Book review: The Invention of Morel

The Invention of Morel

The Invention of Morel,
by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Translated from the Spanish
by Ruth L. C. Simms
NYRB
La invención de Morel
was first published in 1940
103 pages
Literary fiction / Classic

Goodreads

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Last month, I started rereading Ficciones, and realized I wanted to go deeper, but didn’t have time then to do so. So I am planning to go back to it in December.
In the meantime, this is November, with many book blogging events, for instance Novellas in November.
For the occasion, I decided to read a novella in translation that’s on my Classics Club list: The Invention of Morel. And I discovered in the excellent introduction by Suzanne Jill Levine (NYRB Classics edition) that its author, Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999) was great friends with Jorge Luis Borges, who was also his mentor (and he wrote a prologue for this book). So I’m still in great company! Click to continue reading

#84 review: The Woman In The Dunes

The Woman in the Dunes

by

Kobo ABE

241 pages

Published by Vintage in 1991

***

This book counts for

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

This was a weird book, or I should say, I felt dragged into a very weird world. While he’s looking for unique insects, this guy ends up in a dune area where the sand is so powerful that houses are getting swallowed up. He’s taken down in the pit formed by sand movements as a hostage or a slave to help this woman survive and not be swallowed up by sand overnight.

The ambiance was weird, slow and threatening, and I could feel the sand all over me.

At a deeper level, it was an interesting reflection on procrastination, on life choices: why do you do what you do, what do you do when you feel stuck in a tough situation; if you have any chance to change your life, do you go for it, or do you remain in your miserable situation, saying that things can only get better anyway, and because you don’t have the guts to jump and you are afraid the unknown could be worse than what you go through.

Having myself made a major, no, 2 major jumps a few years ago, I actually found this book an interesting reflection on the theme, an the unique style is attractive.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

One of the premier Japanese novels of the twentieth century, The Women in the Dunes combines the essence of myth, suspense, and the existential novel. In a remote seaside village, Niki Jumpei, a teacher and amateur entomologist, is held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit where, Sisyphus-like, they are pressed into shoveling off the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten the village. [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kōbō Abe, pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe, was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer and inventor.
He was the son of a doctor and studied medicine at Tokyo University. He never practised however, giving it up to join a literary group that aimed to apply surrealist techniques to Marxist ideology.
His first novel The Road Sign at The End of The Street was published in 1948. [Goodreads]

 

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OR ANY OTHER BOOK BY KOBO ABE?
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