Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon Catch Up

sundaysalonA wonderful surprise awaited me on my return from an intense working week in snow-clad Eastern USA — a signed copy of Christos Tsiolkas’s newest novel Barracuda which I won via National Book Tokens. I never got around to reading his best seller The Slap but this latest novel is apparently equally provocative in the way it questions what it means to be Australian.

But first I have to finish two other novels: Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger which won the 1987 Booker Prize and New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani.   By complete coincidence they both deal with memory and are partly set in World War 2. The first is a brilliantly constructed novel in which a secret love affair is revealed by an old woman as she lies dying in a hospital bed. The second is a novel I started reading on the flight home. It’s a curious story about a man found beaten up at a dockside in Trieste – he can’t remember anything about his life, not even his name. The Finnish doctor who treats him thinks he must be Finnish (purely on the basis of a name found inside his jacket) and sets about trying to teach him that language in the hope it will rekindle his memory.

These two are such a contrast to the novel that sustained me through the long flight out and the wintry nights that followed. Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir has been sitting on my book shelf for at least four years — quite why I delayed reading it for so long, I’m not sure since I’ve loved every other novel I’ve read by him and Germinal is one of my all-time favourites.  Maybe I was afraid L’Assommoir wouldn’t be as good but fortunately it’s turned out to be equally as riveting.

So in all February has been a good month. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed that March turns out the same. I’ll be reading E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View which is the book I landed up with after the Classics Club spin and probably something from my World Literature list but I haven’t decided what that will be yet. Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa and Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas are both calling for my attention. I suspect it will depend what mood I’m in at the point when I’m ready to begin a new book. 





What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

6 thoughts on “Sunday Salon Catch Up

  • I’m so glad I discovered your blog today. I mentioned Zola in my posting. Stop by and visit some time. Thanks!

  • Sounds like you’ve had some good reading! Room with a View is great! I really liked that one and the Merchant Ivory film is wonderful too.

  • Indeed I have read it but it was in the last term before my finals when I was cramming so it just stayed there until the minute the exam was over. Now I can’t recall much about it other than I enjoyed it – hence the re-read

  • Glad you’re back safely. The reports of weather in the US have been almost as scary as here. Surely you must have read ‘A Room with a View’ before? If not, you are really in for a treat.

  • Moon Tiger and New Finnish Grammar both sound like books I’d enjoy. Have a good reading week.
    Book Dilettante


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