Nothing Is Invisible

……….Cultural Kaleidoscopy………..

Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

* Book Review: Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 2 February 2012

Book Review: Our Kind of Traitor (2010) by John le Carré (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), The Constant Gardener (2001), A Most Wanted Man (2008))  Russian mobsters, British spies, bankers, and politicians, corruption, money laundering, and, of course, the innocents caught up in it all…oh yes, and tennis, from the scenic Caribbean beauty of Antigua to the Center Court at Roland Garros for the French Open with Roger Federer, Our Kind of Traitor, Le Carré’s 22nd novel, offers a contemporary look at his favorite terrain, spies, and preferably British spies, at that.  Le Carré reflects on the reframing of a certain sense of loyalty, on the part of the British espionage establishment, from “all for Britain” to “all for profit”, with his usual sensitivity to the concomitant evolution of language, as things degrade into some sort of mongrel globalisation.  In fact, one could ask oneself, whose agenda is dominant in all these machinations, or is everyone  simply struggling to impose as much of their own personal agenda as possible, in circumstances where only money has any real importance, no matter where it comes from and no matter what it’s used for, and loyalty is a thing of the past.  Perhaps a bit slow to start, when Our Kind of Traitor gets up to speed, it becomes an enjoyable, and sophisticated, thrill in the land of post-Cold War spydom. (PR)

See our post on the film The Constant Gardener with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré.

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a great personal library..  Here’s a link to amazon.com:

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Caribou Island by David Vann

Posted by the editors on Monday, 23 January 2012

Caribou Island (2011)(Novel) by David Vann (Legend of a Suicide (2008))  Caribou Island, David Vann’s first novel, after his awardwinning collection of stories Legend of a Suicide, is rife with failed communication, the characters brimming with regret, misperception and self-delusion, and all suffering from psychological isolation; these bleak, dysfunctional characters relentlessly arcing their way toward certain disaster.  Written with a passionate and sharp eye for landscape and environment, used as a metaphor for the apparent, and dream-like, beauty and inherently brutal, fatal desolation of life and with, perhaps, an inspiration from Cormac McCarthy’s sensitivity to place, combined with some of the fatal flaws of Raymond Carver’s often doomed characters, Caribou Island is an inspired noir novel, full of precise descriptive prose, and often sensitive and frustratingly lost individuals inexorably struggling toward their painful ends. (PR)

See our posts on the novels The Crossing, All the Pretty Horses, The Orchard Keeper, Blood Meridian and Outer Dark, by Cormac McCarthy and our post on the collection of short stories What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver.

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a great personal library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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Tinkers – Paul Harding – Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2010

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tinkers (2009)(novel) By Paul Harding     Tinkers, Paul Harding’s first novel, and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is about the last days of an old, dying New Englander and the changeable mosaic of his last memories, of himself, his father, a tinker, and the rural and natural world of the past.  And it is in these last, poetic descriptions that Harding’s strength is brought to the fore: snow, light, ice on the limbs of trees, water, wood.  Though at times Harding pushes the poetic envelope a bit too far, Tinkers is quite a wonderful novel, about all that passes in memory, in drifts, swirls and eddies, in the time between tick and one’s last tock. (PR)

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Oh What a Paradise It Seems

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 3 November 2011


Oh What a Paradise It Seems (Novel) (1982) by John Cheever (The Wapshot Chronicle (1957), Bullet Park (1969, Falconer (1977), The Stories of John Cheever  (1978))   This slim novel, more of a novella, in fact, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning John Cheever‘s last work, though published nearly 30 years ago, deals with many themes unfortunately very much of today:  Pollution, forced migration, terrorism, corruption, old age, and, above all, a rootlessness tinged with an almost genetic memory of  “how it used to be”, almost “Walden Pond-esque”, marching to a different drummer, all with a contemporary sense of ambiguity.  Oh What a Paradise It Seems is not perfect; it is even, at times, a bit fragmented, but Cheever’s sense of word and phrase, of tenderness and irony, makes it a novel that one simply must read. (PR) “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..”  (Henry David ThoreauWalden (originally published as “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”), (1854))

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The Dead Republic

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Dead Republic (2010)(Novel) by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1990), The Van (1991), Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993, winner of the Booker Prize), and others)   From Monument Valley in the American West, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and the director John Ford, to Ireland, the IRA, Margaret Thatcher, and the lovely green country-side, we follow former IRA hitman, manager of Louis Armstrong, would-be screenwriter, and aging lover, Henry Smart through the last half of his long, and very lively, life.  The Dead Republic, the final novel in Roddy Doyle‘s  The Last Roundup trilogy, the first book was A Star Called Henry (1999), and the second was Oh, Play That Thing! (2004), is a wonderful, thought-provoking tale of politics, religion and one man’s extraordinary life. (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library..

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