Mysteries by Knut Hamsun

The Man in the Yellow Suit – Mysteries by Knut Hamsun

Mysteries is a novel about Johan Nagel, a man who suddenly lives in a small Norwegian town and who gets the townspeople going with his eccentric thoughts and impulsive acts. With no apparent reason for sojourning in the town and then leaving it just as soon as he arrived, Nagel probes into the deep recesses of the people’s souls, thereby disrupting the peace of the people and turning everyone against…

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

A Hundred Feelings – Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is the second collection of poetry published by the Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. The poems in this collection strongly depict love in very personal, intimate, erotic, and artistic ways. Published when he was only 19 years old, the critically acclaimed collection gave him international fame and set his place among men of letters as an emerging South American poet. I didn’t know how…

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

6 Months, 3 Books, 1 Drum – The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

The Tin Drum is the first book in the Danzig Trilogy. It tells us the story of Oskar Matzerath with reminiscences from his birth up to his 30th birthday. A person who hast the power to break glass using his voice, Oskar willfully stopped his body from growing at the age of three, which is also the same year that he received his first tin drum from his mother. He…

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Unmagical Realism – No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories consists of one novella, which is the title story, and eight other ones. These are dense with the seemingly insignificant lives of people living in a South American village. The unnamed villagers, each portrayed separately among the stories, are portrayed as despondent people who could either be hanging on to hope or resigned to utter hopelessness. After every story, the mood…

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

A Quiet Lullabye – The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

The Fish Can Sing is the coming-of-age tale of Alfgrimur Hansson, a boy orphaned since birth and left to the care of grandparents unrelated to him. Although he is the narrator, the novel does not merely revolve around him. The chapters shift between the different events in the town of Brekukkot and the people that are etched in Alfgrimur’s memory particularly Gardar Holm, an Icelandic opera singer with worldwide fame.…

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Why do you hate the South? – Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

It is not without trepidation that I returned to reading Faulkner just a couple of months back. I say trepidation because I know how mad and meandering and mentally debilitating Faulknerian narrative can. And I say returned because I’d like to believe that Faulkner was one of the authors who greatly influenced my literary tastes during my early college days. Yes, I know that’s very presumptuous of me to claim for…

The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller

Belt, window, nut, rope – The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller

Christmas Party 2011. I wished for this book. Bookish little buddy bought this book and will give it to me if the person who picked my name for the exchange gift gives me a different title. I got it. Buddy kept her copy for herself and gave me a backup gift instead. We read it together last May. I was a little anxious. I didn’t know how she will react to…

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Will the real murdering miniaturist please stand up? – My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

A surprise gift from my bookish little buddy last Christmas, My Name Is Red took me by surprise as much as it did when it landed on my hands. I had no idea then what it’s about (of course; you should know by now that I immediately buy and wish for books that have the Nobel badge on them), so it was a real thrill to read a beautifully rendered…

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

One book to match all those shades of grey – The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

What really made me pick this book is the great divide between those who love it and those who hate it to bone. A couple of friends bashed it with a one-star, and instead of running away from it, I wished for it during our Christmas party exchange gift. I was given Pamuk and Muller books, so I took the time to hunt for Jelinek and luckily, I found her.…

Fatelessness by Imre Kertész

Happiness in Hatred – Fatelessness by Imre Kertész

Recently, some of my bookish friends did a group read of The Catcher in the Rye, that novel where we read about the 17-year-old Holden. Just then, I’m reminded of Fatelessness, hence, this delayed write-up. I remember its 14-year-old narrator nicknamed Gyuri (I can’t recall the name just now due to the diacritical marks on it), which by comparison, makes Holden a wimp. Certainly, the two have different issues, and…

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

An attempt to review a play – Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

I do not know what to make out of this, and yet, my goal to write something for every book that I read that would at least have one sensible sentence forces me to revisit this play. It’s the first play that I ever read, and I already have an existing half-baked report on my initial reading of this. After reading the post and skimming the book/pamphlet, I am still…

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Jalopy of the Joads – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Let me tell you why this book is important to me. Let me tell you first how I came upon my copy. When I first attended the meetings of our book club, I brought an Anais Nin book with me for the book exchange. One of them, the moderator Jzhun, expressed interest in it. He showed me the little stack of books that he brought for the exchange, then I…

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago

Jesus Christ is just another man – The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago

A retelling of Jesus Christ’s life not as the holiest man in the universe but as a man, an everyday man, who is reluctant to take on the duties imposed to him as mankind’s savior, this novel has to be read putting aside your religious biases. If you are a hardcore Catholic and cannot stomach sacrilege of any form, stop reading now. But really, this is still fiction, and I…

The Stranger by Albert Camus

There isn’t always a reason behind the things that we do – The Stranger by Albert Camus

I seriously don’t know what to say about this book, so this is going to be one of those nonreviews where I babble incoherent stuff that appear to be sensible, solid stuff when, in fact, it lacks glue to hold everything together. I am even reluctant to write this because I fear of blaspheming Camus, a writer that I am not superbly fond of but whom I deeply respect. So…

Independent People by Halldór Laxness

Of sheep, lungworm, coffee, and poetry, and God, and a lot, lot more – Independent People by Halldór Laxness

For some time now, I’ve been itching to write something about this wonderful, funny, lyrical, all-encompassing book. And now that I have a few moments to devote on it, I realize that I cannot put into words my love for this. The only thing that I can do is to keep shoving this to people with whom I share the similar taste in books. But really, how can I justify the…

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

Probably the book that best describes me – Hunger by Knut Hamsun

I really can’t help raving about this. I always thank my lucky stars for that day when I bought this at a secondhand book store without intending to. It must be the universe conspiring with the forces; the book spine stared straight into my eyes. I couldn’t resist; I felt a sense of literary power emanating from the book. It was during that time when I’d just randomly pick a…

One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

You do not memorize the family tree – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

You can, if you want to. Most editions have a family tree, or even all editions, maybe. But it doesn’t matter, or rather there’s no need to do that because the reader knows which Jose Arcadio or Aureliano is talking. Yes, this is the story of a family who founded the fictional town of Macondo and a family who doesn’t have the inclination to choose names aside from Jose Arcadio…

Death at Intervals by José Saramago

Death at Intervals – José Saramago

Intro I still recall that day when the newfangled, recently opened, and biggest book store in my hometown started shelving Jose Saramago’s books. There was Seeing, The Double, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, and this book, Death at Intervals. Or Death with Interruptions, which I think is the more popular edition. I didn’t realize that my fawning of the covers of these Vintage editions would lead me to my…