Friday, March 27, 2015

#FridayReads: Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky:

The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky—director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.


There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels—praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez—have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now. 

Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Tocopilla, Chile. At twenty-three, he left for Paris to pursue theater and the arts, and has lived there ever since. His classic films include The Holy Mountain, El Topo, Santa Sangre, and, most recently, The Dance of Reality. A prolific author, he has written novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and more than thirty successful comic books. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

#FridayReads: The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg

The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg:

Marian Lindberg grew up being told that Walter Lindberg, the man who raised her father, was a brave explorer who had been murdered in the Amazon. She took her father's claims at face value, basking in her exotic roots, until she started to notice things. The unverified legend became a riddle she couldn't solve.

As Lindberg moved from journalism to law, fell in love, and sought a family of her own, her father repeatedly interfered. He had a closed vision of his family, and she-unlike the silent Walter-was breaking out.

Yet her father's story of the past haunted Lindberg. Long after her father's death, Lindberg set off for the Amazon, determined to find out the truth about Walter. Aided by generous Brazilians who adopted her search as if it were their own, she discovered as much about herself and her family as about Walter, whose true role in Brazil's history turned out to be unexpected and deeply troubling.

Sharply observant, wrought with honesty, and sweeping in its ambitions, The End of the Rainy Season is a powerful examination of identity and human relationships with nature, and between one another.



A lawyer and photographer as well as a writer, Marian E. Lindberg works in New York as Senior Staff Writer for The Nature Conservancy, an international environmental organization with programs throughout the United States and in over thirty countries, including Brazil, where much of The End of the Rainy Season takes place. Lindberg has lived in eastern Long Island with her son since 2005. She enjoys music and outdoor activities and has traveled extensively.

Friday, March 13, 2015

#FridayReads: The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

I should have told. Julie’s right: I would have saved dozens of others. Jeff, Julie, Sam, the academy kids, the Huck Finn boys, everyone else was ignorant or greedy or scared or confused or overwhelmed by bullies, but I was strong enough—I could’ve pushed him away. I did push him away. I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.

Brian and Jeff were best friends, growing up together in New York City in the late 1960s. Then something happened that drove a wedge between them, ending both their friendship and their childhood, something that neither ever spoke about . . . at least until their shared secret resurfaced some forty years later, forcing them to reunite and, along with Jeff’s cousin Julie, to face the consequences of their years of silence.

In The Wisdom of Perversity, Rafael Yglesias, the critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist and screenwriter and the author of A Happy Marriage, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, and Fearless, the basis for the cult film by the same name, has crafted a novel that tells the stories of three childhood friends who join together as adults to acknowledge the ways in which their lives were altered by the actions of a predator, a predator who now, many years later, has been exposed by more recent victims yet is on the verge of escaping punishment--thanks to his wealth and influence.

Damaged in different ways by the events of the past but all sharing the same feelings of guilt and anger for allowing this man to go unpunished, leaving him free to abuse others, Julie, Jeff, and Brian band together to force a public outcry that will assure that he will finally face justice. With a tone that cleverly mixes humor with stark reality, The Wisdom of Perversity is a groundbreaking novel that by giving a voice to the youthful victims of sexual abuse will inspire both praise and debate.


Rafael Yglesias is a novelist and screenwriter, the son of writers Jose Yglesias and Helen Yglesias, who instilled in him the need to aim for psychological realism in his writing. Raised in Manhattan, he dropped out of high school to finish his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, which was published in 1972. After writing three novels by the age of twenty-one, he stopped writing books between 1976 and 1984 and concentrated on starting a family, making a living by writing screenplays, none of which was produced. 

He returned to novels in 1986 with Hot Properties, followed by Only Children in 1988, The Murderer Next Door in 1990, Fearless in 1993, and Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil in 1996. He also resumed writing screenplays, with the first to be produced, Fearless, based on his own novel. In all he has had five films produced. After the publication of Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil, Yglesias took another break from writing novels, mostly because of the illness and death of his wife. He returned to novels with the publication of A Happy Marriage, an autobiographical story of his first marriage. It was awarded the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and became a bestseller. His website is www.rafaelyglesias.com.

#FridayReads: Mexico by James A. Michener

Mexico James A. Michener

The classic novel from Michener, in trade paperback for the first time, featuring a new introduction by Steve Berry.



Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener, whose novels hurtle from the far reaches of history to the dark corners of the world, paints an intoxicating portrait of a land whose past and present are as turbulent, fascinating, and colorful as any on Earth. 

When an American journalist travels to report on the upcoming duel between two great matadors, he is ultimately swept up in the dramatic story of his own Mexican ancestry—from the brilliance and brutality of the ancients, to the iron fist of the invading Spaniards, to the modern Mexico fighting through dust and bloodshed to build a nation upon the ashes of revolution. Architectural splendors, frenzied bullfights, horrific human sacrifice: 

Michener weaves them all into an epic human story that ranks with the best of his beloved bestselling novels.


JAMES A. MICHENER, one of the world’s most popular writers, was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Texas, Chesapeake, The Covenant, and Hawaii, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

Friday, March 06, 2015

#FridayReads: The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya

The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya:

A high-octane paranoia deranges a writer and fuels a dangerous plan to return home to El Salvador.


Drinking way too much and breaking up with his wife, an exiled journalist in Mexico City dreams of returning home to El Salvador. But is it really a dream or a nightmare? When he decides to treat his liver pain with hypnosis, his few impulse-control mechanisms rapidly dissolve. Hair-brained schemes, half-mad arguments, unraveling murder plots, hysterical rants: everything escalates at a maniacal pace, especially the crazy humor.

Horacio Castellanos Moya was born 1957 in Honduras. He has lived in San Salvador, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico (where he spent ten years as a journalist, editor, and political analyst), Spain, and Germany. In 1988 he won the National Novel Prize from Central American University for his first novel. His work has been published and translated in England, Germany, El Salvador and Costa Rica. He has published ten novels and is now living in exile as part of the City of Asylum project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Friday, February 27, 2015

#FridayReads: The Discreet Hero: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Discreet Hero: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa:

The latest masterpiece—perceptive, funny, insightful, affecting—from the Nobel Prize–winning author

English: Mario Vargas Llosa at Göteborg Book F...
Mario Vargas Llosa, Göteborg Book Fair 2011. (Photo Wikipedia)
Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa’s newest novel, The Discreet Hero, follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead.

     Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires—which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. The Discreet Hero is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Doña Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly—and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters.

     A novel whose humor and pathos shine through in Edith Grossman’s masterly translation, The Discreet Hero is another remarkable achievement from the finest Latin American novelist at work today.


Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” He has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor. His many works include The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

     One of our most celebrated translators of literature in Spanish, Edith Grossman has translated the works of the Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez, among others. Her version of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is considered the finest translation of the Spanish masterpiece in the English language.
 
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