Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Novella Challenge Reads

I managed to tick off three of my novella reads last week, here are all three reviews in one post to save numeous posts.

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Epics)
The third millennium BC story was found carved into stone and is believed to be one of the oldest surviving epic poems.
Written in prose style it tells the story of Gilgamesh a man born so strong his town sought out a companion for him to equal him in strength. When Uruk is discovered the battle against the threats to the town, including a mighty dragon, are undertaken.
At Uruk’s death Gilgamesh becomes afraid of death and goes in search of everlasting life. His journey into death is beautifully told employing the repetition of the ballad form. A good way to spend an hour’s reading time.

The Last Will and Testament if Senhor da Silva Araujo – Germano Almeida
Last year I was trying to focus on reading my way around the world (I didn’t get far) and went in search of a book from Cape Verde as I wanted to read about parts of Africa I knew little of. This was the only novel that I could find that had been translated into English.
Araujo leaves behind a 384 page will which reveals that he isn’t the quiet retiring man that everyone thought he was. With an illegitimate child, numerous love affairs and his transgression from poverty to wealth his life is gradually revealed. This was an interesting way to tell the story of a man’s life. You get his accounts, left only to be read once he is dead, and the accounts of those that experienced these events with him – remembering the story from a completely different perspective.

Do you have any recommendations for the smaller or less translated African states?

We Always Lived at the Castle
This read was inspired by Chris' post here, and I loved this book just as I've enjoyed many of the books he's reviewed.
Merricat and Constance are the gossip of the village after their parents and young brother are poisoned at home with arsenic in the sugar. Costance, in charge of the cooking was tried and aquited for murder. Since they returned to their old house they have been shunned, gossiped about and watched by those who used to look up to this wealthy family.
The tale is mainly based in the castle and shows the sisters loving relationship, the tasks they do to keep the home and Merricat's the younger sisters adventures. Life changes when Cousin Charles, a man with ulterior motives, comes to stay. He plays nice to Constance but picks out the rebellious younger sister.
It soon becomes clear who the murderer was and that Charles stay at the house is not welcome.
I really enjoyed this book and will certainly be looking out for my own copy and more of Shirley Jackson's work. A big recommendation for anyone completing the novella challenge


Eva said...

I've read and loved Gilgamesh and the Jackson! My library doesn't have the Cape Verde author, or else I'd definitely be giving it a go.

katrina said...

Our library didn't have it either so it was one of the few books I brought, I'm now sending it off on its travels via bookcrossing