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Travels with My Aunt: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Travels with My Aunt: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
par Graham Greene
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 10,31

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A triumphant comedy, 9 mars 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Travels with My Aunt: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Broché)
Mr Greene's novel is the story of Henry Pulling, a 50 year old retired bank manager who lives a quiet life in Southwood, passionately looking after his dahlias. Henry meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time at what he supposes to be his mother's funeral. She quickly persuades him to abandon his monotonous suburban life to join her and travel her way. And so they make their way first to Brighton and later to Paris, Istanbul and Paraguay. Through her aunt Henry gets acquainted with a twilight society, hippies, war criminals and CIA agents. He learns to smoke pot and to smuggle large amounts of money from one country to the next.
The character of Aunt Augusta is very witty indeed: she is wicked, selfish, wildly engaging, an old "belle de nuit" who likes men "who have a bit of the hound in them", a quality her nephew obviously lacks, which adds to her bewilderment. It is a feminine character, Aunt Augusta, who takes charge of the story, a rare fact for Mr Greene. She becomes a fierce, bossy and intrusive mother figure for Henry. Indeed he ends up by understanding and calling her "mother" a few lines before the end of the novel as he lays his head on his aunt's breast, feeling like a boy again who has run away from school and will never have to return. Finally Henry is completely transformed by his aunt and, at 50, begins to blossom. He sees her differently and acknowledges that she is not as wicked as he first considered her. In a prison cell in Paraguay, Henry notes: "I would certainly have called her career shady myself nine months ago and yet now there seemed nothing so very wrong in her curriculum vitae, nothing as wrong as 30 years in a bank."


Julius
Julius
par Daphne Du Maurier
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,08

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Rise and fall of an ambitious man, 8 mars 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Julius (Broché)
In her novel, Mrs du Maurier portrays the rise of Julius Lévy from a peasant boy brought up near Paris in the 1870s to a successful businessman in England in the 1920s. The plot lacks ambition and is slightly naive at times. Mrs du Maurier's ignorance of the French language is obvious in many instances - for example naming Julius's daughter "Gabriel" - and her attempts at depicting the matters of the spirit a failure, as the following quotation reveals: "Elsa, coughing her life away in the little bedroom next to him, was happy in the ignorance of death like a child who believes in God." But if the reader would like to be reminded that ambition is one of the most awful human trait of character, he may find some interest in this novel.


Red Dust
Red Dust
par Gillian Slovo
Edition : Relié

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Post Apartheid South Africa, 28 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Red Dust (Relié)
Sarah Barcant is a successful young lawyer in New York who grew up in Smitrivier, South Africa. One day she gets a call from Ben Hoffman, a retired lawyer who used to be Sarah's professional mentor, asking her to come back to Smitrivier to take up a case. And so after fourteen years, Sarah returns to the town where she grew up to do Ben a favour because she thinks she owes him so much. A policeman, Pieter Muller, is suspected of having killed James Sizela's son Steve during the Apartheid. Muller's culpability has been a belief in Smitrivier for thirteen years, ever since Steve was arrested on Pieter Muller's orders and then disappeared. So now the Truth Commission is James's last chance to find his son's body and have him properly buried. The timing appears to be perfect since the Truth Commission is about to deal with the jailed policeman Dirk Hendricks who applied for amnesty for the torture of Alex Mpondo, now an MP in the South African government. The plan is to use Alex Mpondo's presence at the hearing to threaten Hendricks that unless he reveals Pieter Muller's complicity in the murder of Steve Sizela, he may not get his amnesty. But the search for the truth is going to be far more arduous than Sarah imagined - perhaps even an impossible task.
Mrs Slovo casts a merciless look at contemporary South Africa where heroism and perfidy are no longer distinct, where new truths are as painful as old lies, where torturers, once heroes, are now victims. An excellent novel which shows the absurd relationship between aggressors and victims and the power between the torturers and the tortured.


A Demon in My View
A Demon in My View
par Ruth Rendell
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,84

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The mind of a psychopath, 28 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : A Demon in My View (Broché)
In this thriller, Mrs Rendell portrays a 50 year old psychopath called Arthur Johnson. He fits exactly the definition of a psychopathic person. He is asocial, self centred, impulsive and suffers from an acute anxiety nurosis. He has a strong need to preserve an immaculate ego, he is paranoiac, fears retribution and has an urgent need to be thought well by all people. And men like him cannot be reassured because their belief in their own worthlessness is so intense. Self-confidence cannot be implanted in Arthur anymore at the age of 50. That's why he fears other people - they represent a menace to his own integrity - and so he lives in private isolation.
Characteristically for a psychotic mind, Arthur is unable to form emotional relationships and he has no social ways of coping with his frustrations. This is certainly why Arthur keeps a plastic shop window model in his cellar. This model is dressed in his Auntie Gracie's clothes - for him she is the image of a mother, wife, counsellor, housekeeper and sole friend - which Arthur delights in "strangulating" regularly at night.
A very good thriller which shows that Mrs Rendell understands how a psychopathic mind works and how it can go awry.


