#EU27Project Update in May

After four months of #EU27Project, I have to admit I have not been the hardest- working reviewer. I have only linked to six books in total (and two of those are from the same country, France, while the rest are : Germany, Czechia, Ireland and the Netherlands), so in reality only 5 of the 27 countries have been represented in 4 months. At this rate, I have little chance of finishing this project this year – but, unlike some politicians, I never thought it was going to be an easy and quick process, so I’m allowing myself time to continue this project next year.

However, I’m pleased to say that other book bloggers have been far busier than me, so, since my last update in March, we have moved from 16 reviews to 41.

France is the biggest mover, from 0 in the first batch to 6 reviews in the current one. Susan Osborne reviews two very different types of books: Marie Suzan’s poignant Her Father’s Daughter and the lighter French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain. Kate Jackson reviews a book by Sebastian Japrisot, one of my favourite French crime writers, while Karen from Booker Talk considers a contemporary crime novel Hell’s Gate by Laurent Gaudé. I have also reviewed two French books, the not quite satisfactory Men by Marie Darrieussecq and the dark but very funny and musical Les harmoniques by Marcus Malte.

Austria is also a popular choice for us book bloggers (a trend which I heartily approve!). It already featured in the first batch and has notched up an additional five reviews, although, to be fair, three of those are for short stories or novellas by Arthur Schnitzler by Jonathan: Late Fame, The Spring Sonata and A Confirmed BachelorLike Chekhov, Schnitzler was a doctor as well as a writer, and very much concerned with the human psyche. He describes perfectly the darkness in the Viennese soul at the turn of the 20th century (and not only then). Kate reviews a book set in the same period, Leo Perutz’ The Master of the Day of JudgementSusan reviews one of my favourite recent reads, Robert Seethaler’s The Tobacconist, with a guest appearance from Sigmund Freud.

Reviews from the Netherlands continue to trickle in. Karen attempts The Evenings, but does she like it any more than Lizzy did in the first two months of the project? Meanwhile, Susan found The Boy by Wytske Versteeg deeply unsettling. Ireland also features with two new reviews, a new one for The Glorious Heresieswhich makes it the most popular book so far (3 reviews in total), and Anne Enright’s The Green Road

The last country on the list with two new reviews is Italy, with the crime fiction of Augusto de Angelis and the story of the breakdown of a marriage by Domenico Starnone.

The remaining countries featured in the selection of March and April have been: Norway, represented by Anne Holt – Norway is not in the EU, but we will leave that link there anyway; Denmark with Dorthe Nors’ Mirror Shoulder SignalPoland with Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, Czech Republic or Czechia with Bohumil Hrabal’s Closely Observed Trains. The French might take exception with Marguerite Yourcenar representing Belgium rather than France, but that was Jonathan’s choice and that country is rather under-represented.

After a strong start in the first batch of reviews, Germany only managed one review in this round, a lesser-known Heinrich Böll oeuvre.

So what will the next two months bring? Personally, I intend to read more in this category. Perhaps two or three in May? I am currently reading the road-trip book by Andrzej Stasiuk (Poland), and will move on to poems from Malta and Pessoa’s pseudo-diary The Book of Disquiet (Portugal). But, as we all know, my plans for reading don’t always work out and I get easily side-tracked.

Special thanks and celebrations for Susan Osborne, Kate Jackson, Jonathan from Intermittencies of the Mind and Karen from Booker Talk, who have been the most prolific reviewers over these past two months, but thank you to everyone who has contributed, read, tweeted about this project.


33 thoughts on “#EU27Project Update in May”

  1. Happy to hear that you’re making some progress, Marina Sofia. As you say, it takes time and effort. But this looks like it’s evolving into something really fine.

    1. It’s lovely to read all the contributions – and sometimes we all read one title avidly (I suppose because it’s just come out) and then there are some very different ones too.

  2. I did have a couple more that could have been included if I’d got round to writing reviews about them. I have some more reads in the pipeline that are from some of the under-represented countries such as Greece & Poland.

    I took a while trying to decide whether to include Yourcenar in France or Belgium. A case could be made for both but she was born in Belgium, had a Belgian mother (I think) and I noticed that she was included on lists of Belgian authors.

    1. Yes, I’m a bit behind on reviewing. I read an anthology of women writers from Lithuania more than 2 months ago and I still haven’t reviewed it. At this rate, I will have to read it again to remind myself…
      As for Yourcenar, it’s like Simenon, isn’t it: each country happy to claim them as their own? And even the US could have a small claim…

      1. I may have to re-read ‘The Leopard’ as I probably rushed it a bit. I don’t blog about every book I read though.

        I think of Beckett, who always gets claimed by Ireland, but then he lived in France and wrote in French for much of his life.

        1. Yes, good point. And Eugene Ionesco – we Romanians like to claim him, but of course he wrote mostly in French for most of his life.

    1. I was initially thinking (for myself) only of authors from those countries, but I am happy if you wish to include books set in a particular country too. It’s your definition rather than mine…

    1. Hmmm, I think it was on my list for the Netherlands, but now that I’ve had the Koch book, maybe I should give it a rest and focus on other countries instead.

  3. Happy to help where I can though for some reason my reading of work in translation has slowed down a bit this year. I will have another one for Czechia later this summer though….

  4. Which one did you prefer?

    I’ve read 3 books but the billets are not done yet. So I’ll have Belgium, Czechia & Poland covered. Oh, and I forgot the wonderful Spanish crime fiction novel by Anibal Malvar. (the one that’s not available in English)

    The Evenings is supposed to be very good. If Guy abandoned it, I’d rather stay away from it.

    PS : For Greece, I REALLY recommend The Murderess.

    1. Yay, so we are going to get lots of links from you soon, then? I have some really good books lined up, but they are from Germany or other countries that are already well represented, so I need to find an alternative.

  5. Well done with this project Marina – steady progress and it’s fascinating to see the wide range of fiction read and reviewed by everyone so far.
    I just have to say I adore your marching band at the bottom 🙂

  6. I’m stealing ideas from here for some of the countries I’ve not yet read on the Around the World in 80 Books reading challenge & there’s some great ones here – thanks!

  7. I’m overwhelmed by this project and won’t even attempt it. I’m trying to read books this year that are outside crime fiction, but books with dead bodies in them keep pulling me in. However, I have read a few. Last year I read The Glorious Heresies and thought it brilliant, both witty and melancholy as is much Irish literature. The writer is very inventive in her prose, and I really enjoyed this book.

      1. That’s good. I don’t know why it picked up an old post. The other links I did worked ok.

  8. What luck finding this when I’m doing my own project of reading Europe. I always get excited when people promote reading the lesser known European countries. Europe is much more diverse than some people give it credit for, mostly due to the former Eastern Europe (with the exception of Russia) isn’t talked really talked about. Now on to post some links 😉

    1. Great! I’m very happy you found me and I found you. I’ve been neglecting this project somewhat lately, too much professional stuff going on plus holidays with kids, but I want to take it up a notch very soon!

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