What are you currently reading?
Dumas' Robin Hood: Le Prince des Voleurs
. I'm aiming to read five books in French and five in Spanish this year, and this is my second French novel.
This book and its sequel were pretty much the last things Dumas wrote before he died and it isn't one of his best: it's one-third pulp outlaw shenanigans to two-thirds saccharine romance. The pulp is pretty pulpy and fun, though: villains always repent and confess their last before dying, everyone improbably rides horses full-tilt through the night despite the lack of street lighting in 12th-century England, all the characters coincidentally run into each other all the time in the depths of Sherwood Forest, and Robin's secret call to Little John is "the cry of a heron being pursued by a vulture." (Not an eagle, not any other bird of prey, specifically a vulture...)What did you recently finish reading?Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse Chinoise
by Dai Sijie, and I loved it!
The narrator and his best friend Luo are sons of doctors: "intellectuals." This being the cultural revolution, the two boys are dispatched to be re-educated by working in a remote mountain village, with no idea if they'll ever be allowed to return home. The only way of bonding with their new neighbours is by acting out plots of films they've seen, as a love of hearing stories is something shared even by the village's authoritarian chief. Then they discover that a boy in a neighbouring village possesses something unimaginably secret, exciting and forbidden: a suitcase full of books...
This is such a warm and empathetic story, and Dai Sijie obviously really loves his characters. There are many funny and memorable moments: from the two boys befriending an alcoholic miller who sings them bawdy songs in his flea-filled house, to the increasingly desperate lengths they go to in order to get hold of just one book from the secret suitcase. And tying in with my current read, there's a scene of the narrator recounting the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo to the local tailor over nine consecutive sleepless nights that made me really happy.What do you think you’ll read next?The Tea Master and the Detective
by Aliette de Bodard, the most recent novella in this author's Vietnamese-influenced space opera series, is sitting on my kitchen table and I'm looking forward to starting it.BTW
, work is super busy and is eating my brain at the moment so I may be around on Dreamwidth a bit less, but I'm always up for chatting on twitter. I'm yan_tan_tether
there, so if you're on twitter, please do add me!