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review 2017-07-05 23:04
Five for one
Las Armas Secretas - Julio Cortázar

I understand now why this one is classified as European lit all the time. I haven't researched it, but I'm pretty sure this one was written after Cortázar left Argentina, because the five stories in this volume are all set in Paris.

I was not that dazzled by this too much at first but then, my bar with Cortázar is "Bestiario", and that's a hard one to upstage in the wow (weird, awesome, uncomfortable, puzzling) factor.

Cartas de Mamá, leaving aside the historical parallelism that some scholar or other wants to saddle on it, was an excellent exercise on revealing the past through the present. Many authors could learn a thing or two about how to do back-story. Of course, back-story is the whole issue here: sins and regrets that turn into silences, and that end that is half fantasy, half delayed acknowledgement. And the great opening line:

 

"Muy bien hubiera podido llamarse libertad condicional."

 

Los Buenos Servicios was a very scathing look at how moneyed people use "the help", many times frivolously, and often callously, and how hollow the "throw money at it" approach is, which is more jarring  (and ridiculous) from the poised view of Francinet. She had more class than any of the cast.

Las Babas del Diablo is a POV nightmare. As it tends to happen when I read magical-realism, I enter a weird state where I'm paying close attention, but at the same time relax my mind and just go with it. Like suspension of disbelief, but I just suspend logic and sometimes even grammar. I find it pays off with many complex or weird plots, or speculative fiction too. Triggers galore in this one, and one VERY uncomfortable suspicion.

"El Perseguidor", now here is the jewel of the book, and the point where I started to love this collection. It was absolutely engrossing. I understand why it has been known to be edited as "El Perseguidor y otras historias". This one got to me, emotionally-wise, and I'm not even quite sure why. I guess it's that desperate search.

"Las Armas Secretas" you know how it's going to go almost from go. Or maybe it's that I've read enough Cortázar to understand the clues he leaves. Or, maybe more, this sense of having read one of his before, about a big house in San Isidro, that has similar elements, but I can't remember to which collection it belonged to contrast.

You know, the more I write, the higher I want to star this. I realize it made my brain jog, and my thoughts come back to it whenever I wasn't reading.

Not his best, but for "El Perseguidor" alone, so worth owning it. I predict re-reads.

 

And there it goes my 4th of July extra. I devoured it, lol

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review 2017-05-11 20:30
I'm really liking this author
Highland Song (The Highland Brides) (Volume 5) - Tanya Anne Crosby

I'd read one Crosby before, the first o this series actually, and I remembered it as one of those rare romances that have alpha males that I did not hate, very sweet, a bit sad, and with some awesome bits of humor.

 

This was hilarious. Short, fast, and by a third in I couldn't stop laughing. Because of Cat's self-assurance and free approach to sex mostly, like this bit of her thinking:

 

He had been such a grouse at first but now his mood had lightened considerably. No longer did he brood, and she concluded that he must have needed to appease his willy. It made sense to her. A man could simply not go his entire life without a little love—and he had, she was certain because he’d had that pinched look about him of a man whose bollocks were petrified from lack of use.

 

Or Piers insistence on complimenting the roof. Or... well, you get the drift.

 

I had fun, and I'm glad. I was looking for something to clean my palate from The Sun Also Rises cynicism (I'm starting to feel stuck), and this was perfect.

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review 2016-03-31 20:16
Safeword
Gerald's Game - Stephen King

I'm having flashback to Misery. Not because of content (exactly) but by this sense of wonder: how in hell did a set up got stretched into a 300 pages novel and WORK I can't imagine. I keep thinking of a way of naming a shelf for that phenomenon (of which Kings seems to be the guiltiest), but all end up turning longer than it takes to explain these fucking "plots".

 

The shelf I CAN baptise is the shiny new "lost my appetite". I'm a very tough bellied girl, but King got to me a couple of times before this one (Misery's there too, right along Desperation and the strawberry short-cake comment that put me off my delicious egg sandwich), so I think it's deserved (That dog... no, not the dog, the description of the sounds... And the "de-gloving" *grimace*)

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quote 2015-01-22 18:16
“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”

~ John Updike

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review 2014-09-04 05:09
Sitting, waiting, wishing
Cujo - Stephen King

Commenting the quotes, I came to two points that likely apply to all King's books:

 

- Humans are the worst monsters and

 

- His set-ups are the best and most ominous roller-coaster starting rise.

 

(Fate's a bitch that's been piling chance for 200 pages so you have a woman and a kid trapped in a car with a massive rabid dog outside and no one is around)

 

The better books have an extra quality: whenever you see the light at the end of the tunnel, the little devil that built the horror Goldberg machine you are riding comes around and snatches it.

 

(How long can it take before someone comes?)

 

It makes you want to scream in frustration and despair. And keeps you going forward. Because you have to come to the end some time, right?

 

(Ever though how long it'd take for someone to notice something might be wrong with you? Helll-loooo adult fear!)

 

Right?

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