February 2021 Wrap-Up

After January’s glut of Japanese reading, February brought a far more varied literary diet, including some books from Korea and Germany, a look at creatures both real and imaginary, as well as a couple of takes on a famous fictional sailor’s voyages.

As was the case last month, though, there were a couple of bonus features to go with the normal reviews.  Firstly, there was the rehousing of yet another of my stray posts, with my take on Salvador Elizondo’s Farabeuf (translated by John Incledon) welcomed back to the fold like a prodigal son.  Then, of course, there was the latest of my own translation efforts in the form of Ricarda Huch’s short story ‘Lügenmärchen’.  My English-language version, ‘Once Upon a Lie’, is now available for your reading pleasure.

That’s a fair amount to get through, and the review links are below for anyone interested, but a little patience, please.  First, it’s time, as always, for the numbers…

Total Books Read: 10
Year-to-Date: 25

New: 9
Rereads: 1

From the Shelves: 2
Review Copies: 7
From the Library: 1
On the Kindle: 1 (1 review copy)

Novels: 7
Novellas: 1
Short Stories: 1
Non-Fiction: 1

Non-English Language: 8
(2 Japanese, 2 German, Korean, Finnish, Swedish, French)
In Original Language: 2 (2 German)

Books Reviewed in February were:

1) The Faces by Tove Ditlevsen
2) Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane
3) Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature
4) The Korean Vernacular Story by Si Nae Park
5) My Brilliant Life by Kim Ae-ran
6) Cabo de Gata by Eugen Ruge
7) Ein Held der inneren Sicherheit (A Hero of Internal Security) by F.C. Delius
8) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
9) Gulliver’s Voyage to Phantomimia by Volter Kilpi & Douglas Robinson

Tony’s Turkey for February is:
Eugen Ruge’s Cabo de Gata

It’s always a shame when you like a book, go back for more by the same writer, and end up disappointed.  That was certainly the case here, meaning Ruge’s story of a writer’s mid-life crisis in the sun, a feeble follow-up to the excellent In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts (In Times of Fading Light), is this month’s turkey.

Tony’s Recommendation for February is:
Gerald Murnane’s Barley Patch

Honourable mentions this month for Ditlevsen’s absorbing portrait of a woman’s breakdown and Kim’s long-awaited long-form debut in English, but Murnane is a writer who can write about the mundane and still have you coming back for more.  I have a feeling that his next book will *actually* be about watching paint dry, and I bet it’ll still be wonderful 😉

A couple of weeks ago I was starting to look through old neglected books on the shelves as I’ve cut back on purchases, and very few review copies had arrived so far this year.  However, the last couple of weeks have seen Australia Post remember my address, and I’m suddenly finding myself overwhelmed with new releases.  March, then, will probably see me making my way through a stack of review copies, especially as the end of the month will herald the start of my next reading project…

…and I think we all know what that is…

6 thoughts on “February 2021 Wrap-Up

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