Author Archives: shoshibookblog

Before Marlene Dietrich and ‘The Blue Angel’ there was: ‘Professor Unrat’ by Heinrich Mann

Marlene Dietrich became an international star following her role as the seductive cabaret singer Lola Lola in ‘The Blue Angel.’  It’s not hard to see why, she is utterly captivating as the fame fatale responsible for the downfall of Emil … Continue reading

Posted in Books vs films, Heinrich Mann | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Another Ironic Title: ‘Wonderful Wonderful Times’ by Elfriede Jelinek

The English-language title of Jelinek’s 1980 novel comes from the reminiscences of one of its characters, Herr Witkowski, a former SS officer in post-War Vienna.  Unlike his ex-colleagues, who are thriving in late 1950s Austria, he is a powerless cripple, … Continue reading

Posted in Elfreide Jelinek, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Marking the end of an era: ‘The Radetzky March’ by Joseph Roth

‘The Radetzky March’ has been on my reading list for simply ages.  Last summer I wrote about my expectations of Roth’s classic as ‘an Austro-Hungarian ‘War and Peace.’  I can now confirm that this is a terrible description of the … Continue reading

Posted in Joesph Roth, Reading in translation | 6 Comments

And the 2019 Woman’s Prize for Fiction goes to – ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones

‘An American’ Marriage’ begins with a quote from the wonderful Claudia Rankine ‘What happens to you doesn’t belong to you, only half concerns you.  It’s not yours. Not yours only.‘  It’s a lesson to challenge the characters of the award-winning … Continue reading

Posted in Baileys Prize, Tayari Jones | 3 Comments

For your consideration: ‘Kudos’ by Rachel Cusk

Rachel Cusk’s ‘Outline’ is one of the most quietly experimental novels of recent years.  Through muted, almost alienated prose, it presents the most powerful evocation of depression and isolation I think I have ever read.  Of course, once the character, tone and … Continue reading

Posted in Rachel Cusk | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Finding the monster ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi

Mary’s Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein‘ tells of a monster created by a hubristic scientist out of scavenged, beautiful body parts in a doomed attempt to demonstrate human ingenuity.  The result was an abomination who has nonetheless gone on to capture the hearts … Continue reading

Posted in Ahmed Saadawi, Gothic Literature, Man Booker International Prize 2018, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What is seen and what is missed: ‘Closely Watched Trains’ by Bohumil Hrabal

It’s hard to talk about Bohumil Hrabal’s books – partly of course, this is due to an English lack of confidence with pronouncing his name, but it’s also because they are just so disjointed and odd, with clear, catchy titles belying … Continue reading

Posted in Bohumil Hrabal | Tagged , , | 10 Comments