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V. Oscarsson "Victoria Oscarsson" (Vienna, Austria)
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The Look [DVD]
The Look [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charlotte Rampling
Price: £11.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inner pauses of Life, 26 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Look [DVD] (DVD)
For anyone embarking around sixty years of age or are just mesmerized by actress Charlotte Rampling, The Look is a rich portrayal of a successful actress, who has lived much of her life as herself in the character she plays in emotionally driven stories.
Compartmentalizing her discussions into different issues such as demons, beauty, death, resonance etc. with well-known artists such as writer Paul Auster, photographer Peter Lindberg, poet Fred Siedel, not to forget her twenty year marriage to Jean Marie Faure with a tragic ending that goes unmentioned, the film is fascinating.
The depth of self-awareness both as the parts she plays and herself as she observes her own world and that around her is re-assuring in its honesty, suffering, fragility, critique and respect for humanity. She brings a certain comfort level to the challenges of individual lives in weakness, fear and strength ie: one must put oneself inside fear, not just look at, be afraid and ignore fear which will fester, one of the hardest and most all-embracing trial of life in all its isolation. With death comes the here-after.............how rich is her analogy that brings the comfort necessary to value her own existence rather than pure absurdity that man exists at all. The Look is a moving though not necessarily easy to take documentary about the inner pauses of life itself which some of us address, even struggle with and others appear not to need to do.


1Q84: Books 1 and 2
1Q84: Books 1 and 2
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Murukami, did you get lost in your own story.?, 25 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Hardcover)
Through Book 1 finally though the reading goes quite quickly, I am bored by the repetition but most important, the characters are flat and do not interest me especially as they get described over and over as if the reader did not get the visual appearance the first time. Too much unnecessary sex seems to go nowhere, and an overall emotionless tale brings one down into sordid behavior and a ridiculous scenario around this dyslexic non-speaking/supposedly talented teen age/writer.
I agree with all those who suggested that the editors got trapped in their over beefed up stew. Right now I would like to have a summary and simply know how the other two books conclude if they conclude at all.
Murukami, what great books you have written, my favorite, Kafka on the Shore, which was fast moving with deep character development and curiosities of mystery and coincidence. Also, the translation was terrific.
I have questioned whether Murukami is just making fun of the reader who now is prone to goggle over his every precious word. Even the writing itself lacks its former elegance and moving descriptions for which one holds on to every tantalizing image.
Perhaps Murukami is facing mid-life crisis.
1Q84 is a brilliant exercise in indulgence and a waste of words. I would be curious how and why it became a best seller in Japan other than he is perhaps the most famous of their writers internationally.
Come back Murukami. Are you now too in love with your own creations to know how to write an enthralling novel? Did you get lost in your own story. What a waste of a great writer's time and gift. You could have cut it in half. I would not want this book to be part of my writing legacy. I was truly surprised and disappointed.
Perhaps you have been running too much.
Regretfully,
Victoria Oscarsson
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2014 11:11 AM BST


Reflections on the Quercy, a Timeless Paradise
Reflections on the Quercy, a Timeless Paradise
by Peter B. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quercy excursion, 15 Aug. 2012
An enjoyable excursion into the wilds and wonders of the Quercy. We hear birds even the rare cockoo twittering in competition with crickets. Poems mark the changing of seasons in sensitive reflections. Cro Magnums hang out in the woods and secrets of the black truffle like gold nuggets are revealed.
Woven by Peter Martin is a glimpse into a beautiful landscape, its wars and survival, spiritual culture and the people who share the past to keep the present, a gift to be a part of.


A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unrequited Love for Afganisthan, 18 Aug. 2008
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A Thousand Splendid Suns, for this slow reader, was finished in three days. Hosseini captured a similar full circle evocative tale as with The Kite Flyer, eyes again opened to an insider's view and memory. How the writer put himself in the role of these two suffering women, competing and then soul-mates, is a feat in itself, presenting their feminine persons and emotions against the tragedy of their present and historical surroundings. The author must respect women very much. With every word I felt the richness of the characters invoking tears the women were not allowed, only the reader, unexpectedly and in a real way.

This writer writes with dignity and an unrequited love of his country. When he brings us up to date with the current tragedies of Afghanistan, the underbelly is made clearer. Perhaps Hosseini is the Pamuk of Turkey enlarging our view through references to culture and poetry. In particular, note his descriptions of the living and then destroyed monumental sculptural Buddhas.

This soulful storyteller brings lives around to themselves through honesty and informs us of political and painful circumstances we could not know without living them ourselves.


Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia
Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia
by Alain Ducasse
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary, 1 July 2008
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Review of Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary

Hard to know how far culinary gods can go for further recognition when their empires are booming. I was truly disappointed by this tome, which should have been ambitiously wonderful had it been given more consideration and time to perfect.

Perhaps it would like to be an encyclopedia but rather seems to this reader to be intense cookbook trying to cover all fancy gastronomic bases. One can, of course, get ideas but recipes appear not properly tested so you need to have a serious command of the kitchen to find your way with stocks, sauces, details of the dish etc. In this way, the average serious cook may feel intimidated. After seven hundred recipes, I rather doubt too many copies will have that worn-in feeling a great cookbook develops when used and loved.

The translation into English is full of mistakes. Once remaindered for a good price - the book will be worth it for gorgeous photographs. The original or updated Larousse Gastronomique from 1996 is full of cross references, fun, traditional, inspiring and anything you want it to be in comparison except perhaps his presentation of so-called `haute, haute' cuisine. Hard to know how much Ducasse wanted to look like the king along with the five chefs who assisted in this endeavor. How much more does he need to show off.

