Saturday, June 26, 2010

Orwell's Birthday

Alas, such was yesterday and my day was infiltrated with musings on Burma, rats and Victory gin. I have contemplated over the last few years reading Olivia Manning's Fortunes of war novels including the Balkan Trilogy and the Levant Trilogy. My knee was recovering nicely so I read The great Fortune, the first in the Balkan endeavor and it relates the arrival of largely autobiographical characters in Bucharest during the onset of the Phony War with the bitter fumes of Molotov-Ribbentrop in the air and the future suddenly bleak in Romania.

This is a curious premise. What unfolds is essently a catalog of Ms. Manning's (through the proxy of Harriet Pringle) issues with Romanian people, the insufferable alterity of the Balkans, characterizations which slip into the anti-Semitic and castigations of the aristocracy.

I finished the novel yesterday. At this time, I think I would be more favored to puruse Paul Scott's Raj Quartet or the Cairo Trilogy from Mahfouz.

Immediately, though, I am anchored to Witz by Joshua Cohen, a book I have become rather excited about.


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