Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
Houses by Borislav Pekić
Blurb from Goodreads
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 building anew, and Houses is a book about a man, Arseniev Negoyan, who has devoted his life and his dreams to building.
Bon vivant, Francophile, visionary, Negoyan spent the first half of his life building houses he loved and even gave names to—Juliana, Christina, Agatha—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, being looked after by his wife and a nurse, in hiding. Now, on the last day of his life, Negoyan has decided to go out at last to see what he has wrought.
Negoyan is one of the great characters in modern fiction, a charming monster of selfishness and self-delusion. And for all his failings, his life poses a question for the rest of us: Where in the modern world is there a home except in illusion?
Why I Want To Read It
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you were able to recover during the weekend. There is quite a lot to look forward to in the coming week. Some are in the form of challenges while some are in the form of new knowledge. Today, I started with my new company and I am a bit anxious and excited at the same time. It is a new environment and a new set of people. But hey, I am in for all of the challenges this new world will bring me. Besides this, I hope that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. Several parts of the world, including the Philippines, are slowly returning to normal and are opening up. Offline concerts are now being held across the world. Sports events are open for spectators. While I understand that protocols are in place, I hope that everyone still observes minimum health protocols. I just hope that the pandemic, with all its variants, will soon come to an end.
To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. Before May started, I have already resolved to read works of European as I have quite a few books on my pile waiting to be opened. So far, this journey transported me to various parts of Europe such as Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Albania. My current read, Bohumil Hrabal’s The Little Town Where Time Stood Still has transported me to the Czech Republic; this is my first novel by the highly heralded Czech writer. While this is uncharted territory, I am excited about this new reading journey. For this Goodreads Monday update, I have decided to feature Serbian-Montenegrin writer Borislav Pekić’s Houses.
First published in 1970 in Serbo-Croatian as Hodočašće Arsenija Njegovana, the book was picked up by the New York Review Books (NYRB). It was their version that I acquired back in August 2019. I mentioned this because one of the primary reasons I obtained a copy of the book was because it was published by NYRB. NYRB did a stellar job of introducing to me Magda Szabo’s The Door, and eventually, Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. Apart from this, I was also drawn to the book because it was written by someone I assumed to be a Serbian (or Yugoslavian) writer based on his last name. I have read very little Serbian literature and Balkan literature in general. As such, the book falls into the category of books I want to read because I wanted to expand my horizon.
From the synopsis, there are metaphors in the book that underscored the turbulent history of Serbia. I am also intrigued by the discourse on the metaphors the book seemingly contains. Fascism, communism, and even capitalism were mentioned. The book was also published as The Houses of Belgrade. Belgrade is, of course, the capital of the former Yugoslavia. There are quite a lot of things I look forward to in the book. I just hope I get to read it before I transition to another part of the literary world. How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Baltic literature you can recommend to me? I hope you can share it in the comment box. I hope the rest of the week will be great for everyone. For now, happy reading!