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.
Let me talk today about one of my most precious treasures. As a good treasured it fell into my hands by a simple coincidence. I was in Sydney, where I used to live, and as it always happens —it is still happening to me here in France—, when I cannot find books in Spanish I don’t know what to choose. I was randomly looking inside Harry Hartog, my favourite bookstore in Bondi, when I found it. Strange title, I thought. I then saw a note of recommendation classifying it as one of the best books in fiction. I bought it and left it in my own little library for two months. And when I finally took it I regret of having lost two months in which I should had known everything about this book.
Being creative is like playing hide-and-seek. She runs in every direction, I chase her, with all my speed and my strength. She stops, looks at me an laughs. She disappears. I run again, this time determined to catch her, I find her, and I touch her, yes, I think I just touched her, but when I try to grab her from her muscular arm she scapes and runs again, laughing at me, once again.
Gretchen Rubin has been famous for some years now. Not to me. I ran into her book by only a coincidence, looking for those books that are chicken soup for the soul. It was the word happiness that got my attention because, Are we not all looking to find it? Is it not the last end of life that all the philosophers talk about? The aim of all religions and theories in this world? She said she could find it and I was up for it.
‘The absolute absence of weight makes the man to become lighter in the air, to fly higher, distance from the Earth, from his earthy being, that is real only in half and his movements are as free as they are insignificant’ [my own translation]
Milan Kundera loves Nietzsche. He loves his country, Czech Republic, he loves Prague. He speaks with great sadness of the communists times that swelled the ‘before’ of his country to turn it into a group of people with fear. But it also rescues the long-lasting and stubborn braveness of his fellow countrymen who didn’t get drown by the regime despite the consequences. Tomas, the protagonist of this story, was one of them. Tomas scaped to Europe but returned because he could not stand the solitude without Tereza, who went back to Prague tired of his infidelities. Others were more strategic. They migrated for good to Europe, right in the moment they could have done it, leaving the ‘Kitsch’, the communist dream, behind. In Czech Republic the citizens only ambition mundane things. Be born, grow up, fall in love, have children and die. There is no more aspiration that living in this utopia.
This review has no spoilers. A literary, technological and futuristic story perfect to be the theme of a great movie!
I have always doubted to talk about books that make me fall in an spiral and land in religious arguments. This review has no intention of changing a single historic, religious or spiritual belief. This review has been made to tell those who like Jesus that this is a great story. It talks about him, and the things he said, and with whom he talked, and whom he met, and what he ate, and saw, during his life, and at the end.
This book fell in my hands after Bill Gates recommended it as one of his favourite summer readings. At the beginning I thought it was a Spy’s thriller (one of my favourite genres) and that is why I ran out to buy it.
There is this shock when you realize that even before opening a book you have had a misconception. A Gentleman in Moscow was not about spies. Yes, you could feel them breathing in the main character’s neck from time to time but the story is not typical. As I was expecting the usual spy thriller, the book seemed slow and calm at the beginning. It was good that I decided to go up to the end, otherwise I would have missed a wonderful piece of literature.
Olga Tokarczuk does not need an introduction. Well, she is from Poland, Nobel Literature Prize 2018. That’s it. She has won several literature prices before. I understand why. She writes as if she were rolling over sentences in a beautiful song and each one of those sentences are attached to one another in perfection. But it was not this what left me with an open mouth. After several days and weeks of finishing ‘Flights’ my head is still spinning trying to guess how was she capable of put such simple stories, that could happen to anyone, in paper. Some of us have lived those stories, or at least one of the stories (exploration of the human body, migration, travel, languages, romance, life and death), but none of us would have been capable of telling them in such a sublime way.