Archive for April 13th, 2005

What we have been reading

The Swing Of Things (Sean O’Reilly)

Beardy ex-prisoner finds No Way Out from existential crisis brought on by studying Sartre at Trinity and hanging out with deranged poetic victim of swan rape. Best novel set in Dublin I have read in a while. In fact it is the only novel set in Dublin I have read in a while. Still.

Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell)

Genre-bending thrills and spills as humanity’s will to power shafts everybody big-time. Hat tip to Richard and Judy for that one.

Andalus (Jason Webster)

English interloper hangs out with illegal Morrocan immigrant in order to patch together story of his quest to reveal Spain as a country still steeped in Islamic tradition. Quest partly succeeds. Very illuminating in some places, and moving in others, but seems a bit contrived at times. Travel book.

La Sombra Del Viento/The Shadow of The Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón)

Also one of Richard and Judy’s Book Club choices I think. Seems to be selling by the bucketload. He might be an annoying twat and she a bit of an old trout but they can pick their books. The city of Barcelona is the main protagonist of this stylish adventure full of compelling heroes and villains and literary intrigue. Recommended for people who like a bit of a potboiler but thought the Da Vinci Code insulted their intelligence.

Memorias de mis putas tristes/Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Gabriel García Márquez)

Novella about horny old goat. Normally a big García Márquez fan, I found it hard to pay attention in this one, even though it lasted 90 pages or so. Tired.

Cabo Trafalgar/Cape Trafalgar (Arturo Pérez-Reverte)

Not sure if this one has been translated into English yet. Rip-roaring foul-mouthed reconstruction of Battle of Trafalgar from the standpoint of Spanish sailors. Those who are into nautical detail tell me its detail is astonishing, but I wouldn’t have a baldy about that. Grim, yet hilarious, with great linguistic panache.

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours.

A Post for the 21st Century

Next time I hear an Irish politician on the radio or TV utter the words ‘for the 21st Century’ I will douse myself in petrol and light a match. As in ‘we need a stadium/health service/bus stop/immigration process etc for the 21st Century’. None of us is likely to need it for any other century.

The Papal Mind

‘It is as difficult to enter into the mind of a Pope as it must be for a Pope to enter into the mind, of, say, a young mother of three, in a double bed, who feels her husband’s caressing touch and is divided between the desire to turn to him and the fear of an unwanted pregnancy.’

From How Far Can You Go, David Lodge (1980)


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