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review 2018-12-02 16:01
Noirvember Reading: ALFF by Jakob Nolte
ALFF - Jakob Nolte

Jakob Nolte is a young German playwright and author. ALFF is his debut novel, published 2015. A hideous crime has been committed at the High & Low High School of Beetaville, New England: a student was found dead, sewn into a fence. Soon a second body follows. FBI agent Donna Jones is called to investigate. But the murderer is elusive, the investigation seems fruitless, and Donna reaches the edge of his sanity.

 

Put like this, the plot sounds clear-cut - but it isn't. With Nolte, form comes before function, and so he's less concerned with telling a crime-story, and much more with a danse macabre on the grave of US High School comedies from the 1990s. Nolte, who's born 1988 and has never been to the US, spins a post-modern, absurdist yarn with little regard for reality, but sometimes touching pretty close to the truth: the truth of being a teenager in the 1990s, the time of Grunge and Silence of the Lambs and S7ven, without ubiquitous mobile phones or even ubiquitous internet. It's a bit like Twin Peaks meets Heathers, but more, well, more 90s.

 

I didn't like ALFF as much as I liked Nolte's second novel, the German Book Award-nominated Schreckliche Gewalten, one of my favourite German novels of the last ten years. ALFF felt a bit too long and could've been more punchy. I still enjoyed it a lot. If you want to see somebody using the German language as a playing field, with a sense for style and little respect for convention, Nolte's your guy.

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review 2018-12-02 12:24
Hot Flushes and Palpitations: "Persuasion" by Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen


(Original Review, 1981-02-25)



I think it's evident, once one steps back from an emotional response to the novel, that it would have benefited from some editing and expanding by Austen, had she lived.

I can see the flaws in it. It seems disjointed and overly episodic, and I think the excursion to Lyme is a bit forced into the narrative although I believe it’s essential to the novel. The trip to Lyme is essential: the flirtation between Wentworth and Louisa comes to a crash, he can see Anne's steadiness, and we can see her lack of romantic desperation—her grit in the teeth, not of poverty (bad enough), but of loneliness—… and it's all by the sea, place of both voyage and anchorage.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-02 11:54
D'Arcy is a Toad: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen



(Original Review, 1981-02-20)



If Jane Austen had never become a novelist, what would have happened? What would have happened to the British? Have Jane Austen's works become an antidote to a harshness in the world? Are they a key to disarming totalitarian societies? To making the world decide to be happier and freer? People read Jane Austen's novels to be entertained, after all.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-02 10:44
Juxtaposing of Characters: "Agnes Grey" by Anne Brontë
Agnes Grey - Anne Brontë



(Original Review, 1981-02-06)



I read "Agnes Grey" after a visit to the Mosteiros dos Jerónimos, supposing I ought to try the lesser known sister after reading so much of Charlotte's work and of course “Wuthering Heights.” What a wonderful surprise. Anne had me at "...she would rather live in a cottage with Richard Grey than in a palace with any other man in the world."

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-02 10:29
Plinky Plonky: "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë



(Original Review, 1981-02-04)


“The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” has received a lot of scholarly attention more recently, it has various depths beyond the exploration of domestic violence. She was partly not appreciated because her sister openly and strongly disagreed with the subject matter of the novel and prevented republication after Anne's death which left the novel behind somewhat.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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