In Red by Magdalena Tulli

Magdalena Tulli - In_Red ★★★½☆
In Red
A Novella by Magdalena Tulli
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
2011 / 158 Pages


Aaron’s Review

Tedious. If I were being forced to write a one word review Magdalena Tulli’s In Red that’s the one I’d pick. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) I’m not. Therefore I shall press forward and explain just why this particular novella bored me to tears, but before I do I shall spend a few brief moments praising the pieces of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

Ann B. Ross: Miss_Julia_Speaks_Her_Mind

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
A Novel by Ann B. Ross
1990 / 288 Pages

Julia Springer may not be the best feminist or the most socially conscious person, but she’s doing alright considering the sheltered life she has led up to this point.  She never had to make many decisions – her husband, Wesley Lloyd, made sure of that – but with him recently dead and buried, Miss Julia is left to fend for herself.  Well, sort of.  As it turns out, Wesley Lloyd was a stingy, but incredibly wealthy man, and Julia is the sole beneficiary of his estate.  So with a newfound financial freedom, Julia and her maid/confidant, Lillian, are enjoying being able to finally relax.

But soon enough, it seems like everybody in their small, southern town wants a piece of Julia’s inheritance – especially the church.  And to further complicate matters, it seems that Mr. Springer was not such a faithful, loyal husband.  Julia finds this out when his mistress appears at the doorstep with Mr. Springer’s illegitimate son in tow.  Wesley Lloyd Jr may be a skinny, 9 year-old child with a pale complexion and a nervous demeanor, but his arrival sets off a whole chain of events that Julia Springer was never prepared for.  But as any self-confident, determined southern woman would do, Miss Julia learns how to face her problems and takes care of business!

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Ten Book Related Things We Find Interesting…This Week (04/28/2012)

10_Book_Related_ThingsCan you believe that it’s almost the end of April? Where did the time go? In just a few short days we’ll be living in the first week of May and you know what happens then, don’t you? The 4th is Star Wars Day and the 6th is No Pants Day! We can’t wait to let the celebrations begin!  Until then, here’s another edition of Ten Book Related Things to tide you over.

This week the big book blogging scandal of 2012 reached epic proportions when the thieving site was finally outed by the book blogging community, a Massachusetts man received a seven and a half year prison sentence for translating Arabic text into English, World Book Night gave Amazon the cold shoulder, MacMillian imprint Tor made the announcement that they’re about to go DRM free on all of their titles, Abe Books schooled us all on why old books smell so freaking great, and well, as always, a side smatter of delicious moreness.
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Kornel Esti by Dezso Kosztolanyi

Kornel Esti ★★★★☆
Kornel Esti
A Novel by Dezso Kosztolanyi
Translated from the Hungarian by Bernard Adams
(1933) 2011 / 233 Pages

The Setup: Crazy, funny and gorgeously dark, Kornel Esti sets into rollicking action a series of adventures about a man and his wicked dopplegänger, who breathes every forbidden idea of his childhood into his ear, and then reappears decades later.

Part Gogol, part Chekhov, and all brilliance, Kosztolányi in his final book serves up his most magical, radical, and intoxicating work. Here is a novel which inquires: What if your id (loyally keeping your name) decides to strike out on its own, cuts a disreputable swath through the world, and then sends home to you all its unpaid bills and ruined maidens? And then: What if you and your alter ego decide to write a book together? (from the hardcover edition)

Unless you’re familiar with the work of famed Hungarian author Dezso Kosztolanyi it’s next to impossible to decipher exactly who’s in charge by viewing the packaging of his final novel Kornel Esti. Both names are prominently displayed on the cover and the spine in the same size and font with a simple slash between them which leaves the prospective reader to wonder: is this a novel by someone named Kosztolányi about someone named Esti, a novel by Esti about Kosztolányi, or perhaps even an untitled work being attributed to both men? The answer brilliantly jumps in and out of focus once you begin reading. Just as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out you quickly realize that you don’t.

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Upstaged by Jacques Jouet

Upstaged ★★½☆☆
A Novel by Jacques Jouet
Translated from the French by 
Leland de la Durantaye
(1997) 2011 / 96 Pages

The Setup: Two minutes into the second act, there is a knock on Nicolas Boehlmer’s dressing-room door, just as he’s smoking his last cigarette before having to go back on stage . . . and, without thinking, he says,“Come in,” still in character. He quickly finds himself bound, gagged, and stripped by a man who appears to be his mirror image: costumed in the same wig, make-up, and clothes. Nicolas is powerless to prevent his usurper from going out and playing his role—with increasingly ridiculous consequences. Is this “upstaging” the act of a depraved amateur? Sabotage by a rival? A piece of guerrilla theater? A political statement? Whatever the cause, Nicolas and his fellow actors soon find their play—and their lives—making less and less sense, as the parts they play come under assault by this irrational intruder. (from the hardcover edition)

Jacques Jouet’s Upstaged is a short novel (regardless of the length of the project the author refuses to label any of his works as being a novella) that documents the events surrounding the performance of a play that goes wrong, but in the process becomes something far superior in quality when compared to its original form.

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