Today I would like to tell you about 3 very short books (under 150 pages!) that I have recently read. I’m hoping that this article will be useful to those of you who don’t have much time to read and don’t dare starting a long book. These three books can be read in no time and are pretty good.
Hey guys, I have finally read a Donna Tartt’s novel! I had planned to do so for a while and I can tell you that I was not disappointed. The Secret History is Donna Tartt’s first published novel. It apparently took eight years to be written! It was published in 1992 and it is absolutely thrilling. The Secret History is the first novel I read in a little while (I have been reading a lot of non fiction lately) and from the moment I reached the middle of the book, I simply couldn’t put it down.
Today I would like to tell you about a tetralogy I have just finished reading, which really blew my mind away: The Napolitan Novels. The Napolitan novels are a series of four novels written by Italian author Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend (published in 2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014) and The Story of the Lost Child (2015). These novels form a long bildungsroman following the lives of two childhood friends, Elena and Lina (also nicknamed “Lila” by Elena) from their childhood in a poor neighborhood of Naples in the 1950’s to their late sixties in 1990’s Italy. The books are narrated by Elena. The first book opens on Lila’s disappearance: Elena receives a phone call from Rino, Lila’s son, telling her that his mother has been gone for two weeks, taking everything with her and leaving no trace behind her, and that he is desperate to find her again. Elena then decides to write the story of their friendship, in chronological order until Lila’s disappearance – this story makes up the four books.
Today I’d like to tell you about A Little Life, a novel by Hanya Yanagihara. I had heard a lot about this novel: it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015 and for the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016. Of course Booktube was all about this novel a few months ago, with reviews from people who absolutely loved it and reviews from people who hated it. This was very intriguing, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I had got this novel a few months ago, and I finally started reading it a few weeks ago – who said I was late?
I haven’t posted here for a very long time, I’m sorry about that. However, I do have an excuse: first, I was busy changing the design of this blog (I hope you like this new design by the way!). And then, I went to Japan, where I spent two wonderful weeks of holiday. But I am back with a short review (I’m going to try to keep my blog posts short, and I feel that it’s not going to be easy…) of a powerful short stories collection (wow, a lot of “short” in this sentence, isn’t it?): You can’t keep a good woman down by Alice Walker.
I don’t really read short stories because I find it easier to get into the story when you have time to discover the characters. Most of the time, novels introduce and develop realistic characters we can feel close to, or relate to. This is not often the case with short stories I find. But this short story collection pleasantly surprised me. Its short stories are very powerful: they deal with important and harsh themes such as murder, rape, abortion, family, racism and so on. Obviously, this is not a short story collection you should read if you are depressed or looking for a light and easy reading, to say the least. These short stories will arouse strong feelings in you but they will also make you think. Impossible not to think when reading them. Some of them are actually built like fictional mini essays.
Today I’d like to tell you about a short novel that I literally devoured during my holiday in Prague: The Vegetarian by Han Kang. It was the first South-Korean novel I’ve read and this was a very interesting experience, indeed.
This very short novel recounts the story of Yeong-hye, a young housewife who suddenly decides to become a vegetarian. This decision upsets her family and her husband, who try by all means to make her come to her senses. It is hard to tell you more about the plot without spoiling the novel and what makes it so fascinating, so I am going to stop here for the plot.
The novel is divided into three parts, each being told from a different point of view. The first part, “The Vegetarian”, is narrated by Yeong-hye’s husband, Mr Cheong. The second part, “Mongolian Mark”, is told from an omniscient point of view but focuses a lot on Yeong-hye’s brother-in-law’s (Yeong-hye’s sister’s husband) thoughts. Finally, “Flaming Trees” has also got an omniscient point of view but with a clear focus on In-hye’s – Yeong-hye’s sister – thoughts.