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Showing posts from March, 2019

About Grace by Anthony Doerr

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I loved his book All The Light We Cannot See, and when my book club choose this for the next read, I decided on another book by the same author. This novel is not an easy read. It took me more or less 200 pages before I felt that the story ran off with me. Usually, I don't wait that long to continue a book, but Anthony Doerr is different. His stories do engage you and the prose is so beautiful, it is a pleasure to read it, for this feature alone. From the back cover: "Here Doerr tells, in luminous prose, the story of David Winkler, a man graced with the gift of premonition and plagued by a dream that foretells his daughter's death. He flees thousands of miles from his family and home in a desperate hope that his dream will not come true. Set in Alaska, Ohio, and the Caribbean, About Grace is a heartbreaking, radiant, and astonishingly accomplished novel about the tiny but lifesaving miracles happening around us at each moment, and about our longing for grace." I

Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber

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A book that has been on my shelves for a very long time. I read it for the Book Challenge by Erin, as a "book that has been made into a film". It was filmed with Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, directed by Sam Wood. I have been trying to watch it, but am not able to find it anywhere (at least not for streaming). It is a great read and has a lightness about the story. The novel starts in Saratoga where Colonel Clint Maroon and his wife Clio Dulaine attend the Saratoga season as usual. They are now in their 80s and still the most popular persons during the season. This year Clint Maroon has decided to tell the truth about himself and his wife. However, the gathered journalists do not want to hear. They just see the successful, beautiful couple, still in love with each other after all the years. Instead, Ferber tells us the story of how Clio Dulaine, an illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic New Orleans Creol father and his beautiful mistress Rita Dulaine. When she hap

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø

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This is the first book I have read by Jo Nesbø, so I can't say whether it is a typical book of his. I suspect it might not be. The title itself reveals what the story is about. Nesbø has used the Shakespeare play as a base for his own story. It is not set, as the original, in 11th century Scotland, but in Norway in a near, somewhat dystopian future. I was not familiar with the plot of Macbeth and took some time off from the book to read it. It seems that Nesbø uses it almost to the point. Instead of a fight for the throne of Scotland, we face a fight for the post as head of the police departement, or even as the mayor of the city, which is the highest post. We find all the characters and names from the original play, and it is masterly adapted to modern times. Macbeth's role in the police is head of the Guards. They come in to clean up the mess, and uses more violent terms to do it. His Lady is the head of a luxurious casino. When the corrupt chief of police is killed a

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

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What a gorgeous cover! This is Christine Mangan's debut novel. And what a debut! A psychological thriller that makes it hard to read sometimes. It is like a nightmare. Alice and Lucy are the two protagonists who became friends during their studies at Bennington College. They shared a room and they stuck to themselves. The story starts in 1956 in Tangier, where Alice and her husband John live. Every other chapter is narrated by Alice and Lucy. We get hints that something happened back there in college, which destroyed their friendship, but it is only later that we learn what it was all about. It is difficult to tell the story without spoilers, so just a few thoughts about it. Most of the story takes place in Tanger where Alice is living with her husband. One day out of the blue Lucy shows up. Alice lives with a trauma from her parents' death, and her life is always affected by it. While Lucy takes in Tangier and its atmosphere from the beginning, Alice is spending her day

2 x Julian Barnes

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As always a pleasure to read Julian Barnes. His books are different but have so much to say. He writes a 'biography' which is not an ordinary biography. He mixes the biographic element with some fiction and some literary critics. It does become very fulfilling and thought worthy to read his books. Lately, I have read two of his books: The Noise of Time , a book about the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and Flaubert's Parrot about Gustave Flaubert. The Noise of Time A wonderful book about a very talented man, who, all his life, had to fight to compose his own music. Living in the Soviet Union under Stalin, everyone was controlled, dissected and judged. He had his own times of not being a favourite, although he managed to compose the 'right' kind of music in order to be able to compose his own music. The way in which Barnes approaches his subjects gives us a close up of the person. You are there with Shostakovich, can feel his every anxiety, fear and ple

Edward Burne-Jones exhibition in London

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Recently, I visited London for a weekend. Always a treat and lots of things to do and see. I had a special aim for this visit, namely, the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition in Tate Britain. Some years ago I fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelites, and Burne-Jones is one of them. Maybe more diverse in his talents than any of them. "Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was one of the key figures in Victorian art, achieving world-wide fame and recognition during his life-time. As the last major figure associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, he led the movement into new symbolist directions where the expression of a mood or idea replaced the earlier focus on providing a realistic description of the natural world. Using myths and legends from the past he created dream-worlds of unparalleled beauty, balancing clarity of observation with dramatically original composition." Also recognised as a designer, he was one of the founding members of the design collective Morris & Co, for which h

The Third Man by Graham Greene

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A favourite author + a favourite film = The Third Man. A classic story that I finally got to read, or listen too. I have seen the film of course, one of my favourite.  Graham Greene seldom disappoints you, and I think that this might be one of his very best stories. I think most of us think of the film when we hear the title. Green actually wrote first a novella on which the screenplay was based. The story is set in post-World War II Vienna. American writer Holly Martins arrives to meet his old school friend Harry Lime. Upon arrival he receives the news that Harry Lime died in a car accident a few days earlier. He attends the funeral, visited only by a few friends and what turns out to be Lime's girlfriend. Martins is contacted by the British military who ask him questions about Lime's business in Vienna. Martins, quite innocent on the behaviour of his old friend, is surprised by what he is hearing. There is a mystery surrounding the car accident and Martins sets out to