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review 2015-01-13 00:00
Je Vais Bien Ne T'en Fais Pas
Je Vais Bien Ne T'en Fais Pas - Olivier Adam Très différent du film, aussi touchant de fragilité. Un secret lourd, beaucoup de non-dits, une histoire prenante.
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review 2014-11-21 05:38
Life in the Tomb , by Stratis Myrivilis
Life in the Tomb - Stratis Myrivilis,Peter A. Bien

With the beginnings of World War I well prepared by the two Balkan wars of 1912-1913 (briefly discussed in my review of Richard C. Hall's The Balkan Wars 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War) and with the Great Powers raring to go at each other after decades of planning and amassing weapons, at the beginning of August, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium and Luxembourg on its way to deliver a first and final blow to France (Home Before the Leaves Fall: A New History of the German Invasion of 1914 by Ian Senior) while Austro-Hungary invaded Serbia to put a swift end to the Slavic upstarts' pretensions (The Gardeners of Salonika: The Macedonian Campaign, 1915-1918, by Alan Palmer). None of it went according to plan.


Greece, triumphant in both of the Balkan wars against its Ottoman and Bulgarian arch-enemies (the enmity towards the Bulgarians going back even further than that against the Turks), was torn between standing at the side of the powers who were responsible both for its liberation from the Ottoman Empire in the 1820's and for some of the territorial gains the Greeks had made at the cost of the Turks in the meantime (this faction was led by the on-again, off-again Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos) or with the Central Powers (the King of Greece was related to the Kaiser's family and to the British royal family, but he and the Greek high command were strongly bound by admiration for Prussian military values to Berlin) and officially opted for neutrality.


However, the Entente had "legal" rights on the Greek peninsula dating back to treaties made during Greece's war of independence, and French and British divisions soon landed at Salonika (Thessaloniki) on the Macedonian coast won by the Greeks in the wars of 1912-1913. Alan Palmer gives an excellent history of the politics and warfare taking place in southeast Europe after this point in The Gardeners of Salonika, including the formation of a rival government by Venizelos and the subsequent forced abdication of the Greek King. His son came around to Venizelos' point of view. So, finally, Greece came into the war against the Bulgarians, Austro-Hungarians, Turks and Germans,(*) providing a weight of numbers which was important to the final collapse of the Central Powers on the southeastern front.


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review 2014-07-11 13:55
Life in the Tomb by Stratis Myrivilis, Peter A. Bien
Life in the Tomb - Stratis Myrivilis,Peter A. Bien

bookshelves: summer-2014, balkan, greece, wwi, epistolatory-diary-blog, under-500-ratings, published-1924, translation, war, radio-3

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 04 to 11, 2014



Description: Life in the Tomb: A masterwork of Greek fiction, Life in the Tomb provides a different perspective on the anniversary of the Great War. This new dramatisation from leading playwright April De Angelis in her first radio dramatisation features an original score by award winning composer Errollyn Wallen.

Originally published as extracts in a national Greek newspaper, the book takes the form of a series of letters from a young soldier back to his girlfriend in Lesvos, as his platoon moves deeper into trench warfare. Myrivilis based the book on his own experience of fighting on the Macedonian front. The book is so honest about how appalling conditions were and how badly the army was managed that it was banned on publication.

Stratis Myrivilis' book brilliantly captures a complex Southern European view of World War I. Our narrator meets a wide range of nationalities on his journey to the trenches. The incidents he describes are rich and often unexpected - the Macedonian family who care for him when wounded, the enemy soldier with the voice of an angel and the Chinese cart driver who helps him when lost. The narrator is moving, unwittingly, towards his own death, a tragic accident in the last days of the conflict.

Stratis Myrivilis was a prolific author, nominated by the Greek society of authors for the Nobel Prize in 1960.
April De Angelis is a leading playwright. She has been produced by the Royal Court, the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Hampstead Theatre. Recent productions include Playhouse Creatures at Chichester and Jumpy at The Duke of Yorks.
Errollyn Wallen is an award-winning composer and singer, whose work has been commissioned by the BBC, Brodksy Quartet and Royal Opera House amongst many others.
Overflow and notes:
Cast and crew:
Bouzouki and guitar player, Grant McFarlane Dowse
Violinist, Chris Elcombe
With thanks to Miranda Hinkley
Sound design, Eloise Whitmore
BA, Lucy Duffield
Executive producer, Joby Waldman
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 3.

A big thanks to Brazilliant for pointing me in this direction, I would have missed it.

For anyone following WWI centennial timeline, this is an important and gruelling inclusion.

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review 2013-07-26 00:00
Fall to Grace - Susan Bien Susan Bien's debut novel takes off at breakneck speed and never relents. FALL FROM GRACE is a real page-turner, filled with insider details on international investment banking, the A-life in New York City's "Masters of the Universe" world, and layers upon layers of insight into the way we live our own lives from a surprisingly artistic perspective. Throughout, Bien's voice is smart, razor-sharp incisive, and witty. Comments from her characters are often hilarious head-snappers, such as, "My mom loves everybody. I swear she'd let Saddam Hussein spend the night if he had nowhere else to go." Bien knows this world, and her vivid details and her characters' perceptive observations make the story jump to life off the page. This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants an insider view into this world - and to anyone who is struggling with the meaning of life on many levels. Bien's conclusion is a game-changer and worth the read.
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review 2013-07-05 00:00
Je Vais Bien Ne T'en Fais Pas - Olivier Adam I can't say much about this book that wouldn't spoil it so i will directly skip to my review.

I could have done with the nauseating short sentences. I could have done with the lack of emotions, the dispatched storyline, the brainless main character. All of that, i could have accepted for the sake of the original intrigue. But since the author didn't even bother giving us an ending i think that we are supposed to conclude that since Julien wouldn't bear to hurt her in any way whatsoever, he won't tell her about his brother's death; but that's not enough to me. Every one is lying to the poor girl, no wonder she is totally unconnected from reality..., i won't give it a second thought and rate it with one star out of five.

Watch the movie, it's somehow managed to be better.
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