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 …

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

Can a book be a work of art? The answer is yes, and I've read it. The only way to read this novel is to do so the same way you might look at a painting. A painting captures a moment, a feeling, a tone, it brings thoughts to your mind and makes you wonder …

Is Sci-fi missing something?

A friend linked me this article about the squeamish hesitance of writers to call their books sci-fi, and the reputation sci-fi has for being cheap or base entertainment. Some of this rings true for me, too, even as a (ex?) sci-fi fan and writer myself. Their example of Faber is accurate. I remember when I …

Back from the doldrums

Hello world! I've been having a hard time writing lately, but I'm happy to say my funk is over, and I'm producing fictional words again! I've gone back to a project I was working on last year, and I've rediscovered the thread, which is not something I'm usually able to do when I'm away from …

The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

Much like the others I've read by this author, this book deals heavily with memory, loss, and--more directly than the others--the holocaust.  The narrator recounts his experiences with four characters, in four sections of the book. Each character is an emigrant from Germany, and each, in some way, seems to want to forget some aspect …

Translating poetry: how can meaning be preserved?

I'm so enamored with Sebald that I got a book of his poetry, Across the Land and the Water (from the library, just in case it turns out I'm not a poetry kind of guy.) I've not read much of any poetry, by anyone,  but Sebald's writing is just so damn poetic anyway, I figured …

Book catch up #1, Hemingway, Hawingway

I've been reading a lot of books and not posting about them! So here's the first of some 'what I've been reading' catch up posts: The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway: I read For Whom the Bell Tolls a while back, and was underwhelmed, though parts of it did make me feel, and the end …