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Foreign novels - 18/4/2008 12:51:28 AM   
Mogwai


Posts: 671
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Northern Ireland
 I was looking at my bookcases today and noticed that it's filled with English language novels, but not a whole lot of non-English novels. I mean, I do read foreign literature: the reliable Russians, the Japanese and Proust and Flaubert (encompassing French literature between them, ). It's just, not enough or maybe I've forgotten and really this is all about me trying to look intellectual. "Why, yes, I have over two hundred Russian novels on my many bookcases."

Anyway, what are everyone’s thoughts on reading foreign literature? Does anyone have any preferences or alignment to one particular country? Oh, and recommend good foreign novels, especially French (but not Zola because I’ve read him or his books rather).

hmm...

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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 3:13:30 PM   
mad_looney


Posts: 1620
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: The Fridge
I just read what I enjoy, and if that book turns out to have been writen by a Russian, a German, a South African or a New Zealander it doesnt matter. All that matters to me is the book. Allthough i think I've started a similar discussian in World Cinema about weather or not people go for certain countrys concoiously or not.

So, yeah, Its all about the book for me. Oh and read the Master and Margerita by Mikial Bulgakov if you havn't allready.


< Message edited by mad_looney -- 20/4/2008 3:14:39 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 6:20:54 PM   
jamesbondguy


Posts: 6238
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From: The Village Green
From what I've read, I really, really like Balzac. Watching The 400 Blows yesterday reminded me to read some more from him. More info here: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balzac

< Message edited by jamesbondguy -- 20/4/2008 6:23:58 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 6:37:50 PM   
Jackal

 

Posts: 5030
Joined: 30/9/2005
I recommend Leonardo Sciascia (pronounced "Shiahh-sha", with the emphasis on the first "a")

Anyway, his novel "Il giorno della civetta" (The Day of the Owl) is a classic and was one of the first pieces of literature to openly write about and criticise the Sicilian mafia. Well worth a read.

Also, "A ciascuno il suo" (To each his own), also by Sciascia.

"Se questo è un uomo" (If this is a man) is a novel by Primo Levi based on his experiences in Auschwitz and his survival. I'm reading it just now and it's terrific.

All of these are available in English.

< Message edited by Jackal -- 20/4/2008 6:38:33 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 6:53:34 PM   
Larry of Arabia

 

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Love In The Time Of Cholera and One Hundred Years Of Solitude are two very good 'magical realism' novels by Spanish writer Gabriel Garcia Marquéz. I've only read Nausea by Sartre and that was a bit hard going.

< Message edited by Larry of Arabia -- 20/4/2008 6:54:43 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 6:58:39 PM   
jamesbondguy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Larry of Arabia

Love In The Time Of Cholera and One Hundred Years Of Solitude are two very good 'magical realism' novels by Spanish writer Gabriel Garcia Marquéz. I've only read Nausea by Sartre and that was a bit hard going.


How did I forget about that?! I read it due to it being mentioned in several films, and it had quite an effect on me, to say the least.

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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 7:55:37 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
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I read an awful lot of translated crime fiction - when people like Mankell gained in popularity a ton of publishing houses went off to find their own foreign crime writers and they do tend to dig up some excellent books. Presses like Bitter Lemon concentrate on the more literate end of the foreign crime market and, for them, it is the reason for their existence. It didn't hurt that Shadow of the Wind was a massive bestseller. Jungerson's modern Danish literary thriller The Exception is one of my favourites.

< Message edited by elab49 -- 20/4/2008 7:56:21 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 8:03:30 PM   
Larry of Arabia

 

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Just checked on Wiki, I was mistaken about Marquéz. The novels were written in Spanish, but Marquéz is actually Colombian.

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RE: Foreign novels - 20/4/2008 8:16:18 PM   
dracovir


Posts: 1546
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Wolverhampton, England
I don't speak foreign languages, so have to rely on translations, but to ignore foreign works would be to miss out on so much.  I recently read through Moss Roberts' English translation of Luo Guanzhong's The Romance of the Three Kingdoms - very long but utterly brilliant.

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RE: Foreign novels - 22/4/2008 3:03:11 PM   
MOTH

 

Posts: 3479
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off the top of my head :

Marcel Pagnol  - Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources
Lothar Gunther Buchheim - Das Boot
Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front
Patrick Suskind - Perfume
Victor Hugo - Notre Dame de Paris
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Giuseppe di Lampedusa - The Leopard

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RE: Foreign novels - 23/4/2008 3:14:54 AM   
hozay


Posts: 3376
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From: the long,dark teatime of the soul
Off the top of my bookshelf.......

Milan Kundera - The Joke , Immortality , The Unbearable Lightness Of Being
Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master And Margarita
Kafka - Metamorphisis or anything really
Gogol  - Diary Of A Madman And Other Stories
Camus - The Stranger
Hermann Hesse - Peter Camenzind
Dostoyevsky - The Gambler / Bobok / A Nasty Story
Homer - The Odyssey

I particularly like Japanese literature and highly recommend the following authors..
Yukio Mishima - Death In Midsummer And Other Stories,The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with The Sea.
Kobo Abe - The Woman In The Dunes
Eiji Yoshikawa - Musashi
Ryu Murakami - Almost Transparent Blue
Soseki Natsume - Botchan
Haruki Murakami - Kafka By The Shore,The Wind Up Bird Chronicles,Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End Of The World.

