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View Poll Results: Which region should we use for nominations this month?
Latin America 6 50.00%
Canada & The U.S.A. 1 8.33%
The South Pacific 0 0%
Southeast Asia 5 41.67%
Japan 2 16.67%
The Korean Peninsula, Mongolia & China 3 25.00%
South Asia 3 25.00%
Central Asia, East Europe & Russia 2 16.67%
Sub Saharan Africa 3 25.00%
North Africa & The Middle East 4 33.33%
Southeast Europe 3 25.00%
Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain & France 4 33.33%
North & Central Europe 1 8.33%
Ireland & The U.K. 2 16.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-07-2012, 05:15 PM   #16
paola
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I'll begin by thirding Ficciones and The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas.

I will also nominate Edvige Danticat's The Farming of bones - from Goodreads:

Quote:
The Farming of Bones begins in 1937 in a village on the Dominican side of the river that separates the country from Haiti. Amabelle Desir, Haitian-born and a faithful maidservant to the Dominican family that took her in when she was orphaned, and her lover Sebastien, an itinerant sugarcane cutter, decide they will marry and return to Haiti at the end of the cane season. However, hostilities toward Haitian laborers find a vitriolic spokesman in the ultra-nationalist Generalissimo Trujillo who calls for an ethnic cleansing of his Spanish-speaking country. As rumors of Haitian persecution become fact, as anxiety turns to terror, Amabelle and Sebastien's dreams are leveled to the most basic human desire: to endure. Based on a little-known historical event, this extraordinarily moving novel memorializes the forgotten victims of nationalist madness and the deeply felt passion and grief of its survivors
Available here

If Andrea Levy qualifies (I think she is British, but of Jamaican origin), then I'd also nominate Small Island, not short, but a really good book that is very easy to devour - again from Goodreads:

Quote:
Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.

Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.
But again, let me know if you think this does not qualify (available here)

EDIT: no I don't think Andrea Levy would be fair, so I withdraw this nomination, but keep it here just in case somebody has read my original message and wondered what happened to it.

Last edited by paola; 05-07-2012 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:23 PM   #17
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I was forgetting that four votes are needed here.

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina


Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia

Add to nominations for these.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:42 PM   #18
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Second The Farming of Bones.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:14 PM   #19
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All of the nominations so far are interesting to me and I'd support any of them, but I'll use my last two nominations on these:


The Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

A tale of a doomed crew beating their way up-river through the jungles of Guyana.

Wilson Harris was born in 1921 in the former colony of British Guiana. He was a land surveyor before leaving for England in 1959 to become a full-time writer. His exploration of the dense forests, rivers and vast savannahs of the Guyanese hinterland features prominently in the settings of his fiction. Harris's novels are complex, alluding to diverse mythologies from different cultures, and eschew conventional narration in favour of shifting interwoven voices.


I normally wouldn't include customer reviews, but in lieu of any critic's reviews I will. The three customer reviews at Amazon are all 5-star. One says, "Wilson Harris produces, in the most poetic prose, the images, traditions, and myths of the the Carribean." Another says, "Wilson Harris, born in 1921 in what was then British Guiana and is now Guyana, is one of the most unflinchingly poetic British novelists of the twentieth century." And the third says, "Wilson Harris' epic charts the history of the Caribbean through the metaphor of Donne's crew as they travel into a West Indian "heart of darkness.""

One also gives a general plot description: 'The novel consists of four books, each set off by a short quotation from a major poet - Yeats, Donne, and two by Hopkins. The opening book, "Horseman, Pass By" sets the basic plot in motion, a boat is journeying up the river through the Guyanese rain forest. The second book, "The Mission of Mariella" finds the Armeridian village of Mariella deserted, and the crew, finding an old native woman, enlists her forceably as guide. In the novel's longest book, "The Second Death", the men travel further and further upstream looking for the missing villagers. After a series of deaths and further confusion the novel evolves into a vast bewildering dream, "Paling of Ancestors"."

Here is the Amazon link.


In The Castle of My Skin by George Lamming
Spoiler:
A "coming of age" novel that balances innocence against the decadence of colonialism. It is vivid, poetic, insightful, autobiographical and often humorous.

