Saramago has an interesting style. He’s not quite up my alley, but you can’t ignore a Nobel Prize winner. Especially in a month this devoid of big names. It’s also a relatively old book, first published in 1980 in Portugal, but this is somehow the first English language translation. Who’s running the show over at Saramago HQ? Here’s a quick tip: when your man wins the Nobel freaking Prize, translate ALL of his books into Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi, and Arabic, in that order. It’s really not as hard as you’re making it look. Anyway, it’s about “the grim reality of [...] farm laborers’ lives” in southern Portugal.
And that concludes this month’s Definitely section.
It’s unclear whether there’s actually magic in this “fast-paced and wildly imaginative” debut novel, or, for that matter, whether it’s fast-paced or imaginative. It does feature a city, so that’s nice. Specifically, Prague, where a graduate student learns that her mentor might have been murdered, and things go from there.
I had this one marked in my Book Radar google doc, but then I found out it’s about vampires. Even if it’s literally the best vampire novel ever written, I don’t know if that’s enough to get me over my allergy to vampire novels. (Also, it’s probably not the best vampire novel ever.)
This Booker Prize shortlistee (published in America only two months after that designation stopped being relevant) follows a psychiatrist at a Victorian mental hospital who becomes intrigued with a patient in a coma. Evidently it’s quite dense, so try before you buy.
Flavorwire says this eccentric half-fantastic novel (about a couple of criminals trying to profit after a massive flood turns 1421 Holland into a small ocean) is full of “Bullington’s trademark wit, bonkers black humor, and mischievous imagination.” Take that with a big grain of salt, but it sounds good enough to give a shot when there’s not much out there.