Books 27/28


La Gazelle s’agenouille pour pleurer (Not sure if an English title is available).

Kangni Alembert.


OK, well I have to admit I dragged this book around for over a month like a cement ball chained to my ankle and was never able to connect with the stories or the story teller. I tried and I tried. I didn’t want to give up because I just love short stories and this seemed the ideal collection of shorts to get through easily enough. I just couldn’t find my way in the dark. Not sure what happened, it was like the old GPS systems we plugged into the cigarette lighter in our cars that kept recalculation and would send you on loops way out of the normal way to get you from point A to point B by going through XYZ. If you catch my drift. 

So, to put it nicely I have nothing to say about this book so moving on…


Rue de la Tranchée / Battle Trench Avenue.

Karin Hotakainen.


Hilariously neurotic or neurotically hilarious I am not sure which. On one hand it is light-hearted and amusing while at the same time it’s really dark and complex. The hero, or more like a very unlikely anti hero, is Matti a youngish Finn living near the capital who has recently lost his family and it turns out his entire universe. His wife left with their daughter to escape his erratic behaviour. 

OK, that could describe practically any relationship; hello mirror, how ya doin? 

Matti becomes obsessed with getting his family back and has to imagine how he can create the ideal environment to achieve this. He fixates on selling their apartment and buying a house (oh yeah, and he runs. A lot.) Sooo, the complexity of the situation is of course he doesn’t have enough money and real estate in the capital is expensive. Without giving details (I hate spoilers), he becomes a “soldier” who has fought a “war”, not WWII, or any other military conflict, but the war of the sexes; he must shed his lamb like personality and become a Wolf. 

I am having a hard time describing the book in fact. It is cynical and amusing at the same time and I wonder if this is not the basis of Nordic humour; difficult to understand but funny in a tilted head scratching way. It only took me a couple days to read, always a good sign, and I liked it but I won’t give it all out endorsement. I may, at some future date, pick up another work by the same author to better understand his style, so he didn’t complete loose me! Half hearted endorsement anybody?

Ah well, let’s keep moving forward! Next up: Denmark!

6 thoughts on “Books 27/28

  1. Were these books both in French then? Do you mind terribly if I grill you for a moment and get nosy? 😉 Are you from France originally? Do you read books in other languages besides French and English? I think reading books from different countries is such a brilliant idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! No problem! 🙂 both of these were in french, I only speak French and English. I am able to find a lot of books in English here (in grenoble) but the depth of international selection is obviously better in french so I just have to go back and forth.
      I was born in the US, but have spent about 12 years in france at two different periods so I have lived, studied and worked in both countries. My mom was french so I had a French and American upbringing. It’s kind of funny in that it’s really hard to consider myself either…more of a hybrid! 😉 I’ve been in my current city for 7 years now, which is pretty long as I moved around quite a bit when I lived in the US.


  2. Neither of these appeal to me – I really don’t like short stories, and the other just doesn’t sound my thing. I do enjoy seeing what you have chosen as that is a great way to find something new in style to try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I clearly wasn’t in love with them. The short stories just didn’t click at all, but the second one was a little thought provoking and cynically amusing. I liked it but it’s not on the top 5 list. Reading another northern/Scandinavian book right now that has me quite confused. 😦


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