September 26, 2010

The Sunday Salon: "My grandmother.."

Hello everyone,
after a (not that) short break, I'm here again. The september was for me quite busy due to the start of my first PhD semester, that means for me first of all more time to spend in Budapest (and in the libraries in Budapest).

Well, the two Portuguese books from my last blogpost weren't really interesting for mey, somehow it was a bit too much of magucal realism, which is unfortunatelly really not for me.

Alfter reading Marie's review of The Door by Magda Szabó and some interesting comments, I was thinking about the "unnamed narrator". Fortunatelly, I read 2 books with similar narration recently. (I really hoped there is an English version of these book, but sorry, there isn't.)

The common of these novels: the protagonists of both books are "my grandmother" of the narrators.

The short novel Mal di pietre [Sore Stones] by Milena Agus is about a wonderful, but an unhappy woman, who is over 30 and still unmarried, but she wants sex already, she wants to learn the real physical love, but the conventions make it difficult for a girl/woman from a good house in Sicilia in the midlle of the 20. century. (For example: her mother beats her, as it comes to light, she is still unmarried, because she is so impatient, she writes passionate and erotical letters to the young men visiting their house, and that is "not normal" and nobody want's to marry such a freak woman.) Later, during her marriage, she is still looking for the real love, and there is a story in the story about a young man, she met him during she was in a sanatorium due gallstones, they had an affaire, but they met later no more.

They story is told by the protagonist's granddaugther, we learn not to much about her, the most important is, she had a good relationship to her grandmother and listened her stories during ther whole life. After the dead of the grandmother, she finds a letter and a diary in the bedroom of the grandmother (we can read it in the last pages of the book), and it gives a new meaning for the whole story read before.

The other one is Lala by Jacek Dehnel. It's a Polish novel, the life of Lala, the grandmother is like the symbol of the history of Polen in the 20. century, and even of the good old classical European culture and mentality. It was for me till the last pages a bit unclear, who is the narrator, the nicknames of the Polish names are sometimes quite misleading. I had the feeling there are more narrators, more grandchildren of Lala, at least a girl and a boy. But at the end the narrator tells about himself, he is Jacek Dehnel (yes, the author of the novel or, better to say, the fictionalized alter-ego of the author). So, he tells the story of his grandmother, but most of the time, even the grandmother tells the story of her own life. It's about to preserve the old stories, trying to preserve them, because Lala is old, and has day by day more and more problems with her memories. Still what we get is an adventorous story about the heroical liife of the woman in the Easter part of Europe in the 20. century.

1 megjegyzés:

Marie said...

there you go again, adding to my TBR pile. both of these sound quite intriguing!

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