Book picks similar to
Lovers Murderers by Vladimír Páral
Jana Beňová - 2012
Or, so believes Rosa, who ditches her husband and home and takes off on the road. Along the way, she encounters the owner of a puppet theater who’s on a mission to conquer the world with his performance of The Snow Queen.Which character from this old fairy tale will Rosa identify with? With Gerda, searching fruitlessly for her lost love? With Kai, who flees home and his beloved one day without a word? Or with the Snow Queen, who seems to stand aloof above it all?With magnetic, sparkling prose, Beňová delivers a lively mosaic that ruminates on human relationships, our greatest fears and desires.
Goodbye Mr Hollywood
John Escott - 1997
She's young, pretty and has a beautiful smile. Nick is happy to sit and talk with her.But why does she call Nick "Mr Hollywood"? Why does she give him a big kiss when she leaves? And who is the man at the next table - the man with short white hair?Nick learns the answers to these questions three long days later - in a police station on Vancouver Island.
Jiří Gruša - 1975
In completing a standard employment questionnaire, narrator Jan Kepka manages to write a beautifully impressionistic history of his life, his family, and his hometown as he obeys - with mock solemnity - the handwritten command on top of the form: "DO NOT CROSS OUT."
A Gothic Soul
Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic - 1900
Expressing concerns that are unique to the Czech movement while alluding creatively and ironically to Joris-Karl Huysman's Against Nature, the novella is set in Prague, which is portrayed as a dead city, a city peopled by shades, who, like the protagonist – a nihilist and the "last scion of a noble line" – are only a dim reflection of the city’s medieval splendor. The man lives in a dreamworld, the labyrinth of his soul giving rise to visions. In his quest for meaning, he walks the city, often hallucinating, while pondering questions of religious fervor and loss of faith, the vanity of life, his own sense of social alienation, human identity and its relationship to a “nation,” the miserable situation of the Czechs under Habsburg rule, and Prague’s loss of its soul on the cusp of modernity as old sections, such as much of the squalid Jewish Quarter, are demolished to make way for gaudy new buildings and streets. With a history of madness running in the family and afraid the same fate awaits him, he ultimately retreats into seclusion, preferring the monastic way of life as the epitome of unity and wholeness and a tonic to present-day fragmentation. Yet Karásek eschews the mawkish, opting instead for darker tones that play with the tropes and motifs of Decadence while conflating the same-sex desires of his protagonist, the fatalism and futility of such an existence within the social construct of the day, with concerns for the dual fates of his nation and city.
The Republic of Whores
Josef Škvorecký - 1969
The Republic of Whores takes place on an army base in rural Czechoslovakia, where the draftees of the Seventh Tank Battalion reluctantly prepare for the inevitable war with America. This is life in the Czechoslovak Stalinist People's Democratic Army at its most insane, bawdy, and raw. It's a romp through the idiocies that prevailed under Soviet occupation and bred fear and nonsense. For all the rules and regulations of oppression, though, the human spirit triumphs here. With endearing ideological indifference, the young men fake tank maneuvers, study Russian texts with horror novels tucked inside, and mock patriotic songs with their own lyrics. Tank Commander Danny Smiricky, the hero of many Skvorecky novels, is at his most subversive and charming. While Danny tries to cope with his boisterous, not-too-bright, homesick troop, he dreams of love and of getting out of the army by fair means or foul. Behind Skvorecky's characteristic ironic humor and sensual detail is the menacing shadow of thoughtless political dogma, personified in Major Borvicka (the Pygmy Devil). The Major would sell his soul (and his fellow soldiers) for Soviet accolades. Meanwhile, the troops will do whatever possible to undermine their rigid, Soviet-loving officers, while taking instructions on everything from compulsory reading tests to history, sex, and love. The drama comes to a head at the Cultural Farewell Party where the soldiers show exactly what they think of "political correctness" and their doctrine-drunk Major.
H.D. - 1961
had pencilled across the title page of this autobiographical novel. Although the manuscript survived, it has remained unpublished since its completion in the 1920s. Regarded by many as one of the major poets of the modernist period, H.D. created in Asphodel a remarkable and readable experimental prose text, which in its manipulation of technique and voice can stand with the works of Joyce, Woolf, and Stein; in its frank exploration of lesbian desire, pregnancy and motherhood, artistic independence for women, and female experience during wartime, H.D.'s novel stands alone.A sequel to the author's HERmione, Asphodel takes the reader into the bohemian drawing rooms of pre-World War I London and Paris, a milieu populated by such thinly disguised versions of Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington, May Sinclair, Brigit Patmore, and Margaret Cravens; on the other side of what H.D. calls "the chasm," the novel documents the war's devastating effect on the men and women who considered themselves guardians of beauty. Against this riven backdrop, Asphodel plays out the story of Hermione Gart, a young American newly arrived in Europe and testing for the first time the limits of her sexual and artistic identities. Following Hermione through the frustrations of a literary world dominated by men, the failures of an attempted lesbian relationship and a marriage riddled with infidelity, the birth of an illegitimate child, and, finally, happiness with a female companion, Asphodel describes with moving lyricism and striking candor the emergence of a young and gifted woman from her self-exile.Editor Robert Spoo's introduction carefully places Asphodel in the context of H.D.'s life and work. In an appendix featuring capsule biographies of the real figures behind the novel's fictional characters, Spoo provides keys to this roman à clef.
