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Archive for December, 2014

The Little Friend – book review

Book by Novels
Sunday, December 28, 2014 Review by Fabrizio Giulimondi

[amazon template=wishlist&asin=B005PRJT9Q]“THE LITTLE FRIEND” BY DONNA TARTT

After Donna Tartt’s two masterpieces “The Secret History” and “The Goldfinch”, this column couldn’t avoid a review of her halfway novel, “The little Friend” (BUR Rizzoli).
It is a novel about pain, an egotistic and asphyxiating pain, because no one listens to their fellow’s scream and we are all monads, pent-up in our own dark solitude.

Harriet, a 12 years old girl in mid 30’s Mississippi, tragically loses her 9 years old little brother and, together with her beautiful and amorphous sister, gets lost in her own silent drama, even when her beloved nanny, her only emotional reference, gets fired after decades of dedicated work, and even when one of her three dear aunts dies.

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Their anguish isn’t regarded as important and is almost a cause of annoyance for the people surrounding the two girls. Their mother, clouded by psychiatric drugs and an uncontrollable torment, they are but ghosts, while her harsh and sour grandmother, they represent a chance to exhibit the stupidity of an educational model that lacks sensitivity, comprehension and sweetness.

All the characters are enveloped in a dark and unrelenting isolation, where love, communication and dialogue are completely absent, and this absence is also reflected in the spaces: “then she went away across the empty, sunny and surreal garden”…”not like her house, always in dim light, where memories recalled a heavy feeling, an unpleasant trail of old clothes and dust”.

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Feelings are not genuine, since there are no parents, no families and friends, only the single characters who, no matter how evil, fail to arouse a glimmer of compassion in the reader.
And Harriet, the heroine, part sad and disenchanted damsel, part cunning criminal, within her annihilated adolescence buried in the “Absence-of-Everything”, could she be the Author’ past younger self?
Among occasionally repulsive depictions and the majesty of natural descriptions, Donna Tartt ties the reader’s tongue with anxiety and leaves an vague aftertaste of dizziness in his mouth.

“Underlying a vapid silence – a terrible silence, as if the world had ended and most of the people in it had died – the painful awareness of Libby’s house shut up and vacant only a few streets away. Lawn unmowed, flower beds browned and sizzling with weeds; inside, the mirrors empty pools without reflection and the sunlight and moonlight gliding indifferently through the rooms.”

By Fabrizio Giulimondi

I highly recommend you read this great book… Rated: — [rating=5]


Kafka on The Shore – book review

Book by Novels
Sunday, December 28, 2014 Review by Fabrizio Giulimondi


“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory…… The only thing that distinguishes one day from the next is tire weather. If the weather was the same I couldn’t tell one day from another. Yesterday, today, tomorrow… They’d all blur into one. Like an anchorless ship, time floats aimlessly across the broad see.”

Talking about Japanese literature is not easy, much less about the work of a genius such as Haruki Murakami (father, along with the Latin – American Gabriel Garcia Marquez, of “magic realism”), who, with his novel “Kafka on the shore” (Einaudi Super ET, 2002), reaches levels of intricate, intriguing and ineffable beauty.
“Kafka on the shore” unsettles and charms the reader with its content, its stile and the very language structure. There is no way of approaching this work – just like every other efforts from Murakami – other than using the same approaching technique art historians use in order to enjoy a cubist, surrealist or abstract canvas, where vanishing points, perspective view, and the focal point of the figurative representation are completely twisted in relation to classic pictorial conception, and where the representation of the human figure is deconstructed and torn apart from reality.

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In much the same fashion, the reader must move amongst the pages of “Kafka on the shore”.
Magic, mystery, supernatural, dreamy and fable – like implications, the absurd, the extravagant, they’re all part of reality, they are one with it. There is no separation, no cut, between visible and intangible world, between space and sense of space, between time and its own flowing, past, present and future, and the lack thereof. A unique universe were nothing is clear, you cannot find certainties inside answers and everything is just an hypothesis, wrapped in a layer of soot that hides every detail, every reality, making them blurred, incomprehensible and impalpable.
The romantic harmony and the delicate poetry of a moment are suddenly shaken by flashes of cannibalistic violence and incestuous erotic obscenity, a staple of Nippon literature, rich Asian cinematography and comics art from the “Lotus flowers country”, as taught to us by Hayao Miyazaki’s animation films.

Depictions of nature are sometimes expressionist and sometimes impressionist, and are overlapped by introspective stories from each character. Every representation of the physical aspect of a human being or an animal is merely an excuse to enter deeply inside its inner world and its essence. Physicality and spirituality, one is yin, the other is yang. Each element is significant and insignificant at the same time, wrapped in a pantheist and shintoist sacredness.
Narration is continually interpolated with references to Greek and Roman literature or Anglo-Saxon and Russian contemporary times. Edipus, King of Sofocle is the leitmotiv, but we can also find the research of man typical of Kafka and the presence of Edgar Allan Poe, because Kafka means crow in Czech language, just like “The Boy called Crow”, alias of main character Tamura Kafka, The Raven indeed.

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“Kafka on the Shore” is the masterpiece title, but also a song which acts as a soundtrack for the book, and also a painting in which the characters try to reflect and understand themselves, with no success.
Sartre said that a word can have many meanings, recall many images, and unleash many emotions. “Kafka on the Shore” isn’t just a work of literature, but is also music and painting and, therefore, a magmatic, whirling and uncontrollable multitude of feelings, emotions, and sensations.

“There are lots of other sounds that take its place–the chirping of birds, the cries of all sorts of insects, the gurgle of the brook, the rustling of leaves. Rain falls, something scrambles across the cabin roof, and sometimes I hear indescribable sounds I can’t explain.”

By Fabrizio Giulimondi

I highly recommend you read this great book… Rated: — [rating=5]

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