Recently, I've mostly been reading books for uni classes. I've been taking one class on English South-African literature - reading Coetzee and Gordimer, and one class on European conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War and how these are represented in literature. The upcoming reviews will thus have to do with these novels. So let's go on to what I read in November!
Madame Bovary by Gustave FlaubertThis novel is about a woman, Emma, who after her marriage expects a great life, but this turns out to be an illusion. She tries reading to escape her boring life, but this doesn't work. Religion doesn't distract her either, and having a child turns out to only be a burden. I enjoyed this novel, but did not love it, so I rated it three out of five stars.
Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas
An author - a fictionalized Cercas - wants to write a novel, but is stuck on the subject. When he thinks about the story of Rafael Sánchez Mazas, who should have been executed by firing squad near the end of the Spanish Civil War but was able to escape, he decides to dive into this story. Another three out of five stars for me.
In The Heart of the Country by J.M. Coetzee
Magda, the daughter of a white farmer in South-Africa, has grown up alone with her father and the servants at the farm. It's soon clear that Magda is delusional, and maybe even mad. Difficultly written and extremely conflusing at times, resulting in an only 2.5 star rating for this novel.
The Sleeping Voice by Dulce Chacón
This novel is set right after the Spanish Civil War. It centers around Pepita who is a young woman, not at all interested in politics. However, she does get dragged into it as a messenger between her sister Hortensia who is imprisoned, and Hortensia's husband Filipe, who is a fugitive. While Pepita, I think, can be seen as the protagonist, we also learn a lot about the women in the prison with Hortensia. A heartbreaking story. 3.5 stars.
Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer
Rosa Burger's parents are very politically involved, being against the South-African apartheid regime. As a result, they are constantly in and out of prison. Her mother died when she was quite young, meaning she was to care for her father from quite a young age onwards. When he then dies, Rosa can for the first time focus on herself, establishing an identity for her own. The writing style of this novel is extremely confusing, and I did not have a pleasant reading experience, hence my two star rating.
Lies of Silence by Brian Moore
Michael Dillon has finally decided to divorce his wife and go to London with his mistress. The night he wants to tell his wife, however, they get in a fight and he decides to wait until the morning. That night, however, they're taken hostage by the IRA and their life is turned upside down. Although this was an enjoyable and thrilling story, the writing was not interesting and the characters were flat as well as stupid. I rated it 3 stars, but I may rate this down to 2.5.
Stay tuned for reviews on all of these novels!
Also, December has been pretty productive for me so far too, I've already read three books and will finish the fourth one today :)
Have a great Thursday! x