linguoboy wrote:I started El amor en los tiempos de cólera and quickly made it about a hundred pages in before stalling.
That's on my pandemic reading list as well.
JFYI, you'll have to read at least 150 pages before there's any mention of cholera.
I wish my concentration were better. I keep getting frustrated, setting it down, and picking up some lesser work that I can speed through much more easily. That's how I ended up reading two disappointing novels in the past week, Bharati Mukherjee's The holder of the world
and Perihan Mağden's Ali and Ramazan
The former felt like sort of a bait-and-switch. The blurb promises elements of scifi, but they're only nominal; what it really is a work of historical fiction, bordering on historical fantasy. (Nothing truly supernatural happens, but there are lots of contrivances, coincidences, and overblown descriptions. Not to mention that the principal setting is a completely invented Indian kingdom.) It reads strangely like fan fiction. The main character is an improbable heroine with connexions to both Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Mughals. I didn't hate it, but I didn't take any time to savour it either.
The latter I summed up as "breathless homophobic tragedy porn". Mağden says the inspiration came from "a line in the newspaper" and, honestly, for all the time she spends describing them and their situation, her characters don't register much more deeply than that. Despite all the grittiness (and named Istanbul locales), the narrative doesn't feel especially grounded in reality. You know from the start things are going to end badly and it's not all that interesting getting there. And the constant railing against "queers" probably accurately reflects mainstream Turkish homophobia and is consistent with the principals' fucked-up upbringing, but it gets pretty tiresome. I have a gay friend who loves to read who I've given some fairly mediocre titles and I wouldn't give him this.
On the plus side, I did finally finish Un nos ola leuad
. After all that effort, the conclusion felt a bit disappointing, but I have no regrets about reading the book. In more than 30 years of studying the language, it's only the second Welsh-language novel I've read to the end, and the other one was abridged for learners. I'm keen to read some others but I'm taking a bit of a breather while I try to focus on the García Márquez.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons