Spotlight, Excerpt, Trailers, and Giveaway: The Church of Tango

Church of Tango coverCherie Magnus
on Tour
June 1-14
with

The Church Of Tango: A Memoir
(memoir)
Release date: 2012
292 pages
Mirasol Press

Goodreads

📚📚📚

Buy It Here:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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SYNOPSIS

When she couldn’t do anything else, she went to Paris. This is a story of survival that cuts across death, cancer, Alzheimer’s, loss of home and homeland and cherished heirlooms and possessions, loss of shared histories, of hope for one’s children, of hope for the future, of love. But it’s also about finding love and unexpected joy. And about listening to the music and dancing.

WATCH HERE THE TRAILERS OF THE TRILOGY

AND DISCOVER HERE AN EXCERPT OF BOOK 2:
THE CHURCH OF TANGO

Church of Tango _The Café de lÂčEspérance

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Church of Tango_Cherie MagnusCherie Magnus
returned home to Los Angeles, California in 2014
after teaching tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina for eleven years.
Before her South American expat adventure,
she lived in France and Mexico.
Cherie worked as a dance research librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library
and was a dance critic for local newspapers.
She is the author of the Death Dance Destiny Memoir Trilogy,
which includes The Church of Tango.
Her articles and reviews on dance, books, travel and international culture
have been published in magazines, professional journals, and anthologies.

To find our more, please visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter

***
You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blog participating in this tour.
Visit/Follow the participating blogs on Facebook/Twitter,
as listed in the entry form below, and win more entry points!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to US residents
3 winners will receive a kindle copy of this book

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS 

The Archipelago of Another Life: read-along, last quarter of the book

  The Archipelago of Another Life Archipel dune autre vie

READ-ALONG
with Carol at Cas d’intĂ©rĂȘt 

THE ARCHIPELAGO OF ANOTHER LIFE
L’ARCHIPEL D’UNE AUTRE VIE
by AndreĂŻ MAKINE

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Here is our schedule:
Voici notre calendrier :

April 5: our reading begins, Chapters I and II. Visit Carol’s announcement post, with maps and much more!
5 avril : début de la lecture, Chapitres I et II. Allez voir le billet de Carol annonçant cette lecture, avec des cartes et autres bonnes choses.

April 19: questions asked by Cas d’intĂ©rĂȘt on Chapters I and II
19 avril : questions postĂ©es à Cas d’intĂ©rĂȘt sur ces deux premiers chapitres

May 4: my questions on second quarter of the book
4 mai : mes questions sur le second quart du livre

May 18: questions asked by Cas d’intĂ©rĂȘt on the third quarter of the book, up to “loin de mon passĂ©, du monde des autres oĂč je n’avais plus de rĂŽle Ă  jouer.”
18 mai : questions postĂ©es Ă  Cas d’intĂ©rĂȘt sur le 3e quart du livre, jusqu’à “loin de mon passĂ©, du monde des autres oĂč je n’avais plus de rĂŽle Ă  jouer.”

June 4: questions here today on the last quarter of the book.
4 juin : questions ici sur le dernier quart du livre.

Last quarter of the book:
Dernier quart du livre :

1) The last quarter features several walks (Pavel and Elkan, then Pavel by himself, then again with Elkan; then Pavel and the teen; and the trip with Sacha). How similar/different are the last ones from the other walks we have seen before? What do you think the author is trying to convey?
1) Le dernier quart du livre prĂ©sente plusieurs marches (Pavel et Elkan, Pavel seul, puis de nouveau avec Elkan ; et Pavel et l’adolescent ; enfin le voyage avec Sacha). Ces marches ont-elles des points similaires / diffĂ©rents de celles que nous avons rencontrĂ©es auparavant ? À ton avis, qu’est-ce que l’auteur essaie de transmettre ?

Carol:

Very intriguing question Emma. I am eager to hear your answer to this one. As I was reading, I didn’t take particular note of how these walks differed from others earlier in the book. Thinking back, I’d say that Makine spent less time describing the setting—except perhaps for the crossing of the Lindholm Strait—than he had earlier. I appreciated this because the setting was already well established and now as a reader, I was eager to find out what was going to take place between Pavel and Elkan.

Both of Pavel’s solo trips would also have been hurried with little time to reflect on the surroundings. So, I suppose that by not lingering on the scenery, Makine also conveys the one-track mindset that Pavel has adopted for both journeys. What did you think?

