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review 2017-04-05 18:37
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is the perfect book when you are feeling down and you just need something light, fun and charming to read. Even though this book hasn´t the most intricate plot, it kept me entertained for at least a few hours.

I have to admit, I could have done without the few racist comments and the message that a woman needs a man in her life to survive in the world. But since this book is written in the late 1930s and the book has a dated feel about it, I haven´t been too annoyed by it.



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review 2017-03-08 14:45
Chocky - John Wyndham

Chocky tells the story of 12 year old boy, who all of a sudden has an imagenary friend. His parents have to deal with these changed circumstances and they have to ask themselves, if their son is turning mad or if he is possessed by some foreign entity.


My second Wyndham and as much as I loved The Day of the Triffids, I didn´t like Chocky. I couldn´t stand these horrible do-gooder parents (the mother is a stereotypical 1960s housewife and the father a condescending jerk) and I was totally unimpressed by the ending. 150 pages of boredom and a plot like molasses. A huge disappointment.

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review 2017-03-05 21:16
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams

A Mississippi plantation on a sultry evening and a dysfunctional family with all its secrets and untold truths. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of these plays that I would much rather have watched on the stage than have read it, because I imagine it must be even more powerful while being performed on a stage.


The big strenght of this play doesn´t lie in discovering the family secrets, although it deals with a controversial topic (the play is set in the 1950s).


(spoiler show)

It´s much more about the way the characters deal with these problems and how they behave towards each other during this crises. My favorite part of the play is the dialogue between Brick and his father Big Daddy, which is absolutely mesmerizing, spellbinding and which will change your perception of the characters.


I loved reading this play and since I won´t be able to watch it in a theater, I have to watch the movie adaption.


Maudit elizabeth taylor cat on a hot tin roof richard brooks making a fool of myself


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review 2017-02-26 16:19
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness - Richard Yates

My plan is to read all of Richard Yates´ work in chronological order, so next up after Revolutionary Road has been his first short story collection. And as always with short story collections, it has been a mixed bag for me.


The main theme of this collection is loneliness in 1950s America in all its forms and how the characters deal with it. There is the child, who gets bullied in school, the patient in a TB ward, the unhappy spouse in a marriage, the unsatisfied worker of a newspaper and the dreamer, who wants to create but doesn´t have the means to do this himself.


Richard Yates just has that uncanny ability to give his characters a personality and a soul, whether he writes about them on 300 pages or on merely twenty. The stories are quite sad and depressing and especially the first story, "Dr. Jack-O-Lantern", has been a total gut-punch (at least for me). Some stories worked better for me than others, but there hasn´t been a story that I disliked and overall it´s a strong collection of short stories. 

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review 2016-11-01 11:00
When a Woman Loves a Man: The Jib Door by Marlen Haushofer
The Jib Door - Marlen Haushofer
Die Tapetentür - Marlen Haushofer

It’s a well-known truth that love has the potential to make blind for anything unpleasant involved and at all times writers gladly took up the theme to dwell on the tangle and the suffering that results from it. In the history of literature there are scores of novels – all-time classics and probably many more forgotten ones – surrounding ill-matched couples whose relationships are doomed from the start however much they try to bridge the factual, emotional, social or psychological divide. The Jib Door by Marlen Haushofer is an impressive, though often overlooked example of an Austrian novel dealing with passionate love leading into a marriage that is based on the desperate longing to escape loneliness in a “normal” life with a husband and self-denial. First published in 1957, the primarily male critics of the time showed all but enthusiasm for the book because they had neither an interest in nor an understanding for what might be called the female condition in a patriarchal society.


The Jib Door is a short novel set in Vienna of the late 1950s that covers a period of only twelve months in the life of thirty-year-old Annette. To tell her story the author skilfully alternates third-person narrative focussing on the protagonist and diary entries that allow a more personal look into her soul. Above all the latter show Annette as a very intelligent and well-read young woman (she likes Kant and Schopenhauer) who despite all contents herself with an unchallenging job as a librarian. From the beginning the novel’s tone is melancholic which corresponds perfectly with her sad past and dull present. Of her family there’s nobody left but her much adored uncle Eugen who raised her together with his rather rigid late wife Johanna. Her mother died when she was two years old and her father, who couldn’t cope with the situation, fled to South America some time later. For years she has been living on her own in her little Viennese apartment enjoying her independence and even being alone. She has many friends with whom she meets regularly and in her adult life she already had several love affairs, but they all ended in boredom and disappointment. Her current relationship is no exception and when her lover leaves her for a job in Paris, she feels relief rather than regret. Then one day she receives a letter from the solicitor Gregor Xanthner because her father has died and she needs to sign papers. To her he seems the paragon of health and happiness, and yet, she doesn’t feel attracted to him at first. However, the more Annette sees of him, the more she falls for him although her friends can’t stand him and she knows that he’ll inevitably hurt her. Annette becomes Gregor’s lover and when she gets pregnant, she gives up her job, her apartment, her independence to marry him and share his life. But he isn’t interested in her as a person and Annette feels increasingly lonely. Moreover, she knows that he betrays her with others when he doesn’t come home for dinner at night. She still clings to him hiding her knowledge and all the while her belly is growing rounder and rounder…


In this second novel of hers – that like her other works gives the impression of being at least partly autobiographical – the author paints a very sensitive, psychologically deep and impressive portrait of a young woman in post-war Vienna who longs for love and slides eyes wide open into a relationship that brings her despair and pain instead. Consequently, the protagonist’s pointed reflections on men and love turn out to be rather resigned and gloomy. The Jib Door by Marlen Haushofer definitely isn’t a cheerful book, but thanks to its simple and unpretentious language it was despite all a mere treat to read. And it deserves a much wider audience.


The Jib Door - Marlen Haushofer 


This Austrian writer’s best remembered and most acclaimed work to this day is a rather impressive dystopian novel that she wrote in the early 1960s. It’s titled The Wall and in June 2014 I reviewed it here on Edith’s Miscellany .

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