Link of the week

IMG_8850_resizedFollowing my recent review of “The Vegetarian” I have chosen Tim Parks’ controversial critique of the translation and by extension Han Kang’s novel itself as this week’s first link. Although I thoroughly disagree with the premise of Park’s polemic,  particularly with his notion of global literature, he nevertheless makes a couple of interesting and entertaining points about the issue of voice in the novel.

“Raw and Cooked” by Tim Parks s from the New York Review of Books

Always worthwhile to listen to is the Three Percent Podcast with Tom and Chad, the latest edition of which features a segment on the Tim Parks article (32 minutes into the podcast).

Three Percent Podcast #116


Hunger Games – “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang

The Vegetarian 600 x 400Han Kang’s slim novel, which won this year’s Man Booker International Prize, is an engrossing, gothic tale of radical refusal, told in a cool, detached and precise prose. Structured like a classical drama in three acts, each told from the perspective of a different character, the novel charts the withdrawal of its heroine from the cold, emotionally stunted and predominantly male world in which she finds herself.

The Vegetarian describes a process towards complete negation of what a woman’s role in society ought to be. Firstly through the reduction of the physical self, then, more drastically, through the erasure of the human body itself. Continue reading “Hunger Games – “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang”

Link of the week

IMG_8850_resizedHaving called Sade an unlikely poster boy for women’s liberation in my review of “Khomeini, Sade and Me” last week, I thought this week  might be a good time to look at the Marquis a little bit more closely.

First up, a longer feature on the man from the Smithsonian Magazine, for which the author also visited the descendants of the controversial libertine.

Who Was the Marquis de Sade? by Tony Perottet

Next, a text from The Independent examining Sade’s influence on 19th and 20th century thinkers and contemporary French philosopher Michel Onfray’s withering critique of the Marquis.

Marquis de Sade: rebel, pervert, rapist…hero? by John Lichfield




The Marquis and the Ayatollah – “Khomeini, Sade and Me” by Abnousse Shalmani

Khomeini, Sade and Me cover

Abnousse Shalmani’s childhood as the carefree daughter of a leftist, educated, bourgeois family in Tehran ended with her starting Primary School in the early 1980s. Iran had just undergone a fundamentalist Islamic revolution forcing the Shah into exile and installing Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran’s supreme leader. For Shalmani, being suddenly forced to wear the headscarf and cover up for the classroom triggered what would turn out to become a lifelong rebellion against Islam’s denial of the female flesh. Continue reading “The Marquis and the Ayatollah – “Khomeini, Sade and Me” by Abnousse Shalmani”

Link of the week

IMG_8850_resizedFollowing my review of Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan, this week’s link is about  Indonesian literature. Louise Doughty gives us an overview of recent literary works from the world’s largest archipelago and wonders why it is that not more books from Indonesia are translated into English.

“17,000 islands of the imagination”: discovering Indonesian literature