The Blind Owl, by Sadegh Hedayat

Certain stories really stick in my head and haunt/influence me for years. This could be one of them. The story of how this book was translated, told in the preface to the book, was an interesting read in itself. Apparently the story was banned in Iran for many years, and there were several censored and …

Agatha Christie books

I have watched hundreds of hours of mystery TV shows. I've seen every episode of the original 7 seasons of Columbo at least 4 times. Every episode of Murder She Wrote at least twice, every Episode of Poirot, Marple, Rosemary & Thyme, Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, Hetty Wainthrop, Death in Paradise, most of Midsummer Murders, …

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, by Yukio Mishima

In this beautiful and dark novel, we read about a young man's obsession with the famous Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Mizoguchi, who is unpopular and ostracized for his stuttering, is introduced to the temple by his father, and eventually becomes an acolyte there. After seeing the temple every day, he becomes more and more …

The Train Was On Time, by Heinrich Böll

In another war novel by Böll that does not feature battle or action, a young soldier, Private Andreas, boards a train and is immediately overcome with the certainty that he will soon die. As the train rolls on, Andreas' certainty grows, and he even begins to narrow down exactly the time and place that he …

The Silent Angel, by Heinrich Böll

I bought this based on W.G. Sebald's recommendation, and it did not disappoint. Set in Germany, in the weeks after the war has ended, the story follows one soldier as he wanders the wreckage, looking for food, shelter and love. The writing is continuously subtle and deft, and the imagery almost always seems to be …