Read for Your Life: Literature As a Life Support System
Read for Your Life: Literature As a Life Support System
par Joseph Gold
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 14,54

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A study of the value of reading, 28 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Read for Your Life: Literature As a Life Support System (Broché)
Mr Gold adroitly and expertly advocates the necessity of reading in our lives. Actually he goes as far as claiming that reading is a biological necessity in the same way as eating is. Reading is thinking, imagining, understanding, feeling and healing. It is an activity that is far from an escape or an avoidance of reality because it provides the reader the necessary relief from the ad hoc reacting and chaos of socialising by taking care of us, leading us and letting us imagine alternative lives through the complex paths of experience and language.
In this sense reading truly is a therapeutic experience and Mr Gold gives numerous examples of patients he managed to cure by giving them novels to read because they are an experiential tool for re-seeing and reordering the reader's own confusing experience. Novels take on our confusion, they bear our burdens and leave us to see the larger picture we cannot see because they offer another perspective.
Reading being the most powerful and plentiful source of information, it isn't surprising that a vital element for the survival of any totalitarian regime is to take control of what people read because language is power. Authors like Aldus Huxley, George Orwell and above all Ray Bradbury have masterfully illustrated this point in their novels, the latter showing what happens to a civilisation in which television replaces literacy. People may still be able to read but they are what we may call "literary illiterates".
No doubt Mr Gold's message is clear: we have to read for the salvation of our spirit.


Un pedigree
Un pedigree
par Patrick Modiano
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 12,45

12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Les vingt premières années de l'auteur, 17 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Un pedigree (Broché)
Dans ce mince volume, M. Modiano, qui fête cette années ses soixante ans, livre au lecteur les souvenirs romancés relatant les vingt premières années de sa vie avant de devenir un homme de lettres. Cette époque s'étend depuis sa naissance le 30 juillet 1945 à Boulogne-Billancourt jusqu'à juin 1967, année où son premier roman a été accepté. Ses parents se rencontrent pendant l'occupation: une mère flamande, actrice de piètre talent et un père juif, intransigeant de caractère et qui évolue dans "le monde trouble de la clandestinité et du marché noir", président de l'obscure "Compagnie financière Mocupia". A la question "Vous avez des parents?" posée par une doctoresse à Annecy, le collégien qu'est Patrick ne trouve pas de réponse, se retenant avec peine de fondre en larmes. Patrick est donc condamné à une vie pénible en internat où il "crève de faim", ses parents ne lui apportent aucun soutien moral et le laissent "dos au mur".
L'originalité de cet ouvrage réside moins dans son sujet - enfance désastreuse, jeunesse gâchée - que dans le fait que l'auteur se pose en observateur détaché, refusant de condamner, d'expliquer, de comprendre ou de justifier ses parents. "Rien de tout ce que je rapporterai ici ne me concerne en profondeur. Je rédige ces pages comme on rédige un contrat, à titre documentaire et sans doute pour en finir avec une vie qui n'était pas la mienne." Le lecteur ressent ici la même mélancolie, la même tristesse que dans les romans de M. Modiano. On retrouve d'ailleurs dans "Un pedigree" des expressions telles que "quartier perdu" ou "dimanche d'août" qui sont, on s'en souvient bien, le titre de romans de l'auteur.


Dix mille : Autobiographie d'un livre
Dix mille : Autobiographie d'un livre
par Andrea Kerbaker
Edition : Broché