As a serious foodie, serious amateur chef for thirty-five years and writer, I prefer to rave not demote. In this case, sadly, the book might do better as an impressive doorstop with a top brand name.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2010 10:48 AM BST


The Enchantress of Florence
The Enchantress of Florence
by Salman Rushdie
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Salman Rushdie - Sorcerer for The Enchantress of Florence, 2 Jun. 2008
Who breathes life into whom in Salmon Rushdie's latest book, The Enchantress of Florence, the women or the men?
Who believes whom regarding passion, incest, protocol, deceit and corruptionin the sixteenth century?

The Indian princess known as Qara Kos is a descendent of Ghengis Kahn, Timor the Lame and then a few generations later is aunt to Akbar, great military emperor of peace. Her companion is known as the Mirror and both are called Angelica. Through travels and men in the late 1500's, they bring together two far away cities, Florence and Akbar's creation of Fathepur Sikri, capital of India , an hour from Agra, both sharing debauchery, controversial power, philosophy, consciousness of reason, loss, secrets embracing a world of courtesans, wives or fictitious lovers.

Rushdie casts a spell with highly inventive fiction based on carefully documented historical data to combine fact and fable. This reader wonders if he might have been inspired by the tradition of ancient Persian tales such as Alladin's Lamp from Tales of One Thousand Nights - such storytelling perhaps part of Rushdie's heritage to make him a sorcerer like some of his characters.

Florence is the backdrop for the youthful relationship of three male friends each who embark on different lives, which leads to the arrival of Qara Kos in Florence and later supposed offspring who then seeks out his relationship with his distant relative, Akbar, Shelter of the World, Elephant King. Fatehpur Sikri comes alive during its short fifteen-year existence. Time plays a curious role in the unfolding of events.

Where lies the mystery, magic and witchcraft when Akbar, a leader without knowledge to read, searches for answers by bringing to his court some of the greatest minds around the world? Water was crucial to the existence of Sikri fortress in the desert. Sophisticated systems for reservoirs and canals were devised -even today incomprehensible, how. Then the plug was pulled, water gone and the kingdom fell to its ruin. Akbar felt deceived though was it his visitor/distant relation whom he had deceived that broke him?

Unlike Rushdie's controversial Satanic Verses - a dense labyrinth of intellectualized ideas, not so easy to follow though an example a great mind at work - this narrative feels more resolved. Sensitivity and curiosity makes one think that the writer's own fascination with the story has conjured the magic of telling it.

Renaissance Florence is around every corner, all walks of life through much political unrest. For those that have visited the magnificent ruins of Fathepur Sikri or have not, the trials of Akbar's vision for tolerance and love soar beyond conventional barriers of poetic prose, one of Rushdie's signature feats.

Not without challenge to keep wanderings of the tale centered, a full circle intrigue of dynasties unfold with a terrific pace until the final sentence....... maintaining Rushdie as among the highly respected, multi-cultural writers of our time.


Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Duccasse's Culinary Encyclopedia
Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Duccasse's Culinary Encyclopedia
by Alain Ducasse
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary, 11 Dec. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Review of Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary

Hard to know how far culinary gods can go for further recognition when their empires are booming. I was truly disappointed by this tome, which should have been ambitiously wonderful had it been given more consideration and time to perfect.

Perhaps it would like to be an encyclopedia but rather seems to this reader to be intense cookbook trying to cover all fancy gastronomic bases. One can, of course, get ideas but recipes appear not properly tested so you need to have a serious command of the kitchen to find your way with stocks, sauces, details of the dish etc. In this way, the average serious cook may feel intimidated. After seven hundred recipes, I rather doubt too many copies will have that worn-in feeling a great cookbook develops when used and loved.

The translation into English is full of mistakes. Once remaindered for a good price - the book will be worth it for gorgeous photographs. The original or updated Larousse Gastronomique from 1996 is full of cross references, fun, traditional, inspiring and anything you want it to be in comparison except perhaps his presentation of so-called `haute, haute' cuisine. Hard to know how much Ducasse wanted to look like the king along with the five chefs who assisted in this endeavor. How much more does he need to show off.

As a serious foodie, serious amateur chef for thirty-five years and writer, I prefer to rave not demote. In this case, sadly, the book might do better as an impressive doorstop with a top brand name.

Victoria Oscarsson
oscarsson@utanet.at
Vienna Austria


Flaubert's Parrot (Picador Books)
Flaubert's Parrot (Picador Books)
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe parrots cry, even stuffed ones, 24 April 2006
This is an interesting book in the way it is structured especially with the play of so drastically varying the way the chapters were written.

Nonetheless, I am not sure that the frame of Mr.Braithwaite, the narrrator and doctor, around the biography of Flaubert, works. I had to keep going back to what his sad tale was which gets muddled between the suicide of his wife and the loner adulterous life of Flaubert. This became more like a prop rather than a person to enhance the analysis of Flaubert's life. On the other hand, the parrot dilemma brings the book full circle.

I was held though by how Barnes created a dialogue with this early 19th century author and felt frustrated that I was not more familiar with Flaubert's writing and modernist presence so ahead of his time.

As an aspiring writer, a second career, I noted many quote/phrases from Flaubert. Barnes must have done incredible research and the excitement was to be inside Flaubert's person through Barnes's interpretation. Perhaps this reader wanted to feel less intellectual and more in touch with the soul of Flaubert's life, to feel rather than read of 'his passions'. Perhaps Flaubert could not show his heart, though Barnes speaks of how crying came easily.

Maybe parrots cry, even stuffed ones.

Definitely a great read by an inventive author.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2013 11:07 PM GMT


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