It is midweek again! Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope you are all doing well during this time of uncertainties. With the midweek is another WWW Wednesday update. WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme originally hosted by SAM@TAKING ON A WORLD OF WORDS. The mechanics for WWW Wednesday is quite simple, you just have to answer three questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
I had a high time reading works of Latin American and Caribbean literature last May. However, I felt like I barely scratched the surface; I only read six, way less than my expectations. Because of this, I have extended my journey to June. After travelling all over the continent, I have now landed in Brazil for the first time this two months with Jorge Amado’s Showdown. This is my first novel by the Brazilian novelist, one of my numerous random purchases last year. Originally published in Portuguese as Tocaia Grande in 1984, it is the story of a small town, or a developing village. A motley crew of cast was introduced, from a colonel to a Turkish trader to a prostitute to a “midwife”. The novel revolves around the growth of Tocaia Grande, the name of the community. I am already midway through the story and I am intrigued when I learned that Tocaia Grande literally translates to “Big Ambush”. Is this a foreshadowing to what will transpire in the community?
What have you finished reading?
After having one-book weeks, I finally managed to break the chain and finally read at least two novels. The first novel that I completed was my current read during last week’s WWW Wednesday update. I must say, Jose Donoso’s A House in the Country was simply mind blowing. The titular house in the country pertains to the summer house of the Venturas, a rich and powerful family who lived off the hard labor of the natives mining gold in the area surrounding their expansive manse. The Ventura family is an interesting mix, with most members of the family, both parents and children, having haughty behavior. Except for a few, like Wenceslao they all think that the are above reproach. It is a lush prose that deals with a plethora of subjects from family dynamics to something as sinister as cannibalism. Reading the novel reminded me of one Detective Conan movie where it was mentioned that the children are going to be a carbon copy of the parents, i.e. the son of corrupt parents will grow up to be a corrupt adult. A House in the Country was certainly a weird read.
From Chile (where Donoso is from although the novel explicitly mentioned its setting), my reading journey next transported me back to Hispaniola over at the Caribbean. However, this time around, I find myself on the other end of the island, in Haiti; I have read two novels set in Dominican Republic so far this year. Pierre Clitandre’s Cathedral of the August Heat, just like most of the books in this list, is another random purchase. I simply cannot resist the subtitle “a novel of Haiti” because I believe I have not read the works of any Haitian writers previously. Cathedral of the August Heat is a slender and is drawn more into realism than into magical realism. Clitandre painted a picture of the Haitian slums and the dire straits its denizens find themselves in, chiefly through a bus driver named John. It is a heartbreaking insight into the lives of the typical Haitian. I just wished the novel was longer.
What will you read next?
To officially conclude my immersion into Latin American and Caribbean literature, I am looking at reading two more rather short novels. I just encountered Alejandro Zambra’s Multiple Choice this year for it was named as one of the Top Ten books that captures the spirit of South America. I have never heard of Zambra before nor have I read any of his works (like all of the writers in this list) but if there is one thing about me, it is that I have a vast appetite for books. It seems like I am developing an appetite for Chilean writers. Luis Sepúlveda is the third Chilean writer in this list after Zambra and Donoso. Sepúlveda’s novel, The Old Man Who Reads Love Stories is a fairly recent purchase but I am curious what the novel has in store.
After immersing in Latin American and Caribbean literature, I am yet again traveling to distant lands, now to a more familiar territory – Japanese literature. I have been looking forward to this part of my reading year honestly. Over the past few months, I have gained copies of several Japanese writers, many of which are titles I have been looking forward to for a long time such as Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen and Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters. However, to transition into Japanese literature, I am looking at reading Haruki Murakami’s first ever novel, Hear the Wind Sing.
Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!