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review 2018-03-25 22:30
A Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B -- Surreal life under dictatorship
A Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B. - Ismail Kadaré,John Hodgson

A wild ride - originally published in Albanian in 2009. Set right before the demonstrations that would signal the fall of communism in Albania, but still firmly within the grasp of dictatorship and its bureaucracy, playwright Rudian Stefa meets a lovely young woman at a book signing after a performance of his play in the capital city of Tirana.

 

The young woman, Migena, asks for a signature "for her friend, Linda B." Rudian thinks she's asking for herself, but also finds her quite attractive and they begin an affair. The book opens as things start to tumble. Rudian's upcoming play is held up by the Artistic Board who is concerned about whether socialist realism can include ghosts, he's had a fight with Migena, and he gets called to the Party headquarters for questioning. There he learns that Linda B has committed suicide. His book and signature are in her possession, and she's written consistently about him in her diaries.

 

So begins a twisty tale of Rudian's fear, creative impulses, anger and all sorts of other things. Can he trust Migena (whose name is an anagram for enigma?) What does she have to do with Linda B? If Linda was obsessed by him, is it his fault that she committed suicide? What about the state, who has exiled Linda's entire family, relegating young Linda to a life much different from the one Migena has embarked upon. And is Migena trustworthy? Can you trust anyone when the state is watching every move you make? Can you blame anyone when the State is actually the one in control? What is worse - death, or a life you do not actually control? Is that even a life? Most of all, can you actually create when every line or stroke of a pen will be scrutinized for its political purity?

He could not tell from where he had to seek permission, if permission were necessary for every discovery or innovation in art.


I wasn't sure I liked this book, if I understood what was happening, or even IF anything was happening until about 100 pages into the total of under 200. But when it came together, it did so with force, and everything fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle where you finally see the whole picture.

 

This is a philosophical meditation, a big story set among just a few people that gives us a glimpse of the absurdity, fear and confusion living under this regime could cause. Everyone from Hamlet to Orpheus to Zelda Fitzgerald shows up and helps tell the tale of regular-yet-extraordinary people trying to get through life with strings pulling them from just out of sight.

 

I'm not as talented as Ismail Kadare, so I'll just say this is certainly an impactful and worthwhile read.

 

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review 2018-03-11 10:33
Certezza non v'è, e la ragione barcolla
La promessa: Un requiem per il romanzo giallo - Friedrich Dürrenmatt,Silvano Daniele

In terra elvetica, precisa, pulita e razionale, certezza non v’è, e la ragione barcolla. Una beffa tremenda per la perfettissima Svizzera.

 

Sembra il classico giallo: scoperto un cadavere, inizia l’indagine e si trova il colpevole.

Dürrenmatt introduce però elementi che scompongono il disegno: caos e caso (e già i due lemmi accostati creano un bel gioco). Matthäi, genio investigativo, ha promesso alla madre dell’ultima piccola vittima di scoprire la verità. Intuendo l’innocenza del presunto assassino, inascoltato dai colleghi, si mette a indagare da solo. Ha studiato e dato forma a ciò che forma non aveva.

Un uomo uccide ferocemente delle bambine. L’ultima ha lasciato un indizio importante: un disegno che raffigura il gigante dei porcospini. Per Matthäi diventa un’ossessione, e nel folle tentativo di intrappolare l’ignoto killer, usa un’esca, inconsapevole d’esser tale.

Gli ex colleghi, convintisi delle intuizioni di Matthäi, lo appoggiano. Ma 

La nostra ragione rischiara il mondo non più dello stretto necessario. Nel bagliore incerto che regna ai suoi confini si insedia tutto ciò che è paradossale.”

Dunque l’ordine non è di questa terra e l’etica capitola di fronte al fine da raggiungere?

 

Un accadimento banalissimo sovvertirà la logica, a dimostrazione che casualità e caos possono spezzare l’esile filo che lega la realtà all’intelletto.

È la sconfitta del raziocinio.

Requiem.

Chissà, se solo avessero aperto un giornale. Ma sarebbe stata un’altra storia.

 

P.S. Noto (con consueto sobbalzo): “L’individuo era pregiudicato. Reato sessuale ai danni di una quattordicenne.”

---------------

“Non era stato condannato una volta per un reato sessuale?” “C’era stato qualcosa con una quindicenne.”

