Singer, Isaac Bashevis "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy"

1983


(Yiddish: נטל בחור ישיבה/Yenṭl der Yeshive-boḥer) - 1984

 

Reviewed by Marianne
from Let's Read

 



I am a huge Barbra Streisand fan and have seen quite a few of her films. And one of my favourite movies ever (not just by and with Barbra) is "Yentl". So, I was surprised to only now find out that it was based on a book. Of course, I could have guessed, such a great story, even if they changed quite a few important parts from the story in the film. So, it's probably a good thing I saw the movie first.

Unfortunately, it's only a short story, I'm sure Nobel Prize winner Isaac B. Singer would have had more ideas to describe Yentl and her life. But, nevertheless, it is a fantastic story and I hope to read more by this fantastic author.

From the back cover:

"Recognizing that Yentyl seems to have the soul and disposition of a man, her father studies the Torah and other holy books with her. When he dies, Yentyl feels that she no longer has a reason to remain in the village, and so, late one night, she cuts off her hair, dresses as a young man, and sets out to find a yeshiva where she can continue her studies and live secretly as a man."

Isaac Bashevis Singer received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978 "for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life".



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Original Post on "Let's Read".

Hesse, Hermann "Narcissus and Goldmund"

1932


(German Title: Narziss und Goldmund) - 1930

Reviewed by Marianne
from Let's Read



A friend of mine was surprised that I never read this book. Well, we can't have read all the books available and I had read three other books by Hermann Hesse before. Still, she had a DVD of the film they made in 2020 (see here) and then she lent me her copy of the book. Thanks, Elisabeth.

They are both great works though, as so often with films, you cannot compare the two. The ending is pretty different and there are parts that are larger in the book than in the film and vice versa. Why do they always have to do that? I have no idea.

This is a much acclaimed book and supposedly one of Hesse's best. I can well understand that. It is a great novel with many layers and much information about life in the middle ages.

I have enjoyed the book very much though I find it hard to say why. Certainly, the writing is superb and the description not just of the two main characters but also all the other ones is fantastic. Maybe I just say it's magical and - like magic - not explainable.

Of course, I cannot vouch for any translations as I have read this book in the original German language.

From the back cover:

"Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of two diametrically opposite men: one, an ascetic monk firm in his religious commitment, and the other, a romantic youth hungry for worldly experience.Hesse was a great writer in precisely the modern sense: complex, subtle, allusive: alive to the importance of play. Narcissus and Goldmund is his very best. What makes this short book so limitlessly vast is the body-and-soul-shaking debate that runs through it, which it has the honesty and courage not to resolve: between the flesh and spirit, art and scientific or religious speculation, action and contemplation."



And another one:

"Narcissus is a teacher at Mariabronn, a monastery in medieval Germany, and Goldmund his favourite pupil. While Narcissus remains detached from the world in prayer and meditation, Goldmund runs away from the monstery in pursuit of love. Thereafter he lives a picaresque wanderer's life, his amatory adventures resulting in pain as well as ecstasy. His eventual reunion with Narcissus brings into focus the diversity between artist and thinker, Dionysian and Apollonian".



Hermann Hesse received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style".

Hermann Hesse received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 1955.


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Neruda, Pablo "The Captain's Verses"

(Spanish Title: Los versos del capitán) - 1973

 

Reviewed by Marianne
from Let's Read

 

I mentioned it before, I'm not much into poetry, I don't enjoy it much. But my book club chose it, and I am always committed to read everything on the list.

The only plus is that my edition has both the Spanish as well as the English version, so I could practice my Spanish a little. And Pable Neruda is a Nobel Prize laureate that I hadn't read, yet. I probably won't read more by him.

If this book has taught me anything, I'm REALLY not into poetry.

Some comments from our members:

  • Reading the book and widening my own experience was well worth the read anyway.
  • What a heart! Neruda opens his heart to love again and again, bringing his readers' hearts along no matter what. Even across all these distances and all these years, Neruda loves the very essence of love in these poems. And I don't even like poetry.

We read this in our book club in July 2021. 


From the back cover:

"Pablo Neruda finished writing The Captain's Verses (Los versos del Capitán) in 1952 while in exile on the island of Capri - the paradisal setting for the blockbuster film Il Postino (The Postman), that centers around this period of Neruda's life. Surrounded by the sea, sun, and the natural splendor of a thousand vineyards, Neruda addressed these poems of love, ecstasy, devotion, and fury to his lover Matilde Urrutia, the one "with the fire/of an unchained meteor".

Later the same year, Neruda published The Captain's Verses anonymously in an edition of fifty copies, fourteen years before he and Matilde legally married. The first 'acknowleged' edition would not appear until 1963.

This complete,bilingual collection has become a classic for love-struck readers around the world - passionately sensuous, and exploding with all the erotic energy of a new love.
"


Pablo Neruda received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971
"for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams".


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Hemingway, Ernest "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

 1940


Reviewed by Marianne
from Let's Read


After reading this book, I don't understand why I didn't read it earlier. This is one of the "must read" classics, a book that tells us so much about a terrible time, not just a particular terrible time about the guerillas in the Spanish Civil War, but about war in general. War isn't jsut a number of how many people died or how many fights were won or lost. War is horrible. War is brutal. War is everything nobody wants. And yet, we still have wars.

You can tell that a lot of experience flowed into this piece. Ernest Hemingway faught himself in the Spanish Civil War. He must have lived through lot of the actions described here.

This novel is a brilliant account of the partisans, their fight, their effort, their dreams. A strong story about a fight that we all know was lost and cost many Spaniards dearly in the following years.

I never watched the movie with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, two actors I really loved. I probably should. They received nine Oscar nominations for it.

From the back cover: 

"High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a band of anti-fascist guerrilla prepares to blow up a strategically vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, has been sent to handle the dynamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war. And there he discovers Maria, a young woman who has escaped from Franco's rebels."

Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in 'The Old Man and the Sea' and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style" and the Pulitzer Prize for "The Old Man and the Sea" in 1953.

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Original Post on "Let's Read".

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