Books

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - May 2016 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

john_K_pic.jpg


Penelope Fitzgerald

Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2008) was an English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer.   In the 1950s, she worked, with her husband, as co-editor of a magazine called World Review to which she contributed articles on literature, music and sculpture. She and her husband lived in public housing in the 1960s after her husband was disbarred for forging cheques. She then worked as a teacher in a drama school.  Fitzgerald launched her literary career at the age of 58, in 1975. She won the Booker Prize for her novel Offshore (1979). The Times included her in a list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. The Observer named her novel, The Blue Flower, as one of the ten best historical novels. 

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - April 2016 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

john_K_pic.jpg

 

Stefan Zweig: Beware of Pity

Zweig (1881-1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, librettist, journalist, and biographer. At the height of his literary career in the 1920s-1930s, he was one of the most popular, and most translated, writers in the world. As Hitler consolidated power, Zweig left Austria, in 1934, to move to England. In 1940, Zweig and his wife moved to New York where they lived for two months before moving again, to Brazil where they committed suicide in February, 1942. Looking at the state of Europe, Zweig wrote in his suicide note: "I think it better to conclude in good time and in erect bearings a life in which intellectual labour meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on Earth."

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - February 2016 By John Klassen (Reviews)

 

john_K_pic.jpg

JOHN KLASSEN

 Elmer Mendoza

 Mendoza (1949-) is a Mexican novelist and short story writer. He is a professor of literature at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa. He is a key figure in, some even consider him the originator of, the genre known as 'narcoliterature' that explores the effects of drug trafficking and corruption in society. Silver Bullets is the first of Mendoza's novels to be translated into English.  

Continue Reading

CRITIQUE DU LIVRE DE JOHN GRAHAM: WHOSE MAN IN HAVANA? Par Jean-Pierre Juneau (Review)

 

Attiré par le titre de ce livre qui m'amena à penser  que j'aurais quelques belles heures de lectures devant moi,  consacrées à notre politique à l'égard d'un pays dont l'histoire politique contemporaine m'a toujours intéressé, j'ai donc acheté le livre de John en ligne, mais fus d'abord un peu étonné par le contenu de la table des matières qui semblait peu correspondre à ce qu'annonçait le titre !

Je me suis néanmoins mis à la lecture de cet ouvrage, l'un des plus fascinants que j'ai eu l'occasion de lire parmi tous ceux produits par nos anciens collègues.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - TOP TEN 2015 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

 

John Klassen

 

TOP TEN 2015
FICTION

Edward Lewis Wallant: The Pawnbroker
A novel about the tortured soul of a Holocaust survivor, now a pawnbroker in Harlem (1950s), a man who is socially and emotionally bereft, living a life for which he sees no purpose. The loss of his family in the camps appears in only a few, separate moments of reminiscence but these heighten greatly the emotional impact. Wonderful writing throughout. (Reviewed on JustOttawa in December)

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - December 2015 - By John Klassen (Review)

john_K_pic.jpg

 John Klassen

 

Kamel Daoud

Daoud (1970-) is an Algerian writer and journalist. The Meursault Investigation is his first novel.

 

The Meursault Investigation

It is a bold writer who takes an acknowledged classic, Camus's The Stranger (aka The Outsider) and writes a novel that gives the other side of the story as told by the brother of the man who is murdered in the Camus book. 

Continue Reading

WHOSE MAN IN HAVANA? By John Graham, Reviewed by Paul Durand

 

                             WHOSE MAN IN HAVANA?

                 Adventures from the Far Side of Diplomacy

                              By John W. Graham


john-graham2.gif

 John Graham

 

Review byPaul Durand


John Graham has produced a rollicking, engaging memoir - a combination of black humour, wry observations on life in exotic climes and - woven throughout - sophisticated socio-political analyses of places most of us really don't want to experience in any depth.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - October 2015 - By John Klassen (Review)

 

john_K_pic.jpg

Reviews by John Klassen

 

Alistair Urquhart

 

Urquhart (1919- ) is a retired Scottish businessman. He wrote The Forgotten Soldier at the age of 90. It became a best-seller and Urquhart was much in demand as a public speaker.  After retiring from business, he taught computer skills to retired people and continued with his passion for ballroom dancing.

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - September 2015 - By John Klassen (Review)

 

john_K_pic.jpg

Reviews by John Klassen

 

David Holdsworth

 

David Holdsworth is a retired public service officer who worked abroad and held a number of positions including in the Privy Council Office. He has now turned his skills to writing with a sharp eye for the foibles of government and public service.  His first novel: The Ambassador’s Camel: Undiplomatic Tales of Embassy Life described the antics of diplomatic life in a fictitious country.  His new book turns inward with a funny, satirical focus on the “tough on crime” agenda of the current government.

Continue Reading