intraspace: the review lounge

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the earth and sky of jacques dorme

the earth and sky of jacques dorme, by andrei makine

this was a brilliant book. a novel written by a russian emigre to france. it tells the story (in first person) of a russian orphan who spends time with a old french woman living in russia. she tells him the story of a romance that she had with french airman during WWII. the pilot, jacques dorme, worked ferrying american planes across the siberian wastes to be used against germany on the russian front. in later years the narrator goes on a search to find out as much as can about dorme.

it is beautifully written (translated from french). makine weaves the recollections of the old woman in amongst his own recollections of life as an orphan in communist russia.

apparently makine is quite an accomplished writer and has written a number of prize-winning books. i'll be reading more of his work.

on the headphones: 'mistadobalina' by del tha funkee homosapien, from the album 'i wish my brother george was here'.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

illustration now!

illustration now!, edited by julius wiedemann

another brilliant find from the shelves of the local library. this book showcases the work of 150 illustrators from around the world. even gives you their web addresses and email addresses if you're inclined to commission them for the cover of the new york magazine that you might be the editor of.

it shows a huge range of illustration styles and it's very inspirational no matter what brand of creativity you're into i reckon.

short and to the point review this. no messing about - no unnecessary phrases, metaphors, adjectives, adverbs, or other literary devices. no harping on just for the sake of creating enough words to justify doing a post.

on the stereo: 'gymnopedie no.1' by erik satie.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

marvel 1602

marvel 1602, by neil gaiman, andy kubert, richard isanove

now although i do consider myself a fan of pop culture, i don't think i'm overly obsessed with it, not a "fanboy" - i've never been to a pop culture expo or anything. and i didn't grow up reading many comics. definitely not marvel ones anyway.

i remember going to the school fair when i was about 7 and buying a comic for 5c that had a picture of a hand reaching out of a grave on the front. i don't know what i thought i was doing - one of my teachers (mrs bambury), who knew my mother, took one look at my purchase and said, "i don't think your mother will like that." i knew she was right. but i thought i'd try my luck. when i got home mum made me throw it away, but she did take me down to the bookshop to choose a couple of "more suitable" comics - walt disney ones.

so anyway the point of that giant digression was to illustrate that i have no real experience in the dark world of marvel comics. down at the local library the other day i was browsing the graphic novels (as i do) and came across this. i thought, well, i have to read a marvel comic sometime, and this one had the added intrigue of being set in 1602! i feel very interested in the colonial period at the moment for some reason. age of empires III has been my favourite game for the entire year, and i'm overly excited about the expansion pack that has just come out - but i'm digressing again.

i ended up really enjoying this book which is the story of some of the marvel legends appearing in the 17th century to save the world. of course not knowing marvel all that well i'm sure i missed some of the subtle innuendo, but i caught enough from the movies i've seen. it is brilliantly illustrated and drawn. and i highly recommend it.

on the stereo: 'que bonito' by jose refugio padilla, from the album 'ambient lounge vol 5'

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

the curious incident of the dog in the night time

the curious incident of the dog in the night time, by mark haddon

this is a book that has had a lot of rave reviews and won awards. written by mark haddon equally for young adults and adults.

it is a first-person narrative written from the perspective of a 15 year old autistic english boy who discovers his neighbour's dog dead on the front lawn. in his inimitable style, our hero christopher sets about trying to find out who killed the dog and in the process finds out much more about his life than he bargained for - i won't tell you what in case you read it for yourself.

i think this is a pretty good book. if there is an emerging genre of fiction that is written from the perspective of people who relate to the world differently because of mental disabilities, then i have to say the other book i have recently read in that genre - 'the incredible adam spark' - was better. anyway, there are some brilliant bits in this book, and the way the story unfolds is excellent.

on the headphones: 'the night garden' by waldeck, from the album 'the night garden'.

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