Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adventures in Reading

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

A Coin in Nine Hands, by Marguerite Yourcenar; University of Chicago Press
During the space of a day in Rome in 1933, a ten-lira coin passes through the hands of nine people—including an aging artist, a prostitute, and a would-be assassin of Mussolini. The coin becomes the symbol of contact between human beings, each lost in private passions and nearly impenetrable solitude. Within a few pages we have met half the major characters in this haunting, brilliantly constructed novel. . . . The studied perfection, the structural intricacy and brevity remind one of Camus. Yet by comparison, Yourcenar's prose is lavish, emotional and imagistic.

Selected Stories, by Robert Walser; NewYork Review of Books
Robert Walser lived on the fringes, an urban migrant working at menial jobs, rejecting adult relationships for the ever more total isolation in which he poured out poems, plays, novels, and hundreds of brief, brilliantly unpredictable prose sketches. He a writer of considerable wit, talent and originality, and for much of his later life an institutionalized madman who could be surprisingly lucid. He loved his food, his beer, and his freedom to ramble in both the Swiss and German countryside. Here are stories to be read slowly and savoured, a volume filled with lovely and disturbing moments that will stay with the reader for some time to come.

America's Magic Mountain, by Curtis White ; Dalkey Archive Press
An unassuming young man was travelling north by train from his home in Downstate , Illinois. He knew little of the world outside of the absurdly narrow purview provided by textbooks in what was called Industrial Psychology. To understand his capacities one has only to imagine the possibility of a young man whose life consisted of being shoved from box to box. That he never ventured forth from any of these boxes - until this momentous trip by train - says something about his willingness to trust and, yes, his essential timidity. At any rate, break forth he had now, for he planned a two-week stay at a recovery spa. (Opening page).

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