I'd really like to read some good Chinese novels if anyone has any recommendations.


< Message edited by hozay -- 23/4/2008 3:15:54 AM >

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RE: Foreign novels - 23/4/2008 2:33:52 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


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I swear the other day i was thinking about making a thread about this, and when i saw it - i was thinking, did i actually make this thread - obviously i didnt...

I just bought Marcel Pagnol - La Gloire de mon pere (The glory of my father)      
My french isnt too good, so my best friend this summer will be my french dictionary - i just want to be fluent in french in about 5 years....would be great.


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RE: Foreign novels - 23/4/2008 4:38:35 PM   
Amelie_Scotland


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sumintelligentguy

I swear the other day i was thinking about making a thread about this, and when i saw it - i was thinking, did i actually make this thread - obviously i didnt...

I just bought Marcel Pagnol - La Gloire de mon pere (The glory of my father)      
My french isnt too good, so my best friend this summer will be my french dictionary - i just want to be fluent in french in about 5 years....would be great.



Please tell me what you thought of this book. I had to read it for French and didn't enjoy it. But the pressure of school might have spoiled it a little for me.
I'd recommend Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Pierre Choderlos de Laclos), Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux) and Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi). The last one is a graphic novel but it's a superb piece of work in any language.

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RE: Foreign novels - 23/4/2008 6:15:00 PM   
MrEmReAB

 

Posts: 68
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For French novels I'd say The Vatican Cellars and The Immoralist by Gide, Madame Bovary by Flaubert.  Albert Camus and The Stranger and The Plague, The Plague is one of my favourite novels of all time.  The Age of Reason is the first part of a trilogy by Sartre, I haven't read the other two novels but this book is great, although it probably has the most unlikeable cast of characters I think I have ever experienced in any book.  Hugo and The Last Day of a Condemned Man and, the best French novel ever, Les Miserables.

I'm reading a book just now by a writer from Portugal named Jose Saramago, it's called The Double.  I haven't read any other Portuguese books but this man writes the most readable books I've ever come across.

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Post #: 14
RE: Foreign novels - 23/4/2008 8:32:53 PM   
nimmy


Posts: 231
Joined: 17/3/2006
From: Below Sea Level
I've read a few French and German (and English as it would count as a foreign language over here ) novels for school, back in the day. Out of those Das Parfum and Cyrano de Bergerac stick to my mind as very good (allbeit hard, because I had to read them in the original language ) reads.

Some Dutch novels I can recommend:

The Twins - Tessa de Loo
'The Rider' and 'The Vanishing' both by Tim Krabbe, the latter being the basis for the movies The Vanishing and Spoorloos.
Een Vlucht Regenwulpen - Maarten 't Hart (although I'm not sure if this has been translated into English)
Love Life - (Ray) Kluun


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RE: Foreign novels - 24/4/2008 11:29:14 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Amelie_Scotland

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sumintelligentguy

I swear the other day i was thinking about making a thread about this, and when i saw it - i was thinking, did i actually make this thread - obviously i didnt...

I just bought Marcel Pagnol - La Gloire de mon pere (The glory of my father)      
My french isnt too good, so my best friend this summer will be my french dictionary - i just want to be fluent in french in about 5 years....would be great.



Please tell me what you thought of this book. I had to read it for French and didn't enjoy it. But the pressure of school might have spoiled it a little for me.
I'd recommend Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Pierre Choderlos de Laclos), Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux) and Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi). The last one is a graphic novel but it's a superb piece of work in any language.


Amelie - if your willing to wait til about auguest, then i will PM you my thoughts, as i sed, my french isnt too nifty so might take me a while.


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RE: Foreign novels - 18/5/2008 5:41:33 PM   
El Becks


Posts: 995
Joined: 10/1/2006
From: a land that time forgot
When I had to choose my A Levels I made a schoolgirl error and went for French A Level instead of English A Level as I thought I would have to read a whole load of books and plays I might not like for English.  Doh!!  French A Level included having to read a whole lot of books and plays I didn't like also but in French!
 
However, one good thing came out of my error; one of the books I had to read was François Mauriac's Le Nœud de Vipères.  Although it was many years ago I can recall really liking this book which is about a man's relationship with his family which leaves him an embittered old miser, plotting to avenge himself on the family he loathes by disinheriting them. Something happens which changes his plan (won't spoil it by saying more in case anyone chooses to read the novel).  I have just sent for the English translation - The Knot of Vipers/Vipers' Tangle (have forgotten too much French to realistically think I can read it in its original language).  Hope the re-reading doesn't let daylight in on the magic of my memory of it first time round. 