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review 2018-02-23 00:00
Requiem
Requiem - Lauren Oliver Best book of the three. Not sure if that is legit or just that I listened as an audiobook and the reader was really good. Like seeing Hana change and resemble her old self once she see the horror that is the leading class. Like Lena's toughness and finally seeing her cousin. Did not like the wide open ending. Does she pick Alex (obviously!). What happens with Julian? They make it sound like they are taking over Portland, but wouldn't larger cities come take them over?
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url 2017-12-25 16:34
Free Kindle Editions (headed down the black hole of amazon freebies ...)
Requiem's Song - Daniel Arenson
Pride and Precipitation (Chick Flick Clique Romantic Comedy Novella #1) - Heather Horrocks
Legions of Orion - Michael G. Thomas
Moth - Daniel Arenson
Ouroboros - Odette C. Bell
Immortal Vegas Series Box Set Volume 1: Books 0-3 - Jenn Stark
Seer of Souls (The Spirit Shield Saga Book 1) - Susan Faw
A Lying Witch - Odette C. Bell
Sora's Quest - T.L. Shreffler
Forbidden The Stars - Valmore Daniels

Heck of a thread over in one of my goodreads groups (Serious Overload of Series) with some freebies.

 

'Tis the day for internet browsing ... warn me if you see me shelving something you know is awful or is by one of those authors who interact weirdly/negatively with reviews.

 

*sigh* the turkey is cooking in the oven and starting to make the house smell so appetizing -- but it takes so long ...

Source: www.goodreads.com/topic/show/449475-book-freebies-kindle-nook-author-pub-other?page=169
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review 2017-08-31 15:27
The Emptiness of Literature: "Requiem - A Hallucination" by Antonio Tabucchi, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
Requiem: A Hallucination - Antonio Tabucchi,Margaret Jull Costa

“Were someone to ask me why I wrote this story in Portuguese, I would answer simply that a story like this could only be written in Portuguese; it's as simple as that. But there is something else that needs explaining. Strictly speaking, a Requiem should be written in Latin, at least that's what tradition prescribes. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd be up to it in Latin. I realised though that I couldn't write a Requiem in my own language and I that I required a different language, one that was for me A PLACE OF AFFECTION AND REFLECTION”.

 

In “Requiem” by Antonio Tabucchi

 

Affection and reflection: with these two words, Tabucchi defined his book better than any reviewer would be able to. "Requiem" is a small masterpiece of contemporary literature, from which one can only complain about one thing: it ends too soon for those who are taking delight in it. It's a very subjective thing, but when you read something that impresses you as language, regardless of its meaning, that seems to be so perfectly expressed that no one could have written it better, that makes you want to telephone a friend at 4AM and read it aloud, then you're probably reading a great prose stylist. I also pay attention to a writer's ability to create interesting, appropriate and original metaphors, similes, etc. A few top off-the-top-of-my-head's examples of what I would call great prose stylists, really the greatest of the great, and they’d be Shakespeare, Proust, Walter Pater, Frank Kermode, Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall”, Faulkner, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” and “To the Lighthouse”, William H. Gass, William T. Vollmann, Cormac McCarthy, John Donne in his sermons (which are enjoyable purely as prose), and many, many others. Again, it's all very subjective, and everyone who cares about this stuff probably has a different list. Hell, I would have a different list if I made it two minutes from now... Having said that, let me fanboy on Tabucchi as hard as I can, and on “Requiem” in particular. This is a tribute to the dead, a fictional Tadeus (the narrator’S best friend), Isabel (his lover), and Fernando Pessoa. But it is also a tribute to a city almost dead, the old Lisbon that the Europeanization of Portugal had been destroying. Tabucchi is passionate about ancient Lisbon and describes it with affection for the all 12 hours during which the main character goes out in search of his ghosts. On the last Sunday of July, the anonymous narrator is reading "The Book of Disquiet" by Fernando Pessoa under a mulberry tree in a farm in Azeitão, when he suddenly finds himself at the Lisbon dock waiting for the "dude" with whom he realizes he suddenly had a scheduled appointment. The "dude" is Fernando Pessoa. While trying to figure out how to fulfill his commitment to the poet, the narrator wanders through an almost deserted Lisbon (people have been refreshing themselves on the beaches), following clues that lead him to the Museum of Ancient Art, the House of Alentejo, the Cemetery of Pleasures, Brasileira do Chiado Café and other traditional points of my Lisbon.

 

If you're into European Literature, read on.

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