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I was born in Barcelona and have lived in the UK for many years now. I'm a writer, translator (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and I'm a medical doctor and worked in Forensic Psychiatry many years. I also have a BA and a PhD in American Literature and Film, and a Masters in Criminology. I've always loved books and apart from writing them I review them often. I write a bit of everything, check my books for more information and my about page for links. My blog is bilingual, English and Spanish.

Comments (11)

  1. dgkaye says:

    This certainly looks like a book of a different color Olga. I’m going to hop of to Amazon and read more. Thanks 🙂

    1. Thanks, Debby. There has been plenty written about this book, mostly in the UK press. Have a great week!

      1. dgkaye says:

        🙂 You too Olga x

  2. This book sounds very unusual in its style, Olga. I suppose it depends what the authors intention is with a book, mass market or intellectuals. I am reading my new book to my Mom chapter by chapter. It has been said that I write in riddles sometimes and I want my book to be understandable by a large market. Intriguing, I may just look into this one for a real “me” read.

    1. Thanks, Robbie. You are right, of course. I don’t think the writer wrote the book for the mass market, that’s for sure, but when books get certain big prizes, they sell in number they might never have sold otherwise, and perhaps reach a market never intended. It has made me curious about the author short-stories, as these are universally appreciated, even if it is only by a much more limited readership.

  3. I have read quite a few reviews of this book, mostly positive ones. (Because of the vague Civil War connection, I considered buying it) In my past experience, many winners of the Booker Prize have been books ‘written for writers, not readers’. (Not my quote, but I can’t recall where I read it) One negative review I read of this book stated ‘It strives to be so inventive, tricky, and clever that I stopped being interested in what it was trying to say’. That said, Literary and ‘Bookish’ people love it, in the same way that ‘Arty’ people love to admire abstract paintings that most other people just don’t ‘get’.
    Maybe it’s an ‘Abstract book’? Not one for me I’m afraid, but winning the prize will ensure great success, and I won’t be missed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thanks, Pete. I know what you mean, and books that win prizes sometimes end up getting a readership that was never intended. I can honestly say this was not the book I enjoyed the most of those I read that had been nominated to last year’s Booker, and there were plenty more accessible ones. I am not sure it is a book for writers. I think it is a book for critics and people who enjoy complexity and mastery of the writing form (not all writers are virtuosi and there is plenty of raw talent out there), and those who prefer literary fiction, for sure, and not genre books. I remember, years back, my surprise when ‘El secreto de sus ojos’ (The Secret in Their Eyes, I know you love it as well) won the Oscar to the best foreign movie, an award that seems to attract, often, more experimental and alternative films, and it seems less influenced by big studio campaigns. Because, well, it is a well-written, well-acted, well-edited and directed movie, and just (as it if was so easy to achieve) a well-made and solid good movie. Of course, the people who vote the oscars are professionals but not critics.
      On the abstract art subject… I used to hate it when I was younger but I’ve come to appreciate some of it in later years, but I can’t say I understand it. I either like it or not.
      I’m pretty curious about Saunders’s short stories, after reading many of the comments telling him to go back to that form, so I might have to track some down.
      Have a great week, Pete.

  4. It’s been a while since I read this, but I liked it. I don’t particularly like “experimental,” but once I got into reading it, I didn’t think it was difficult to follow at all. I don’t think it was really abstract–more conversational with the ghosts talking to one another.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Merril. I know what you mean, although I’m sure I’ve read some people querying if they could be called ghosts, as human beings can’t see them or even hear them. I agree it is not abstract and there is some plot, although the form of the book and the style of writing seem to play as big a part in the novel as the story itself. I am intrigued by the author and will try and read some of his other books. Have a great week.

  5. Hi Olga. I tend to agree with Pete on this one. Although your review is compelling. I guess if I had time to (and were capable of) truly relaxing and giving as much time as necessary to a book, I might be more generous in my reaction. But what you described of the “structure”… I’m sure I would lose patience with it quickly.
    This is where your mindful reviews are so very helpful. I always understand why you liked or didn’t care for something. Hugs on the wing.

    1. Thanks, Teagan. I tend to go through books pretty quickly these days, but this is a book that requires time and patience, I’d say. I’m happy my review helped you make your mind up about it. I am intrigued by what I’ve read about the author’s short stories and I’ll see if I come across them. Enjoy your Wednesday.

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