Thursday, December 3, 2015

THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF PORTUGAL, by Yann Martel



5+

THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF PORTUGAL is a wonderful novel, not to miss, Yann Martell has achieved a beautiful story, spanning three generations starting in 1900. Unlike " The Life Of Pi " the story is concise from begining to end. I loved this book. A beautiful journey for the mind and heart.

A must read


My thanks to Random House and NetGalley for this advance copy in return for an honest review

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris November 13, 2015






Paris is where I was born,
where a Parisien surgeon saved my life,
where my family on my papa's side has resided since ever
where my American grandfather made a life for himself in his twenties
where he raised my maman with his French wife, my grandmother Lisette

As my brothers and I grew into adults, we took to travelling, I now reside in Virginia, USA because this is home to my 3 sons.

Paris will always be home, my roots...

I can't begin to express my sadness, so many souls lost their lives, so many are fighting for their lives, so many grieve for their loved ones.

Friday, November 13, 2015

AFTER THE CIRCUS by Patrick Modiano






 💛 💛 💛 💛 💛                                                     



 ARC Copy

Pub Date October 25, 2015                                                   





Synopsis;

One of the hallmarks of French author Patrick Modiano's writing is a singular ability to revisit particular motifs and episodes, infusing each telling with new detail and emotional nuance. In this evocative novel the internationally acclaimed author takes up one of his most compelling themes: a love affair with a woman who disappears, and a narrator grappling with the mystery of a relationship stopped short. Set in mid-sixties Paris, After the Circus traces the relationship between the narrator, a young man not quite of legal age, and the slightly older, enigmatic woman he first glimpses at a police interrogation. The two lovers make their uncertain way into each other's hearts, but the narrator soon finds himself in the unsettling, ominous presence of others. Who are these people? Are they real, or simply evoked? Part romance, part detective story, this mesmerizing book fully demonstrates Modiano's signature use of atmosphere and suggestion as he investigates the perils and the exhilaration of young love.


My view

This novel takes place in Paris, reading Patrick Modiano is like getting lost in Paris for a day or two....

Jean, at eighteen is still a naive young man..until a beautiful young woman agrees to a cafe at Jean's invitation. Gisele, is all of 21 years of age to Jean's eighteen, a fact he will change by adding three years. 
Both Gisele along with Jean had been interrogated by detectives, and let go however on different cases.

Needing a home to stay, until Gisele finds a new place, she entrusts her two suitcases to Jean who although invites her to stay at his dad's apartment. Jean's dad having left permanently to Switzerland. And so a friendship begins.

And an odd friendship it is...Jean never questions Gisele's strange friends to whom he is introduced, or Gisele's strange disappearances...until the day she asks him to do her a favor for these friends.

Jean is narrating this story now thirty years later, trying to make sense of what happened to him at eighteen. Was Giselle in love with him, or was she using him unscrupulously?

At eighteen a beautiful woman can lead an eighteen year old  astray.  It is important to remember while reading this little gem of a book, the story takes place in 1960, when we all where much more impressionable than today.

I can't emphasize enough how beautiful Patrick Modiano's written word is. Nobel Prize winner, Patrick Modiano is a prolific author, the next move!s I will read in it's original language, French. This is an ARC from NetGalley, translated into English, which is wonderful, quite a few of Patrick's novels are translated.

A must read...for the story and for the beautiful writing.


Thank you NetGalley and Yale University Press

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SLADE HOUSE by David Mitchell



5/5


  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (October 27, 2015)



Overview

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . 

My view

Unable to put this novel down, I finished reading around two in the morning, needless to mention, sleep was hard to come.
Although only 256 pages long, David Mitchell kept me reading every page with anticipation. Slade House is by far one of the more erudite novel of this genre. You will not find bloody scenes, what you will find is exquisite paranormal activity which will entice you as it does the chosen victims, however you the reader will escape...
Every nine years, begining in 1979 you will accompany a special guest to Slade Alley, a tiny black door will open onto a majestic Manor.  You will be met by the Grayer twins, Norah and Jonah...we the reader will always escape, not so the guest.
As the novel progresses I found myself wanting to keep reading, the premise David Mitchell presents to the reader is adictive, the ending very satisfying indeed.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves this genre, Stephen King comes to mind, although Slade House seems to me more erudite, exquisitly narrated, very effective indeed.
Slade House is a little jewel.

