martedì, dicembre 01, 2020

Notre - Dame de Paris by Joris-Karl Huysmans

 Notre-Dame de Paris by

Joris-Karl Huysmans is a little book but not for this reason less dense or articulated than a big essay about churches and in particular maybe of the most known and loved cathedral of the Western civilization: Notre Dame-de Paris, for every parisienne an important piece of their heart.

Joris-Karl was a man in love for churches. He visited, studied churches and their architecture; he simply loved churches, understanding , absorbing their atmosphere, he was a critic of art and nothing is more complex and beauty than a church; he became close with some priests, falling in love at the end (and pretty critically!) with Notre Dame. 

Notre Dame and the various periods of depredations and disinterest; Notre Dame and its style, but also Notre-Dame and the fascinating spring-times; it is not classified as a maternal cathedral. But Joris-Karl will be pretty critical also regarding the external statues of the Cathedral: "La verité est que son extérieur ne vaut plus que par sa mass"; here a big problem for the writer: "Tout le statues son retappes ou entièrement refaites...."

But it's another voice that will strongly upset the writer: the idea of installing in Notre-Dame the electricity, at some point. Considered something more "chic" to Jorkis-Karl this idea "C'est revoltant" is revoltating and considering what happened on april 2019 he was right!

A third chapter is dedicated to the various symbology of Notre-Dame. "Trois portals, en l'honneur de la Trinité sainté" for example, and the interior shape "a été désignèe par Jesus meme" has been thought  for Jesus the founder of a new church. 

A beauty book for understanding much more Notre-Dame but also other Cathedrals. 

A fascinating trip!

Highly recommended

AI thank L'Editions de l'Herne for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Kafka's Prague by Klaus Wagenbach

 Kafka's Prague by Klaus Wagenbach

published by Haus Publishing is more than what you can expect. 

The character, personality of Franz Kafka, one of the most beloved modern writers is manifested thanks to letters, correspondence, writings of people who knew him very well, and the imagine that at the end we have of this writer, is the one of a melancholic, solitary person.

One of the students and classmates with which Franz studied with, added later that Franz was a person that maintained always a certain distance from the other ones so you couldn't never tell that he was involved in the sociality of the classroom and the other children were under many ways intimidated if they had to approach him, because they "read" him as someone who wanted to stay per se.

Little Franz was born in Prague, close to the Old Town, so absolutely in the intellectual fertile Prague, although the family of Franz, it is a pretty articulated family, as you will see, wasn't at first too wealthy. They made a lot of sacrifices, also for giving to little Franz a good scholastic education.

Passionate of greek, latin, Franz once adult became a clerk at the court for some months, and later, spasmodically, searched for a work in grade of giving him that independance searched so much. At first he found a work with the Assicurazioni Generali, while he was writing his masterpieces, or part of them, so The Metamorphosis, The Trial, the Castle, but that work didn't leave him a minute of peace and breath and so Franz interrupted his writings. At the end of the year searched for a new work and, at long he worked for another company,The Workers' Accident Insurance Institute. This new work meant a new re-birth for Kafka's writings because he had more time.

Franz Kafka didn't become famous immediately; various decades passed, before he could reach, and only once dead, notoriety in the rest of the world. 

He would have wanted to go away from Prague, but that city captured him, and, apart for little trips, he stayed in the city the entire existence.

He was a solitary man, a man at the perennial research of solitude and once Franz made a comparison with Kierkegaard. He didn't know him personally but found that they were living the same demons.

Franz Kafka enjoyed the humus of a city, Prague that it is immensely beauty and sophisticated, but hasn't never met the most important writers of his times because he stayed confined in Prague for his entire existence.

He developed a fascination for everything strange; a strange reality, strange perceptions. This side of the human being interested him more than the normality and all the time he read reality under original, scaring lenses.

The famous term kafkaesque was firstly "born" and used, in the New Yorker, for remarking an absurd situation, a paradoxical event.

Kafka remains the writer of the paradox, of all that situations that can't be explained...rationally.

