Artist of the Week: Adolfo Bioy Casares


“To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.”
Jorge Luis Borges

The Invention of Morel may be described, without exaggeration, as a perfect novel.” – Octavio Paz

This is what two literary titans had to say about Adolfo Bioy Casares’ best work. His magnum opus. The Invention of Morel. An odd piece of work, difficult to define as science fiction, almost impossible to define it as something else.

Not nearly as famous as his lifelong friend, Jorge Luis Borges, Casares is every bit as talented. A great visionary, a wonderful stylist (as most South American writers are), Casares is well the time and effort to read.

 

“Is there any difference between our desires becoming reality, and our desiring what is already real? What matters is that our will and reality agree with one another.”

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Book Review: Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher

Scarred Hearts, one of the few published works by Max Blecher, is a novel of pain and suffering. The author, who lived most of his life under the auspices of a dreadful disease, died at the age of 29. But even though this is a novel in which the characters live under the constant threat of death, even though their lives are bitter and painful, his little characters find enough strength to fall in love, to mold the most human of feelings and experiences after their own needs. Continue reading Book Review: Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher

The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time

This is probably the best time to put together such a list:  the technology is there, allowing for special effects to help us suspend disbelief, the actors who have been cast to play the parts are as brilliant as they come, and studios are investing more and more money into big budget adaptations of comic books.

I have no doubt that we’ll see more and more superhero movies, some of them quite brilliant and easy to recommend.

That being said, here are the ten best superhero movies of all time. Continue reading The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time

Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the book’s description:

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America’s booming film industry. The studio lot looks like ‘thirty acres of fairyland’ the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr’s pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humor and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald’s panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching.

If the great Francis Scott Fitzgerald would have finished writing this novel, it would have been his masterpiece. Yes, it would have been better than The Great Gatsby, which is my favorite novel of all time, and the only piece of writing I’ve been reading once a year since I was seventeen. Besides Dune. Continue reading Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Four Books about Rebels

Remember this commercial?

Well, the truth is that there will always be rebels. The crazy ones. The ones who are cursed with knowledge of possible futures, rather than the known hell of the present.

And literature has its fair share of rebels, of characters who don’t think outside the box, but they think like there’s no box. Outsiders, weirdos, eccentrics, all of them are allowed a bit more freedom within the confines of books than they ever were allowed in real life.

So, yeah, here are four books about rebels. For rebels. Continue reading Four Books about Rebels

So Bad It’s Good: The Best Worst Movie Ever Made

I know that some of you will say that I am late to the party, especially after The Disaster Artist, but I just want to write about the movie that made me laugh until I felt my ribs break.

THE ROOM.

Tommy Wiseau, the man behind this movie, stars as the main character in what was supposed to be a drama. Sort-of. I suppose one can guess what happens when one guy tries to produce, write, direct, and star in a movie. Oh, and this guy never had any sort of prior work experience in the cinematic world.

So, yeah, as a drama, this is the worst drama ever.

If judged by what it tried to be, The Room is most certainly the worst movie ever made. Without a doubt.

Just the number of glaring mistakes is…

But if you want to laugh, and Adam Sandler stopped being funny some ten years ago, then The Room is well worth the time.

And one thing you can be sure of: you never imagined that such a movie could ever be released, let alone produce. It’s hilarious in a way that you never even thought possible.

Book Review: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: and Other Stories by Carson McCullers

From Amazon.com:

A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers’s best stories, including her beloved novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café.” A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town’s gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes “Wunderkind,” McCullers’s first published story written when she was only seventeen about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist. Newly reset and available for the first time in a handsome trade paperback edition, The Ballad of the Sad Café is a brilliant study of love and longing from one of the South’s finest writers.

There’s something about these stories that makes you empathise with the human condition; we are who we are when we can help it, when there’s nothing else to be but ourselves.

We are who we are because someone has to be.

The characters that inhabit these little stories are what one would define as misfits, rebels. But that’s the magic of stories: we realize that we are all made of the same stuff. We are all human. We are all the same. Different, but the same. At the same time. The paradox of human nature.

What I am trying to say is that these misfits feel the same emotions as we do, and they teach us so much about ourselves, our own fights and defeats, and also make us realize that oftentimes what sets us apart must also make us feel lonely/live a life of solitude.

A must-read, The Ballad of the Sad Café contains stories about other people, stories about the kind of people that we might never encounter in real life, but those stories teach us so much about ourselves.