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Bücher, Filme, Technik und Benedict Cumberbatch – auf Deutsch and in English

Schlagwort: Literature

Ian Mc Ewan: The Daydreamer

Frequent visitors of my blog (hello again if you are one) or those you follow me on social media especially on Twitter (hiiii, nice to meet you over here) know that I have a soft spot for the British author Ian McEwan ever since I stumbled upon the film “Atonement” and decided to read the German translation of the book (for those of you moaning: I got my hands on the English one later as well). It not only offered the opportunity to dive into the novel the film is based upon (and of course a certain actor named Benedict Cumberbatch) but also introduced me to an author I’ve never heard of before (to my defence I’m not British, although this isn’t a good excuse given the fact that his works are available in wonderful German translations published by Diogenes.) Being late to the party isn’t that bad in this particular case because I don’t have to wait impatiently for the next book to be published (of course I do) but instead in every book shop I’m happily strolling to the shelves where Ian McEwan’s works are sitting and pick up the one that is lacking on my shelf.

“They thought he was difficult because he was so silent. That seemed to bother people. (…) He liked to be alone and think his own thoughts.”

My latest one therefore is “Daydreamer” which followed me from Waterstones Piccadilly (one of my beloved places in London) and which I finished only recently. Although it is a small one, the book is a collection of short stories that are  connected through the main figure Peter Fortune. The ten year old boy is the daydreamer, a silent boy that prefers to be on his own, reading and imagining the stories in the book. But Peter not only is imagining the stories, he always is part of them and tells them from his point of view. So when he dreams himself in being the  old cat William, he literally becomes the furry animal that has lived with Peter, his sister and his parents ever since William has been a young cat.

“It was the oddest thing, to climb out of your body, just to step out of it and leave it lying on the carpet like a shirt you had just taken off.”

Eventually Peter and William the cat will change bodies again in the end which is a sad one. But the story – and the six others – are so well written and intriguing that you sigh with delight and relief because even if there isn’t a happy end, there is too much joy in reading especially this story and the other. And the only sad thing about Ian McEwan’s short stories is – that they are too short.

Ian McEwan: Daydreamer, Vintage, 7,99 £

Donna Tartt: The secret history

What is a good book, a good novel? One that grabs you, draws you inside it’s pages, inside the story and even stays in your mind when you have read the last word.  At least this is what I consider a good book.  And “The secret history” by Donna Tartt is definitely a good novel.

That is because the  story is so well written that once you have read a few pages, you have difficulties putting the book aside and if you have to – you know real life can be very demanding and your boss won’t take “reading” for an excuse – you want to know very badly how the story unfolds. That story takes the reader to Hampden College in New England, together with the narrator Richard Papen who moves all the way from California to study English Literature here.  Soon he discovers that the only thing he really wants to learn is classic languages and attend the classes of Julian Morrow, a teacher who only has few pupils, four boys and a girl. A elitist group which is centred around Henry Winter. Henry is a stranger in modern times together with his intellect, his knowledge about everything and his appearance he seems to be another Sherlock Holmes. A hint that Sherlockians of course will get at the very beginning of the story but which Donna Tartt picks up every now and then.

“(Henry Winter) might have been handsome had his features been less set, or his eyes, behind the glasses, less expressionless and blank. (…) He spoke a number of languages, ancient and modern, and had published a translation of Anacreon, with commentary, when he was only eighteen.”

Richard convinces Julian to take him into his classes and finds himself within a community that while  concentrating on ancient languages lives a life separated from their fellow students, even from modern life itself.

“The secret history” is thrilling, neither boring nor predictable and you will regret deeply when  you have reached the final page.

 

Donna Tartt: The secret history, Penguin £ 8,99.

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