Archive for September, 2010


Added on September 30, 2010

Antwerp Roberto Bolano New Directions, New York, 2010 Ignacio Echevarria, Bolano’s friend and literary executor, suggested that, “Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Bolano’s fictional universe: all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment his talent explodes.” It was translated into English by Natasha Wimmer, who also translated Bolano’s two [...]

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Added on September 28, 2010

Identity Milan Kundera Harper Collins, U.S.A. 1997 Milan Kundera is a Czech writer who has lived in exile in France since 1975. He is probably best know for his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. He writes in Czech and in French and does his own French translations. His books were banned in Czechoslovakia until [...]

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The Stone Diaries

Added on September 26, 2010

The Stone Diaries Carol Shields Random House, Canada, 1993 This is Carol Shields masterpiece. It is the first novel ever to win both the Canadian Governor General’s Award and the American Pulitzer Prize. Being an American-born naturalized Canadian, she is the first and only author to have been eligible for both. The Stone Diaries also [...]

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The Sweet Hereafter

Added on September 24, 2010

The Sweet Hereafter Russell Banks McClelland and Stewart, Canada, 1991 Although Banks is an American and the book is set in New York State, this Canadian paperback original, which came out simultaneously with the American first hardcover edition, could be considered a true first. It is a story about a bus crash that kills most of [...]

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A Complicated Kindness

Added on September 22, 2010

A Complicated Kindness Miriam Toews Knopf, Canada, 2004 This is the true first edition of Miriam Toews masterpiece, A Complicated Kindness. It was nominated for the 2004 Giller Prize and won the 2004 Governor General’s Award for fiction. It also won the 2006 CBC Canada Reads competition. It spent over a year on the Canadian [...]

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The Grapes of Wrath

Added on September 18, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck Viking, U.S.A. 1939 John Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for this classic novel of the Great Depression. According to Wikipedia, The Grapes of Wrath was ‘a phenomenon on the scale of a national event’. There were public book burnings, and Steinbeck was accused of Communism and Socialist propagandizing. More [...]

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Added on September 14, 2010

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, Boston, 2005 This is Foer’s second stellar novel after Everything is Illuminated. It is about a nine year old boy who lost his father in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre. It was one of the first works of fiction based [...]

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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

Added on September 10, 2010

Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters J.D. Salinger New Yorker Magazine, New York, November 19, 1955 Although it is really impossible for me to choose a favourite Salinger story, this novella would be right up there. It is better known in its book format, paired up with the novella Seymour: An Introduction. The two ‘Glass family’ stories [...]

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Re/Search #4/5

Added on September 8, 2010

Re/Search #4/5 William S. Burroughs Re/Search Publications, San Francisco, 1982 This special book issue of Re/Search magazine contains interviews, articles and fiction by William S. Burroughs, as well as Brion Gyson and Throbbing Gristle. Gyson, like William Burroughs, used the Cut-Up method of writing, which is an avant-garde method wherein the text is literally cut [...]

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Added on September 6, 2010

Herzog Saul Bellow Viking, New York, 1964 Saul Bellow was born in Quebec, but lived in the United States since he was nine. He won the Nobel Prize in 1976. He is the only writer to win the National Book Award three times and the only one to be nominated six times. He has also [...]

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