Friday, August 03, 2007

Additions to Galway City Library

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Insatiability, by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz
This novel, the author's masterpiece, is one of the greatest expressions ever of the tortured intersection of political and personal destinies in Eastern Europe. Witkiewicz was a gifted painter, poet, philosopher, dramatist, novelist, and wit. Here he creates a unique and fascinating hybrid: a novel of education grafted onto a stinging sociopolitical satire. The protagonist, Genezip Kapen, moves from youthful innocence and promise through the formative and transformative crucibles of sexual initiation (and confusion), drug addiction, madness, and murder. His own psychic and moral fragmentation evinces what his author perceived as the larger decline of his country.

Appointment, by Herta Muller
Romanian-born Müller offers a grim portrait of totalitarian life's squalor and pain. The sharp generational divide following the war and the dreadful ways in which people learn to cope with the Communist regime are threaded throughout—as are some lighter moments, shaky though they may be. Appropriately disorienting and tightly wound, this perfectly controlled narrative offers a chilling picture of human adaptation and survival under oppression. Sensitive, observant, unrelenting-and compelling, this book confirms her standing as one of Europe's greatest writers.

On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction, by Karl Iagnemma
Iagnemma would seem to be a paradox: he's a notable author of short stories whose works have won a Pushcart Prize and a Paris Review Discovery Prize as well as a research scientist in the mechanical engineering department at MIT. In fact, these disparate aspects of his personality work together; he seamlessly blends the lyrical and the precise to create gemlike little portraits of individuals who seem suddenly to have caught their "reflections in a cloudy mirror." Iagnemma is pointed, but he isn't merciless; his empathy makes these characters live. A beautifully crafted collection.

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