Germany

Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse (Review #5)

Rating: 3
The Lighthouse
A Novel by Alison Moore
2012 / 192 Pages

For my part of the Bookermarks Collaboration, I finished 6.5 books – all of the short list (except for the last half of Umbrella) and not counting the long listed Teleportation Accident in which I will finish sometime in the near future. The fourth book I read was Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse. Finishing it over a month ago, I still have not written the review for it. Why? Because I just don’t know what to write about. I liked it – but I just wasn’t impressed enough with it to discuss it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. (more…)

Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse (Review #2)

The_LighthouseRating: 3.5
The Lighthouse
A Novel by Alison Moore
2012 / 192 Pages

The Setup: The Lighthouse begins on a North Sea ferry, on whose blustery outer deck stands Futh, a middle-aged, recently separated man heading to Germany for a restorative walking holiday.

Spending his first night in Hellhaus at a small, family-run hotel, he finds the landlady hospitable but is troubled by an encounter with an inexplicably hostile barman.

In the morning, Futh puts the episode behind him and sets out on his week-long circular walk along the Rhine. As he travels, he contemplates his childhood; a complicated friendship with the son of a lonely neighbour; his parents’ broken marriage and his own. But the story he keeps coming back to, the person and the event affecting all others, is his mother and her abandonment of him as a boy, which left him with a void to fill, a substitute to find.

He recalls his first trip to Germany with his newly single father. He is mindful of something he neglected to do there, an omission which threatens to have devastating repercussions for him this time around.

At the end of the week, Futh, sunburnt and blistered, comes to the end of his circular walk, returning to what he sees as the sanctuary of the Hellhaus hotel, unaware of the events which have been unfolding there in his absence. (From the hardcover edition)

(more…)

Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Ned Beauman’s The Teleportation Accident (Review #2)

The_Teleportation_AccidentRating: 4.5
The Teleportation Accident
A Novel by Ned Beauman
2012 / 357 Pages

The Setup: DON’T LET THIS BOOK DISTRACT YOU.

This dazzlingly ambitious, furiously original and deftly offensive new novel from author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle follows Egon Loeser – avant garde theatre set designer; sex-starved, lust-infused egotist; and all-round total prick. Beginning in 1930s Berlin and spanning the grubbiness and glamour of pre-War Paris and L.A., we follow Loeser’s obsessive quest to re-create the perfect stage trick, the great Lavacini’s Extraordinary Mechanism for the Almost Instantaneous Transport of Persons from Place to Place (better known as the Teleportation Device) – and to screw the perfect woman, one Adele Hitler.

Aside from Loeser’s olympically dull friends, we’ll meet Scramsfield, a dissembling Bostonian recovering from a botched suicide pact; Colonel Gorge, who suffers from a bizarre condition known as ontological agnosia; and Bailey, a distinguished physicist working on a Teleportation Device of a different, and much more sinister, nature.

The Teleportation Accident is a stunningly inventive novel about evasion and distraction; love, lust, sex and desire; transport, teleportation and time-travel; and the chilling disconnect between imagination and reality.

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH READING THIS YOU MAY BE SOMEWHERE ELSE. (from the hardcover edition)

(more…)

Book Review: 2011 Short Listed: Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues

Half_Blood_BluesRating: 5
Half Blood Blues
A Novel by Esi Edugyan
2011 (2012 US) / 304 Pages

The Setup: Paris, 1940.  A brilliant jazz musician, Hiero, is arrested by the Nazis and never heard from again.  He is twenty years old.  He is a German citizen.  And he is black.

Fifty years later, his friend and fellow musician, Sid, must relive that unforgettable time, revealing the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that sealed Hiero’s fate.  From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of  Paris – where the legendary Louis Armstrong makes an appearance – Sid, with his distinctive and rhythmic German-American slang, leads the reader through a fascinating world alive with passion, music and the spirit of resistance.

Half-Blood Blues, the second novel by an exceptionally talented young writer, is an entrancing, electric story about jazz, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art. (from the hardcover edition)

(more…)