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for this advance copy in return for an honest review 













Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

EAT HIM IF YOU LIKE by Jean Teule


                                           


                                          5.5
Pages: 112
Publisher: Gallic Books
Publication Date: November 1,  2011
Copy: Publisher


Summary
A true story. Tuesday 16 August 1870, Alain de Monéys makes his way to the village fair. He plans to buy a heifer for a needy neighbour and find a roofer to repair the roof of the barn of a poor acquaintance. He arrives at two o'clock. Two hours later, the crowd has gone crazy; they have lynched, tortured, burned and eaten him. How could such a horror be possible? With frightening precision, Jean Teulé reconstructs each step of one of the most shameful stories in the history of nineteenth-century France.

My view
5 stars stand for the author, Jean Teule, an erudite, wonderful writer.
I am afraid this translation will keep many from pursuing this author any further, which would be indeed a mistake. " Eat Him If You Like " is a historical novel. Yes it is hard to read, as are many horror novels  we devour ( no pun intended ). Why does this story disgust us ? The fear that we humans are able of such attrocities? We know to well in 2015 that it is so.
The time period was a time of war, change and uprising in France. The goodhearted man found himself surrounded by an illiterate mob in a neighbouring village to his own, certainly a tragic step . In times of upheaval, what might seem right otherwise, can send an uneducated mob to do what ordinarily they would not envisage.
Perhaps the visuals we receive today, via internet do not affect us as much as the written word when such atrocities happen...

Thank you to Gallic Books and NetGalley for this copy in return for an honest review

Sunday, September 20, 2015

TRISTANO DIES by Antonio Tabucchi


                                         

                                        5.5

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Steerforth Press

Pages: 160

Copy: Publisher

Summary:
It is a sultry August at the very end of the twentieth century, and Tristano is dying. A hero of the Italian Resistance, Tristano has called a writer to his bedside to listen to his life story, though, really, “you don’t tell a life…you live a life, and while you’re living it, it’s already lost, has slipped away.” Tristano Dies, one of Antonio Tabucchi’s major novels, is a vibrant consideration of love, war, devotion, betrayal, and the instability of the past, of storytelling, and what it means to be a hero.

My view;
This is my first novel by Antonio Tabucchi.

First, I'd like to mention a touching story at the onset of this novel, about elephants...yes...elephants. Antonio Tabucchi worked magic introducing them along with his character Tristano. Although they are not an integral part of this beautiful novel, Tristano shares their ritual. This being a Galley, I will wait until the novel is published to share said ritual.
As the novel begins, Tristano's life is coming to it's end, one last request remains.  Our protagonist summons an author he keeps in high esteem, hired to transcribe his long life by proxy.
Tristano remembers his youth, wearing the enemy's uniform, Greece, Daphne, his love, life... it's simplicity it's challenges. Morphine for his pain, color his memories.  Each memory carries subtle details, nuances unknown to the hired author, who continues to write what he hears, the soul of these words belonging to Tristano alone, not ever to be found within the finished memoir.
Such a beautiful novel for sure, to be read when one has time to reflect on life.

I received this galley from Archipelago and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE SHORT LIST 2015



          



Tom McCarthy 5 novels

Marlon James 3 novels

Sunjeev Sahota 2 novels

Hanya Yanagihara 2 novels

Anne Tyler 20 novels

Chigozie Obioma 1 novel

I feel Anne Tyler at 73 with 20 novels, all well received, could win the Man Booker Prize. It isn't 
unusual for an artist/writer to be honored for a lifetime achievement. Why is this on my mind?Considering the
competition, it surprised me to see Anne Tyler nominated.
Her novels are are tender, and her prose beautiful. The MAN BOOKER PRIZE is awarded to an exceptional literary work.

I personally have to yet read any of these novels, the views
expressed by the ladies on the ( WO ) MAN BOOKER Challenge
encouraged me to read each novel through their excellent reviews.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING by Colum McCann



5.5
Title:  Thirteen Ways Of Looking
Author:  Colum McCann
Pages:  256
Publication Date:  10.13. 2015
Publisher:  Random House
                    ARC from NetGalley
                    & Random House

Synopsis:

In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life's work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh'khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year's Eve.

