Saturday, November 30, 2013

counterpunch reviews A True Novel by Minae Mizumura:
Here’s something different: shifting Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to Japan with the audacity of calling it “a true novel.” But wait a moment—as my mother-in-law used to say—you don’t really mean that, do you? Well, I don’t, but Minae Mizumura does, so let me explain. Mizumura sets up an elaborate façade: the story we eventually read is purported to be what literally happened to a man called Taro Azuma, whose life in many ways parallels Brontë’s Heathcliff. There are also suggestions at the beginning of the novel that Japanese readers do not like first-person narratives, so it is necessary to create an observer/witness who can relate Azuma’s story, though in fact two people narrate the story, one of them being Minae Mizumura herself, the author of A True Novel and an accomplished Japanese novelist. (...)
It is, thus, from Yusuke’s perspective that we learn about Taro’s early years—before he went to the United States. The second narrator is a woman named Fumiko (ten years Taro’s elder, and the equivalent of Ellen Dean, the housekeeper in Wuthering Heights) who relates the more recent events, after Azuma’s so-called disappearance. (...)
And because of the sympathy of the matriarch of the family Fumiko worked for, that boy (Azuma) became the close companion of one of the matriarch’s granddaughters, Yoko (the equivalent of Catherine in Brontë’s novel). (...)
Are the parallels between the two novels convincing? I’d say yes, particularly the replicated characters and romanticism of Brontë’s masterpiece. That noted, I’m not so certain that the 876 page story will grip Western readers as much as Asian ones. There are quite a few lengthy digressions that add little to the main story. Some of the other anomalies of A True Novel (such as a series of photos of traditional buildings in the country) appear to be little more than superfluous. You may want to read A True Novel out a sense of curiosity, especially if you are a Brontë fan. (Charles R. Larson
Los Angeles Times recommends the book as a gift book:
Some are almost traditionally rendered, such as Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura's ambitious "A True Novel" (Other Press, boxed, $29.95 paper). It is published as a two-volume boxed set including photographs and inspired, in some sense, by "Wuthering Heights," while also raising questions about where the line between fiction and remembrance lies. (David L. Ulin)
The Telegraph talks about the jeweller Annina Vogel:
At her concession in Liberty, hand-selected antique rings are engraved with quotations from Victorian luminaries such as Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Brontë while the customer waits. (Wendy Douglas)
Joe Queenan in Wall Street Journal has read the mind of this half of BrontëBlog:
Here is my basic problem. I like to put nutritious things with lots of roughage and fiber in my head. Shakespeare, the Brontës, Vermeer. Except when I watch sports, I never fill my brain with the intellectual equivalent of trans-fats: game shows, talk shows, reality-TV shows.The concerts and plays I attend, the paintings I look at, the books I read, are all, in their own way, every bit as nutritious as beets and organic zucchini and walnuts. To my way of thinking, Michelangelo is nothing more than cerebral kale.
But I don't like healthy food. I never have. 
Los Angeles Review of Books reviews the new film Mary, Queen of Scots by Thomas Imbach:
A sort of dark fairytale cut from the same cloth as Jane Eyre and Farewell, My Queen, Imbach’s biopic Mary, Queen of Scots is sumptuously photographed and less interested in history than atmosphere. (Michael Nordine)
Cricket and Jane Eyre in The Guardian:
This is the joy of [Jonathan] Trott, who has for the last four years acted as a kind of Jane Eyre of the top order, England's own winningly stubborn little 19th-century governess of a No3 batsman, the player you weren't supposed to fall in love with, of whom you may have even been rather grandly scornful – this mousey creature, this pinafored artisan – before finding yourself seduced, irresistibly, by his quietly insistent rhythms. (Barney Ronay)
Leeds Student reviews a performance by The Leeds Tealights at the Library Pub:
Stephen Rainbird was the dark horse of the evening in my opinion and his facial contortions were unparalleled. His gestures were very much Mr. Beanesque; a childish silliness which had everyone in stitches. The Wuthering Heights routine in particular was nothing short of ridiculous. (Polly Gallis)
The Shields Gazette reviews a recent concert by the band China Drum:
Biscuit Barrel, Wipe Out, Baseball In The Dark, Fiction Of Life, God Bets, Wuthering Heights and, finally, weirdly, a cover of Erasure’s A Little Respect were all delivered with power. (Paul Taylor)
Rzeczpospolita talks about the Polish publication of a new translation of Villette and the (in)famous book  Charlotte Brontë i jej siostry śpiące by Eryk Ostrowski:
Śpią także zmarli spoczywający na cmentarzu w sąsiedztwie ponurego budynku. Za to z pokoju stołowego dochodzi dziwny stukot. To trzy siostry chodzą wokół ogromnego stołu. Najstarsza Charlotte, młodsza Emily i najmłodsza Anna. Jest jeszcze brat Branwell, alkoholik, opiumista i mason, ale on jeszcze nie wrócił z oberży Pod Czarnym Bykiem, by jak co noc zwalić się na posłanie i czekać na kolejny dzień swego zmarnowanego życia. Po co one tak chodzą? Zobacz na Empik.rp.pl
Eryk Ostrowski, autor książki poświęconej trzem siostrom Brontë, nie daje jednoznacznej odpowiedzi na to pytanie. Raczej sugeruje, że to właśnie podczas tych dziwacznych spacerów mogły powstawać fabuły, które złożyły się potem na takie książki, jak „Jane Eyre", „Wichrowe wzgórza", „Shirley" czy „Vilette". Klasyki literatury europejskiej powstałe w Anglii podczas długiego panowania królowej Wiktorii.