From Amazon:

George Lamming's "In the Castle of My Skin" skilfully depicts the Barbadian psyche. Set against the backdrop of the 1930s riots which helped to pave the way for Independence and the modern Barbados, through the eyes of a young boy, Lamming portrays the social, racial, political and urban struggles with which Barbados continues to grapple even with some thirty-three years of Political Independence from Britain. Required reading for all Caribbean people. The novel also offers non-Barbadians and non-Caribbean people insight into the modern social history of Barbados and the Caribbean. 'A writer of the people one is back again in the pages of Huckleberry Finn_ the fundamental book of civilisation Mr Lamming captures the myth-making and myth-dissolving mind of childhood' NEW STATESMAN 'Its poetic imaginative writing has never been surpassed' TRIBUNE 'A striking piece of work, a rich and memorable feat of imaginative interpretation' THE SPECTATOR 'He produces anecdote after anecdote, rich and riotous.' THE TIMES 'There is not a stock figure in the story fluent, poetical, sophisticated.' THE SUNDAY TIMES

George Lamming was born June 8, 1927 in Carrington's Village, Barbados. He attended Combermere High School. He left Barbados for Trinidad in 1946 to become a teacher, four years later he was to migrate to England to become a writer. In the Castle of My Skin was completed within two years of his arrival in London.

Here is the Amazon link.

Last edited by sun surfer; 05-07-2012 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:03 AM   #20
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I'll fourth The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #21
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I would like to nominate one of the classics produced in this region: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. However, I think it is only fair to state that I am not aware that there is any ebook version of this novel available {though, ironically there are a number of ebooks about it!}. It is easily obtainable in pb. I'll nominate it because it is such an extraordinary book but I realise that club members might wish to give preference to the equally good choices which are available in an ebook format.

Here's the Wikipedia comment on it:

Wide Sargasso Sea is a 1966 postcolonial parallel novel by Dominica-born author Jean Rhys. Since her previous work, Good Morning, Midnight, was published in 1939, Rhys had lived in obscurity. Wide Sargasso Sea put Rhys into the limelight once more, and became her most successful novel.
The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of Antoinette Cosway (known as Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre), a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage with Mr Rochester and relocation to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black Jamaicans, Rhys's novel re-imagines Brontë's devilish madwoman in the attic. As with many postcolonial works, the novel deals largely with the themes of racial inequality and the harshness of displacement and assimilation.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 05-08-2012 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:05 PM   #22
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I was tempted to second one of the latest nominations, but the temptation to add one more was stronger Octavio Paz The Labyrinth of Solitude:

(from Barnes and Noble's blurb):
Quote:
Octavio Paz has long been acknowledged as Mexico's foremost writer and critic. In this international classic, Paz has written one of the most enduring and powerful works ever created on Mexico and its people, character, and culture. Compared to Ortega y Gasset's The Revolt of the Masses for its trenchant analysis, this collection contains his most famous work, "The Labyrinth of Solitude," a beautifully written and deeply felt discourse on Mexico's quest for identity that gives us an unequaled look at the country hidden behind "the mask."
Having a hard time finding a legitimate ebook version (though plenty from the darknet)
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:36 AM   #23
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I'll use my last two votes to second:

The Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris

and

The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz

Both sound very interesting.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 05-09-2012 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:34 AM   #24
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I'd like to nominate The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is supposedly one of the top 10 most read books of all time, and I haven't...

From Amazon:
Quote:
The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sense a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coehlo introduces Santiago, an Andalucian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.
Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:36 AM   #25
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I'll second In The Castle of My Skin and third The Labyrinth of Solitude.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:21 PM   #26
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I will fourth The Labyrinth of Solitude.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:15 PM   #27
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About a half day left for nominations.


Edited a half day later to add:

Nominations are now closed. The poll will be up shortly.

Last edited by sun surfer; 05-11-2012 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:02 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I’d like to nominate The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, considered to be Brazil’s pre-eminent author. Harold Bloom has described him as "the supreme black literary artist to date."

This is the blurb from Goodreads:

One of the greatest novels of Brazilian Literature, Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas is narrated by a dead man who recounts the amorous misadventures of his unheroic life and explains his half-hearted political ambitions. While it is considered the first novel of Brazilian realism, its quirks seem refreshingly modern and make it unforgettably unlike anything written before or after it.

The novel is available at all the usual venues for under US$10, and it’s couponable at Kobo. I paid $4 for a copy with a current code.
I borrowed this from the library years ago, didn't get to read it, and forgot both title and author. I haven't exactly search high and low, but have had a look through some lists of Latin authors, couldn't find anything that rang a bell. Not strange I guess, since I couldn't remember more than that it was supposedly by one of the greatest authors from *some* latin-american country. And maybe something about potatoes?

I don't participate in the Literary Book Club, but still sometimes read the threads (always looking for ideas of books to read). Your description made me look the book up on Goodreads, and under Other editions, there it was: Epitaph of a Small Winner (I remembered the cover&title when I saw it). I guess the different titles may be why I haven't been able to find it. I think Machado de Assis was one of the authors I looked at.
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