Fun Facts Friday: Paul Celan
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / November 23, 2012

Today is the birthday of Romanian poet and translator Paul Celan (23 November 1920 – abt. 20 April 1970) . Born into a Jewish family in Romania (Ukraine) . Celan was awarded the Bremen Literature Prize in 1958 and the Georg Büchner Prize in 1960. 1 ) Celan was born as Paul Antschel but changed his name to Celan (pronounced Chelan). 2 ) Celan’s father was a Zionist and insisted his son learn Hebrew. Celan’s mother loved German literature and insisted that German will be spoken in the house. Paul Celan abandoned Zionism after his Bar-Mitzvah but finished his Hebrew education. 3 ) During World War II Celan and his parents were deported into a ghetto on October 1941. Celan kept busy but translating Shakespeare’s Sonnets and writing his own poetry. In the Ghetto Celan was exposed t traditional Yidish songs and culture. When the ghetto was dissolved Celan was working as a forced laborer clearing debris and destroying Russian books. 4 ) Celan tried to convince his parents to leave Bukovina, but they refused. One night Celan was so mad he slept at a friend’s house. That night, 21 June, his parents were deported to an interment camp in…

Book Review: The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / October 3, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller on Blogcritics. About: The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller is a German novel taking place in a Soviet forced labor camp at the end of World War II. Ms. Müller won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. 304 pages Publisher: Metropolitan Books Language: English ISBN-10: 080509301X My rating for The Hunger Angel – 4 Buy this book in paper or electronic format* More Books by Herta Müller  Check out this & more World War II books on Man of la BookStore  Thoughts: The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller takes place in 1945, when the Soviet Union demanded that all Romanian Germans who are 17 to 45 years of age be relocated to forced labor camps in order to help rebuild the devastated nation. According to the author’s note at the end of the book, she spent many hours talking to poet Oskar Pastior who suffered under the decree. Müller filled four notebooks with Mr. Pastior’s testimony until 2006, when he suddenly passed away. This is an extraordinary book about the hardships the German people faced after the war, as Leo Auberg, the protagonist states: “To this day, the hunger angel speaks out of your mouth. But no matter what he says, this…

Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / September 24, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes on Blogcritics. About: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes is a short novel taking place in Mexico City, Mexico. The story was part of the 2004 collection “Inquieta Compañía” and recently came out as its own book translated by  Alejandro Branger and Ethan Shaskan Bumas. 112 pages Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Tra edition Language: English ISBN-10: 1564787796 My rating for Vlad – 4 Buy this book in paper format from Amazon.com* Thoughts: Vlad by Carols Fuentes takes on an interesting premise, what if Dracula still lived and settled inMexico City. As one might expect, there is a lot of dark humor in this book, starting with the strange requests the client is making of the real estate agent (“remote”, “easy to defend”) to the client’s look which consists of a silly wig and glued on mustache. What I found to be different in this book is that the reader knows a lot more than the narrator. This style of storytelling invigorates the dark comedy and brings a sense of ominous foreboding to banal and meaningless lines said by the famous Count. In this rendition of the story, Fuentes marries vampire and lawyers – both server as vessels for…

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