As I was looking at the list of books in the “read but not reviewed yet” category of my reading list, the thought of having to go back to them all seemed somewhat daunting (ok, there are only three really – it seems I’m easily overwhelmed…). So when I found out via Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness about Lu of Regular Rumination‘s idea of doing a quick catch-up of mini-reviews on the books read during the year that somehow never got reviewed, I loved the idea. I’m in awe of the amount of books other people get around to, but here’s my almost embarrassingly short stab at the mini-reviews anyway.
Josefina Aldecoa: Historia de una maestra – The first of a trilogy, Historia… tells the story of a young female teacher in 1920s/30s rural Spain. I was overwhelmed with how modern some of the protagonists’ ideas were (even for today’s standards), and how starkly they contrasted with the backwardness of the surroundings. It was engaging and very pleasant to read, and I definitely want to read the other two books at some point. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have been translated, maybe because the story is so quintessentially Spanish.
Mario Vargas Llosa: Travesuras de la niña mala – “Meh” is probably the best word to describe the feeling I came away with from this novel. The main character is so head-over-heels in love with the “bad girl” that he becomes a complete idiot, and the more the story wore on, the more I wanted to slap him. The story struck me as predictable: he meets her again, can’t resist, she screws him over and disappears, he gets depressed… until they meet again – and so on ad infinitum. It could’ve been worse, but it could also have been a lot better. (English title: The Bad Girl, German title: Das böse Mädchen)
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester: Crónica del rey pasmado – This is the book where it makes me the saddest that I never got around to writing up a ‘proper’ review. Because this is a little gem (Alex of The Sleepless Reader also thinks so) that ought to be much better known! Full of clever irony and sarcasm – even laugh-out-loud funny – it tells the story of how the King tries to put into practice a really crazy idea that’s come into his head: he wants to see his wife, the Queen, naked. Not an easy feat in a palace where everyone has their own hidden agenda and politicking is rife. (English title: The King Amaz’d)