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The Zone of Interest
The Zone of Interest
par Martin Amis
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 13,06

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Masterpiece, 16 mai 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Zone of Interest (Broché)
As opening chapters go --constantly improved while writing the rest-- this one is brilliant, introducing many of the characters of this deeply disturbing novel. I write this after my first reading of Martin Amis’ (MA) best and most ambitious creation. It deals with the state of humanity in 1942 and onwards in the most infamous of all Nazi camps, with frequent flashbacks to one character’s experiences in the 1920s and -30s. The symbolism of tomcat Max, the wordplay on ‘must’ and his introduction of consciencious objector Humilia, a Witness and domestic servant at the Kommandant’s villa, are only some of the highlights of Ch. 1. And it goes on and on.
It paints the outcomes of a mad, evil ideology, challenging readers’ imaginations, sometimes providing graphic descriptions. MA adorned his most evil character with the lovable name of Paul Doll, named his most slippery and best-connected marionet Angelus (‘Golo’) Thomsen, whilst Szmul, head of Jewish trustees, a Sonder, is a collaborator always aware of his fate, tries to save or prolong one life per arriving transport. MA develops and follows this trio in six lively and eventful chapters, allowing them to open their hearts, speak their minds, express their hopes and worries amidst a rich cast of supporting or minor characters, all representing shades of evil.
MA is a lifelong, brilliant linguist and namegiver. Here, he has emasculated the Umlaut from all German words and thought up terrible personal names for Doll’s colleagues. Living in NL, my favourite is ‘Eikel’. This novel contains more memorable sentences and paragraphs than some writers achieve in their lifetime. Impressively, MA concludes this work with a stunning afterword , acknowledging and thanking the sources for his novel and arguing to take a fresh look at the Austrian from Linz, who captured the heart and soul of another nation, then strove to conquer the world... A second reading makes this novel even more awesome.


[(The Eye Collector)] [Author: Sebastian Fitzek] published on (August, 2013)
[(The Eye Collector)] [Author: Sebastian Fitzek] published on (August, 2013)
par Sebastian Fitzek
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stunning, brilliant piece of nonsense, 11 mai 2016
In his 2006 debut ‘Therapy’, Sebastian Fritzek focussed on persons with severe psychiatric issues, whilst also casting suspicion on the person recounting the whole story. What made it stunning was the plot and its many cliffhangers. Something similar occurs here, in a thriller perhaps inspired by early Michael Connelly’s police procedurals about serial killers. Here, Berlin is in thrall of a serial killer of mothers and as abductor of their young children. Who turn up dead within 48 hours, with their left eye missing.
This thriller’s story-teller is a traumatised ex-cop, now a crime reporter for a Berlin rag that thrives on scandal and sensation. His previous life was like that of other real and fictional crimefighters: underpaid, toxic for marital bliss, bad dreams, etc. Well into his new career as crime reporter, his somewhat annoying wife--always immersed in alternative medicine and esoteric matters—wants a divorce. When visiting a Berlin hospice with son Julian, the action begins…
What follows is another brilliantly-plotted tale full of cliffhangers. As in ‘’Therapy’’, readers are long kept in suspense about this hero’s sanity (and that of some of his former colleagues). Some interesting questions are raised: can a blind person be a serious eyewitness? Can clairvoyants be reliable assets in police investigations? Or persons ‘feeling upon physical contact a heavy charge of negative energy’, confirmed later on? In fact, Fritzek did quite serious research on blindness via interviews and other means before writing this thriller.
Much like Michael Connelly, Fritzek is an ebullient acknowledger, thanking his readers first, then page after page of collaborators, ending with the people who display his works in bookstores. Like Connolly, he could perhaps give his best helpers cameo roles in a future blockbuster? Perfect recreational reading experience.


The Draining Lake
The Draining Lake
par Arnaldur Indridason
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 9,19

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Iceland and the Cold War, 20 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Draining Lake (Broché)
One prequel to the Elendur series (which may not have been translated in English yet) is mostly about Marion Briem, Iceland's first female police detective, her painful youth as a TB patient in Iceland and Denmark, and her first meeting with a young uniformed Elendur in the book's final sentence. Thirty years later MB is dying, but still in possession of a perfect memory, which her erstwhile pupil hopes to consult when a skeleton is found in a lake. It is attached to a piece of heavy equipment made in the Soviet Union.
This police procedural-cum- spy mystery from 2004 has half a dozen plotlines. It also frequently returns to 1954 and 1968. It follows a group of Icelandic students with good socialist backgrounds awarded scholarships to study in Leipzig, GDR and what became of them decades later. They are key to Erlendur's team's efforts to determine the identity of the skeleton.
The Elendur series has a number of routines: his gloom and liking dark winters more than bright summers, his preoccupation with missing persons, his relationship with his rancorous ex and troublesome children, guilt about his missing kid brother, his often scary dreams and love of everything Icelandic, incl. eery traditional fare like ram's testicles in vinegar. AI offers generous updates in these and other routine matters.
Well-plotted, authentic re background and atmosphere, sometimes a little disingeneous with overnaive characters. Finally, judging from his mediocre command of communist jargon, AI is unlikely to have ever been a steeled cadre himself. Nice series, perfect entertainment.


