Dit is geen gemakkelijk boek, maar het is een Roemeens boek en dus wilde ik het lezen. Eliade's stijl oogt alledaags en de dingen die hij beschrijft ook, maar schijn bedriegt. Vanuit het niets gebeuren plotsklaps de gekste dingen, dingen die me deden denken aan The curious case of Benjamin Button, maar ook aan Indiana Jones and the last crusade. Misschien kreeg ik die filmassociaties door te lezen dat Francis Ford Coppola naar dit boek de film Youth without Youth maakte. Hoe dan ook, laat vóór die film zeker dit bijzondere boek niet aan u voorbijgaan.

17 Februari 2010

J.M. Meulenhoff, 2007
Oorspronkelijke titel Tinerețe fără tinerețe, 1981
Vertaald uit het Roemeens door Jan Willem Bos

(citește în română)

Comments

Felt fascinated by this work ever since reading an excerpt during the Philosophy and Literature course. More excerpts during Jewish American Literature and a fellow student who was enthusiastic about it. Wanted to buy it in New York, but eventually bought it in Berlin. I started late in the evening and almost couldn't put it away. The next day I read it in one go. It's got superb narrative drive, with a good mix between the father's tale and the contemporary stuff with the son, Art. I really admire the simple yet effective division of people into different animals. The horrible story is told perfectly and the drawings are sometimes very simple, sometimes very powerful. Great stuff this.

3 February 2010

Comments

Dit boek slaat twee vliegen in één klap. Het telt mee voor m'n Roemeense bibliotheek, maar ook voor het bijhouden van bekende hedendaagse literatuur. Wederom, na Wolf Hall, iets wat ik zelf niet zo snel zou oppakken, door het zeer poëtische en literaire gehalte. Toch kon Ademschommel me zeker bekoren. Ik heb getracht gewoon vlot mee te lezen met de cadans van de woorden, zonder overal bij stil te staan als de betekenis niet meteen duidelijk was. Hierdoor las het eigenlijk verbazingwekkend vlot, zonder moeite. Zo heb ik zonder ergernis een mooi boek gelezen. Een interessant verhaal van iemand waar ik nog wel iets anders van zou kunnen lezen.

30 December 2009

De Geus, 2009
Oorspronkelijke titel Atemschaukel, 2009
Vertaald uit het Duits door Ria van Hengel

(citește în română)



Comments

Het werd wel weer eens tijd voor een Roemeens boek. Idealiter lees ik er om de zoveel tijd eentje, maar met al die boeken die om aandacht schreeuwen is dat makkelijker gezegd dan gedaan. Aldus geschiedde. Niet bijster goed geschreven, niet zo boeiend, maar toch een leuk boek om tussendoor te lezen. De beschrijvingen van en de avonturen in een voorbij Ottomaans rijk zijn interessant om over te lezen. Hierna misschien Caragiale of Gheorghiu uit de eigen voorraad, of Herta Müller, Norman Manea of Mircea Eliade na aankoop.

7 November 2009

Elsevier Manteau, 1980
Oorspronkelijke titel Chira Chiralina, 1923
Vertaald uit het Roemeens door Liesbeth Ziedses des Plantes

(citește în română)



Comments

Snel uitgelezen, deze tweede Marai. Mooi verhaal, hoewel minder pakkend dan Gloed. Zeker wel ruimte voor een derde boek van hem. Misschien De Meeuw (net verschenen).

26 Augustus 2009

Comments

The real classic on the Adventure list. Second time I read it and it does get better. You just have to take the time for it. Ten pages an hour maximum, but that's okay. It can be quite dense at times, and yet it always makes you think. I don't suppose this book will ever get any easier. Still, I'm going to go back to it, another day. And hopefully some other books of his too. The Secret agent maybe.