Question intĂ©ressante, Emma. J’attends tes impressions avec impatience. En lisant l’histoire, je n’ai pas notĂ© la diffĂ©rence entre les marches Ă  la fin du livre par rapport Ă  celles au dĂ©but. Avec le recul, je dirais que Makine a passĂ© moins de temps pour dĂ©crire le cadre—sauf pour la traversĂ©e du dĂ©troit de Lindholm—qu’auparavant. J’ai apprĂ©ciĂ© moins de dĂ©tails parce que Makine avait dĂ©jĂ  bien Ă©tabli les environs et Ă  cette pointe du rĂ©cit j’ai eu hĂąte d’apprendre ce qui allait se passer entre Pavel et Elkan.

Les deux marches en solo de Pavel auraient Ă©tĂ© exĂ©cutĂ©es avec prĂ©cipitation sans le temps d’observer ou de rĂ©flĂ©chir. Alors, en rĂ©duisant les descriptions de la nature, Makine nous montre que Pavel pense principalement Ă  ses propres buts. En allant Ă  la base, il pense Ă  la gloire et la fin d’une vie de servitude. En revenant, il pense Ă  rattraper Elkan et Ă  la possibilitĂ© d’une nouvelle vie. Que penses-tu ?

Emma:

When I read about all these walks, I thought we could do some geometrical and dynamical designs to represent them, with all the different forces at play: for some walks, the person(s) is/are choosing to go in one direction, willingly, even eagerly. In some other walks, they go slowly, against their choice. I think the different natures of the walks tell us a lot about what the characters are going through, in their inner being.

I thought this is powerfully described at the beginning of this section. At the same time, Pavel says, “J’avançais derriĂšre elle, comme si notre but Ă©tait devenu le mĂȘme. MontĂ©es, pentes, passages Ă  guĂ©.” And then next sentence: “J’imaginais la facilitĂ© avec laquelle j’aurais pu ralentir le pas, tourner sans ĂȘtre vu et, dĂ©roulant notre chemin dans le sens inverse, arriver au cantonnement une semaine plus tard
 Cette idĂ©e me hantait.” I could represent it this way: <– Pavel –> He is literarily torn between these two opposite desires and directions. He is haunted, he is still un pantin. A few lines below, he does recognize “Oui, le pantin m’habitait encore”. Very different from the woman’s walk, from her constant courage and firm determination. She knows where she wants/has to go and never changes course.

Quand j’ai lu toutes ces marches, j’ai pensĂ© qu’on faire des dessins gĂ©omĂ©triques et dynamiques pour les reprĂ©senter, avec toutes les diffĂ©rentes forces en jeu : pour certaines marches, la ou les personnes choisissent d’aller dans une direction, volontairement, mĂȘme avec envie. Dans certaines autres, es personnages avancent lentement, contre leur grĂ©. Je pense que les diffĂ©rentes natures de ces marches nous en disent long sur ce que ces gens vivent intĂ©rieurement.

Ça me semble dĂ©crit avec force au dĂ©but de cette section. En mĂȘme temps, dit Pavel, “J‘avançais derriĂšre elle, comme si notre but Ă©tait devenu le mĂȘme. MontĂ©es, pentes, passages Ă  guĂ©.” Et puis la phrase suivante : “J’imaginais la facilitĂ© avec laquelle j’aurais pu ralentir le pas, tourner sans ĂȘtre vu et, dĂ©roulant notre chemin dans le sens inverse, arriver au cantonnement une semaine plus tard
 Cette idĂ©e me hantait.” Je pourrais le reprĂ©senter ainsi : <– Pavel –> Il est littĂ©ralement tiraillĂ© entre ces deux dĂ©sirs et directions opposĂ©s. Il est hantĂ©, il est toujours un pantin. Quelques lignes plus bas, il le reconnaĂźt en effet : « Oui, le pantin m’habitait encore ». TrĂšs diffĂ©rent de la marche de la femme, de son courage constant et de sa ferme dĂ©termination. Elle sait oĂč elle veut/doit aller et ne change jamais de cap.

2) Any comment on what’s awaiting Pavel at the military camp?
2) As-tu des remarques à faire sur ce qui attend Pavel au camp militaire ?

