Jelinek, a long novel, and short stories

You know what they say, that when it rains, it pours? I’m not referring to the heavy rains that our country experienced this week, but I’m pointing at books. I saw a lot of good books this afternoon, but I had to restrain myself lest I end up eating books for a couple of days.

In fact, I didn’t really hunt. I was just looking at the visible books (there are books behind books on the shelves), and here are what I found today, August 11, at Book Sale – Walter Mart Munoz

  • Women as Lovers by Elfriede Jelinek – I have nursed a strange fixation with Jelinek after reading The Piano Teacher and seeing her interview about her novel’s film adaptation. Surely, this timid woman who can’t even look straight at the camera can’t be the woman who wrote so intensely about an uptight piano teacher who secretly desires to be chained and gagged and punched and molested and raped and …  okay, so Women as Lovers looks like another novel with strong female characters. Talk about speaking the obvious, huh? An additional factor that led me to buy this is the absence of capitalization. Hmm. Style? Or symbol? (Php 115.00)
  • Wonderful Wonderful Times by Elfriede Jelinek – I’m in luck! Two Jelinek novels with the same edition. I grabbed it without even reading the blurb or flipping the pages. If The Piano Teacher appeared to me in the same edition, I might have bought it as well. (Php 115.00)
  • Europe Central by William T. Vollmann – I have already paid for my Jelinek books when I to0k one last look at the shelves, and there, Vollmann waved this fat chunkster in my line of sight. And I got to thinking that there are NBA winners that are big in size (JR, Shadow Country, and what else?). Anyway, I actually bought this with a bit of reluctance (there goes my cheeseburger meal and twister fries!) because I have a love-hate relationship with NBA winners, but after reading the blurb (I was already on the bus), I was intrigued with the mention of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. This might be good after all. (Php 180.00)

And oh, last August 3, I dropped by Book Sale – Makati Square and found Telling Tales (edited by Nadine Gordimer), a powerful collection of short stories. I could not resist the cover, and how could one resist stories from the writers listed below?

  • Chinua Achebe (!)
  • Woody Allen (!)
  • Margaret Atwood (!)
  • Nadine Gordimer (!!!)
  • Gunter Grass (!!!)
  • Hanif Kureishi
  • Claudio Magris
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez (!!!)
  • Arthur Miller (!)
  • Es’kia Mphahlele
  • Ndjabulo Ndebele
  • Kenzaburo Oe (!!!)
  • Amos Oz (!)
  • Salman Rushdie (!)
  • Jose Saramago (!!!!!)
  • Ingo Schulze
  • Susan Sontag (!)
  • Paul Theroux (!)
  • Michel Tournier
  • John Updike (!)
  • Christa Wolf

Okay, I admit that I haven’t read some of them; some of them I have only had the idea now (I copied the names on the cover). But reading the African, American, Asian, European, and Latin names gives the air of a literary tour de force.

I need to read this soon. It’s been so long since I last read a collection of short stories. It’s the literary form that made me explore “serious” and “literary” works. And oh, if you’ve noticed, it’s my first time this year to blog on a Saturday!

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