Życie Charlotte Brontë było nacechowane nieopisaną stratą. Nastąpił feralny rok 1848. Najpierw odszedł Branwell, z którym Charlotte od dzieciństwa była bardzo związana. Zapił się i zaćpał do szczętu. Nie to jednak było najgorsze – w grudniu na gruźlicę umiera Emily, a w maju następnego roku z powodu tej samej choroby odchodzi 29-letnia Anna. Stukot kroków jednej już tylko kobiety wypełnia stołowy pokój. Charlotte wciąż chodzi. Oczywiście w tym czasie są już wydane książki trzech sióstr, które ukrywały się pod męskimi pseudonimami jako Currer, Ellis i Acton Bell. W książce Ostrowskiego mamy opisaną ze szczegółami tajemnicę sióstr, o której zresztą spekulowano już za ich życia: twierdzono bowiem, że autorką wszystkich książek sygnowanych pseudonimami jest tylko jedna osoba, czyli Charlotte, która – chcąc zapewnić byt swym obydwu siostrom – zdecydowała się na rozdzielenie praw autorskich do honorariów. A jak było naprawdę?
Chodzi i chodzi wokół stołu. Strata po ukochanych osobach jest dojmująca. Z żałobnego stukotu powstanie najbardziej dojrzała powieść Charlotte zatytułowana „Vilette", opublikowana w trzech tomach w roku 1853. Po 100 latach wzbudzi zachwyt m.in. w Wirginii Woolf, która nazwie dzieło: „najlepszą powieścią Charlotte Brontë". (Wojciech Chmielewski) (Translation)
Wuz (Italy) reviews Amorino by Isabella Santacruce:
Siamo a Minster Lovell, freddo e austero villaggio inglese. E al tempo stesso "paradiso terrestre" del romanticismo nero. Un luogo fatato che è già da solo un romanzo - un luogo, si direbbe, non troppo dissimile dalla brughiera selvaggia delle sorelle Brontë.  (Claudia Consoli) (Translation)
Targatocn (Italy) posts some biographic data of the Brontës presenting Wuthering Heights:
Immaginatevi una storia triste. Poi immaginatevi la vita dell’autrice dietro questa storia ancora più triste.
Bisogna sempre fare attenzione a cercare negli spunti biografici dell’autore una lanterna che ci guidi nel testo: ma nel caso di “Cime tempestose”, il faut conoscere la vita dell’autrice. Perché leggendo la sua biografia, non si capisce più dove finisce il romanzo e inizia la vita. (Marta Gas) (Translation)
Zaman (Turkey) talks about Byzantium by Neil Jordan:
İrlandalı Neil Jordan’ın ‘Byzantium’u başka bir gözle izlendiğinde ise Viktoryen hikâye anlatıyor seyirciye. Clara ve kızı Eleanor’un erkekler dünyasında, erkeklere rağmen ama onların yardımını umarak var olma savaşı, vampir öyküsünden bağımsız olarak Kraliçe Viktorya’nın 19. yy. İngiltere’sini resmediyor. Bu yönüyle Clara ve kızı Eleanor’u Dickens, Doyle, Conrad, Eliot ve Wilde gibi erkek yazarlar karşısında çetin bir var olma savaşı veren Brontë Kardeşler, Emily Dickinson ya da Christina Rossetti’ye benzetebiliriz. (Ali Koca) (Translation)
The Bibliophilic Book Blog  interviews the writer Jac Wright:
Q. What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ because it is one of the all-time greatest love stories. I read it in my early 20s.
Keighley News gives more details about the campaign against the closing of the Haworth Central Park's public toilets; Le Nouvel Observateur (France) describes Twilight as a mixture between Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet; bibliodevafiliala3 (in Romanian) posts about Jane Eyre;  Or Up to the Stars reviews one of its most recent retellings, Tina Connolly's Ironskin; the Brontë Parsonage Facebook publishes a picture of Anne Brontë's last letter.

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