Carol:

Again, Makine surprised me with events that in hindsight, I feel I might have predicted. What takes place upon Pavel’s return is horrible yet perfectly in line with the character development that has preceded it—Ratinsky, the villainous brute and Vassine, the virtuous martyr. It also jibes with the underlying critique of the Soviet system that Makine conveys quite convincingly.

Part VI of the book that immediately follows made me want to learn more about the chaos that ensued in the wake of Stalin’s death. I don’t recall ever reading about this.

Encore une fois, Makine m’a surpris et avec le recul, j’ai l’impression que j’ai eu toutes les indications nĂ©cessaires pour prĂ©dire un tel rĂ©sultat. Ce qui se passe est horrible pourtant tout Ă  fait fidĂšle aux personnalitĂ©s dĂ©jĂ  Ă©tablies. Ratinsky se montre une brute ignoble. Vassine reste le martyr vertueux. Le scĂ©nario soutient aussi la critique sous-jacente de Makine du systĂšme soviĂ©tique.

La partie VI du livre qui suit me fait vouloir apprendre plus sur le chaos qui s’est ensuivi aprùs la mort de Staline.

Emma:

I wasn’t surprised by the “welcome” he received, though I would have guessed the wrong motive. Here Ratinsky’s violence is solely motivated by vainglory. He wants all the glory of the (unreal) capture to himself.
It’s fascinating that finally, facing that violence and vileness, Pavel is no longer un pantin!
I agree with what you highlight about the criticism of the system. This extreme corruption reminded me of my experience in 1988, right before the fall of the regime in Hungary. With a large group of young Christians, I went to Hungary. We were going there to perform a Christian play and offer the book of it to the Hungarian primate. When we arrived at the border with our large double-decker bus, we waited for ever. After several hours, someone got the brilliant idea to offer a case of bottles (we were coming from Burgundy). As by miracle, we were given the green light to enter the country a few minutes after. When I saw that corruption at play, I felt in my guts that this was not going to last much longer. Indeed, shortly after, a republic was proclaimed in Hungary.
Even though we had seen Vassine’s personality before, I was actually surprised by his sacrifice.
One thing that I thought totally useless and a bit too “romancy”, is when we learn at the end of he novel that Elkan had originally been in the same camp, and it’s actually thanks to her that Pavel had managed to escape the terrible underground prison. I’m still l wondering why the author put this in. What are your thoughts on this?

“L’accueil” qu’il a reçu ne m’a pas du tout surprise, mĂȘme si j’aurais devinĂ© le mauvais motif. Ici, la violence de Ratinsky est uniquement motivĂ©e par la vaine gloire. Il veut toute la gloire de la capture (qui n’a pas lieu) pour lui-mĂȘme.
C’est fascinant qu’enfin, face Ă  cette violence et Ă  cette bassesse, Pavel ne soit plus un pantin !
Je suis d’accord avec ce que tu soulignes au sujet de la critique du systĂšme. Cette corruption extrĂȘme m’a rappelĂ© mon expĂ©rience en 1988, juste avant la chute du rĂ©gime en Hongrie. Avec un grand groupe de jeunes chrĂ©tiens, je suis allĂ©e en Hongrie. L’idĂ©e Ă©tait d’y jouer une piĂšce chrĂ©tienne et en offrir le livre au primat hongrois. Quand on est arrivĂ©s Ă  la frontiĂšre avec notre gros bus Ă  impĂ©riale, on a attendu une Ă©ternitĂ©. Au bout de quelques heures, quelqu’un a eu la brillante idĂ©e d’offrir une caisse de bouteilles (on venait de Bourgogne). Comme par miracle, on nous a donnĂ© le feu vert pour entrer dans le pays juste quelques minutes aprĂšs. Quand j’ai vu cette corruption Ă  l’Ɠuvre, j’ai senti que le rĂ©gime n’allait pas durer trĂšs longtemps. En effet, peu de temps aprĂšs, une rĂ©publique a Ă©tĂ© proclamĂ©e en Hongrie.

MĂȘme si on avait dĂ©jĂ  vu la personnalitĂ© de Vassine, j’ai Ă©tĂ© surprise par son sacrifice.

Une chose que je trouvais totalement inutile et un peu trop “romantique”, c’est quand on apprend Ă  la fin du roman qu’Elkan avait Ă©tĂ© Ă  l’origine dans le mĂȘme camp, et c’est en fait grĂące Ă  elle que Pavel avait rĂ©ussi Ă  s’Ă©chapper de la terrible prison souterraine. Je me demande encore pourquoi l’auteur a insĂ©rĂ© ce dĂ©tail. Qu’en penses-tu?

