Spark of Life

April 11, 2017 Novel

It is always very difficult to say something about such books. It is very hard to read it, but it is impossible stop reading at the same time. You’re overcome with emotions and feelings. One want to whisper to the heroes “don’t give up! Help is coming.” It’s terrible to believe that all this things were here, in this world in which you habitually get up in the morning to work and complain about the morning traffic jams. It is impossible to imagine what these people had to go through and how they could not lose the “spark of life” in themselves. Everyone without exception should read such books. To know that war is only not battles and heroic feats on the battlefield, to know that hope and team spirit can save hundreds of lives, even If you think you’re in hell. Perhaps in a hundred years, when the word “war” will be used only in lessons of history, a child asks: “Why are there no more wars on Earth?” And the teacher will tell him that it’s all about awareness. It’s about the fact that people have learned what is the destruction, that no one can decide that his life is more valuable or more important...

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Effi Briest

April 8, 2017 Novel, Realist novel

Effi Briest is a realist novel by Theodor Fontane. Seventeen-year-old Effie Briest, the only daughter of a provincial nobleman, marries a longtime admirer of her mother, Geert von Innstetten. He is a serious man who wants to make a great career, and the life of Effie will be comfortable with him. But when she finds herself in the oppressive atmosphere of a small resort town, in a home that is frightening her, next to her husband, who is constantly focised on business, she began to feel herself lonely and lost… Effi Briest is a novel about how social conventions and the desire to look decent in the eyes of others can ruin not only marriage, but the whole life. What did Geert achieve with the duel? Only a couple of deaths and childhood without a mother. But what these irrelevant things, in his opinion, mean in comparison with his desire to be a successful minister? Of course, at the end of the novel he starts to think about it, but is not it too late? All his life, Effi’s life and the childhood of their daughter are destroyed. I can not blame Effi for what happened, but I can blame her parents. Although society and its rules are to blame too. It doesn’t matter who...

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Master Flea: A Fairy-Tale in Seven Adventures of Two Friends

April 5, 2017 Fantasy novel

Master Flea: A Fairy-Tale in Seven Adventures of Two Friends is a fairy tale by E. T. A. Hoffmann. It was written in 1821-1822 and became the last major work of the author. The actions take place in Frankfurt am Main. The main character is an oddball Peregrinus Tyss, who was living isolated and was afraid of women. He was involved in a mysterious game of mystical forces in the background of the life of a typical bourgeois city. Each character of the novel has his occult doppelganger. In everyday life, they are servicemen and handicraftsmen, salesmen or scientists, and in the mystical sense they are magicians and geniuses, personifications of the mysterious forces of nature, plants, minerals and so on. Every Christmas eve Tyss throw a feast. Buying a lot of sweets and toys beforehand, he imagines himself a little boy, enjoys gifts, and then gives them to the poor children. On one of these nights Peregrinus meets a mysterious stranger who confesses her love to him and demands to return to her a mysterious prisoner who allegedly stays with Tyss. It turns out that, without knowing it, Tyss sheltered Master Flea who had previously been a captive of the mystical doppelganger of the Dutch naturalist Leuwenhoek . The stranger in the occultl sense is the princess, who...

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Gantenbein

April 3, 2017 Deutsch-Spieler

Gantenbein is one of the most significant works of modernist literature of the XX century. The theme of dualism is a key theme of Frisch’s creativity – it gets a completely different sound in the novel Gantenbein, since the reader does not even deal with real or imaginary characters, but with two equivalent characters  who act in parallel branches of one reality. At the same time, it is very difficult to understand who of them is more real… A large part of the novel is based on fantasy “what would have happened if a healthy sighted person suddenly had decided to play the role of a blind man”. It would be interesting, because such an injury immediately put a person into another social conditions: a blind man does not give way to another person, a blind man does not owe anything to anyone, he is helpless, but he can be full of dignity at the same time. His aim is to make people more free, free them from fear that their lies can be visible. In the presence of a blind person, people can relax and take off their masks, show what they would never decided to do. A blind man will not judge people by their appearance. And how difficult it is to be blind...

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Arch of Triumph

March 30, 2017 Novel

Arch of Triumph is one of the most beautiful European novels of the XX century. A novel about love, war and death. And I know that in this book there are despair, sadness, pain, I know it… and still open the first page… Four people. A man, a miserable romantic, devoid of illusions and temporarily named in this short life as Ravic. A woman, amazon with aqua eyes, Joan. A professional surgeon, the best of the best, who has to hide from the police in someone another country, without betraying himself, working in secret, giving all his merits to another. An actress, realizing that her talent is not perfect, bright and emotional, different from many and dreaming of being loved and admired. What unites them? Of course, love. Tragic, somewhat crazy, but still love. They are amazing, it is impossible not to fall in love with them. And how Joan changes throughout the book! For the first time we meet an indifferent to everything, “an empty woman”, and by the end she gets more beautiful. And at the same time she changes Ravic, turning his life upside down, shaking up the old memories. This is not an ordinary book. It’s the whole life, that gives you...

