New month. More books hauled into my burgeoning collection. This time around, I was able to cop a bunch of books published by the New York Review of Books. I’ve already read one of the books they’ve published, Magda Szabo’s The Door and I was deeply impressed, hence, leading to this obsession with books by the aforementioned publisher. Before I let my loquacious side take everyone’s time, here are the books I was able to “haul” in August. Happy reading!


PinocchioTitle: Pinocchio
Author: Carlo Collodi
Translator: Geoffrey Brock
Publisher:
 New York Review of Books
Publishing Date: 2009
No. of Pages: 160

Synopsis: “ Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchio at the same time remains unknown – linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi’s splendid original. That story is of course about a puppet who, after many trials, succeeds in becoming a “real boy.” Yet it is hardly a sentimental or morally improving tale. To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page, a madcap genius hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires, a renegade who in many ways resembles his near contemporary Huck Finn.

Pinocchio the novel, no less than Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of modern literature. A sublime anomaly, the book merges the traditions of the picaresque, of street theater, and of folk and fairy tales into a work that is at once adventure, satire, and a powerful enchantment that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is an endlessly fascinating work that is essential equipment for life.”

HousesTitle: Houses
Author: Borislav Pekic
Translator: Bernard Johnson
Publisher:
 New York Review of Books
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 212

Synopsis: “Building can be seen as a master metaphor for modernity, which some great irresistible force, be it Fascism or Communism or capitalism, is always busy rebuilding, and Houses is a book about a man, Arsenie Negovan, who has devoted his life and his dreams to building.

Bon vivant, Francophile, visionary, Negovan spent the first half of his life building houses he loved and even named – Juliana, Christina, Agatha – while making his hometown of Belgrade into a modern city to be proud of. The second half of his life, after World War II and the Nazi occupation, he has spent in one of those houses, looked after by his wife and a nurse, in hiding. Houses is set on the final day of his life, when Negovan at last ventures forth to see the world as it is.

Negovan is one of the great characters in modern fiction, a man of substance and deluded fantasist, a beguiling visionary and a monster of selfishness, a charmer no matter what. And perhaps he is right to fear that home is only an illusion in our world, or that only in illusion there is home.”

the inventione of morelTitle: The Invention of Morel
Author: Adolfo Bioy Casares
Translator: Ruth L.C. Simms
Publisher:
 New York Review of Books
Publishing Date: 2003
No. of Pages: 103

Synopsis: “Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw. This fantastic exploration of virtual realities also bears comparison with the sharpest work of Philip K. Dick. It is both a story of suspense and a bizarre romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

Inspired by Bioy Casares’s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to find such admirers as Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Octavio Paz. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year in Marienbad, this classic of modern Latin American literature also changed the history of film.”

Title:
The communistAuthor: Guido Morselli
Translator: Frederika Randall
Publisher:
 New York Review of Books
Publishing Date: 2017
No. of Pages: 316

Synopsis: “Walter Ferranini has been born and bred a man of the left. His father was a worker and an anarchist; Walter himself is a Communist. In the 1930s, he left Mussolini’s Italy to fight Franco in Spain. After Franco’s victory, he left Spain for exile in the United States. With the end of the war, he returned to Italy to work as a labor organizer and to build a new revolutionary order. Now, in the late 1950s, Walter is a deputy in the Italian parliament.

He is not happy about it. Parliamentary proceedings are too boring for words: the Communist Party seems to be filling up with ward heelers, timeservers, and profiteers. For Walter, the political has always taken precedence over the personal, but now there seems to be no refuge for him anywhere. The puritanical party disapproves of his relationship with Nuccia, a tender, quizzical, deeply intelligent editor who is separated but not divorced, while Walter is worried about his health, haunted by his past, and increasingly troubled by knotty questions of both theory and practice. Walter is, always has been, and always will be a Communist, he has no doubt about that, and yet something has changed. Communism no longer explains the life he is living, the future he hoped for, or, perhaps most troubling of all, the life he has led.”

20190905_194423-01.jpegTitle: Adam Bede
Author: George Eliot
Publisher:
 The Zodiac Press
Publishing Date: 1984
No. of Pages: 509

Synopsis: “Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.
The story’s plot follows four characters’ rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel revolves around a love triangle between beautiful but self-absorbed Hetty Sorrel, Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire who seduces her, Adam Bede, her unacknowledged suitor, and Dinah Morris, Hetty’s cousin, a fervent, virtuous and beautiful Methodist lay preacher.” (Source: Goodreads
)

il_794xN.1655080074_8qlzTitle: The Temple of My Familiar
Author: Alice Walker
Publisher: The Women’s Press
Publishing Date: 1989
No. of Pages: 403

Synopsis: “’A romance of the last 500,000 years,’ so Alice Walker describes The Temple of My Familiar, her first novel since the hugely popular The Color Purple, filmed in 1986 by Steven Spielberg.

Transcending the conventions of time and place, this powerful and visionary novel looks at history from the viewpoint of peoples at present dispossessed and discounted, peoples whose history is ancient and whose future is yet to come.

Leading the story, we find the wonderful, a woman of thousand pasts, and her gentle painter companion Hal; Arveyda the great guitarist and his Latin American wife in flight from her own past; Suwelo the history teacher, whose generation of men has ‘failed women’, and his former wife Fanny who falls in love with spirits… And elsewhere, hovering tantalisingly are Miss Celie and Miss Shug of The Color Purple, to which this story is related both in vision and in spirit.”


I guess I made a highway robbery with these quality purchases. How about you, fellow readers? What books were you able to purchase in August? Feel free to share your list.

~ CLB

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