My view:

# 1 THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING by Colum McCann
_____________________________________________________
We are in New York's Upper East Side. Somewhere in this City a man awakens to a snowy day, his name is Mendelssohn to all, Mr J to his nurse Sally.
Retired Judge, widowed, father to Katya and Elliott.
At an advanced age, Mendelssohn has become a creature of habit. Chiallis is no exception, an upscale restaurant his only indulgence. A coat, hat and cane will take him to his favorite table regardless of snow. Today his son Elliott will join him, a rare occasion.
Much awaits Mendelssohn at Chiallis

I absolutely loved the protagonist, Mendelssohn, he will stay with me a long time, no cranky old man

A gem, this novella

# 2 WHAT TIME IS IT NOW, WHERE YOU ARE
____________________________________________
Having agreed to write a short story for a New Year edition, a writer seems unable to see his way beyond a first sentence. Month pass, nothing.
Close to his deadline, an idea, how about the viewpoint of a soldier in a far off land ?
He chooses a Marine, names her Sandi, alone in the desert, on watch duty, a satellite phone by her side. Will she hear her son's voice or will the light from the phone make her a target.

# 3 SH'khol
___________
Rebecca and Tomas, her son, celebrate Christmas together at home in Galway, Ireland. Tomas thirteen, a tall handsome boy. Born in Russia, abandoned as an infant, deaf, beside various disabilities. Rebecca's love for this lost child, shows itself much stronger than any affliction. A new life and family awaits Tomas.
Christmas will be a turning point in both their lives.
Do we truly know our child ? Born to us or adopted ?
Rebecca will try to understand Tomas, and perhaps her own actions in this heartfelt tale.

# 4 Treaty
__________
Long Island, a peaceful stretch of land along the ocean. A perfect  home for a convent, run by Catholic sisters. We meet Beverly who arrives from Huston to find peace among her own, she also is a nun.
Until a certain evening, while watching the news, a face appears on the screen, questions which need answers will take Beverly to London.
Can evil ever transform into good ? To find the peace she so desperately needs, Beverly will face a past of unimaginable evil.


Colum McCann's prose and story telling is such a pleasure to behold, there isn't a short story that shines above others, each in it's own right is a gem.

It is a must read and deserving all of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley & Random House
in return for an honest review

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

THE BOY WHO STOLE ATTILA'S Horse by Iván Repila


                                         

                5.5                   

Title: The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse
Author: Ivan Repila
Publisher: Pushkin press
Length: 112 pages
Release date:  November 10 2015

Summery:

Powerful, disquieting and highly original, Repila's unique allegory explores with bravery and emotion the debth of human desperation and, ultimately, our almost unending capacity for hope.

My review;

This novel could be about a deep well, where two children find themselves, it could be about prisoners of war, sequestered in a small hut, unable to escape...or it could also be your neighbors, living a life of desperation...it also reminded me of Korea, the simple everyday fight for survival in a totalitarian state. It is about any circumstance which challenges the human will to live, to survive in the face of unimaginable challenges.

Author Yván Repila chose to tell us the story by giving voice to two children, who find themselves in a deep well. Big and Small are brothers, how they fell into the well isn't readily clear, until later. How can two individuals live in such a small space, with little hope of ever being found, without being able to climb out...with death and starvation their constant companions. The human spirit is an amazing gift, through these boys the author answers the question: why do some survive and others do not, without spoiling his tale, the answer isn't necessarily what we have grown to believe.

On a personal note, there is so much beauty, insight, and knowledge in these few pages, it made me wonder if the author had experienced a suffering which gave him such a clear view on the subject of survival.
I admire his choice of children in an otherwise adult novel. Children are pure at heart, their emotions lay at the surface, truth is readily spoken.
These brothers came to life for me, I feared for them, I even found myself with tears, which doesn't which doesn't happen often.
  
I would like to see other novels by Iván Repila translated.
I highly recommend this novel.

5.5

Thank you to Pushkin press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this novel in return for an honest review

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Fun Of Coloring


Ah ! the pleasure of coloring, thanks to Meredith at dolcebellezza I discovered this beautiful coloring book.



Coloring Flowers Mandalas


I chose, as is recommended, watercolor pencils. There are many different brands to chose from, I happened to have PRISMACOLOR waterpainting pencils on hand, they should do beautifuly.



Great activity for relaxing or simply enjoying coloring :)




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

" ALBERTINE " A BOOKSTORE FOR FRANCOPHILES AND FRENCH LANGUAGE READERS


Certainly you can find English translations of French books, however many times these books date back a few years and the choices are scarce. ALBERTINE offers English translations of newer, more popular French reads. They cover many preferences, crime, literary novels and many more...

If you read French, you are in for a treat, I usually have to order my French novels as they are published, through a store in France or Canada.
ALBERTINE carries French language books as they are published in France.....a real treat!

Yes, they take mail orders...ALBERTINE is a book store located in New York, no extra fee as there is when you order from Canada or France.

http://albertine.com/