Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Lets Not Talk About Larsson.

The Redbreast, Jo Nesbo

Alas, my holiday is over so thats the end of my holiday book list! I went for a bit of scandinavian crime this time. This was a proper page turner, and mixed modern day with 1940s war stories. Very dark, masculine, and unrelenting. A bit confusing, but that could be me reading too fast and not concentrating enough. I never manage to guess who the murderer is! Nesbo’s detective is quite intriguing so I’ll perhaps read some more in the series.

Oh, and a good translation too.

Hemingway’s Side

A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

I suppose I read this and The Paris Wife the wrong way round, and am consequently a bit biased in my opinion that Ernest Hemingway was a bit of a bastard and Hadley Richardson was hard done by. HOWEVER, it was interesting to see how much Paula McLain had used this book in reference to her fictional version of the Hemingways’ life in Paris.

That book struck a chord with me and I’ve been dying to read one of his novels ever since. My verdict: despite the man, I love his writing. Its sparse, utilitarian feel means no word is unnecessary. So very readable; the anecdotes about some of my favourite writers of late (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Madox Ford) made this a real treasure. How cliched, but Paris in the twenties as a writer sounds like a time never to be recaptured.

As a side note, the edition I got is the restored edition which was published earlier this month. It has been updated to include some of Hemingway’s drafts and sketches that didn’t make the final original text. I’d recommend getting an edition with these extras in because you see how considered and evaluated Hemingway’s writing is, and how much effort must have gone into every last sentence.

Hemingway is a Dude. Examples.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

“The bulldozing of three people’s hearts to destroy one happiness and build another and the love and the good work and all that came out of it is not part of this book. I wrote it and left it out.”

“I held my hand against the silky weight and bluntness against her neck and said something secret and she said, “Afterwards.”
“You,” I said. “You.”

“This book contains material from the remises of my memory and of my heart. Even if the one has been tampered with and the other does not exist.”

Middlesex

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

Holiday reading: Book One

Cal, or Calliope, has to be one of my favourite narrators. What I loved most about this book was how Eugenides managed to really nail so many different perspectives. He managed men, women, Greeks, Americans, teenagers, adults, children…

The reader knows from the beginning that Cal is now living as a man (is a man), yet his teenage years as a girl attending an all girl’s school seemed so convincing – you really felt the sense of turmoil when things unfold right at the end. It is so clever: the readers know Cal for the longest as a girl, so our shock is mirrored in that of his family. And thats even with our privileged perspective.

Eugenides has taken a difficult and sensitive subject and woven it with family history and Greek culture for a really unusual and captivating novel.

Middlesex Quote

It was the custom in those days for passengers leaving for America to bring balls of yarn on deck. Relatives on the pier held the loose ends. As the Guilia blew its horn and moved away from the dock, a few hundred strings of yarn stretched across the water.
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex