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review 2016-08-07 20:46
Dr Who I need to borrow the tardis!
Zama - Antonio Di Benedetto

For lack of a better term, I think you could call this South American historical Noir. Di Benedetto's wring is great, wonderful, powerful. He does things with sentences that make my knees weak.

So why three stars?

Because like Celine, this book has a narrator who I think should get hit by a bus; however, buses weren't around when the book takes place. I'm glad I read. I will most likely track down other books, but I was wishing for a bus. (Strangely, though the ending was great).

(2016 NYRB Book Club selection for Aug).

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review 2016-01-29 22:05
The Seven Madmen - Roberto Arlt,Nick Caistor,Julio Cortazar

Nope.  Sorry.   I get while the writer is well regarded.  But there is something totally off putting in this book.  Mostly because of the female characters.  Sorry book, it's me, not you.



(NYRB Book of the Month Dec 2015.  Free per offer of joining for this year).

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review 2016-01-20 13:28
A Little Love - C. C. Medina

Here is an absolutely beautiful, poignant, compelling, and well-crafted love story set in Miami and revolving around 4 Latina women who are the best of friends: Isabel, Julia, Mercy, and Lucinda. The reader is given full access to the lives of these women. Four remarkable women who have striven to be successful in their careers, but have been unlucky in their quest for lasting love and happiness.

Once I was a few pages in reading "A LITTLE LOVE," I became thoroughly absorbed in it. So much so that I was that proverbial fly on the wall or certainly 'the fly buzzing about hither and thither', experiencing vicariously the highs and lows of these 4 women. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced watching the drama unfold. This is a novel that I could easily read again and again. It touched me in a thousand places and spoke powerfully to the romantic within me. Novels like these serve a useful purpose in reminding each of us that, though we are unique, nevertheless, we need and desire to love and be loved in return by that special someone who tickles our fancy, stimulates our minds, and thrills our hearts. People need people. Read "A LITTLE LOVE" today and lose yourself in it. You'll be glad that you did.

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review 2015-09-07 14:56
Tinisima - Elena Poniatowska

Before reading this novel, what I knew of Tina Modotti came from a single Edward Weston photograph. A beautiful woman with penetrating eyes.


Once I began to read "TINISIMA", I became utterly captivated with the life of Tina Modotti. Elena Poniatowska has a way of making the narrative read as if Tina Modotti herself were relating various happenings from her life to the reader, while the author adds her own commentaries as a supplement.


The more I read of this novel, the more I found myself curious about this woman and her life. It got to the point that I could hardly tear myself away from finishing this novel, though it pained me to see how Miss Modotti was manipulated and abused both by some of her friends/compatriots and the Stalinist system she once served so faithfully. I believe it was a mistaken faith, but I respect Miss Modotti for the courage of her convictions. She had good intentions, a big heart, but was prone to blind herself to the evils of Stalinism. Therein lies the ultimate tragedy of her life.


Tina Modotti could have gone on to become one of the greatest photographers of the last century had she not threw herself wholly into Marxist/Stalinist politics. Perhaps it is for that reason that she is not widely known today.


I wish I could have known Tina Modotti. I would have loved to have had lots of conversations with her in some café or small restaurant. While I'm sure we would not agree on a number of issues, I like to think we would have become close friends.


Thank you, Elena Poniatowska, for a beautiful book.

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review 2015-04-17 03:17
Elza: The Girl - Sergio Rodrigues,Zoë Perry

The novel begins in the first decade of the 21st century in Rio de Janeiro, where a former member of the long defunct Brazilian Communist Party --- an old man in his 90s going by the name "Xerxes" --- hires the services of a struggling journalist named Molina to interview him for the purpose of writing his memoirs.


Over several weeks, Molina holds a series of recorded interviews with Xerxes at his house, where he expounds at great length on his experiences in the Communist Party during the 1930s, a time of considerable political flux in Brazil. (As someone who has travelled to Brazil several times over the past 25 years, I found myself more attracted to the author's use of real historical events and personalities --- in particular, Luis Carlos Prestes, onetime leader of a failed "revolt of the lieutenants" in the 1920s against the ruling oligarchic class in Brazil and later one of the key leaders in the Brazilian Communist Party in the following decade, when it sought to seize power from strongman Getulio Vargas, the President of Brazil --- than in the gist of the novel itself, which was focused on Xerxes' obsession for Elza Fernandes, a fellow Communist and young woman he loved who was apparently put to death in 1936 on the orders of the leadership of the Communist Party because she was suspected of being a traitor in the immediate aftermath of the failed 1935 coup attempt.)


"ELZA The Girl" sets out to be both a historical and true crime tale. But its execution failed to fully engage me. As I said before, the inclusion of various bits of Brazilian history I savored. I'm glad I read this novel. But it is not a novel that I would likely re-read anytime soon.

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