Friday, September 13, 2013

An artist is like a woman who can do nothing but love, and who succumbs to every stray male jackass.

Polite. East Derwent Highway, Lindisfarne. August 2013.

The Gardener from Ochakov, Andrey Kurkov: I had been anxiously awaiting the latest from my favourite Ukrainian author, and it didn't disappoint. A time-travel adventure (a theme this week) with a light touch, I'm not sure whether Kurkov is satirising or indulging in a bit of post-Soviet nostalgia. As we often see in Kurkov's books, there is a clash of the mundane - tracksuits, minibuses, homemade vodka - and the surreal - knife-wielding gangsters from 1950s Soviet Union. I really enjoyed it. B+.

The Time Machine, H.G. Wells: The classic of the genre, it's a surprise to see just how much the story is interwoven with Darwinian and Marxist theory. The 19th Century was one hell of a trip! I reckon that it stands up. Well worth your time. B+.

Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris: A collection of essays by Jerri Blank's brother (that's who David Sedaris will always remain in my heart). Some of the essays have been featured This American Life, and they are each very funny reminiscences of a fish out of water. My favourites? It's hard to top the "The Learning Curve", in which Sedaris recalls his job teaching a writing workshop or "Me Talk Pretty One Day", a hilarious recounting of the trials and tribulations of foreigners learning French class in Paris. B+.

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