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review 2016-05-21 11:00
Life is But a Dream: Mood Indigo by Boris Vian
Mood Indigo - Boris Vian
L'Écume des jours - Boris Vian

This surreslistic novel is one of the most famous works of French author Boris Vian, of those that he first published under his real name. It also made it on many school reading lists and it actually seems to be quite popular in its country of origin – I definitely understand why.


Writing Mood Indigo Boris Vian took a tragic, though altogether rather banal story of love and friendship and shaped it with great skill into a surrealistic masterpiece. Unlike other authors who tried the same he succeeded in producing a novel that doesn't need lots of explanations to be accessible even to a less practiced reader. I loved the bizarre images echoing the basic action and creating an amazingly vivid atmosphere. The word play in the French original is a particular treat too. And then there are the constant references to music, especially Duke Ellington’s Jazz standard Mood Indigo that accounts for the most often used title of the English edition.


To know more about this wonderful novel, be invited to click here to read my long review on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany!

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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review 2015-09-03 20:27
Somewhere in Between/Katie Li
Somewhere In Between - Katie Li

Two friends find a portal to another dimension and use this “in-between place” to avoid the stress of their everyday lives. What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality. Pseudo-punk Magnolia and underachieving gamer-geek Rom are two unlikely friends who only hang out during their walks home together after school. When they find the a portal that leads to different worlds, they use the “in-between place” as an escape from their lives in high school, then later, after college. Their visits through the portal bring them teetering along a tight-rope of fantasy and reality, where they don't always believe what is in front of them, not even their feelings for each other. Inspired by the work of Haruki Murakami and films like Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind, Somewhere In Between is metaphysical coming-of-age story about defining love and finding yourself.


This was a short read that was more surrealist than I predicted. Though its premise was exciting, it could have used some expansion.


I really adored the premise of the book; however, I felt like the blurb explained what happened a whole lot better than the book itself did. While the idea of this in-between place being another dimension is alluded to, it isn't explicitly detailed, and it's not at all apparent that this is the case.


The plot is given by the blurb, so I feel that it isn't a spoiler to mention that not only do they not realize that this portal alters reality, but I, the reader, also did not. There were some details that I later, having read the blurb, notice; however, I had attributed these to other explanations. The book was written in sections from the past and from the present, which sometimes became confusing. Tense was often the only clue I had to tell me which I was reading at the beginning of a section, and this ultimately became distracting.


There was a lot of potential in this book and in the characters that wasn't quite fulfilled. Magnolia especially had such an interesting personality and I loved Li's descriptions of her. I could see her so vividly, from her hair to her clothes, that I was disappointed to not hear more about her background and how she acted. I never heard an explanation of her family life or why she chose relationships she did and I really wanted to get to know her.


I did love the writing of this book and I felt like the locations in particular were immensely well described. I could envision each scene, I only wish that there had been more detail and more build up to really show the plot and to deepen the premise.


Though I think this book fell short of its mark, I do highly recommend it and I'd read more by Li. My desire for more stems from the quality of what is presented in this book.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2014-11-16 00:00
Dada & Surrealism
Dada & Surrealism - Christopher Bigsby Dada & Surrealism - Christopher Bigsby This book contains first, a part about Dadaism and then a part for Surrealism: Two of the greatest literary movements in twentieth century.

As my rating in GR tends to higher stars, 3 stars actually mean it was just OK for me. It didn't have enough examples and explanations; rather it was more about the historical and political aspects – good but not enough for a person who even never heard of the word Dadaism before! (I mean myself. I just choose this book for the Surrealism part!)

This book more, in some ways, opened my eyes to –ISMs in 20th century (as they have also other branches or ISMs). I couldn't even imagine that how so many literary ISMs existed and how they were combined in political parties especially Communism.

What does Dada mean?!

In French, it means "Hobby Horse", in Romanian, it means "Yes, Yes" and in African, it is a baby name. It can also have some other meanings in other languages.

When, how, and why did they choose this name?!

At 6:00 pm. in 8th February 1916, in a café in Zurich, during a meeting of a group of artists and poets, the name Dada came when a paper knife stuck into a French-German dictionary happened to point to 'dada'. But this is only a theory; some other people say different stories.

As the word Dada suggests this movement was about nothing, it was anti-art, it was absurd. It was more like a protesting movement, against bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests. It was anti war, it was anti – rationality: In the world of war and destruction how could an artist be normal?! It was a blast of feelings, an irony: Is this the result of your formal discipline: a slaughtering war?! We pity you! We pity all your precise rules, all your formal systems, all your moralities and your political parties too. So my Bicycle Wheel is an objection:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1913

I like my Large Glass, even if it is broken:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1915-1923

In my opinion this Fountain is true art:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1917

What do you think about my Mona Lisa painting?!

