Books Read – March/April 2010 (and a bit of May)

It’s true I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve certainly been reading books, as you can see here.

Something about the writers:

  • Pascal Quignard is a very respected writer in France who, perhaps a bit like Le Clézio, hasn’t for some reason been much translated into English, which, going by this particular novel, I find peculiar.
  • Claude Simon is another French writer – in fact, I’m sure you’ve heard of him. Having suffered with the Nouveau Roman many times, I was half dreading reading Simon, but in fact found him wonderful – found him, in fact, very little like the Nouveau Roman (if indeed, going by the strict definition of Nouveau Roman, anything can be said to be like it). As Wikipedia in fact suggests, he feels much closer to Faulkner than, say, Robbe-Grillet.
  • Juan Carlos Onetti, a Uruguayan, one of the most revered and influential of Latin American novelists but, since he is pre-Boom, almost entirely ignored. Like Simon above, writes with a great love of Faulkner. (Not at all magic realist).
  • Vladimir Odoevsky, a Russian – was as successful in his time as Gogol, but largely forgotten now – which is a pity, because he is interestingly experimental and had a pre-Freudian fascination with the unconscious.
  • Max Frisch, a Swiss writer – I’d recommend in particular, not this book necessarily, but Homo Faber and I’m Not Stiller.
  • Mia Couto, a Mozambiquian writer and generally to be found on any list of possible Nobel-prize winners.
  • Boris Pilnyak, a Russian writer and critic of Stalin. He was killed in the Terror of the late 30s.
  • Iharu Saikaku, c17th Japanese writer who concentrated on the floating world.
  • The mostly overlooked English writer and stream-of-consciousness pioneer (at least in English), Dorothy Richardson.
  • And lastly, Roberto Pazzi, who has the least informative Wikipedia page.
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5 thoughts on “Books Read – March/April 2010 (and a bit of May)

  1. I’m not entirely sure yet – I’d like to read the next 2 books, I think, and perhaps by then I’ll have made up my mind. – I think I read Pointed Roofs very badly, as I sometimes do, with such large breaks that I didn’t really know who any of the characters were or what was going on. – But there were passages I enjoyed immensely, and I’d feel myself thinking this was damn good stuff and I’d underestimated her. – But why’s she so neglected?

    I’ve picked up a few other English women writers recently, perhaps you’re familiar – Leonora Carrington (I didn’t know she’d written any novels); and Olive Moore, a Bloomsbury type.

  2. Pilgrimage is one of those things where the further into the sequence you read, the more you become absorbed in its world. As for the neglect, I fail to understand it. As far as I know, none of her writings are currently in print. it’s a disgrace.

  3. I wasn’t sure if it was me or Dorothy Richardson, but I did feel that at the beginning the style was sort of normal, and then it began to drift into stream-of-consciousness as it went along, as if the writer were slowly finding her way.

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