Weekly reviews of films, books, lamps, operas, beards, paintings, telephone poles, suspicious moles, noses, noises, belts, pelts, hens (not roosters), chairs (not boosters), soaps, childhood memories, no-good Henrys, dryers, Spartans, liers, tartans, oranges, purples, and other nouns. No loitering.
Adolf Hitler wakes up alive and well in 2011, in a field just outside Berlin. Baffled as to how he got there, and the absence of the Russian advance, he has little more than a sketchy memory of his previously last day on earth and gets a headache thinking about it. No matter, as the Führer orients himself firmly towards the future: first, discover what disaster the motherland faces for Providence to recall him to Germany’s defence; and secondly, get back into power.
A leading High Court judge, Fiona Maye, is called on to decide whether a seventeen-year-old Jehovah’s Witness may refuse a life-saving blood transfusion. The law is both clear and unclear, depending on a highly normative judgement from an impartial justice, and the decision turns on Fiona’s own exceptional ability to determine the facts and decide what is in the best interests of the boy, without being swayed by her own or other’s prejudices and religious beliefs. Adding to this pressure is the contrast of her own personal life, where her long marriage is undergoing a slow disintegration.
Tsukuru Tazaki is thirty six and leads an almost monastic life, redesigning railroad stations and casually dating travel agent Sara. When she insists he confront the something that seems to be holding back their relationship, Tsukuru is thrown back into the past and to his teenage friendship with four amazing but different schoolmates. Almost twenty years later, Tsukuru must journey home to ask them why they turned their backs on him one summer, and discover what events passed between them to so horribly sever their friendship.
Set in a small seaside town to the north of Barcelona, Roberto Bolaño’s first novel, The Skating Rink, revolves around the beautiful figure skater Nuria Martí, a secret skating rink built with misappropriated public funds for her, and a shocking murder committed there. Narrated by three unreliable voices – of Remo Móran (a local businessman), Gaspar Heredia (an itinerant poet from South America), and Enric Rosquelles (a senior civil servant) – the novel charts the small-time political corruption and petty jealousies that lead to tragic consequences.