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Marcel Duchamp, 1919

And this poem is written for you! Please, don't find a word in any language, I'll be very saddened.

gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori
gadjama gramma berida bimbala glandri galassassa laulitalomini
gadji beri bin blassa glassala laula lonni cadorsu sassala bim
gadjama tuffm i zimzalla binban gligla wowolimai bin beri ban
o katalominai rhinozerossola hopsamen laulitalomini hoooo
gadjama rhinozerossola hopsamen
bluku terullala blaulala loooo

zimzim urullala zimzim urullala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam
elifantolim brussala bulomen brussala bulomen tromtata
velo da bang band affalo purzamai affalo purzamai lengado tor
gadjama bimbalo glandridi glassala zingtata pimpalo ögrögöööö
viola laxato viola zimbrabim viola uli paluji malooo

tuffm im zimbrabim negramai bumbalo negramai bumbalo tuffm i zim
gadjama bimbala oo beri gadjama gaga di gadjama affalo pinx
gaga di bumbalo bumbalo gadjamen
gaga di bling blong
gaga blung

~ Hugo Ball

Key figures in this movement included Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, George Grosz, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, among others. And then it influenced later styles like surrealism.

The leader of Surrealism was André Breton, and it started at a night in 1919, when this sentence came to his mind:

There is a man cut in two by the window!

In the first Surrealist manifesto, which was published in 1924 by Breton, Surrealism was defined as:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

They were tired of this world proposed by Realism; they needed more dreams in their works – so no wonder that they were so impressed by Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. They even tried on writing their poems or stories during sleeping! (But failed!)

I know, this is not a fair review for these sexy and large words, and now I feel my questions about them increased. I need to read more about them and also their works. To start Surrealism first, what is better than reading Nadja, the first Surrealism novel by Andre Breton?! Any other suggestion is so welcomed!--Thanks!
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review 2013-10-13 06:22
Review : Collages by Anais Nin
Collages - Anaïs Nin,Jean Varda

Anaïs Nin is my beloved witch, capable of making the nebulous frontiers between imagination and reality dissolve away into oblivion with one well-maneuvered flourish of her metaphorical pen, her personalized magic wand. Or I see her in my mind's eye, as a lovely but shabbily dressed seamstress, patiently weaving a patchwork quilt of exquisite beauty out of the gossamer strands of time. 

Does art imitate life or does the opposite hold true? 
Where does life begin? Where does it end? What lies in between? What does it all mean?
Anaïs Nin attempts to answer these hazy, unanswerable questions by giving us a snapshot of the perpetual movement of time and the phantasmagorical spectacle of humanity caught in its web, establishing without a doubt that there's no end, no beginning and no middle. Life is ad infinitum.

Dreams and reality collide in her writing, exploding in a dazzling array of fireworks illuminating the obscure part of our consciousness, giving us brief flashes of the realm in which the ultimate truth lies cocooned in the protective covering of the mundane, slumbering peacefully - the truth about life and beauty, love and lust, happiness and grief, the extraordinary and the common.

Collages is exactly what its title implies and much more than what our feeble imaginations can conceive upon the utterance of this word. It is not about a nation or a set of natives, a single protagonist or many, one life event or a set of discrete occurrences. Anaïs Nin renders perfect delineation unnecessary, makes clearly visible lines of divide vanish without a trace. Instead, vignettes, eerie and abstract, tangible and solid, merge and fall into each other, clumsily yet seamlessly, to create a surreal painting, a collage of the human consciousness holding the random admirer in thrall, glaringly all-encompassing in its wild, colorful abandon even though the viewer strives to make sense of it. But isn't life just like this baffling, bizarre work of art that Anaïs Nin begets? Comprehension stays forever out of reach. Even when we feel it floats mid-air at arm's length, attempts at trying to grasp it remain thwarted.

As Renate pours her beautiful, meaningless dreams into her empty canvasses, falls in and out of love with Bruce, drifting through space and time, touching the lives of many we get an impression of life's fluid grace and its capacity of encasing the infinite. The diseased, old man who shuns the company of his loved ones, preferring to live in a cave by the sea with a few seals as companions, the heart-broken French consul's wife who grieves for her broken marriage and vindictively contemplates finding a Turkish lover, the clairvoyant film critic who describes for Renate the scenarios written by struggling writers which never saw the light of the day, Nobuko who fights to free herself from the suffocating, rigid civility of the Japanese way of life - these are but a handful among the many myriad shades and facets of humanity shuttling in and out of Renate's life causing vague but perceptible upheavals. The quietly floating gondolas of Venice, the ochre-hued sand dunes of an African desert, the peaks of Peru and palaces of Marrakesh, upscale avenues of New York and streets of Arcadia, California all make fleeting appearances in this stunning collection of interlinked snippets, dismantling in the process all man-imposed barriers between nations and cultures and presenting to the reader an eerily arresting picture of life in all its glory and imperfection.

I don't care about Anaïs Nin being mostly recognized as a writer of literary erotica since I beg to differ on the subject of this categorization. I don't care about the fact that she shared an incestuous relationship with her father. But what I definitely care about is discovering and appreciating more of her splendidly assembled collages.

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review 2013-08-22 00:00
Pop Surrealism
Pop Surrealism - More Eye-gasm from Last Gasp

Glenn Barr
Joe Coleman
Camille Rose Garcia
Alex Cross
Scott Musgrove
Marion Peck
Mark Ryden
Todd Schorr
Eric White

Get your eyes inside this book, Underground art at best
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