Books shelved under “Translated”

25 reviews found

  1. Book cover for The Unit

    The Unit

    by Ninni Holmqvist

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The kind of dystopian novel I’m often lukewarm about, The Unit has a blurb on the front cover from Margaret Atwood, which really tells me all I need to know. It’s science-fictional but also hangs on to that notional “literary fiction” tag, as if it doesn’t want to stoop too much into the genre ghetto. Whereas Kazuo Ishiguro’s dive into organ donation is a meditation on personhood, Ninni Holmqvist is more interested in the value…

  2. Book cover for The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    by Alexandre Dumas

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Second review, addendum: September 5, 2017

    It has, coincidentally, been exactly 3 years since I first read The Count of Monte Cristo. I bought a house this summer; I have my very own deck now. I decided that on my week off I wanted to sit outside and work my way through this classic behemoth during what might be our last nice days before the autumn chill kicks in. I was, for the most…

  3. Book cover for The Angel's Game

    The Angel's Game

    by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Is Andreas Corelli the Devil?

    This is the part of the review where I confess I remember almost nothing about The Shadow of the Wind or The Prisoner of Heaven, because that’s how my memory rolls. So I can’t say much about the interconnected nature of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Instead, let’s look at The Angel’s Game on its own, as a suspenseful and literally literary thriller.

    David Martín is…

  4. Book cover for Shadow Prowler

    Shadow Prowler

    by Alexey Pehov

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    “After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.” So opens the cover copy for Shadow Prowler.

    A Nameless One, you say? Could this possibly be some kind of “evil overlord” (TVTropes) who wants to bend an entire land to his will? But surely there will be some resistance!

    “Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.”

    A master thief named “Shadow Harold”, you say? Could he possibly be…

  5. Book cover for Wind/Pinball

    Wind/Pinball: Two Novels

    by Haruki Murakami

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    What have I learned from Haruki Murakami’s first two novels, freshly published in an English translation for the first time? Tautologically: Murakami is Murakami. If you’ve read anything else by him, some of his motifs are going to be quite familiar: main character is a young man, somewhat disconnected from the world around him, exploring life through an extended metaphor (in this case, pinball). Other characters are little more than stock; Murakami takes it somewhat…

  6. Book cover for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

    by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s books like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich that make me glad I don’t do video or podcast reviews, because I cannot pronounce Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s last name. Indeed, as is often the case with books originally written in a language one does not speak, names of people and places would be a huge problem in this review. I don’t know how difficult a translation this was for H.T. Willetts, but I can…

  7. Book cover for I’m Coming

    I’m Coming

    by Selma Lønning Aarø

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I received a free ARC of I’m Coming from House of Anansi Press. In fact, this book came with a tiny promotional package:

    Cellophane bag containing vaginal lubricant, a yellow plastic rabbit, two AA batteries, and a pin

    Yeah, that’s a small package of vaginal lubricant and two AA batteries—presumably to, you know, power Mr Rabbit, or whatever shape one’s vibrator takes.

    Fortunately, one of my friends—who would actually have a use for such items—saw me tweet about this and volunteered to take them off my hands. I…

  8. Book cover for The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

    The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

    by Milan Kundera

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Remember when David Mitchell came out with Cloud Atlas and everyone freaked out? Was it a novel? Inter-related short stories? What was with the weird nesting? I don’t get the movie! All our neat little categories are coming tumbling down and now it’s the end of the world! Well, Milan Kundera does much the same in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (but since it hasn’t become a Major Motion Picture, only literary snobs care…

  9. Book cover for The Three-Body Problem

    The Three-Body Problem

    by Liu Cixin

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Woo, non-Western science fiction! I love the opportunity to get out of my ethnocentric mindspace. Liu Cixin offers up a science fiction set (mostly) in China during both the modern day and the Cultural Revolution. As such, he brings a lot of history to the story that Western readers are probably not familiar with. Nevertheless, he and translator Ken Liu do an admirable job spinning an engrossing story about humanity’s responsibilities, and what might happen…

  10. Book cover for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    by Haruki Murakami

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Are you familiar with the works of John Irving? Then you’ll be familiar with the works of Haruki Murakami—because this is perhaps the antithesis of Irving in many ways. Both authors produce profoundly character-driven novels, often centred on young men trying to find their way through a life clouded by attachments to a deep past. Whereas Irving seems determined to wrap his characters in layers of the complex darkness of the human soul, Murakami instead…

  11. Book cover for Silent House

    Silent House

    by Orhan Pamuk

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the background themes of The Prisoner of Heaven was the ongoing conflict between nationalist/fascist and socialist/communist ideologies in Spain in the middle of the twentieth century. History class in Canada focuses on fascism almost exclusively as seen in World War II. It elides over the Spanish Civil War (I’ve had to remedy that on my own time). It mentions Mussolini in passing as a buddy of Hitler’s rather than a fascist dictator in…

  12. Book cover for The Prisoner of Heaven

    The Prisoner of Heaven

    by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A good book works because it tells a good story about interesting people. Full stop. These two qualities, narrative and personality, intertwine to create a unique and worthwhile experience. If the story isn’t compelling or the people aren’t interesting, then all the tricks and gimmicks and set pieces are not going to elevate the book beyond mediocrity. That being said, I don’t think that the best books are always those with the most hyper-realistic characters.…