3) There’s again a huge place given to nature and wilderness in this last part. What is the author’s message through it?
3) Il y a encore une place Ă©norme accordĂ©e Ă  la nature sauvage dans cette derniĂšre partie. Quel est le message de l’auteur ?

Carol:

I felt this part of the book was weaker than other parts.  To a certain extent, Makine conveys the environment’s harsh and unforgiving nature. A winter that lasts 9 months with temperatures that drop well below zero degrees fahrenheit is perilous, to say the least. At the same time, I feel that Makine romanticizes Pavel and Elkan’s existence in the Shantars. The fact that they could survive after reaching their destination as winter was setting in (rather than at the beginning of the summer when they’d have a chance to prepare a homestead) is asking a lot of the reader to accept.

I think we can all agree that modern life has its downsides. I highlighted a passage where Makine eloquently writes:

“Non, il ne s’agissait pas du nombre d'<<expĂ©riences>>, valeur si prisĂ©e par la modernitĂ©. Ni d’une sagesse fumeuse, fruit de l’une de ces expĂ©riences exotiques. Leur quotidien, rude et simple, ne visait aucun but Ă©difiant.”

He goes on to give examples of the natural methods they used to stay warm and feed themselves. It all sounds rather idyllic but in reality, I think it would be unendingly stressful and mercilessly difficult. It reminded me of a PBS series called Frontier House that I watched many years ago. Three families agreed to move to Montana for a summer and live as the original homesteaders did at the end of the 19th century.

Their objective was to build themselves a homestead and spend the entire summer preparing for the winter. At the end of their stay, a panel of judges decided whether they had made adequate preparations. Two of the families were given no chance of surviving. A third, young couple, was deemed successful but only because they were young enough that their physical condition might allow them to survive.

These families took the challenge quite seriously and those with kids, put them to work. The women had it the worst, working from sunup until well past sundown every day. Unlike Pavel and Elkan, these families started out with livestock, sacks of flour, many hand tools from the era, and various supplies that  well-equipped settlers might have brought with them. Elkan and Pavel had none of these advantages and if anything, their environment sounds as if it could have been even harsher.

J’ai l’impression que cette partie du livre Ă©tait moins forte. Dans une certaine mesure, Makine transmet le caractĂšre dur et implacable de la nature. Un hiver qui dure pendant 9 mois avec des tempĂ©ratures bien en dessous de zĂ©ro, c’est pĂ©rilleux. En mĂȘme temps, je pense que Makine idĂ©alise l’existence de Pavel et Elkan dans les Îles Chantars. Le fait qu’ils auraient pu survivre aprĂšs avoir atteint leur destination au mĂȘme moment oĂč l’hiver s’installe me semble invraisemblable.

Nous pouvons tous convenir que la vie moderne a des mauvais cĂŽtĂ©s. J’ai soulignĂ© le passage oĂč Makine Ă©crit avec Ă©loquence:

“Non, il ne s’agissait pas du nombre d'<<expĂ©riences>>, valeur si prisĂ©e par la modernitĂ©. Ni d’une sagesse fumeuse, fruit de l’une de ces expĂ©riences exotiques. Leur quotidien, rude et simple, ne visait aucun but Ă©difiant.”

Il Ă©labore avec des exemples des mĂ©thodes naturelles qu’ils ont utilisĂ©es pour rester au chaud et se nourrir. Peut-ĂȘtre que ça a l’air idyllique, mais en rĂ©alitĂ© une telle existence serait continuellement stressante et impitoyablement difficile.

Emma:

This is true that it’s romanticized, but I gladly let myself be awed by it.
Ultimately, besides the strong counter-cultural message,  (“leur exil tenait au refus de participer Ă  ces jeux”, “une autre vie Ă©tait possible”), I felt it like the evocation of a “new heaven and a new earth”, Revelation 21:1), of a place where “another life” is possible, in a post-Stalin era.
But with the warning that unless we are renewed from the inside, this archipelago would be a mirage and could easily be destroyed by profit and secular entertainment, like shallow tourism.

