Books

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - June/July 2015 - By John Klassen (Review)

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

 

Mairtin O Cadhain

O Cadhain (1905-1970), whose name could most closely be rendered in English as Marteen O’Kine, was an Irish novelist, short story writer, journalist and school teacher. O Cadhain is considered Gaelic Ireland’s most important writer and a pioneer in Irish-language modernism. He wrote principally in Irish and also translated some works from English. The Dirty Dust is considered one of the greatest achievements of the Irish novel.

Continue Reading

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

john_K_pic.jpg

 John Klassen

 

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Vasquez (1973-) was described by The Guardian as, “among the most inventive and erudite or Colombia’s emerging generation of novelists”.  He lived in Paris (1996-1999) and received a doctorate in Latin American Literature from the Sorbonne, followed by Barcelona for about 10 years, until 2012; he now lives in Bogota.  Vasquez has written three principal novels: The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, and The Sound of Things Falling; the last won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2014; the first South American writer to do so.  There were two earlier novels, but Vasquez prefers to ignore them. 

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - April 2015 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

 

 

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

Helen Macdonald

Macdonald is an English writer, naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the University of Cambridge Department of History and Political Science. Her book H is for Hawk (2014) won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the Costa Book of the Year Award.  Earlier books include Shaler’s Fish (2001) and Falcon (2006).

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - March 2015 - By John Klassen (Reviews)

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

 

Gary Shteyngart

Shteyngart was born in Leningrad (1972) and moved to the USA at the age of seven.  His novels, which have received various awards, include The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (2002), Absurdistan (2006), and Super Sad True Love Story (2010); he published a memoir, Little Failure (2014).

Continue Reading

KLASSEN ON BOOKS - February 2015 - By John Klassen (reviews)

john_K_pic.jpg

John Klassen

Elena Ferrante

Ferrante is an interesting person and a terrific writer.  She is the author of seven novels over 20 years.  She is very popular in Europe and increasingly so in North America, but she maintains a strict anonymity.  She has given interviews only in writing, and has provided a bare minimum of personal information:  she is from Naples, she is a mother.

Continue Reading

UNE COMEDIE FAMILIALE Par Marie-Rose Simon (Critique de livre)

mr july 2017

Marie-Rose Simon

Une Comédie familiale de Isabelle Hausser

Editions de Fallois
Paris 2003

Un ex-diplomate français reconverti en directeur européen d’une multinationale et affecté à Bruxelles, Rachel, 48 ans va vivre entre mari, fils, père et tante, une année de transformations profondes, personnelle et familiales.

Continue Reading

THE CRISIS OF ISLAM/WHAT WENT WRONG By Richard Belliveau (Book Review)

 

belliveau july 24 2017

Richard Belliveau

 

Book Review

The Crisis of Islam
Bernard Lewis
(Modern Library 2003)

What Went Wrong
Bernard Lewis
(Oxford University Press, 2002)


In recent years, an understanding of the nature of Islam has become increasingly important in the everyday lives of North Americans and western Europeans, not only because of Al-Qaeda terrorist activities in the name of Islam, but also because our pluralist societies are increasingly poly-cultural as well as multi-racial. We saw recently in Ontario how a proposed role for Shari’ a law tribunals in relation to civil courts caused a mini-crisis in government.

Continue Reading

AUSCHWITZ REPORT By John Klassen (Book Review)

Auschwitz

Report by Primo Levi and Leonardo de Benedetti.

This report was commissioned by Soviet authorities as a description of life in the camp, and it is the first thing that Levi wrote about his experience in Auschwitz.  The Report describes the transport by train for four days from Italy, general life in the camp, and perhaps because Benedetti was a medical doctor, much of the short piece focuses on medical conditions and illnesses.  One can clearly see information and incidents that Levi expanded upon in his later books about the camp and life afterwards.  Levi and Benedetti survived the camp together, made their way back to Italy through a long and tortuous route, and remained life-long friends.

Continue Reading

HARD PASSAGE By Pierre Beemans (Book Review)

 

pierres photo

Pierre Beemans

Hard Passage, by Arthur Kroeger

University of Alberta Press, Edmonton, 2007. 269 pp.

 There are several good reasons to head down to the library (or the bookstore) to pick up a copy of this book, especially if you are a former civil servant in Ottawa. 

Continue Reading