The Translated Literature Book Tag

I’ve only done a couple of tags since starting this blog around three years ago. For no particular reason other than most of the times I can’t come up with answers to the questions, it’s usually not the type of content that I write. But when I was tagged by Callum to do the Translated Literature Book Tag, created by Diana, for once many books started to spring to mind to answer almost all of the queries.

In the context of this tag, I think it’s important to mention that I can read fluently in Portuguese and English. So, I now only read translations of books originally written in other languages besides those two. But, without further ado, let’s get into the questions.

 

  1. A translated novel you would recommend to everyone

No book can please everyone, so I can’t promise that you will all like my pick for this question. However, as Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett) mixes a crime story with musings on writing and fiction, I believe that it’s a book that readers of a wide variety of genres may appreciate. A murder is used to justify why reality and fiction have to differ. The story is told from various perspectives, and certain elements are introduced at specific moments to surprise the readers. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – October 2018

I normally try to choose a single favourite from among the books that I’ve read, the TV series that I’ve watched and, more unsuccessfully, the music that I’ve listened to during a specific month. However, as I was struggling to decided which book and TV series was my favourite from October, I ended up opting to allude to two of each. I enjoyed them almost equally, thus they truly deserve a mention in this instalment of my monthly favourites.

I’ve only read three books last month. And I say only, because I could have read more, if I had not spent around a week persevering through Freedom and Death by Nikos Kazantzakis just to end up not finishing it. But this post is about my favourites, and one of them is Tula by Jurgis Kuncinas. It tells the story of a man struggling with an alcohol addiction, while recollecting his love for Tula. Throughout the book, there are plenty of astonishingly beautiful passages that convey great emotion.

My other favourite book from the month of October is Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb. Mihály and Erzsi are a newlywed couple trying to come to terms with what they want from their lives. They married for opposing reasons, and Mihály is plagued by nostalgia for his youth. There are some genuinely funny moments and a great depiction of ambiances in various occasions. Continue reading

‘Tula’ by Jurgis Kuncinas

My rating: 4 stars

Tula by Jurgis Kuncinas is closer to be a fictional memoir than a clearly plotted novel. Taking place predominantly in Lithuania during the Soviet occupation, it is the story of a man struggling with an alcohol addiction and his love for Tula, whom he had an intense but short-lived relationship with. The unnamed narrator confirms early on that Tula is dead. Nevertheless, she is the reason behind some of his actions and is constantly in his thoughts, while he pictures a life of poverty and homelessness.

He recalls various moments from his life, particularly those connected with his deprived neighbourhood in Vilnius, frequently in a stream of consciousness style and, at first, in no specific chronological order. There he has known destitution and failure. Tula did not always live there, but she persistently makes up an appearance in his reminiscences anyway. He mentions various of his relatives and revives many episodes from the time of the Second World War and the 1950s, for example. He had various relationships with other women besides Tula, one of them was Aurelita.

Even before meeting Tula for the first time, he was homeless and wandered around the city looking for a place to sleep. That was particularly dangerous in that period, because there were groups of people keeping an eye on the streets whose sole purpose was to find vagrants and put them into “temporary arrest cells”. His addiction has had a huge impact on his life. He was a patient at the second section of a madhouse, which had the positive result of solving his vagrancy problem for a while. Continue reading

Book Haul – September / October 2018

We are less than three months away from the end of the year, and I still have quite a few books left to read in order to complete my ‘EU still 28’ reading project. Last month, I realised that I needed to buy some more of the books on my predetermined list. I obviously also took the opportunity to order a couple of other ones in preparation for winter, although I’m not normally a seasonal reader. Every excuse is a good one when it comes to justify buying books, though!

Below are the nine newest additions to my shelves:

 

Tula by Jurgis Kuncinas

Written by the Lithuanian author Jurgis Kuncinas, Tula takes place in a poor neighbourhood in Vilnius. The narrator dwells on the fringes of society and meets other various curious inhabitants of the same area. I don’t know much more about this book, which I believe also involves a love story. Continue reading