C’est vrai que c’est romancĂ©, mais je me suis laissĂ©e volontiers impressionner par ça.
Au final, outre le fort message contre-culturel,  (“leur exil tenait au refus de participer Ă  ces jeux”, “une autre vie Ă©tait possible”), je l’ai ressenti comme l’Ă©vocation d’un “nouveau ciel et d’une nouvelle terre”, Apocalypse 21,1), d’un lieu oĂč « une autre vie » est possible, dans une Ăšre post-stalinienne.
Mais avec l’avertissement qu’Ă  moins que nous ne soyons renouvelĂ©s de l’intĂ©rieur, cet archipel serait un mirage et pourrait facilement ĂȘtre dĂ©truit par le profit et le divertissement sĂ©culaire, comme le tourisme superficiel.

4)  What do you think about the structure of the book?
4) Que penses-tu de la structure du livre ?

Carol:

I liked the structure of the book. Beginning and ending with the same narrator added to the intrigue. I think Makine is a master at keeping the reader at the edge of his chair, eager to know what comes next. The book was never dull. I also admire Makine’s ability to insert multiple surprising outcomes while remaining true to a realistic portrayal of his characters.

J’ai beaucoup aimĂ© la structure du livre. Commencer et terminer avec le mĂȘme narrateur a ajoutĂ© Ă  la intrigue. Makine maĂźtrise bien l’aptitude pour garder le lecteur au bord de son siĂšge. Le rĂ©cit n’a jamais Ă©tĂ© ennuyeux. J’admire la capacitĂ© de Makine d’insĂ©rer de multiples Ă©vĂ©nements inattendus Ă  travers l’histoire, tout en restant fidĂšle aux caractĂšres de ses personnages.

Emma:

I liked it too. I always like a story within a story, and here we have a story within a story, within another story. It made me think of the matryoshki, the Russian nesting dolls.
I feel this structure fits perfectly the story, as an invitation to embrace deeper values, the only ones that will give real meaning to whatever new social order we may want to achieve.
And yes, there were also a good amount of suspenseful scenes, and characters with clearly defined personalities.

Je l’ai aussi aimĂ©e. J’apprĂ©cie toujours une histoire dans une histoire, et ici on a une histoire dans une histoire, dans une autre histoire. Ça m’a fait penser aux matriochki, les poupĂ©es gigognes russes.
Je pense que cette structure correspond parfaitement Ă  l’histoire, comme une invitation Ă  embrasser des valeurs plus profondes, les seules qui donneront un sens rĂ©el Ă  tout nouvel ordre social qu’on souhaiterait atteindre.
Et oui, il y avait aussi une bonne quantité de scÚnes pleines de suspense et des personnalités clairement définies.

5)  Did you find the last sentence was a satisfactory ending?
5) La derniĂšre phrase te semble-t-elle une fin satisfaisante ?

Carol:

I didn’t really. I read through those last paragraphs a few times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Perhaps I’m too much of a realist to find a third-hand account of spotting a sailboat in the fog, sailing along the coast of Belitchy, evidence of the couple’s existence, even figuratively speaking.

Earlier, I was disappointed when the narrator didn’t venture into the interior of the island to locate Pavel’s and Elkan’s homestead. Even if he’d found it destroyed, seeing the place would still give him a clearer vision of their existence. I’d hoped that among the ruins, he might uncover some hidden detail about their life on the island. In my opinion, this would have been a better “trace qu’un amour pouvait laisser parmi les vivants.”

Non, pas vraiment. J’ai relu les derniers paragraphes Ă  plusieurs reprises pour m’assurer que je ne ratais pas quelque chose. Peut-ĂȘtre que je suis trop rĂ©aliste pour accepter un tel dĂ©nouement. L’aperçu de troisiĂšme main Ă  travers le brouillard d’une voile carrĂ©e ne me dit pas grande chose.

Plus tĂŽt dans le livre, j’ai Ă©tĂ© déçue quand le narrateur n’est pas allĂ©e Ă  l’intĂ©rieur de l’üle Belitchy pour trouver plus de traces de Pavel et Elkan. J’espĂ©rais qu’il dĂ©couvrait certains indices parmi les dĂ©combres qui nous diraient plus sur leur vie et leur sort ultime. À mon avis, ça pourrait mieux servir de “trace qu’un amour pouvait laisser parmi les vivants.”

Emma:

I actually thought it worked, as I perceived “ce voilier dans la brume lumineuse” like a sign of hope. To go back to my interpretation, as explained above in 3 and 4, rebuilding a society on new values is a fragile thing, nothing is ever sure. You can only hope.

