication is the 1st of three volumes.

Posted in All

Classic Literature

Classic literature is always popular. People love books that maybe as old as grand grandpa. So called classic, it has literature significance and value in it. It is the great achievement to humanity.

Parramatta City Library has recently renewed its classic literature section by new purchasing. Here are some titles

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain, Mark

The age of innocence by Edith. Wharton

Animal Farm: a fairy story by George Orwell

Big sleep by Raymond Chandler
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

The brothers Karamazov : a novel in four parts and an epilogue by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ; translated with an introduction and notes by David McDuff

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann ; translated from the German by H.T. Lowe-Porter

The castle by Kafka, Franz

The chimney sweeper’s boy by Vine, Barbara, pseud

A clockwork orange by Anthony Burgess ; with an introduction by Blake Morrison

Cranford by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, 1810-1865

Crime and punishment by F. Dostoevsky ; translated from the Russian by C. Garnett

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, 1812-1870

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak ; translated from the Russian by Max Hayward and Manya Harari

Dubliners by James Joyce

Everything is illuminated : a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer

Far from the madding crowd by Thomas Hardy

A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961

Fathers and sons by Ivan Turgenev

The fortunes and misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders & c…. by Daniel Defoe ; edited by David Blewett

The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck

Great expectations by Charles Dickens

The great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gulliver’s travels by Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745

A handful of dust by Evelyn Waugh

Hard times: for these times by Charles Dickens

The harp in the south novels by Ruth Park

Hero of our time by Mikhail Lermontov

The hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The importance of being earnest and other plays by Oscar Wilde ; introduction by Terrence McNally ; notes by Michael F. Davis

The ingenious hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra ; translated with an introduction and notes by John Rutherford

Innocent traitor by by Alison Weir

Intruder in the dust by William Faulkner

Lady Chatterley’s lover by D.H. Lawrence ; with an introduction by Richard Hoggart

Light in August by W. Faulkner

Love in a cold climate by Nancy Freeman Mitford

Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1928- translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

The mayor of Casterbridge : an authoritative text, backgrounds criticism by Thomas Hardy ; edited by James K. Robinson

Middlemarch by George Eliot ; edited with an introduction and notes by Rosemary Ashton

Les miserables by Victor-Marie Hugo, 1802 -1885

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert ; translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Wall ; preface by Michèle Roberts

Moby Dick by Herman Melville ; with an introduction by Patrick McGrath

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ; with an introduction and notes by Elaine Showalter ; text edited by Stella McNichol

North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Of mice and men by John Steinbeck

On the road by Jack Kerouac ; introduction by Ann Charters

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey ; text and criticism edited by John Clark Pratt

One hundred years of solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1928-

A passage to India by E.M. Forster

Perfume : the story of a murderer Patrick Suskind

The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The plague by Albert Camus

The portrait of a lady by Henry James ; editd and with an introduction by Geoffrey Moore and notes by Patricia Crick

The quiet American by Graham Greene ; with an introduction by Zadie Smit

Rabbit, run by John Updike, 1932 -2009

The red badge of courage by Stephen Crane ; edited with an introduction and notes by Gary Scharnhorst

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, 1661-1731

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow murders by John Mortimer, 1923-

The secret book of Grazia dei Rossi : a novel by Jacqueline Park

Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen, 1775 – 1817

Sons and lovers by by D.H. Lawrence

The sound and the fury by William Faulkner

A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens

Tales of the unexpected by Roald Dahl

Tender is the night by F. Scott (Francis Scott) Fitzgerald, 1896-1940

The three musketeers by Alexander Dumas ; translated and with an introduction by Lord Sudley

To kill a mockingbird Harper Lee, 1926-

To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

The trial by Franz Kafka, 1883-1924

Uncle Tom’s cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe ; edited with an introduction and notes by Jean Fagan Yellin

Vanity fair: a novel without a hero by William Makepeace Thackeray

Victory by Joseph Conrad

War and peace by Leo Tolstoy, translation by Anthony Briggs

Washington’s lady : a novel by Nancy Moser

The way by Swann’s by Marcel Proust ; translated and with an introduction and notes by Lydia Davis ; general editor Christopher Prendergast

The woman in white by Wilkie Collins ; edited with an introduction and notes by Matthew Sweet

Women in love by D.H. Lawrence, edited with an introduction and notes by David Bradshaw

Posted in All

The man in the window

A man, an old man, 79 years old, actually, was murdered, striped, and displayed in a shop window, under minors 20 C°. Who was the murderer and why was he/she so brutal?

It is a gruesome scene at the beginning of the book ‘The man in the window’, written by a Norwegian author K. O. Dahl. It is a quite well knitted but easy reading crime fiction. 79 years old Reidar Folke Jespersen had a very busy day. First he watched his 54 years old wife Ingrid went to the usual route to meet her lover Eyolf for a Friday afternoon sex exchange. Then he went to meet his two brothers Arvid and Emmanuel and refused to sale off their antique shop to Hermann Kirkenær couple. Later, he phoned his wife and interrupted them in the middle of their action. In the evening he called young actress Gro Hege Wyller to act for his past. He quarrelled with his business associate Jonny Stokmo. The old man was restless and a little craze.

The following morning, Reidar’s naked body was found in his shop window, frozen. Who was the killer and why he was killed? The detectives Gunnarstranda and Frolich began a meticulous investigation.
Everyone had motive. For example, his brothers, along with his son Karsten could have killed him for the sale. The taxi driver who drove the actress to Reidar’s office was jealously watching from outside and stalked Reidar all the way around to his home. The wife or her lover? They were highly suspected, of course. The book is well plotted and twisted as well. Reidar’s life, past and current, tears up layer by layer with the plot.

Actually it reminded me of some old English detective/mystery stories. Let people talk and then the killer would be caught nonetheless.

Social or historical background is always presentable for plotting stories, which this one certainly has, a background of WWII, that enables the author to interwoven or twist plots much further. War doesn’t only destroy people but it also ruins individual’s soul.

A good reading, this book, has certain level of satisfaction for crime fiction lovers.

Posted in All