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RE: Foreign novels - 21/5/2008 2:11:19 PM   
Mogwai


Posts: 671
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Northern Ireland
Some interesting recommendations, thanks. The Master and Margarita is one of my favourite books, love it. I, too, read Japanese novels, they can be quite difficult to get in to because of the totally different culture, and the writing is more still, it just slowly moves forward, very tranquil (gawd, that sounds pretentious). Totally rewarding though.

Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi

I've read some of these recommendations, mostly the Russian ones and some of the French, so definitely will look at the others. It's rather annoying as I have a load of other books to read. Damn. 

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RE: Foreign novels - 21/5/2008 5:15:04 PM   
Jim


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Does anyone know any good books by German authors? I want to get something to read to improve my German, I'd prefer it if the book was originally written in German, rather than a popular book translated into German. I saw Kafka and Hesse mentioned above, for example, as well as Das Parfum. Any other recommendations?


< Message edited by Jim -- 21/5/2008 5:18:49 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 4/5/2009 3:23:35 PM   
Mogwai


Posts: 671
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Northern Ireland
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass is excellent, other than that, I can't really say. You could try The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, he's Austrian but it's one of the best books ever written that hardly anyone has read.

I'm trying to read more of contemporary Japanese novels; I've reserved from the library Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto and Naoko by Keigo Higashino .


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RE: Foreign novels - 4/5/2009 3:34:12 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23706
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim

Does anyone know any good books by German authors? I want to get something to read to improve my German, I'd prefer it if the book was originally written in German, rather than a popular book translated into German. I saw Kafka and Hesse mentioned above, for example, as well as Das Parfum. Any other recommendations?



If you don't mind reading plays, then I highly recommend Bertolt Brecht.

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RE: Foreign novels - 4/5/2009 3:48:43 PM   
Mogwai


Posts: 671
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Northern Ireland
Shit, how could I forget ol' Brecht. 

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Post #: 22
RE: Foreign novels - 4/5/2009 4:03:36 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23706
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
Mother Courage & Her Children and The Caucasian Chalk Circle are particularly brilliant.

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RE: Foreign novels - 4/5/2009 4:30:32 PM   
richCie


Posts: 4028
Joined: 11/11/2006
From: Wells, England
Robert Bolano is amazing, Albert camus is aswell but i've only read one of his. about to start some Jorge Luis Borges which ive heard good things about.

but yes read Roberto Bolano. dont ask questions trust me :P

really feel i should read some kafka aswell...

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RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 12:06:15 PM   
Chiyo

 

Posts: 2
Joined: 12/5/2009
Though they are the translated versions I do have a few Japanese writers of my bookshelf, two off the top of my head being Koji Suzuki (Ring Trilogy and Dark Water) and Natsuo Kirino (Grotesque). I was often reading fiction books set in the Far East so I went looking for writers actually within that location. The first I read I believe was called Shipwrecked although I can't remember the author. 

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Post #: 25
RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 2:49:46 PM   
BlueBalls


Posts: 1009
Joined: 7/2/2008
From: Movie hell...
Anything by Hermann Hesse or Albert Camus.

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RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 5:31:21 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim

Does anyone know any good books by German authors? I want to get something to read to improve my German, I'd prefer it if the book was originally written in German, rather than a popular book translated into German. I saw Kafka and Hesse mentioned above, for example, as well as Das Parfum. Any other recommendations?



If you don't mind reading plays, then I highly recommend Bertolt Brecht.


I'm pretty sure my film studies exam will be on this guy and how he influenced Godard's Vivre sa Vie.

Back on topic...

Amelie, i didnt get round to reading it - i'm rubbish, but my french has improved which is always a good thing.


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RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 5:40:13 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23706
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
quote:

ORIGINAL: Sumintelligentguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim

Does anyone know any good books by German authors? I want to get something to read to improve my German, I'd prefer it if the book was originally written in German, rather than a popular book translated into German. I saw Kafka and Hesse mentioned above, for example, as well as Das Parfum. Any other recommendations?



If you don't mind reading plays, then I highly recommend Bertolt Brecht.


I'm pretty sure my film studies exam will be on this guy and how he influenced Godard's Vivre sa Vie.



Were you studying his plays? Now you mention it, I saw Vivre sa Vie only recently and it really did remind me of Brecht. Weird...


< Message edited by Olaf -- 12/5/2009 9:44:44 PM >


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RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 9:41:46 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


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Joined: 31/8/2006
Na man, i studied Vivre Sa Vie - done really well on the essay i wrote about it too.

The whole idea that you have to think about the characters, not sink into them and theatre verite etc is what i had to read about.


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Post #: 29
RE: Foreign novels - 12/5/2009 9:49:05 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23706
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
I know what you mean mate, the interesting thing about Brecht is that he somehow keeps you involved in the plot of the play (though as you say yourself, the characters are the focus), but the techniques he uses makes sure you're always aware that it is a play you're watching/reading - definitely a technique that Godard used well, from what films I've seen of his.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 12/5/2009 9:50:15 PM >


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