4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 La parole est au livre, 15 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Dix mille : Autobiographie d'un livre (Broché)
Dans ce charmant petit roman, M. Kerbaker au l'idée originale de choisir un livre pour narrateur. L'auteur du livre-narrateur n'est pas mentionné, pas plus que son contenu. On sait que c'est une première édition et qu'il a été publié dans les années 30 alors que l'auteur était au crépuscule de sa carrière d'écrivain. Par contre le livre-narrateur dépeint avec précision les 4 lecteurs qui l'ont possédé pendant les 60 ans de son existence. Avec humour et sensibilité, il nous fait part de l'ennui dû aux longues périodes d'attente en librairie, l'espoir souvent déçu de ne pas être choisi par le lecteur potentiel et plus tard la crainte devant la menace d'être recyclé en boîte d'aspirine si aucun acheteur ne se présente... Chaque soir le livre rêve d'être choisi parmi d'autres sur la table de nuit pour être lu. Car "pour un livre, ne pas être lu est peut-être la pire des fins" puisqu'il a "encore beaucoup à transmettre". Et puis le livre est l'observateur attentif de son lecteur et il examine avec soin sa manière de lire et ses réactions à ce qu'il lit. Mais le livre a aussi ses compagnons: suivant avec quel voisin le livre passe des mois ou des années rangé dans une bibliothèque - Sartre, Steinbeck, Beckett ou Dostoïevski - ses conversations avec ses semblables sont fort variées!
Comment nous, lecteurs, sommes-nous jugés par nos livres? M. Kerbaker apporte une réponse originale à cette question dans ce bref récit qui ravira l'amateur de littérature.


Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy (1)
Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy (1)
par Naguib Mahfouz
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 11,01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A tale of affection, humour and sensitivity, 3 février 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy (1) (Broché)
The first volume in Mr Mahfouz's trilogy - Bayn al-quasrayn is its original title in Arabic - is set in Cairo a few months before the beginning of the revolution that ultimately lead to the independence of Egypt from the British Rule on April 7, 1919 (incidentally the year Mr Mahfouz was born). This magnificent tale tells the story of the Abd al-Jawad family who live in Palace Walk. Ahmed Abd al-Jawad and his wife Amina have two daughters, Khadija and Aisha, and three sons: Yasin is a secretary at al-Nashin school and the son of his father's previous marriage to Haniya, Fahmy is a law student and Kamal, a 10 year old boy.
As the reader follows the joys, sorrows and temptations of each member of the Abd al-Jawad family, he discovers what life used to be like in Cairo at the beginning of the last century. Mr Mahfouz's prose is full of psychological insight, both cultural and social observations and the tale is told with great affection, humour and sensitivity. It is also worth praising William Maynard Hutchinsons's achievement as a translator in this edition.


The Long March and In the Clap Shack
The Long March and In the Clap Shack
par William Styron
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 11,47

3.0 étoiles sur 5 A vitriolic look at a Navy ward, 22 décembre 2004
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Long March and In the Clap Shack (Broché)
Mr Styron's theatre play is set in 1943 in a urological ward of a Navy hospital. There are several soldiers all of whom suffer from various venereal diseases, their presence being "a sign of the moral breakdown the war has brought about". Schwartz, a solemn Jew, a South-born black called Lorenzo Clark and a syphilis patient, Wally Magruder. The latter has to wear a special bathrobe marked with a yellow "S" and he has to use a washbasin reserved for patients suffering from the same disease.
Among the staff, there is Dr Glanz, well known for "always wanting people to be sick" and the homosexual male nurse Lineweaver who naturally delights in examining the patients in the ward.
A tragic and at the same time comic play about the way patients can be manipulated and mislead by the medical profession, the competence of which is clearly to be mistrusted according to Mr Styron.


The Man Within
The Man Within
par Graham Greene
Edition : Broché

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Greene's masterful debut, 22 décembre 2004
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Man Within (Broché)
Francis Andrews is on the run because he informed against a gang of smugglers of spirits - of which he used to be a member - by means of an anonymous letter to the customs, resulting in the death of a ganger who was shot during a set up. Now Carlyon and his men are after Andrews to take revenge. One night, as he is fleeing from his pursuers, Andrews comes across a cottage in Hassocks where he is given shelter by the beautiful Elizabeth Garnet.
As Elizabeth slowly grows to trust Andrews, she learns from him about his past, his violent father, smuggler and owner of the ship "Good Chance" with which he used to transported brandy to England. He also tells her how, after his father's death, he met Carlyon who suggested that he joins the crew. Andrew then tells Elizabeth how deeply he detested these men because he could never ascertain himself in front of them the way his father had. Betraying them was thus a way for him to show his fellow smugglers that he "is of importance now".
It is then that Elizabeth suggests that Andrews go to Lewes the following day where the Assizes are to be held and bear his witness to show his courage. Indeed, a difficult and dangerous decision for Andrews to take...
A powerful novel about courage, cowardice, love and faith. It is commendable that Mr Greene achieved to write such a mature novel at the age of only 23.


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