Sunday, September 1, 2013

Reading in France: Balzac (via China) + the best Brazilian Novelists (via London)

Since a while, I try to read more global – and 2 of the books I took along to France are truly international, connecting different countries between their covers:

“Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress” is written by Chinese author Dai Sijie, who migrated to Paris in 1984. The book is a fictional account of his time during the time of cultural re-education in China, when “intellectuals” and their children got sent to the countryside. In these years, most of the books were forbidden – but in the tiny mountain village, through chance, he can read a copy of a novel of the famous French author Balzac – who writes about life in the French countryside. Such a beautiful book about the power of words. And Balzac himself, I have one of his works here as e-book.

“Granta #121: The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists”
The other book I am reading here in the South of France is a rather new anthology from the Granta publishers in London: “Granta #121: The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists”. Published in 2012, this collection presents 20 authors, many of them for the first time translated into English. And several of them – in a parallel to Dai Sijie – also coming from a family  background that is shaped migration and dictatorship, but with the view of the next generation: “The stories here do not convey an image of an idealized, tropical nation.  This is a generation less interested than those that preceded them in the question of Brazilian identity ..   Many of the pieces take place outside easily identifiable Brazilian settings.”

Brazil is guest of honour in this year’s Frankfurt Bookfair, so this collection also creates a connection to my upcoming visit to the bookfait in October. And it will be host of the world soccer championship in 2014. One of the stories is called: “A Temporary Stay”, and that’s how both these reads feel: like visits to unknown countries, while I am in another place myself, here in the South of France.


The other 3 France books: Proust (via London), One Autumn in Europe (via Texas), and Lost in Tranlation (via NY) 

To round this blog post up, here's the link to the other blog post i wrote about the books i read in France: 

Reading on the road in France: How Proust Can Change your Life, One Autumn in Europe, Lost in Translation


Book Links, Previous Reads & Finding Books

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf: currently  reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there.

Reading around the world - i really enjoy this literal discovery-tour of the world, and it now made me go and pull some useful links together in a blog post: Finding books by country: helpful links + resources

And more about me and my writing: here 

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