Europa Challenge 2011

sorry for my followers: reorganizing things around

If you follow this blog, you know how much I appreciated Murielle Barbery’s books. I keep running into reviews of other books published by Europa Editions, and they all sound quite good to me, so I thought I would add thie Challenge to my already long list of Challenges.

The neat thing with this one is that it can be open, no limit of time!

I will try first the Europa Ami level (friend in French): Read 4 Europa titles between July 1st and Dec 31 2011.

Read before July 1, so they don’t count for the Challenge!!:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Murielle Barbery
Gourmet Rhapsody, by Murielle Barbery
A Novel Bookstore, by Laurence Cossé

Read between July 1st and December 31st:
#1: French Leave, by Anna Gavalda
#2: An Accident in August, by Laurence Cossé

DOES THIS SOUND EXCITING?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE?
JUST CLICK ON THE EUROPA CHALLENGE LOGO TO ACCESS IT

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#90 review: Departure Lounge

Departure Lounge

by

Chad TAYLOR

173 pages

Published by Europa Editions in 2006

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

This book was ok, with a few interesting turns, but I expected more out of it. When he was a kid, one of his school mates disappeared. The story goes back and forth between this event, and later on in life, when as a thief, he breaks in houses and tries to collect information leading to understand the mystery of the disappearance of his friend.

Once again, I tried to get a decent book published by Europa Editions to finish this challenge, and without having to request any from my library. Sounds like I could have made better choices.

With this, I conclude my Europa Editions Reading Challenge: I managed to read 4 boosk published by Europa editions, but unfortunately, the most interesting ones were the ones I read BEFORE the offical date of the Challenge!

And as the experience was not too great, I will stop  doing that type of Challenge based on publishers; I prefer to focus reading challenges on contents and authors, rather than publishers.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

A young New Zealand woman mysteriously disappears. The lives of those she has left behind intersect and form a captivating latticework of odd coincidences and surprising twists of fate. This is contemporary urban noir at its stylish and intelligent best. [Europa editions]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chad Taylor was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and is the author of five novels (Pack of Lies, Heaven, Shirker, Electric and now Departure Lounge) and his short stories have been widely and internationally anthologized. He was named by Listener as one of New Zealand’s 10 best novelists and The Guardian in England likened him to Paul Auster. He currently teaches creative writing at Auckland University.

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#89 review: In a Strange Room

In a Strange Room

by

Damon GALGUT

207 pages

Published by Europa Editions in 2010

This book counts for

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

I did not enjoy this book. First, it was confusing, at the beginning I was not sure he was the follower, or the guy he was following was the follower. I’m sure the ambiguity was  on purpose, adding to the feeling of confusion of the main character throughout the book. Plus, it was too gloomy, and too focused on his confusion and feeling of loss, too focused on his inner dark journey than on the countries he goes through aimlessly. I was trying to get books from my library published by Europa editions without having to request them, but this was not a too happy choice.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

In this newest novel from South African writer Damon Galgut, a young loner travels across eastern Africa, Europe, and India. Unsure what he’s after, and reluctant to return home, he follows the paths of travelers he meets along the way. Treated as a lover, a follower, a guardian, each new encounter-with an enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers, a woman on the verge-leads him closer to confronting his own identity. Traversing the quiet of wilderness and the frenzy of border crossings, every new direction is tinged with surmounting mourning, as he is propelled toward a tragic conclusion.

In a Strange Room is a brilliant, stylish novel of anger and compassion, longing and thwarted desire, and a hauntingly beautiful evocation of life on the road. First published in The Paris Review in three parts, one of which was selected for a National Magazine Award, and another for the O. Henry Prize, In a Strange Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize. [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor and The Imposter. The Good Doctor was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award. He lives in Cape Town

REVIEWS BY OTHERS

Much more positive than mine:

“This is a wise and brilliant book.” –Times

“A beautiful book, strikingly conceived and hauntingly written, a writer’s novel par excellence without a clumsy word in it.” –The Guardian
“Galgut’s powerful writing is honest and insightful, polished as it is to a marble-like perfection.” –The Globe and Mail [amazon]

But another reviewer, Jenny, on Goodreads, has the same opinion. Read her review here.

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