A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying
Laurie Ann Guerrero - 2013
The histories of South Texas and its people unfold in Laurie Ann Guerrero’s stirring language, including the dehumanization of men and its consequences on women and children. Guerrero’s tongue becomes a palpable border, occupying those liminal spaces that both unite and divide, inviting readers to consider that which is known and unknown: the body. Guerrero explores not just the right, but the ability to speak and fight for oneself, one's children, one's community—in poems that testify how, too often, we fail to see the power reflected in the mirror. From the 2012 Award Citation for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize:“This is the poetry of both saints and sinners (and even murderers). The poet conjures up Pablo Neruda, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sylvia Plath, and is rooted in the best Latin American, Chicano/a, and contemporary American poetics, able to render an effective poetic version of Nepantla, the land where different traditions meet, according to Anzaldúa. These poems make the reader laugh, cry, cringe, lose one’s breath, and almost one’s mind, at times.” —Francisco X. Alarcón, judge "Guerrero has always written pointedly with a sharp pen and a sharp knife always at the ready. In her first full-length collection, these dazzling, edgy, irascible poems lean into their sweet natural bristling air, stitching and stretching image to image. This is the singing blue glory of language at its best." —Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split, winner of The National Book Award "Guerrero writes in a language of the body, visceral, almost unbearably vivid, the language of a poet who knows how to work with her hands. In an age when so many poems say nothing, these poems miss nothing . . . attention must be paid to such a poet now and for years to come." —Martín Espada, author of The Trouble Ball
My First Loves (Penguin International Writers)
Ivan Klíma - 1981
His first affections move from a young kitchen girl in the Jewish ghetto who fills his glass tall with scarce milk to a restless married woman, an undercover spy, and a frail woman who can't escape her past suffering. It is Ivan Kl
Maldito amor y otros cuentos
Rosario Ferré - 1986
-- Washington Post Book WorldA finalist for the National Book Award for her 1995 novel, La casa de la laguna, Rosario Ferre is one of Latin America's most original andimportant writers. In the four stories that make up Maldito amor Ferre explores the history of political and cultural struggle in her native Puerto Rico through one family, the aristocratic and contentious De la Valles.The title story tells of the piratical Don Julio; his son, Nino Ubaldino, patriot and politician; andUbaldino's two sons, who are locked in a fight to the death over control of the Diamond Dust sugar mill andof the woman both men love. The other three stories follow the lives of later generations of the De la Valles, together creating a drama in four parts that raises fascinating issues of independence, religion, and race, imbued with all of Ferre's characteristic wit and verve."Marvelous, spellbinding". -- Chicago Tribune"A superb storyteller". -- Library Journal
Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye
GRIN Publishing - 1994
Toni Morrison uses modernist techniques of stream-of-consciousness, multiple perspectives, and deliberate fragmentation. Two different narrators tell the story. The first is Claudia MacTeer, who narrates in a mixture of a child’s and an adult’s perspectives, and the second is an omniscient narrator. Claudia’s and Pecola’s points of view are dominant, but the reader also sees things from other character’s points of view.The subtext of the first part of the novel ('Autumn' and 'Winter') suggests various topics. In my presentation, I mainly focus on the “Dick and Jane narrative” by means of which the novel opens. Furthermore, I will explore the themes “whiteness as the standard of beauty” and “seeing versus being seen” which are sometimes closely connected.'The Bluest Eye' provides an extended depiction of the ways in which internalized white beauty standards deform the lives of black girls and women. Implicit messages that whiteness is superior are everywhere, including the white baby doll given to Claudia, the idealization of Shirley Temple, the consensus that light-skinned Maureen is cuter than the other black girls, and the idealization of white beauty in the movies. Pecola eventually desires blue eyes in order to conform with these white beauty standards imposed on her.However, by wishing for blue eyes, Pecola indicates that she wishes to see things differently as much as she wishes to be seen differently.
La vispera del hombre
René Marqués - 2000
Partly an ideological tale, dealing with the inherently colonial mindset of Puerto Rico (and thus the perennial theme of Puerto Rican pride against the Northamerican influence), partly a violent and heartrending family saga, and partly a coming-of-age tale, this novel still reverberates in today's urban Puerto Rico, where the rural pastures depicted in this novel (with René Marqués's stunning prose) have largely been forgotten.
Karel Čapek - 1922
The hero is a chemist Mr. Prokop, who was able to produce exceptionally powerful explosive. He calls it "Krakatit," after the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa. A special feature of Krakatit is that erupts seemingly without cause. After an accident in the laboratory an exhausted Prokop tumbles into Prague when he meets Tomes, who takes him into his care.