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review 2016-09-28 00:10
The power of the past
The Life-Writer - David Constantine

This is a beautiful book about a literary biographer named Katrin, whose beloved husband, Eric, is dying from cancer. I had to marvel at the author’s ability to so movingly depict those last months they have together.  After Eric’s death, Katrin starts reading through his paperwork and old letters and decides to write his life history in the hope that it will help her through her grief.  As painful as it is, she begins to reconstruct the time frame when Eric falls passionately in love with Monique when he was a young man.  Katrin had been so happy with Eric but now she begins to doubt whether their life together could begin to compare with his love for Monique.


Katrin’s dwelling on Eric’s past became obsessive. There were times when Katrin would want to stop reading the letters and just get on with her life and I wanted to selfishly plead with her to please keep reading since I wanted to know more.  This was one of those books that I didn’t want to end and when it did end, I wanted to start from the beginning again and that doesn’t happen often.  This book wrapped its words around my heart and just wouldn’t let go.  Gorgeous writing that touched me in so many ways.


The only negative thing about the book was that there were times when the French was not translated and I had no idea what was being said. There was one vitally important sentence in a letter from Monique to Eric that wasn’t translated which I found very frustrating.  At the end of the book, there was a list of translations with the page numbers, which wasn’t very helpful when reading an e-book.  Plus I wasn’t aware those translations were there until the book had ended.  Since I was reading an ARC of the book, hopefully that will be rectified in the final edition.


Highly recommended.


This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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text 2014-09-01 07:59
August's highlights
Nyctophobia - Christopher Fowler
Cider With Rosie - Laurie Lee
At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien
Elective Affinities - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,David Constantine

August wasn't as great as July book- and weatherwise. I read quite a few 4-star-books but only one five-star-book.


Nyctophobia was definitely my highlight this month. Very creepy and so exciting!


Among the other books I would like to mention three - all quite different in their genres and topics:


Cider with Rosie is a lovely childhood memoir set shortly after WWI.


At Swim-Two-Birds is difficult to describe: it is a weird mix of genres and the characters of teh story within the story come to live, walk into another story and then come back changed into the first story. It's kind of weird but written very well.


The Elective Affinities is a lovestory set in the late 18th/early 19th century. A couple in their middle-ages take into their house two single friends and all the relationships get mixed up. This might have been a five-star-read if the middle-part hadn't been a bit long and boring.


Even though August wasn't really bad I'm having high hopes for September (also weatherwise - it couldn't possibly get any worse!)


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review 2012-04-16 12:55
The Pillars of Hercules
The Pillars of Hercules - David Constantine 3.5
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review 2012-03-07 00:00
The Pillars of Hercules - David Constantine per the book smugglers review
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