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The Arrival

(viewed 1081 times)
a graphic novel, published in 2006 (I think). illustrations done in pencil. I like it a lot.

Posted by swamprose

8th Aug 2008, 06:08   | tags:,comments (1)

Long After Midnight at Nino Bien

(viewed 1112 times)
The first book I've been commissioned to review that I've genuinely enjoyed!

(2 different reviews for 2 different magazines, bits of my notes for one of them follows)

Brian Winter arrives in Buenos Aires with very basic Spanish, an unrealistic optimism with regards to his future employment prospects and a prejudice against tango born from the flash show stuff he has seen in films.

He struggles through, managing to land the enviable job of Reuters cub reporter & in so doing covers the country’s fall into the 2001 financial crisis and beyond.

His character makes a number of clichéd language mistakes, learns that the country is peopled by pleasantly mannered cynics and discovers that the tango danced in Buenos Aires milongas is not the showy legs-in-the-air spectacle he had thought but a subtle, sensual and extremely sexist reflection of Argentina’s history and culture.

This semi-autobiographical tale sets the scene well and presents the emotions of the times in an authentic way. It uses his interactions with the denizens of famous tango clubs, taxi drivers and a growing appreciation of tango to illustrate events as the country disintegrates around him.

While he has depicted the socio-political and historical background accurately, has researched tango history to an impressive level and may even have taken the tango lessons about which he writes, errors in his descriptions of milonga behaviour and related facts mean it's more than likely that he didn’t love the dance or spend as much time in milongas as the book would have us believe.

Written therefore with the benefit of hindsight and considerable poetic license, this is an American’s perspective of Buenos Aires at a key time in its history. Milongas and milongueros are simply a well researched lens through which he traces what occurred.

Despite this the dialogue is sharp, the story engaging and the way he weaves his own experiences and the history of tango into that of the country is fascinating. This book is an easy read and deftly blends memoirs, history and exaggerated personalities with an unabashed love for the country and its culture. The narrative is intoxicatingly smooth and gives an interesting and educational perspective on this foreign writer's view of Argentina’s soul.

(he has written other stuff and is now an editor at USA Today)

Posted by Dhamaka

23rd Jul 2008, 17:19   comments (0)

rereading the seminal 2020 visions series

(viewed 1131 times)

Posted by Alfie

22nd Jul 2008, 15:41   comments (0)

Spook Country, William Gibson

(viewed 1321 times)
William Gibson departed from strictly futura cyber fiction with his wonderful book Pattern Recognition which described a very modern protagonist with an aversion to brands which actually led to a severe physical response (Migraines, Nausea etc). It was great to realise that (I assume from my reading) he was writing these books because our reality, these times, are approaching that crazy future he mesmerised us with in his earlier cyber fiction.

Spook Country is another departure, but more inline with the theme of exploring an underbelly, a seam of Weird that's happening right now.

I'm reading it on my internet tablet, for you know, comedic effect.

Posted by Alfie

The great derangement

(viewed 1234 times)
Looking forward to reading this

Posted by Alfie

18th Jun 2008, 17:05   comments (1)

a local author :)

(viewed 1405 times)

Posted by

27th May 2008, 01:59   comments (4)

Yay! attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks

(viewed 1526 times)
God I love Amazon. And Moblog - without Moblog I'd have been out of the
loop on new Brookmyre books.

Posted by Alfie

21st May 2008, 12:34   comments (4)

The Body Emblazoned

(viewed 1243 times)
The Body Emblazoned, Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture by Jonathan Sawday. Starting today.

Posted by Caine

20th May 2008, 12:45   comments (0)