My reaction to Urmuz' book was rather ambivalent. Initially my expression was predominated by a huge question mark: I've rarely come across stories that were so strange and ended so abruptly. While that expression of wonder surely never left it was occasionaly joined by mirth and/or fascination. Because besides being so weird these stories are also absurdly funny sometimes and relate events that trigger the imagination in an original way. Apparently Eugene Ionesco called Urmuz his great influence and I can see why. This reads like a premonition of absurdism, written decades before the term came into fashion.

4 July 2008

Meulenhoff, 1985
Original titel Pagini bizare, 1930
Translated from the Romanian into Dutch by Jan Willem Bos

(citește în română)


Tough nut to crack. Beautiful language is interspersed with almost boring passages. Hard to stay focused. The Waves is all form and hardly any plot. The form may be interesting, but some content would be nice as well. Perhaps on a re-read it is easier to appreciate this experimental, difficult novel. I hope The Years reads a bit better.

25 April 2008

Oxford University Press, 1998
Originally published 1931


It's witty, it's elusive, it's remarkable and it's probably a novel. Orlando is one of those books that refuse to be categorized; it mocks categories simply. Although radically different from Mrs Dalloway, the style is somehow still Woolf's. It's certainly a style I like. Here comes The Waves.

19 March 2008

Oxford University Press, 2000
Originally published 1928


Had to read this novel for its Postcolonial value. And while it certainly satisfied on that level, it turned to be rewarding on other levels as well; surprising for a redo of Robinson Crusoe, a novel which I didn't like at all. Foe, however, is a lot better. Beautifully written and very concise (something that definitely doesn't count for Crusoe) this short novel manages to pose intriguing questions such as 'Why do we write stories' and 'Why do people wish to read them'; 'How do we use language'; 'Why do we treat other people the way we do'. In all, Foe got me thinking about all sorts of things; one of them, which novel of Coetzee to read next.

21 June 2007

Penguin Books, 1987
Originally published 1986


I first read this novel two years ago. While certainly appreciating it back then it struck me on more levels when reading it now, anno 2007. The many subtle references and puns can only be followed upon rereading; something Nabokov must have purposely designed. Pale Fire is one of the more difficult novels I've ever read, but if you adhere to someone's famous motto - stay the course - you'll find some nice treasures at the end of the rainbow. Especially recommended for readers interested in Postmodern fiction, cybertext and literary criticism.

27 April 2007

Penguin Books, 2000
Originally published 1962


reading now