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House without Guardians

March 26, 2017 Novel

In 1955 the novel House without Guardians was called by French publishers as the best foreign book. It is the story of the first post-war generation, the story of two boys – Martin and Henry, whose fathers died at the front. House without Guardians is a novel about those who stayed in this very house; about those who managed to return to this very house; and, certainly, about those who never will return to this house. The main characters of the novel are boys who were born during the war, who are not destined to see their fathers; also there are their mothers whose young, full of life husbands were sent the war, and they received only some words about duty and death… Yes, of course, there are still all the rest, young and old, well-bred and not virtuous, they are all trying to return to Life. It’s amazing how all of them, in fact, are lost, abandoned, abandoned, forgotten how to live and feel full. Even those who have not yet had time to learn this, boys whose fathers, who are slightly older than their present, participate in their upbringing from an old photo on the wall. Good book. It does not have that power that in many books about...

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Timm Thaler

March 24, 2017 Children's literature, Novel

In childhood this book seemed a kind adventure fairy tale to me. But with good books it’s always like this: each time you will you re-read this book, you find new meanings. But now I find the work of the German writer James Krüss deep and sad. It is a wonderful, in some sense, instructive story. The protagonist is the boy Tim Thaler, who sold his laughter. However, together with his sonorous and contagious laughter, he lost something more. He lost not only the ability to smile and joke, but also lost his inner freedom and carelessness. In return, he got the ability to win in any, even in the most impossible, ridiculous bet. However, as it turned out, money, wealth, social status can’t replace such habitual, ordinary, self-evident laughter. Can you imagine a happy life without laughing and smiling? Me not. And James Krüss in his little story showed how unhappy, deprived of joy and pleasure, can be a life without laughter, especially for a little boy. I liked most of all the first part of the book: the story of a little boy, so similar to the story of Cinderella, only with the difference that gifts are given for a reason, for the most valuable...

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The Golem

March 22, 2017 Novel

The Golem is a novel written by Gustav Meyrink in 1914. The Golem by Meyrink is an unusually atmospheric book. It draws you into the world of illusions and precarious, like a dream, reality. During the whole small novel we follow on the heels of Athanasius Pernath, a craftsman making cameos for precious stones. However, the word “craftsman” does not reflect the true state of affairs. Pernath is a Master, an artist who delicately feels beauty and represents the world around him in his own way. We meet the main hero at a crossroads leading from a simple and monotonous life to a real storm of events and impressions. And the details of his past, as well as hints of the future waiting for Pernath, the author’s keeps in mysterious scenes and meaningful omissions. There are works that you read, cannot understand anything, but you cannot stop reading. The Golem is one of such books. I tried to find 5 reasons why a novel is worthy of a higher score. Plot. A lot of people heard about a strange man-made creature, the Golem. So, beginning to read the novel, I expected that Meyrink will just state his version of the...

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The Neverending Story

March 19, 2017 Fantasy novel, Narrative

his mother died, and his father does not notice him. In fact, it is a real tragedy when a person can not accept the loss of a loved one that he begins to lost the reality. Bastian is nothing for his father. And then one day the father finds out in a completely practical example, that the reality can be different – his son can go to school and not return. As it turns out later, he didn’t get to school at all. And where did little Bastian go? Was he kidnapped? – No. Killed? Bastian steals a book at a bookstore. After stealing the book, the boy got delayed at the bookstore, accordingly, he was late for the lesson, frightened being laughed at, he did not want to go there and so he did not go to the school at all… The boy needs a refuge. What can be a better refuge than an attic? A terrible attic, where there are an old mirror, dusty candlesticks, a broken phonograph. These things make the attic magical. And Bastian is reading the book in the attic. He is reading until he does not get to its pages. But moreover, the characters are getting closer and closer to the reader, and now, the moment comes when...

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Steppenwolf

March 16, 2017 Novel

Steppenwolf is one of the most important novels of the XX century, first it was published in 1927. This is both a philosophical parable and, at the same time, a deep study of the psychology of a man who is trying in vain to find his own personality, constantly balancing between the animal and human beginnings. This is a love story that leads to an unexpected tragic ending, it is also a political, social novel in which the hero acts as a fierce critic of the existing philistinism. You dive into this book, it fascinates you with its special rhythm, with its unique atmosphere of half-reality, half-madness, jazz rhythms, carnival masks, literary allusions and amazing discoveries that makes the main character during his path. The main hero just runs through life, lonely, extraordinary, he does not understand the others, runs and tries to understand – but why does he run? The crisis of the protagonist grows as the book progresses, from the usual depression to the thoughts of suicide, to the subsequent complete analysis of his past and the change of the present. I have never read anything like this. This book is a real psychoanalysis of the hero, at first it may seem that there will...

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Homo faber

March 13, 2017 Drama, Novel

Homo faber is one of Frisch’s key novels. In this book there are the motives that will later become leading in his work: the loneliness of human being in the world, powerless over the terrible destiny, no opportunity to change one’s destiny and, most importantly, the theme of duality. The main hero of the novel, Walter Faber, traveling, meets a girl and falls in love with her. This plot move receives an explanation on two levels of perception – realistic and philosophical… The main character Walter Faber is a pragmatic engineer, a rational person, he does not read novels, but only special literature and newspapers, he does not go to museums, he is to far from art, but he iknows aircraft brands, steam engines and cars. Engineer Faber is not passion person, therefore in order to awaken his feelings, events are necessary to be very severe. The main hero will know love, which is not comparable in strength and depth with anything experienced before, survive its loss and feel the approach of death. But not external events are important in the novel, but the internal process of the hero’s realization of worthlessness, the emptiness of his life; he has to realize when he is 50...

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Gertrud

March 11, 2017 Novel

The novel Gertrud refers to the early period of the work of Hermann Hesse. The story is dedicated to the drama of a young composer forced to choose between reasonable and emotional approaches...

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