Friday, May 29, 2015

Catherine Siguret, "Femei celebre pe divan"

 – e-book
Traducător Laszlo Alexandru

Perioada lecturii : 8-27 mai 2015

Votul meu: 

Deşi se pare că a scris peste 50 de cărţi, trebuie să recunosc că nu ştiam nimic despre Catherine Siguret cînd m-am apucat de citit Femei celebre pe divan, carte pe care de altfel am căpătat-o graţie generozităţii domnului Laszlo Alexandru,  excelentul ei traducător şi căruia îi mulţumesc pe această cale.

Ei bine, lectura s-a dovedit interesantă, şi în perfect acord cu orizontul de aşteptare al titlului : scriitoarea alege cîteva femei celebre fie din sfera literaturii (ca Françoise Sagan, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf sau Colette), fie din sfera politicului şi/ sau a socialului (ca Lady Diana sau Jackie Kennedy), fie din sfera show-biz-ului cinematografic sau muzical (ca Dalida, Maria Callas, Édith Piaf, Josephine Baker sau Marlene Dietrich), le schiţează o scurtă biografie după care dă cuvîntul unui psihanalist sau unui psihiatru să le comenteze comportamentul.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Halldór Laxness, "The Fish Can Sing"

- e-book

Read from April 27th till May 24th 2015

My rating:

“Where fish leaves off in Iceland, Latin takes over”

I know I am unjust with my three-star rating, but The Fish Can Sing is one of those books I’ve instantly recognized the literary value of, but I couldn’t care much for. Moreover, it constantly reminded me of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses (I hear some very loud, very heartfelt protests here!) in a bizarre, twisted kind of way, not only because I had the same mixed feelings about that one too, but also because it is its total opposite: instead of a rich, overcrowded, overcoloured narrative, a severe, grey and angular one; instead of an aggressive magic realism an apparently naïve, primitive one; instead of a complicated, postmodern structure, the medieval form of a chronicle, instead of a chaotic, devouring city, a quiet and uneventful village. What connects them, however, is the same search of identity, be it social like in Rushdie’s novel, be it artistic, like in Laxness’s one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Umberto Eco, "Kant et l’ornithorynque"

  - Grasset 1999 ISBN 9782253150268

Lu du 7 avril au 21 mai 2015

Mon vote :

C'est curieux que je n’ai pensé ni même un moment à la sémiose quand j’ai acheté Kant et l’ornithorynque, étant donné que je m’attendais à ce que les catégories kantiennes soient mises en doute, mais d’une façon ironique-philosophique, disons, car le penchant d’Umberto Eco pour les paradoxes et les associations bizarres m'était familier (vous rappelez-vous Comment voyager avec un saumon ?)

De toute façon, après cette lecture je me suis rendu compte que de la sémiose me reste quelques vagues notions de mes années universitaires même si à un moment donné elle m’a passionnée tellement que j’aurais aimé approfondir mes études dans cette direction. C’est-à-dire je possédais jadis un « Contenu Molaire » alimenté de plusieurs lectures de spécialité (dont Eco était le premier favori) que j’ai perdu graduellement au fil des années jusqu’à ce qu’il se transforme dans un « Contenu Nucléaire » assez rudimentaire (plus ou moins réduit à la définition « science des signes ») et qui coïncide avec mon « Type Cognitif ».

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Evelyn Waugh, "Brideshead Revisited"

 – e-book

Read from August 28th to September 4th 2014.

My rating:

A Catholic Epiphany

Brideshead Revisited is the third novel I’ve read by Evelyn Waugh after A Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies and I found it so different from the other two that I almost suspected someone stole his name and put it on the cover. Gone is his original and controverted technique of the external approach that used the dialogue, juxtaposition and the annihilation of the cause-and-effect chain to suggest the lack of values, the emptiness and the senselessness of the society, technique that singularized his voice in a time of the triumph of subjectivity, of stream of consciousness and other discoveries of the modernists in the interwar London. As David Lodge pertinently observed in his Modes of Modern Writing,

In Work Suspended (1942) and still more obviously in Brideshead Revisited (1945), Waugh made a radical change in his technique. His style became heavily metaphorical, given to long, elaborate analogies, but at the same time the narrative itself became more conventional in structure, following the fortunes of a group of interrelated characters as they unfolded in time and space.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kazuo Ishiguro, "The Buried Giant"

 – e-book

Read from April 24th to May 6th 2015

My rating:

The Birth of Myths

In one of her short stories, Alice Munro evokes an ancestor who was the last to live at the border of reality and fantasy, for, she said, he was the last known to have encountered fairies and ghosts. It reminded me of another unusual border, imagined by Umberto Eco on an island where you could freely cross the line between yesterday and tomorrow. These are the stories The Buried Giant made me think of, before Tolkien’s mighty goblins and Yourcenar’s re-invention of history some critics compared Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel to. For it finely imagined a third border, this time between history and myth. It seems to me that this is what The Buried Giant is about: a glimpse at that illo tempore imagined by Mircea Eliade, that is at the dawn of time, when man inhabited the sacred as easily as the profane.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Alice Munro, "The View from Castle Rock"

 –Penguin Modern Classics, Canada 2010 ISBN 978-0-14-317740-1

Read from April 10th to May 5th 2015

My rating: 

Marin Preda, a great Romanian author, declared once in an interview, speaking of his most famous character: “Ilie Moromete, who really existed, was my father.” I’ve always used this quote as an example for my students of how writers like to maintain a deliberate confusion between fiction and reality.

In her Foreword of The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro is even more ambiguous. After informing the reader that there is an historical truth behind her stories, she emphasizes the word stories as though putting it in opposition with the concept of real events, only to suggest immediately afterwards that reality and fiction are impossible to be told apart, that you can read them, without being wrong, either as the biography of a family or as a narrative inspired by this biography:

These are stories.You could say that such stories pay more attention to the truth of life than fiction usually does. But not enough to swear on. And the part of this book that might be called family history has expanded into fiction, but always within the outline of a true narrative. With these developments the two streams came close enough together that they seemed to me meant to flow in one channel, as they do in this book.