En fait, je trouve que ça marche, je perçois “ce voilier dans la brume lumineuse” comme un signe d’espoir. Pour en revenir Ă  mon interprĂ©tation, comme expliquĂ© plus haut dans 3 et 4, reconstruire une sociĂ©tĂ© sur de nouvelles valeurs est une chose fragile, rien n’est jamais sĂ»r. On ne peut qu’espĂ©rer.

6) How do you now understand the title? What do you think is the author’s ultimate message of his book? Do you agree with him?
6) Comment comprends-tu maintenant le titre ? D’aprĂšs toi, quel est le message ultime de l’auteur ? Es-tu d’accord avec lui ?

Carol:
I think I’ve already touched on this in question 3. From the beginning, I felt the book was heading in the direction of establishing a life free from Soviet oppression and societal corruption somewhere in the Shantars. I don’t want to sound too critical because I think the book has many important messages and that it delivers a beautifully crafted story. Given the horrific dystopia that the central characters found themselves in, their life on Belitchy may well have been their best option. I just don’t buy into the notion that a life in the wilderness has many advantages over lives lived in modern society.

Je pense avoir parlĂ© un peu sur ce sujet pour la question 3. DĂšs le dĂ©but, j’ai eu l’impression que l’histoire visait une vie dans les Chantars, Ă  l’abri de l’oppression soviĂ©tique et de la corruption sociale. Je ne veux pas donner l’impression que je n’apprĂ©cie pas le livre. Je pense qu’il prĂ©sente plusieurs messages importantes sur la vie et sur le caractĂšre humaine. C’est aussi un trĂšs beau rĂ©cit.

Étant donnĂ© la dystopie horrifique dans laquelle les personnages principals se trouvaient, leur vie sur Belitchy aurait pu Ă©tĂ© le meilleur choix. Je n’adhĂšre pas pourtant Ă  l’idĂ©e qu’une vie dans le dĂ©sert a de nombreux avantages par rapport Ă  une vie dans la sociĂ©tĂ© moderne.

Emma:

I also already mentioned above what I thought the ultimate message was.
Having lived myself twenty years far from the trappings of modern society, and still trying to embrace counter-cultural values in my everyday life, I tend to agree with the author’s message.
For me, it’s very scary that most people can no longer even live in silence, they absolutely need noise, distraction, and they are so busy that they don’t have time to go deep inside. A society built on these principles is extremely fragile.

It strikes me that a few other contemporary French authors tend to focus on similar messages, urging people to turn again to nature, to listen, to look.
I’m thinking for instance of novelist Serge Joncour in Wild Dog. I’m currently listening to his Nature humaine (published in August 2020), another wake-up call.
And the other author I have in mind writes nonfiction. That’s Sylvain Tesson, with Dans les forĂȘts de SibĂ©rie (the English title is more explicit: The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga).
In Sur les chemins noirs, he reacts strongly against the French government trying to connect all the rural French areas through the internet, and destroying a lot of natural environments, as well as the places of quiet where you can access your deeper self.
Finally, I’d like to mention his La PanthĂšre des neiges (to be published in English as The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet, on July 13, 2021 by Penguin Press). Whoever wrote the synopsis puts it well:
and as they keep their vigil, Tesson comes to embrace the virtues of patience and silence. His faith is rewarded when the snow leopard, the spirit of the mountain, reveals itself: an embodiment of what we have surrendered in our contemporary lives. And the simple act of waiting proves to be an antidote to the frenzy of our times.
A celebration of the power and grace of the wild, and a requiem for the world’s vanishing places, The Art of Patience is a revelatory account of the communion between nature and the human heart. Sylvain Tesson has written a new masterpiece on the relationship between man and beast in prose as sublime as the wilderness that inspired it.

J’ai aussi dĂ©jĂ  mentionnĂ© ci-dessus ce que je pensais ĂȘtre le message ultime.
Ayant moi-mĂȘme vĂ©cu vingt ans loin des “valeurs” de la sociĂ©tĂ© moderne, et essayant toujours d’embrasser des valeurs contre-culturelles dans ma vie quotidienne, j’ai tendance Ă  ĂȘtre d’accord avec le message de l’auteur.
Pour moi, c’est trĂšs effrayant que la plupart des gens ne puissent mĂȘme plus vivre en silence, ils ont absolument besoin de bruit, de distraction, et ils sont tellement occupĂ©s qu’ils n’ont pas le temps d’entrer profondĂ©ment en eux. Une sociĂ©tĂ© reposant sur ces principes est extrĂȘmement fragile.

