Reading and Reviewing Summary 13/08/18

This is a continuation of yesterday’s weekly summary, which was threatening to become far too long. I’ve been trying to curb my book buying, but I cannot quite boast of unalloyed success in this matter. I have borrowed more from the library as well. Netgalley has also reared its ugly (I mean beautiful, tempting) head, although my feedback ratio is still only 60%.

Sent for review:

Jean-Claude Izzo: Chourmo

This was my introduction to Izzo and remains my favourite of his Marseille trilogy. Something which really shouts out in all its dark, joyous, dirty, tasty, messy glory ‘Mediterranean noir’. I have it in the French original edition and now I have it in a rather beautiful reissued edition from Europa. And it reminds me that I need to have a holiday in Marseille and Provence with my boys soon.

Books bought:

Malaysian author Hanna Alkaf started an extremely valuable thread about Malaysian writers on Twitter (and this is where Twitter’s power for the good is evident). You can catch the whole thread on her website. It inspired me to order at least a couple of the books she mentioned, as this is a part of the world I know very little about. I bought Preeta Samarasan’s Evening Is the Whole Day, a family saga in gorgeous prose, and Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain, with its links to Japan and the Second World War. Both are chunky books, which should keep me busy for a while. I also finally gave in and got myself another translation of The Brothers Karamazov, so this will be the fifth summer in which I attempt to read it…

Library loans:

Keeping in trend with the #WITMonth, I borrowed Norwegian crime writer Anne Holt’s Dead Joker (transl. Anne Bruce). Hanne Wilhelmsen is grumpy and exasperating at times, but ahead of the field in so many ways. I’m not going to have time to write a separate review of this book, but I read it in 2 days. Suffice it to say that it’s one of those ‘impossible’ crimes committed by a dead person, and that Hanne’s personal life also takes a turn for the worse.

I also got two very different books, one for a quick read and one because I admire the author’s willingness to experiment: Eva Ibbotson’s A Song for Summer (bonus: location of Austria) and Nicola Barker’s Happy, which is a triumph of typography and graphic publishing.


I couldn’t resist the Swiss mountaintop hotel location and the And Then There Were None plot similarities, so I downloaded Hanna Jameson’s The Last. The other novel I downloaded is also kind of apocalyptical, but fits in perhaps better with my fascination for ‘dictatorship literature’: The Day the Sun Died by Yan Lianke, one of the foremost contemporary Chinese writers.


I have reviewed three books for #WITMonth already, which is a proud achievement in just over a third of the month. Two are on my blog: the dark Norwegian tale of descent into mental hell Zero and a Brazilian attempt to reconstruct memories and reconcile oneself with the past I Didn’t Talk. The third review is of Teresa Solana’s irreverent and utterly zany collection of short stories The First Prehistoric Serial Killer on Crime Fiction Lover.


I still need to review Lucy Fricke, but I have three more books lined up for Women in Translation, so am doing better than I had hoped (I think I planned about 5 overall for the month of August, and now it looks like I might have 8). I’m in the midst of Tsvetaeva’s diary, and will embark soon upon Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir and Veronique Olmi  La Nuit en vérité (untranslated).


12 thoughts on “Reading and Reviewing Summary 13/08/18”

  1. If you do come down to Marseille please let me know in advance because I would love to see you again. We could have coffee or drinks…..whatever….or just stroll around the old port. We could even visit the MUCEM together if you haven’ already been there. I am only and hour away by car. My home number (33) 490 76 80 69. Or email me.

  2. What a lovely-looking edition of the Izzo, Marina Sofia. The Holt looks interesting, too. I like her Hanne Wilhelmsen character, and the context sounds good, too. You’ve had a solid month of reading!

  3. Izzo’s trilogy has been flitting around on one of my wishlists for the past few years – not surprising really given my penchant for European Noir. Presumably Europa are reissuing all three, not just the second book in the series?

    1. Sorry, yes, I should have said – the first one is out already, the second is about to come out (Sept/Oct) and then the third probably by the end of the year. Well worth getting your hands on them. Although written in the 1990s, they still sound remarkably fresh in the issues they tackle.

  4. I finished Lucy Fricke a few weeks ago. It didn’t occur to me to review it for WIT as it hasn’t been translated but I guess the month is about women who write in other languages than English. I’m curious to see whether you liked it more than I did. Like you, I got it after seeing Kaffehaussitzer’s review. I found it very Bridget Jonesish.

  5. Look forward to your thoughts on the Dostoevsky – which translation did you go for? I finished Tsvetaeva while I was away on my travels – what a writer she is. Must pull some thoughts together for a review…

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.