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text 2018-04-26 17:38
Zürich in the summer ... or, wait, actually it's still April!

I spent the past 2 days in Zürich -- attending a conference, but I went there early enough on Tuesday so as to be able to have some off time first, and with the current summertime temperatures, that decision (made weeks ago!) turned out to be golden.  I mean, can you possibly beat this?!


(My hotel was just outside the centre, in spitting distance of Lake Zurich ... the perfect starting point for a walk along the lakeshore into the city centre.)


The centerpiece of this door isn't a window -- it's a mirror!

Großmünster -- Swiss reformator Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli's church

Views from our conference hotel on Zürichberg (not far from FIFA's headquarters)

... while this, alas, is how we spent the better part of those 2 days!

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review 2018-02-03 11:00
Rebirth of an Orphan Girl: The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons by Monica Cantieni
The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons - Monica Cantieni,Donal McLaughlin
Grünschnabel - Monica Cantieni

Here's the sublime debut novel of a - so far - rather unknown Swiss author. As a matter of fact, the book won the most renowned Swiss literary award. The story is simple and yet gripping:


Being only six years old and an orphan girl she is a greenhorn in life and in a family, when she arrives at the home of her new parents sometime in the 1970s. They are Swiss, but not particularly well-off so they live in a poor immigrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Zurich with all its problems. The little girl needs to learn an awful lot and not just new words that she stores in all kinds of boxes (following the suggestion of her new father). With the help of her new - senile - grand-father Tat she finds her way.


To know more about this Swiss novel, I invite you to click here and read my long review on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany!

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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url 2017-10-06 00:22
InD'tale Book Review of Incognito

Bouquets and Brickbats for Incognito by InD'tale.

Source: www.indtale.com/reviews/suspense-thriller/incognito
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review 2017-06-02 19:03
The Gilded Chalet
The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland - Padraig Rooney

Well, this was a fun and informative look at Switzerland through the ages and through the lense of a reader - we get to hear stories of way too many writers to list, that have traveled to Switzerland or are Swiss and have traveled elsewhere. The only common denominator was, you guessed it, Switzerland.


I'll keep the book as a reference because some of the backstories were interesting but I know I will have forgotten them by next weekend.


If there was one thing I missed, it would be more examples of how Switzerland or the Swiss theme had merged into the writers' work. There were some like the scene on the ice in Frankenstein or Conan Doyle's seemingly odd choice for Holmes adventures at the Reichenbach Falls, but I would have liked more of that sort of thing- and less about people's love lives. I mean, surely after reading about Lord Byron's escapades, nothing will have the same entertainment value...

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review 2016-08-04 14:53
Der Teich - Robert Walser

The Swiss writer Robert Walser, who has become something of a rediscovered literary darling in recent years, notoriously avoided writing anything in Swiss German, considering this to be eine unziemliche Anbiederung an die Masse, an unseemly pandering to the masses. This brief play, not performed or published in his lifetime, is the one exception. It was written in 1902, when Walser was in his early twenties, staying in a little village on Lake Biel near his sister, and not published until 1972 as part of his Gesamtwerk.

It therefore has its linguistic interest, but as a play it's a bit cringeworthy and – Walser's feelings about dialect notwithstanding – you can see why he never tried to do anything with it. In some ways it's exactly the kind of plot you'd expect a young, artistically-inclined loner to write: a young boy who feels no affection for his family and thinks they don't appreciate him pretends to drown himself in order to make everyone realise how great he was after all.

Annoyingly, instead of slapping some sense into him, they react more or less as he hoped, with his mother immediately swearing her devotion to him:

Bueb, Bueb, was wosch usmer mache? Soll i öppe vor dr i d'Chneu falle? Soll i?—Ach.—I ha der großes, großes Unrächt ato. Aber i will's guet mache.

My boy, my boy, what are we going to do? Do I really need to fall to my knees before you? Do I? Oh, I have done you a great, great injustice. But I shall make it right.

Bleurgh. This maternal reconciliation scene becomes so florid that it edges into Oedipal territory, though perhaps I am misunderstanding things.

This particular edition, part of the appealing Insel-Bücherei series, is beautifully done, with some illustrative woodcuts and an afterword from someone at the Robert Walser Centre which makes a lot of rather grandiose claims for such a minor piece of juvenilia. There is also a translation of the text in Standard German, which was a big help to me at several points (though Swiss GR friend Isabelle says that in literary terms the German version is a disaster).

Basically it's forgettable; a nice curio for Walser fans at best, and one that can at least be read comfortably in under an hour. Though I'm afraid it took me more than a month armed with a shelf's worth of Schwiizertüütsch dictionaries.

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