Cela me frappe que quelques autres auteurs français contemporains ont tendance à se concentrer sur des messages similaires, exhortant les gens à se tourner à nouveau vers la nature, à écouter, à regarder.
Je pense par exemple au romancier Serge Joncour dans Chien-Loup. J’Ă©coute actuellement son Nature humaine (publiĂ© en aoĂ»t 2020), une autre sonnette d’alarme.
Et l’autre auteur que j’ai en tĂȘte Ă©crit de la non-fiction. C’est Sylvain Tesson, avec Dans les forĂȘts de SibĂ©rie (le titre anglais est plus explicite : The Consolations of the Forest : Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga).
Dans Sur les chemins noirs, il rĂ©agit fortement contre le gouvernement français qui essaie de connecter toutes les zones rurales françaises par l’ Internet, et dĂ©truit de nombreux environnements naturels, ainsi que les lieux de calme oĂč on peut tenter d’accĂ©der au moi plus profond.
Enfin, j’aimerais mentionner PanthĂšre des neiges (Ă  paraĂźtre en anglais sous le titre The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet, le 13 juillet 2021 par Penguin Press).
L’auteur du rĂ©sumĂ© en anglais dit bien les choses :

“et alors qu’ils veillent, Tesson en vient Ă  embrasser les vertus de patience et de silence. Sa foi est rĂ©compensĂ©e lorsque le lĂ©opard des neiges, l’esprit de la montagne, se rĂ©vĂšle : une incarnation de ce que nous avons abandonnĂ© dans nos vies contemporaines. Et le simple fait d’attendre s’avĂšre ĂȘtre un antidote Ă  la frĂ©nĂ©sie de notre temps.
Une cĂ©lĂ©bration de la puissance et de la grĂące de la nature et un requiem pour les lieux de disparition du monde, L’art de la patience est un rĂ©cit rĂ©vĂ©lateur de la communion entre la nature et le cƓur humain. Sylvain Tesson a Ă©crit un nouveau chef-d’Ɠuvre sur la relation entre l’homme et la bĂȘte en prose aussi sublime que la nature sauvage qui l’a inspirĂ©.”

7) Did you like this book, why or why not?
7) As-tu aimé ce livre, pourquoi ou pourquoi pas ?

Carol:

Yes, I definitely enjoyed the book. I loved the descriptions of the Taiga. I thought Makine’s characters were excellent. He described realistic backstories for each of them using an economy of words. Each man was unique and yet a believable by-product of the hardships that had formed him. In the end, Makine gave us a bit more about Elkan to help us understand her path to becoming a fugitive. One thing missing, however, were a few details that could explain how she came to be such an adept survivalist. The fact that she was a native of the area, was not quite enough to satisfy me but this is a nitpick.

I’ve already commented that I think Makine is a master storyteller. I can’t imagine knowing how to layer a plot so completely that it exhibits so many of the key elements of good writing and still flows seamlessly along. I’ve really appreciated Andrew Blackman’s commentary on this book. As a professional author, he speaks far more intelligently about Makine’s craft than I’m able to do. 

Oui, j’ai beaucoup aimĂ©. Les descriptions de la taĂŻga me plaisent. Les personnages sont excellents. Makine nous donne des profils justes et riches avec une prĂ©cision de mots. Chaque homme a un caractĂšre unique et crĂ©dible. À la fin, Makine nous prĂ©sente un peu plus sur Elkan pour mieux comprendre sa vie auparavant. Une chose qui manque, cependant, ce sont quelques dĂ©tails qui auraient pu expliquer comment elle est devenue une survivaliste exemplaire. Le fait qu’elle est autochtone n’est pas assez pour me satisfaire, mais tant pis.

J’ai dĂ©jĂ  dit que Makine me semble ĂȘtre un maĂźtre conteur. J’ai beaucoup apprĂ©ciĂ© les commentaires d’Andrew Blackman qui lit le livre avec nous. En tant qu’auteur professionnel, il parle brillamment des techniques d’écritures, ce que je ne sais pas trĂšs bien faire.

Emma:

I liked it a lot, especially for the ultimate messages highlighted above. Originally, I wanted to listen to it, but the service I use for French audiobooks never made it available. I’m actually glad I read it, as I had more opportunity to take the time to taste the great style. There are so powerful sentences that you just want to read and re-read.

