The book starts with the protagonist, Vivian Morris, writing a letter to Angela, a secondary character. I have always cherished whoever can write a letter, as I do not know many people who can actually do it. At this point of the book Vivian has aged and she is planning to recall her own story only to answer one single question from Angela. “Vivian, Angela wrote, “given that my mother has passed away, I wonder if you might now feel comfortable telling me what you were to my father?”
‘To find the sense of life one has to read Dostoyevsky’, someone has said once, so I put myself to work. I have been on a mission to read as many classics as I can, and the Russians, especially Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, are mandatory when climbing the ladder in the pursue of learning how to read. Because knowing how to read is not to scroll across a bunch of letters with no sense or sentiment, but to taste the flavour of every sentence, it is to stop and enjoy the smell of every quote, conversation and emotion, and to get to know the characters to the point in which you can feel them at every breath.
Siri Hustvedt shows how multifaceted she is in this book. This not come as a surprise, as she has always said that she has made several working papers and studies in psychology and psychiatry. And she demonstrates her knowledge in this field in What I love. This is a wonderful book, where a fine writing gets mixed with an unbelievable story. A story that goes deep down into the characters, exploring love, divorce, art, mental health and grief.
It is the story of Theodore Decker, a boy from New York. His life was full of obstacles since the very beginning. A good boy that had to shape himself into the different circumstances that were occurring in his life. He had a loving mother and this was the refreshing part of his beginnings. But this love had to mix with an alcoholic and indifferent father, who fortunately abandoned them when Theo was in his teenage years. However, life fell apart when his mother died during an explosion in the Metropolitan Museum, where they were looking for his mother’s favourite Dutch exposition that included the Goldfinch. Theo, injured but conscious, stole the painting from the museum, under the advice of a dying man who was also visiting the exposition with his niece.
I am fascinated by this book. Because Elena Ferrante does not disappoint when digging into the physic of her characters. They are normal people, like any neighbour we could have, to whom we say hello in the morning, without really thinking about their lives. That is only the beginning, as the stories start recounting their apparent normal lives. In this case, it was from Giovanna’s perspective, an only child, who lived with her likely normal parents, attending a normal school, with her normal friends, in a normal neighbourhood.
Joël Dicker new novel follows the same style of his previous books, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair and The Disappearance of Stephany Miller. This time, oddly and genially mixing the thriller gender along with a bit of comedy and even reality, as the author himself gets inside the story.
I must say I love spy novels, those that are really classic style, where the incumbents communicate leaving special bags in shopping malls, or a red x on a rubbish bin in the middle of the street, or use braille on a paper that has been ironed against a piece of cloth. And John LeCarré was the special guy for these type of novels. I read this book because I saw his interview in the Spanish Newspaper El Pais —his real name is David John Moore Cornwell—. He was brilliant. I loved his political audacity, the way he critized his government, nothing politically-correct-out-of-the-sort. Being part of the MI6 in the 1950s and 1960s, he had great material to outsmart his critics and better yet to fed his novels.
It is an outstanding novel. Published in 1985, it is an open window to Garcia Marquez own story. It is based on the romantic love between his parents and all the obstacles they had to overcome to end up being together, with some variations. In the novel, Florentino Ariza, the telegraphist, witnessed how his long time love, Fermina Daza, slipped through his fingers after his love letters chased her for endless months through the whole territory of Colombia. Fermina Daza was taken away by his father, on a long trip on mule, trying to extinguish that flame of love, and he succeeded. When Fermina returned to their home town she saw him and was disappointed. She punished him with an absolute indifference for more than fifty years.
I have always been enlightened by this book. It is not because of Fantastica and its inhabitants, such strange beings that the only thing I wish is that they were real. Except for the bad guys, of course, because they are truly evil. Is the story, that reaches to mystical levels. I saw the film for the first time when I was eight years old. It stayed engraved in my memory as a revelation. Because it turns out that in this film, and with more detail in the book, the explanation for all the origins of reality is the imagination. The more we daydream, the more our wishes come true. We just need to imagine, and have a strong desire, in order to make our own world.
This is the story of Gabito, as he was called by his mother and best friends in life. It is a book of a fundamental narrative, that describes the writer’s memories between 1927 and 1950. It is also a story of personal and professional success. A success that was clearly and unequivocally elusive, for many years.