  13. Book cover for The General in his Labyrinth

    The General in his Labyrinth

    by Gabriel García Márquez

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I always feel a twinge of pity when someone tells me, “I don’t read for pleasure any more” or “I only read non-fiction.” Most of the pity is sympathy for the fact that, in today’s busy world, we just don’t have the time. Whenever someone expresses awe at the number of books I read in a year and asks me how I do it, I say, truthfully, that I make the time to read, just…

  14. Book cover for The Shadow of the Wind

    The Shadow of the Wind

    by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The description of The Shadow of the Wind reminds me of Foucault’s Pendulum, another literary-themed thriller in which the protagonists find that the events in a conspiracy-theory manuscript they acquire are coming true. When ten-year-old Daniel acquires a book, also called The Shadow of the Wind, he attracts the attention of all manner of mysterious people who want the book—or its author—including a disfigured man going by the name Lain Coubert, the name…

  15. Book cover for War and Peace

    War and Peace

    by Leo Tolstoy

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There are a few different types of people who read War and Peace. I am some of them. I am a rigorously-educated, uber-literate intellectual who lives high enough up the ivory tower to get nose bleeds but not so high that I need an oxygen mask. I am intensely but not indiscriminately interested in history—not just the particulars of history, mind you, but the ways in which history happens. I take perverse enjoyment from…

  16. Book cover for My Name Is Red

    My Name Is Red

    by Orhan Pamuk

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is the second work of historical fiction I’ve read in a month that has a colour in its title and features art as a significant component of its story. The other, Sacré Bleu, was an irreverent “comedy d’art” by Christopher Moore. My Name is Red definitely isn’t that. Good thing I like to read widely!

    My Name is Red opens with the voice of a dead man. Elegant Effendi describes the sensations of…

  17. Book cover for The Prague Cemetery

    The Prague Cemetery

    by Umberto Eco

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I like to try to pretend I’m not a literature snob. I like to try to pretend that all I care about in a book is a good story, that genres are meaningless, and that authors who are experimental or who go to great lengths to show off their vast intellects are, generally, more trouble than they are worth. I like peeling back the layers of hype and praise piled upon popular books and to…

  18. Book cover for Sophie's World

    Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

    by Jostein Gaarder

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Check out an updated review from 2018!

    "It's a bagatelle." These words have been knocking around my mind ever since grade 10, when the world's most awesome English teacher introduced me to Sophie's World. (For those of you not in the know, I'm referring to Ms. Sukalo. She also brought her remarkable energy and attitude to drama class, much to the enrichment of myself and my classmates. And she allowed a small group of…

  19. Book cover for The Island of the Day Before

    The Island of the Day Before

    by Umberto Eco

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Reading a book by Umberto Eco has become a yearly tradition since I joined Goodreads, and for 2010 I just managed to squeeze The Island of the Day Before under the wire. For the past two years, each Eco book has also made its respective year's list of the best ten books I read that year. If The Island does not join them in this honour, it is only because I have been lucky enough…

  20. Book cover for The Possibility of an Island

    The Possibility of an Island

    by Michel Houellebecq

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Do you want to live forever? Most people would say yes. I have to confess immortality tempts me as well. But as with most wishes, this one needs conditionals and caveats to make it truly comfortable. After all, you wouldn't want to be immortal but keep ageing, right? And being immortal alone would really suck, watching everyone else grow old and die as you remain the same. There are basically two ways to solve the…

  21. Book cover for Kafka on the Shore

    Kafka on the Shore

    by Haruki Murakami

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So, yeah, I don't really understand this book.

    It is not often that I admit a book has defeated me intellectually; upon the rare occasion that it happens, however, I will admit it. This review is, like any review, a meditation on the unique experience I had reading the book, but it is also ruminations about why I feel that Kafka on the Shore is a mountain whose summit I never reached.

    I'm starting to…

  22. Book cover for Foucault's Pendulum

    Foucault's Pendulum

    by Umberto Eco

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read a lot, and the people around me are used to seeing a new book in my hand every day or couple of days. Naturally, they ask me what I'm reading, usually in a way that implies I should divulge more than just the title and the author, which are plainly visible on the cover. How do I respond when I'm reading something so sublime and transcendental as Foucault's Pendulum? It defies ordinary…

  23. Book cover for Blindness

    Blindness

    by José Saramago

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Saramago's style is just totally unreadable. I generously gave the book two chapters, skipped ahead to the middle and end, and discovered that it's like this throughout the entire book: run-on sentences, dialogue offset only by commas and never separated by paragraphs, nary a quotation mark to be seen. Now, I don't mind when an author subverts a few grammatical rules to make a point or enhance his or her style. Totally disregarding them, on…

  24. Book cover for Ordinary Lives

    Ordinary Lives

    by Josef Škvorecký

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is my first encounter with the work of Josef Skvorecky. As his Author's Note explains, this book ties together many of the characters and themes from his previous novels. If I had been more familiar with his work, I would have enjoyed this book more.

    That being said, I still enjoyed it. Paul Wilson has done a fantastic job translating Ordinary Lives into English--if I didn't know it had been translated, I would have…

  25. Book cover for The Name of the Rose

    The Name of the Rose

    by Umberto Eco

    4 out of 5 stars

    Updated | Reviewed

    Second review: April 2020

    Honestly, I don't have much to add to my review from 12 years ago (!). This remains an excellent mystery wrapped in deep medievalist philosophy and thought. It once again took me a long time to read, but it was a nice distraction from what's going on right now.

    First review: December 2008

    It took me a long time to finish this book (perhaps the longest time it's ever taken me…