No Mortal Thing (English Edition)
No Mortal Thing (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 9,99

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Perfect escape literature, 16 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : No Mortal Thing (English Edition) (Format Kindle)
Many of GS's page-turner thrillers had lengthy, scary episodes of covert observation on enemy territory by British and/or UN forces in eg Northern Ireland, ex-Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. A patriotic writer about the UK engaging in foreign wars. Covert observation is a big theme again in this book. It is performed by Italian anti-mafia specialists and by a young British banker working in Berlin. The object of surveillance is the secluded home of a crime boss in Calabria belonging to the internationally operating 'Ndrangheta organization.
GS constantly adds lots of background and new angles and sub-plots to an already thick plot. Never a dull moment. But early on, I saw signs of poor editing by a publisher intent on rushing it into print. Other readers have remarked on inconsistencies (knife or bullet, BMW or Audi, bra or no bra) that text editors should have corrected. They should also have helped GS making his hero more believable, and improved on sentimentality, syntax and dialogues.
Written when two-third into the book and an 'implausable' finish ahead, this novel is, warts and all, a real thriller.


Grotesque
Grotesque
par Natsuo Kirino
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 10,41

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Obsessive novel, 9 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Grotesque (Broché)
Like her masterpiece “Out”, Natsuo Kirino’s “Grotesque” targets women as readers and perhaps, reviewers. This reviewer is male and therefore limited in grasping hidden codes and meanings that do ring a bell with female readers. As in the old TV-series “The Closer”, some commercials and esp. in real life, male reviewers are programmed to miss lots of signs and signals.
However, I hope lots of other readers (m/f)) find its nameless narrator, who opens and concludes the book and supplies and collates its factual material, an incredible bitch too. Isn’t she a jealous, suspicious, rancorous and obsessive creature? She is 40 and a determined virgin when she completes this tale about herself and those nearest to herself. Sex, as the only way to dominate men, as bland Kazue once wrote in her diary, has never been her thing.
Once upon a time she and her younger, stunningly attractive sister Yuriko and non-descript Kazue attended the same elite school. Decades later, Yuriko and Kazue, both aging prostitutes are found murdered, within ten months and both were strangled. An illegal Chinese immigrant is arrested and tried for the crimes, but the vengeful virgin conjures up enough references to Japanese belief in ghosts to complicate the plot further, add another dimension…
Well-plotted, lengthy novel linking sore memories, old agendas and diaries, police reports and confessions. Highly re-readable book, warmly received upon publication in English with reviewers liking it for all sorts of different reasons, stressing


A Kiss Before Dying: Intermediate
A Kiss Before Dying: Intermediate
par F. Cornish
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 11,70

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Scary early masterpiece, 4 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : A Kiss Before Dying: Intermediate (Broché)
First published in 1953 by an author then aged 24, this book has all the ingredients for Stephen King. much later, to call him the Swiss watchmaker among thriller writers: perfect preparation then careful execution. For thriller writers this means increasing tension incrementally and adding shock moments, sudden twists and cliffhangers against a solid, believable background.
This colorful thriller reads like a Hitchcock film script. Faultless and mature nail biter about a serial killer preying on young women, deftly plotted and with good to great dialogue and characterization. Levin went on to produce classics such as “The Boys from Brazil” and “Rosemary’s Baby”.


Boys from Brazil
Boys from Brazil
par Ira Levin
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 10,59

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Written from the heart, 2 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Boys from Brazil (Broché)
Superb 1976 thriller that became famous for the idea behind it, the creation (or not) of a Fourth Reich by cloning and distributing 94 identical children stemming from one historical source. And at the age of fourteen and at predetermined dates, the clones must suffer the same kind of trauma as the original source at age 14. The scheme is the brainchild of the perfidious, never apprehended Auschwitz camp doctor Josef Mengele and supported by a worldwide network of ‘Alte Kameraden’ based in South America.
Yakov Liebermann, a Jewish Nazi hunter in Vienna--much like Simon Wiesenthal-- is phoned from Brazil by a young American who unsuccessfully applied for a job at his center a year ago (for lack of funds). The call is broken off suddenly. What he managed to say sounded crazy, frightening and improbable. However, Yakov follows up the few leads provided, at first tentatively, then with increasing determination and creativity.
This thriller takes a little time to gather momentum, but once Levin gets into his stride he is unstoppable and relentless. Stephen King commented, “Levin is the Swiss watchmaker of the thriller genre”, meaning combining impeccable research with total precision in production. Sudden fright moments and plot surprises increase in number, leaving readers (m/f) with no respite except reading on until the end. This thriller was, most importantly, also written from the heart. Reading it 40 years after it was first published, Levin’s brief final chapter, a warning really, cannot be entirely dismissed with today’s populist politicians gaining ground on both sides of the Atlantic.
[Found the 1978 film version on YouTube. Ira Levin also wrote the book inspiring the movie “Rosemary’s Baby”. Finally, another seminal thriller from this vintage year is William Goldman’s “Marathon Man”, which was made into an even more successful film. YouTube shows a few trailers].


