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Old 04-10-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Obscure Vote April 2012 • The MR Literary Club

Help us choose the April 2012 selection to read for the MR Literary Club! The poll will be open for three days.

In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off poll. In the event that the run-off poll also ends in a tie, the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its initial nominations first.


Select from the following works:


The Permanent Husband by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Spoiler:
aka The Eternal Husband

Quote:
From one of the world's greatest prose writers, this is a remarkable psychological novel examining the duality of the human consciousness. Velchaninov, a rich and idle man undergoing a moral crisis, is confronted in St. Petersburg by Trusotsky, the loyal husband of Velchaninov’s former lover. Trusotsky informs Velchaninov that his wife has died, and from here this fascinating novella charts the development of the two men’s lives. Beautifully portraying the confused and changing feelings the two men have for one another, this work moves through guilt, hatred, and love. This is Dostoevsky at his best, engaging with his favored themes of tortured minds and neurosis, and treating them in a captivating and highly revealing way.

...and this from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Eternal Husband is one of Dostoyevsky lesser known novels. The subject of a deceived husband is lighter than in his other novels, but some critics say this novel ranks among his best works because of its style and structure. Alfred Bem calls it "one of the most complete works by Dostoyevsky in regards to its composition and development.

Columba by Prosper Mérimée
Spoiler:
Set on the island of Corsica in the 19th Century it is the tale of a young solider who after serving in the French army returns home when his father is murdered. There his sister incites him to seek a revenge killing on the rival family that she is convinced murdered their father. Very colorful portrait of the Corsican culture of the time.

Wikipedia biography of Prosper Mérimée

Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb
Spoiler:
As translated by Jane Kuntz

A lush journey into a Tunisia of memory and imagination.

Talismano is a novelistic exploration of writing seen as a hallucinatory journey through half-remembered, half-imagined cities—in particular, the city of Tunis, both as it is now, and as it once was. Walking and writing, journey and journal, mirror one another to produce a calligraphic, magical work: a palimpsest of various languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab Meddeb’s beguiling mastery of both the Western and Islamic traditions. Meddeb’s journey is first and foremost a sensual one, almost decadent, where the narrator luxuriates in the Tunis of his memories and intercuts these impressions with recollections of other cities at other times, reviving the mythical figures of Arab-Islamic legend that have faded from memory in a rapidly westernizing North Africa. A fever dream situated on the knife-edge between competing cultures, Talismano is a testament to the power of language to evoke, and subdue, experience.

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
Spoiler:
Hamsun won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920 for The Growth of the Soil. Hunger is an early work, written in 1890.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
Written after Hamsun's return from an ill-fated tour of America, Hunger is loosely based on the author's own impoverished life before his breakthrough in 1890. Set in late 19th century Kristiania, the novel recounts the adventures of a starving young man whose sense of reality is giving way to a delusionary existence on the darker side of a modern metropolis.

Memoirs of a Midget by Walter De La Mare
Spoiler:
The author is known primarily for his strange stories, poetry, and writings for both adults and children. His masterpiece, however, may well be this extraordinary novel which not many even know about--let alone bother to read. Here is a selection from a review of it from The Observer:

". . . the reader will be charmed and amazed by this odd, creepy tale, which is a gripping account of a young woman enduring a confined life of quiet desperation. Miss M is intelligent and observant, with a profound sensitivity to nature, but she is also tortured by an unrequited, obsessive love for Fanny, the horrible daughter of one of her guardians - "With a silly, animal-like affection I brushed purposely against Fanny's skirts" - which drags her into despair and near-madness.

"De la Mare's preoccupation with the Brontës is unsubtle . . . . But Memoirs of a Midget is a triumphant work of fiction: a portrait of a complex heroine who the reader will ultimately find quite as compelling as Jane or Cathy."
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