I want to thank Carol for joining me in this bilingual adventure. It made it an even richer reading experience, that compelled me to slow down, reflect, analyze, and share. Merci Carol !
I invite you to check her post today, where she added gorgeous pictures of the archipelago (The Shantar Islands)!

Je l’ai beaucoup aimĂ©, surtout pour les messages ultimes mis en Ă©vidence ci-dessus. À l’origine, je voulais l’Ă©couter, mais le service que j’utilise pour les livres audio en français ne l’a jamais rendu disponible. En fait, je suis contente de l’avoir lu, car j’ai eu plus l’occasion de prendre le temps de goĂ»ter le style exquis. Il y a des phrases si puissantes que vous voulez juste lire et relire.

Je tiens Ă  remercier Carol de m’avoir accompagnĂ©e dans cette aventure bilingue. Ma lecture en a Ă©tĂ© d’autant plus enrichie, m’obligeant Ă  ralentir, Ă  rĂ©flĂ©chir, Ă  analyser et Ă  partager. Merci Carol !
Je vous invite Ă  consulter son blog aujourd’hui. Elle a ajoutĂ© de magnifiques photos de l’archipel (Les Ăźles Chantar) !

Please check also the wonderful reflections by Andrew Blackman on the end of the book

Feel free to comment here and/or on Carol’s blog,
or create your own post.

N’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  commenter ici et/ou sur le blog de Carol,
ou à créer vos propre billet.

The top 7 books to read in June 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in June 2021

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

  FutureofBuildingsBookCover    Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

  The Code Breaker   Languages of Truth

📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power, 
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020
I stopped reading it for a while, but am back to it.
Fascinating to read about what new models are popping up for transportation and power. Some details sound like pertaining to scifi, though they already exist in some cities, like gondolas in La Paz, Bolivia. I am learning a lot!

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020
Same thing, I had to read several other ebooks recently, so I stopped a bit on this one. So much so that I just restarted it from scratch.
Great passages on other thrillers, and a lot of humor, which I didn’t realize Lemaitre had, among so many other talents.

📚 The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson
Published on March 9, 2021 – won through Goodreads
This is so good, like anything by this author.
So neat to be reading this now as vaccines are developed using the technique she discovered.

📚 Languages of Truth: Essays, 2003-2020, by Salman Rushdie
Published on May 25, 2021 – received for review through Netgalley
I was very impressed by Rushdie’s writing in Quichotte.
Just read the first essay so far, so great writing, so many references. Loving it!

I am also buddy-reading two French novels with French students:

  • La Disparition, by George Perec, published in 1969.
    The author never uses the letter e. Was translated as A Void in English, same thing, letter e never used throughout the whole book!
  • Compartiment tueurs, by SĂ©bastien Japrisot, a thriller published in 1962.
    Looks like there are 2 English translations: The Sleeping Car Murders, and The 10:30 from Marseille.

READING NEXT

History in English Words

📚 History in English Words, by Owen Barfield
Published in 1926
Will be reading for The Classics Club – this was my latest spin, I am one month late

“This popular book provides a brief, brilliant history of those who have spoken the Indo-European tongues. It is illustrated throughout by current English words—whose derivation from other languages, whose history in use and changes of meaning—record and unlock the larger history.”

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

   Nature humaine  Evil Under the Sun

📚 Nature humaine, by Serge Joncour
Published on Aug 19, 2020
I have really enjoyed a lot Joncour’s writing in Wild Dog, and have heard a lot about this one, so am listening to it in the original French.
Like in Wild Dog, the relationships between nature and humans is at the center of the novel.

📚 Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot #24) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1941
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“It seems that no matter how hard he tries, Poirot never quite gets a holiday. This story sees him in Devon, Agatha Christie’s home county, and, of course, among the scantily clad sunbathers, a murdered woman is found.

It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun
 she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival at the resort, Hercule Poirot had detected sexual tension in the seaside air. But could this apparent ‘crime of passion’ have been something more evil and premeditated altogether?”

📚 I will probably also listen to Hercule Poirot #25 and #26; plus at least 4 Biblical books (Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah, Ezekiel).

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR JUNE

📚 #20booksofSummer21

I am also in the process of streamlining all my Categories and Tags.
And of transitioning France Book Tours to another theme, and other forms of marketing!

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR JUNE?