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4.0 out of 5 stars Milosevic follies, 12 Feb 2012
Simon Barrett "Il penseroso" (london, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Window-Giraffe (Hardcover)
Kind of a wacky update on Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, the inane title probably rolls off the tongue more smoothly in the original (Az utolso ablaksziraf). Belgrade, once an outlying Hungarian castle, 'is again a castle under siege'. This is a Balkan goulash with an ambiguous picture book feel. It is an amalgam of 'poetic' writing, history, politics and memoir, its broken surface reflecting that broken time; it is a mildly impenetrable attempt to turn disorder into art. Convincingly disorientating, I would adjudge it an interesting failure as testimony but a beautiful memento. Did you know that B is the third letter of the Hungarian alphabet, or that Vienna in Hungarian is Pecs (pron. Pech)? File under folly, human
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Giraffe, 19 April 2008
This review is from: The Last Window-Giraffe (Hardcover)
This is a fantastic read. The language is beautiful, a great translation, and it's great to look at, too, full of the author's own photographs. The interesting thing is: you can read it on many levels, and it's definitely worth re-reading it because each time you begin to see more and more connections and layers. Nothing is what it seems at first glance. And that is also what the author is trying to tell us, I guess. It has a powerful flow that takes you in.
Sometimes you don't know if you should laugh or cry. For me, that's the best kind of humor. Another strong point is that even though much of the action takes place in Serbia, during the demonstrations in the nineties, somehow it becomes universal, even if you don't know much about the events or the culture of the region. Because besides being a lot of fun, the book deals with major issues such as innocence, freedom, identity and hope.
I definitely recommend The Last Window- Giraffe, there's something for everyone in this book. Here is a description of the bullet-ridden walls of the author's hometown:
'We climbed walls, stuck our fingers into the holes and with our eyes shut tried to imagine the bullets. A Braille modern history of Budapest - a city that cannot be seen by the eye, only felt with fingers, read between the lines: house-wallsized hieroglyphs, epic and lyric variations, wartime graffiti, crude erotic messages, an inside-out archive.'
I hope to see many other books by this writer in translation!
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The Last Window-Giraffe
The Last Window-Giraffe by Péter Zilahy (Hardcover - 5 Mar 2008)
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