Friday, May 13, 2011

greetings from California

I have been waiting for a while to get back on to Blogger (perhaps it's time to switch to wordpress?) to post that I'm on vacation, so I'll have to wait until I get home to FL to post my reviews.  Every year, Larry's company sends a few people on a cruise as a bonus -- this year we're off to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.  Mazatlan was originally on the itinerary, but because of the upswing in violence there from all the drug cartels duking it out in 5-star hotel parking lots, the cruise line has decided it's probably not a good place for American tourists to be.  Shame, really, because Larry and I have a favorite beach horseback ride place we love in Mazatlan, and now we have to skip that.  Better safe than sorry, though.

Anyway, here's what I've read and what I'll be posting about, both here and over at the crime segments:

Kamchatka, by Marcelo Figueras (my new favorite novel of the year) -- a look at Argentina's Dirty War through the eyes of a child whose parents are politicos and on the run.  I must say, this book is on my list of simply outstanding novels for this year -- and there's only one book on that list.  That's how bloody good it is.

Train to Budapest, by Dacia Maraini -- a story in which a woman in the late 1950s goes looking for a Jewish childhood friend whose last known address was a concentration camp.  On her way to find more information, she discovers others with their own stories to tell, and runs smack into the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets. 

The Darkroom of Damocles, by Willem Frederik Hermans -- an amazing story about a man caught up in occupied Holland during WWII -- an existential novel about a guy who takes orders from another man no one has ever seen, landing him in trouble after the war is over.  More later, but really really good.

for the crime segments:
The Whisperer, by Donato Carrisi -- on the blurb it says it's a "literary thriller," but it's actually neither.  My advice -- a very mainstream kind of read, which is just sad; not up to my usual choices in translated crime fiction.

I'm currently one-quarter way through Jo Nesbo's newest, The Leopard, which I bought from the UK after The Snowman, because I couldn't wait another two years for it to be published in the US!  I'm liking this one much better than The Snowman so far, but I'll definitely be back for the review.

a couple of notes: to Jackie, at Farm Lane Books -- Thanks for the review of King of the Badgers -- it's waiting for me when I get home. I'll read it straightaway! 

to Col -- you're welcome, and there's so many relief efforts in the south where the tornadoes hit, but thanks for your offer of help.  I must say, there is so much goodness in this world if people know where to look!

for everyone else, I'll be home the 23rd, back on line the 24th of May, and I'm spending most of the week on my balcony lounge chair reading, so I'll have a lot to talk about.

See you later, and I will be able to get email for a bit, but things will be quiet here until I get back.


  1. I'll be interested to read your thoughts on King of the Badgers - I hope that you enjoy it more than I did.

    I've also just completed The Whisperer and I have to agree with your thoughts - it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

    I've just added Kamchatka, by Marcelo Figueras to my wishlist. Thanks!

  2. Frankly, re The Whisperer, it was intriguing for a while and then just got too bizarre to keep any sort of credibility. I was so bummed -- it was supposed to be so good! Oh well-- that's the book world!

  3. Have a wonderful trip! Safe travels -- and looking forward to your reviews when you get back!


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