Paradise —By Abdulrazak Gurnah

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book impressed me in many ways, because no matter how Africa had been presented to us by different authors, this novel has peeled all the layers to show itself as raw as it gets. We could say that the story of Yusuf, the protagonist, is heartbreaking, a story that was based on pure abandonment and solitude.  Yusuf was neglected by their parents, handled to a business man to whom they had debt, without even explaining the situation. That was their payment. ‘Uncle Aziz’ was to take Yusuf to his house to make him work to repay. He was 12.

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Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book fell in my hands as a simple coincidence. It was a gift. I’ve heard about Siddhartha, of course, but never expected a book to be so deeply grounded  and at the same time so ethereal.  Paulo Coelho, one of my favourite authors and who made introductions for this book, explains the troubles Herman Hesse —the German born author— had to go through in order to complete this book. When reading it, one can decipher why: This is a book about illumination, of looking for the One and Only, and finding It through the inner self. Of acknowledging the internal divinity, the infinite possibilities that connect the Universe with every human being. Hesse had discussed with acquaintances about his lack of guidance on how to finish the book. The task he had on his hands was too great and proved of enormous challenges.

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Women who run with the Wolves —By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Book Review

Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This woman is the first that comes to my mind when I think about this book. She is prismatic, multifaceted, a whole, complete, intellectual, emotional and spiritual woman. Wherever side you look of her, it has been worked, it is full with experiences and memories, and specially with wonderful teachings in which every single woman can benefit from.

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The Stranger —By Albert Camus

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I would not rate Monsieur Meursault, the protagonist, as an antihero, but I have never seen so much apathy in a character, not even with cold blood assassins, which, I think, was not his case. 

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1Q84 — From Haruki Murakami

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As every novel written by Murakami, we can find big amounts of fantasy, sex, strange scenarios and characters living in parallel worlds that come out of the ordinary. However 1Q84 takes its fictional features to another level.

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The Golden Notebook —By Doris Lessing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Review

This novel incarnates an amazing power and a vast relevance to these days. It is easy to forget that it was written in the 50s, as we are still discussing the subjects of the book, which are all different, although they make part of the same woman’s life. These woman’s thoughts are full of contradictions between being a communist and racist, between being a feminist and a homophobic, between being a good partner to her men and a lousy mother to her daughter.

The book narrates the life of Anna Wulf, an independent writer, communist and in a certain way a feminist. She has a dear friend, Molly. I found this friendship to be dysfunctional, or at least to accentuate the dysfunctional personalities of both women individually, which causes great damage to them and their children. The entire book is narrated by Anna. It is not divided in titles or chapters, which made the reading difficult. However, it is interesting how the author changes subjects, dividing the book in notebooks, black, red, yellow and blue. It is still disorganised, as she changes subjects and colours as she writes, but one can follow the sequence of the changes when getting used to what she is talking about.

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City of girls —By Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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?”

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Crime and Punishment ­-By Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

‘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.

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A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women —By Siri Hustvedt

Politics and Feminism

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There is an unbalance between the scientific field and the literary field. The literary world has always been considered inferior. Maybe it is because its association with the feminine. But why are the sciences regarded as hard and masculine and the arts and the humanities regarded as soft and feminine? And within both the scientific world and the literary word, why are male scientist and writers preferred, more trusted, over women? And why if the literary world is considered a female science, writer women are always discriminated as less intelligent and less articulated than male writers? This is what Siri Hustvedt is good for. To spot the biases that go unnoticed to some of us. Hustvedt has accurately pointed to several misogynist aspects in the arts and the sciences.

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Love in the Time of Cholera —By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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.

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