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Showing posts from February, 2012

The Map and The Territory by Michel Houellebecq

I wonder about books that gain notoriety or fame in their own country (i.e. in the country of the language in which it was first written) and which then make their way into English and are seized upon by the literati as the next [insert country / continental adjective here] masterpiece. A good example in my opinion is Alone in Berlin by “rediscovered” German war-time author Hans Fallada. There was a big fuss, lots of column inches and booksellers going a bit funny over this one, whereas when I was asked to read it for a review at the time, ignorant of its origins I found it childishly written and lacking both in pace and believable characterisation. Was this due to translation? Was it actually really chuffin' good in German? Were us Brits only going by what they were telling us?


I was concerned at the time that it was the subject of a cycle of hype that might eventually spin out of orbit with the introduction of a genuinely critical review from someone high up in the literary strat…

The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth, aka The Inky Fool

It would be folly to attempt a comprehensive review of a book that reviews, meanderingly, select elements of the language of 328 million[i] Germanic Indo-European family members, especially using said language so to do – oh the irony! So, as not to disappoint those who may read more than once, here’s my particular folly, that of ignoring sage[ii] advice in the misguided belief that stubbornness and orneriness in the face of overwhelming reason was in fact the championing of the underdog in all but lost causes in some act of romantic nobleness. No windmill shall remain at which one has not tilted[iii].
What was I saying? Oh yes, The Etymologicon[iv], for that is the work to which I am referring. Of course, persiflage aside, it very much depends on what your expectations are before opening the book as to what you will take from it once you’ve finished. If you’re a devotee of the Inky Fool blog, from which this was constructed, then I am micturating against the prevailing south-easterly. …

An apology or three

I must first apologise for being a little lazy in the pursuit of literary locution as I have been too damned busy to worry about such things as reviews of late. This will of course change in the near to middle future. 
Secondly, I must apologise for stealing this excellent graph from @thepoke and his or her rather good website here, and reproduced for your entertainment by way of mitigating your undoubted hostility. Lastly, I will pretend to apologise but will probably never actually do so to a gentleman from my place of work who, amusingly, signed off in the manner likely breaking all sorts of copyright laws but wilfully nonetheless, in which I will do presently as a result of outright theft, intellectual property grey-area be damned.
So, for your patience with this perfidious man, please accept my many Hanks.