Faceless Killers
Faceless Killers
par Henning Mankell
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 7,46

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Mega debut, 29 mars 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Faceless Killers (Poche)
The first 50 pages or so, are crucial for its success story as a book and TV-series.
Very first police procedural from 1991 with Kurt Wallander, 42, recently divorced by Mona, rarely in contact with daughter Linda (19), enervated by his father who shows signs of dementia. He sleeps badly and has gained weight quickly. Will life improve for him as the series progresses?
Strong debut about a double murder of an elderly couple on a farm preceded by severe torture. Situated in 1990, when refugees from e.g. Iran, Somalia and Rumania found their way to Sweden, police investigations are soon complicated by rumors that refugees and/or asylum seekers from nearby reception centers, could be implicated. Also, someone on the Ystad force leaks to the press. It creates tensions: within the national and regional police, with agencies for refugees and the asylum process. Beautifully-calibrated crime investigation full of movement and action, small irritations, human error and police risk-taking and heroism, with Wallander questioning his career choice 20 years earlier. And there is more violence to come…
This brilliant old police procedural amidst political turmoil could easily have been written this year. What has Europe learned since 1991?
NB: in 2008 Henning Mankell published a prequel called “The Pyramid” about young Wallander


Silence Of The Grave
Silence Of The Grave
par Arnaldur Indridason
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 7,51

5.0 étoiles sur 5 True masterpiece, 27 mars 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Silence Of The Grave (Broché)
Multi-layered police procedural situated in the year 2000 and full of flashbacks to the years preceding WW II and the wartime occupation of Iceland by Britain and the US, when Reykjavik became a magnet to the rural poor. It all starts with a human rib bone found at a building site on the capital’s outskirts. Who is it from? A team of archaeologists carefully investigates the site and its outcome becomes clear towards the end of the book. Meanwhile, inspector Erlendur and two colleagues follow up tiny clues from records and other sources to assess what was once built on or near the bone site. Erlendur is simultaneously gripped by stabs of remorse at his daughter Eva Lund’s hospital intensive care bedside. The flashbacks concern a terrible case of domestic violence that went on for many years.
AI’s oeuvre covers many aspects of Iceland’s recent history and culture, starting with his strict adherence to Icelandic transliteration of names. He makes Erlendur occasionally scold colleagues for using English/US expressions, read only Icelandic history and old tales of missing persons and here, bemoan culinary imperialism: just one restaurant still cooks traditional Icelandic cuisine (brr). AI’s patriotism peaked with a novel that has not been translated in English, called “The King’s Book”, an Indiana Jones-type quest for Icelandic evidence to underpin Nazi efforts to create an un-Christian Germanic religion. It failed in the book, as in reality.
This dark thriller is quite intense reading stuff and occasionally, spiritually rich and challenging.


The Lazarus Project
The Lazarus Project
par Aleksandar Hemon
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 7,50

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Ambititious but flawed, 21 mars 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Lazarus Project (Broché)
According to Hemon, Lazarus was resurrected, raised from the grave by a prophet and part-time miracle worker called J. Christ and went on to live in Marseilles. Hemon is an avowed atheist who cleverly weaves various acts of resurrection into this kaleidoscopic novel about alter ego (?) Brik, a Bosnian refugee from Sarajevo and struggling writer in Chicago, researching the death by police bullets there in 1908 of Lazarus Averbuch (LA), a young Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine, and its cover-up.
About 100 years later, Brik, whose granddad arrived from the Ukraine in Bosnia with his parents aged 8, secures a grant and decides to find out more about LA in Eastern Europe, but not alone. He talks fellow exile and Sarajevo schoolmate Rora into joining him. Rora is a scion of an old, influential family, a story-teller, wisecracker, Muslim, coffee addict and compulsive photographer. And a chancer who thrived during the siege of Sarajevo, the start of which Brik missed by weeks because of a short visit to Chicago. Rora is also Hemon’s and Brik’s best material witness to write about what they missed from this blatant feat of European inaction.
The novel switches constantly between Brik’s puerile draft on Lazarus, his sister Olga and ugly 1908 newspaper reports about often Jewish immigrants with anarchistic leanings, and the pair’s travels and field research. A renewed surge of populism in press and politics may have prompted Hemon to write this book. Their Odyssey sheds light on reasons for wishing to live somewhere else: violence, stagnating economies, corruption, impunity, organized crime incl. human trafficking.
What do migrants or refugees experience when they reach a host country? This is perhaps the main theme of this novel, expressed confusedly and eloquently by Brik himself. “Home is where someone notices your absence”, he says more than once. He comes across as a negative person, wounded, unkind, anxious, opinionated, scornful about religion, his wife’s work ethic and parents, what not…
Aleksandar Hemon deftly wove personal names and words into a fabric of sorts across time and space by repeating e.g. s***, sardines, candy, armpit, flying carpet, home, etc. I acknowledge its deeper messages, but also hate the miserable way he ended this book.


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