31 March 2009

Comments

Had al veel goede dingen over deze Hongaar gehoord en, na lezing van zijn postume doorbraak Gloed, begrijp ik dat. Gloed is een korte roman waar je langer over doet dan je denkt. Dat is echter geen nadeel, want hoewel er eigenlijk weining gebeurt zet het je enorm aan het denken. De stijl is plechtig en hypnotiserend en het verhaal is universeel. Het is lastig onder woorden te brengen, maar ik was er aan het einde wel stil van.

22 Maart 2009

Comments

The Bald Soprano. Ionesco's first play and a good one right away. Reminiscent of Pinter (and Beckett I suppose) in its repetitive dialogue, full of non sequiturs and random phrases. I like the series of weird anecdotes towards the end and the cacaphonic, sort of primitive ending.

The Lesson. A nice portrayal of the disintegrating relationship between professor and pupil. It starts innocently enough, but by way of an interesting exposé of Latin languages and philology it becomes more and more violent and sadistic. It ends in madness and murder, closing with a circular motion towards the beginning, just like The Bald soprano...

Jack or The Submission. Didn't like this one that much. Remaining impressions are just of Jack's crazy relations (which somehow reminded me of Jan, Jannetje en hun jongste kind by E.J. Potgieter) and the grotesque Roberta's. Plus, the nice song by the grandfather; 'a cha-ar-ming trickster'. Stays in your head, that one. But, altogether a rather forgetful play.

The Chairs. Read this in Christchurch, New Zealand, thus finishing the first of the two Ionesco compilations I bought in San Francisco last week. I think, after The Bald soprano, this play is the second stand out piece of the book and it's probably the most famous. Even though you should call this play weirder than the BS it comes across as more life-like somehow. Two sad, senile old people staging their final climax as a big show for an empty audience; it's quite crazy but tragic too, a 'tragic farce' indeed. A good one, the longest and the best of the bunch.

22 December 2008

Grove Press, 1982
Original titles La Cantatrice Chauve, La Leçon, Jacques ou la soumission, Les Chaises, 1950-1955
Translated from the French by Donald M. Allen

(citește în română)



Comments

The setting of this intriguing little novel is part communist, part fantastic. On one level it tells the story of an old man who's fanatically questioned by the secret police. They think he holds the key to some terrible mystery that could have its effect upon the whole society, until the hightest point of the hierarchy. And, maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. What is clear is that the old man is fond of telling stories. Each one of his memories links back to another series of memories and thus, in his recorded conversations with his questioners, he tells one long, associative tale. It doesn't seem to make sense, this tale, and it seems it doesn't have to. It's just a collection of stories that seem like fairy tales. Only somehow these fairy tales have their consequences for the people that listen to them. The line between fantasy and reality gets more and more blurred. The old man just keeps to his stories, but his audience sees one big political intrigue in it.
This novel is not about final meaning, because it doesn't seem to have any. It does, however, lure you in, slowly but steadily. You go from the narrator to a narrating old man, to narrating people within his stories. It seems like zooming in, but instead  it's only a continuous zooming out until you feel uncertain where it is you've begun exactly. It's the zooming that's the thing though, not the beginning or the ending, just the endless process of zooming. Intriguing, really.

7 August 2008

Meulenhoff, 1975
Oorspronkelijke titel Pe strada Mântuleasa, 1968
Vertaald uit het Roemeens door Liesbeth Ziedses de Plantes

(citește în română)




Comments

My reaction to Urmuz' book was rather ambivalent. Initially my expression was predominated by a huge question mark: I've rarely come across stories that were so strange and ended so abruptly. While that expression of wonder surely never left it was occasionaly joined by mirth and/or fascination. Because besides being so weird these stories are also absurdly funny sometimes and relate events that trigger the imagination in an original way. Apparently Eugene Ionesco called Urmuz his great influence and I can see why. This reads like a premonition of absurdism, written decades before the term came into fashion.

4 July 2008

Meulenhoff, 1985
Original titel Pagini bizare, 1930
Translated from the Romanian into Dutch by Jan Willem Bos

(citește în română)




Comments
 

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