martes, 28 de enero de 2014

No More Mulberries…. Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by Mary Smith (Review)

No More Mulberries…. Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by Mary Smith
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari

I have always been a sucker for non-fiction works, as well as real-life fiction.  The latter is a genre that may not exist officially, but I use it to describe stories that are so credible that even though there is a previous disclaimer the fiction seems real.  No More Mulberries is a novel, whereas Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is presented as a collection of stories -- however, the main characters reappear giving the impression of a novel. 
Ms Smith depicts the perils of working in Afghanistan during troubled times, and shows what seems to be a mantel of situations that Afghans still are dealing with. The main sociological aspect is the plight of women, but described through the eyes of an Afghan woman -- in spite of the author being from Scotland -- which is very different than what has been reported in the media. She reminds us that the road to equality between men and women in the world is not that different than how it is walked through in Afghanistan. A shocking detail was learning that the world reacted more to the threat of the bombing of the Buddha statues than to the famine the Afghans were going through at the time.

I found quite a few bumps on the road of storytelling in the form of liberal punctuation, but though this may bother some readers I was taken by the powerful stories with their particular cultural insights.

jueves, 16 de enero de 2014

Tales by Erin by EA Harwik -- Review

Tales by Erin by EA Harwik
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari

I have always considered that writing short stories takes a special gift, which EA Harwik definitely has.  Though the content of the stories is quite different, they are bound by emotion in all its different degrees -- from love to anger.  When he writes in the first person he is able to elicit strong feelings in the reader, especially since his fiction almost reads as true life -- or is it the other way around?  BTW, Caveman was delivered in a style reminiscent of a fable.  This is an author I will follow.

martes, 14 de enero de 2014

Otilia Umaga, The Mullato Girl from Martinica -- Review

Otilia Umaga, The Mullato Girl from Martinica, by Lidia Barugel
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Lidia Barugel, an Argentinian writer won a very important novel contest not too long ago with this book. "Otilia Umaga, La Mulata de Martinica," is a beautiful novel written in Spanish. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read in this language. The plot takes place in Senegal -- mainly -- with a few sights of Bahia, Brasil. It has all the required elements of fantasy, movement in time and space, and perhaps the required erotic element of our time in writing.
Nevertheless, the English translation has been done almost word by word, trying to maintain the writer's special weaving of the original text. It failed in its purpose.

miércoles, 8 de enero de 2014

Independent People by Halldor Laxness (Review)

Independent People by Halldor Laxness
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari

This Icelandic Literature Nobel Prize Winner wrote an epic that depicts the struggle of a person trying to live out of bounds in the socio-economic interlinks weaved during the beginning of the 20th Century. Some of the information was astounding to me -- coffee as the national drink? The narrative is straightforward, mostly, though important messages are conveyed through poetry. Nevertheless, the epic novel is full of symbolisms that seem to stand forever in Western culture.