Speaking of love, he was again a solitary man. He had a first girlfriend, but they broke up and a friend of him said that he reached them all at work, he sat close to them and, just... he started to crying, as a kid. He was affected by tubercolosis, a dangerous and fatal illness for that times. For recovering he spent some time at the house of a sister with which he was in contact and that adored him as he adored her. 

He had a second important girlfriend but the marriage could not be celebrated again. Then he fell seriously sick with other additional symptoms of tubercolosis and died in Prague.

An intense, dense biography this one. More than Prague, the protagonist remains Franz Kafka, with his demons, his joys, his sufferances. Great readings also for students!

Highly recommended.

I thank Haus Publishing for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Balzac Amoureux by Emmanuelle De Boysson

 When I posted my review of Il Figlio Maledetto by Balzac, Emmanuelle de Boysson, when I sent her my review, said me: "I wrote a book about Balzac's lovers!". I immediately said her: send me the book, I want to read it!

Balzac amoureux

was for sure a fascinating reading.

First of all Honoré de Balzac has never been immensely loved by his mother. He had a father pretty bubbling, if I can use this expression, so very sociable, and also a smiling guy; their parents were the perfect couple, you could think...But, no, the mother of Balzac fell in love with with another gentleman with which she had had the second son, after Honoré, Henry, much much much more loved than not him.

For this reason Honoré had nasty words regarding her mother and sincerely he didn't never paint her in great shapes in her books. If the mother guessed that there was something strongly biographical in that son's  words we can't know.

For sure, that ones were signals of love, launched in many different ways by Honoré. This son wanted to become a writer but the mother in particular was skeptical although she didn't make any kind of oppositions.

Balzac dreamed a of woman as writes Emmanuelle: "....Idéale, maternelle, ange et démon, courtisane sensuelle, confidente, grande dame fortunée, douce et piquante", someone maternal, but also a sort of angel/demon,  a sensual courtesan, confident, someone a big lucky, sweet but spicey at the same time."

I know: an ideal woman. It's difficult to find these characteristics just in a person.

But as we will see the research of Balzac became pretty intense also thanks to the bad maternal example he had had and undere many ways he replicated that love he hadn't had with and for more adult women.

First of all let's say that the most important people of his young adult age are marked by women all called Laure; starting from thre mother, passing through the siblings, Antoinette de Berny realistically was another Laure. During the second part of his existence he will try without any success to seduct Henriette de Castries, but, not able to winning the lady, he will find some consolation with Zulma Garraud. The final love was Mme Hanska; at the end he will marry her!

Balzac was an enthusiast about women and that's why he portrayed them compulsively, letting us see in all his books the best and worse of women.

Humiliated women, but also unhappy marriages and, sufferences, feminists, secretive souls, there is a range of characters not indifferent in the literary production by Balzac.

It was a big love the one with Mme Berny.

Daughter of the teacher of harp of Marie Antoinette, yes the queen, her mother was one of the dames of Marie Antoinette, Mme de Berny was an interesting lady: more old than Balzac's mother, but still sensual, little and with a pretty face. 

Although at first Mme Berny would want to arrange a marriage with one of her daughters, Balzac is interested in Mme de Berny. Balzac is just 22 years, Berny 45. 

Yes maybe she was what meant, writes the author, for Jean Jacques Rousseu Mme de Warens: "une mère et une amante" a mother and a lover. Voices of this unusual and embarassing love-storty starts to circulate and the mother of Balzac will try to divide the two lovers.

Divided by destiny, Balzac will start to write confessing that a writer is someone with a free spirit.

At 25 years Balzac decides that he wants to become completely independent and he lives with more freedom her relationship with Laure. Laura at first will be crucial for the career of Balzac; but wait, when the two pigeons could be happy together, Balzac knows another lady of 41 years, Laure d’Abrantès. This one is a napoleonic legend. Balzac falls in love for her as well!

Yes, Honoré started a relationship with this second Laure and for years he will keep two secret love-stories. Passionate, original, these ones the treat that are keeping both these women close to him.

Mme d’Abrantès will introduce him at Juliette Récamier muse of Chateaubriand and Benjamin Constant. When discovered that he has also a relationship with Berny, Balzac promises loyalty, but there are other problems for Balzac, who, at some point will leave for Versailles but will assist at the decable of the printing. Laura de Berny remains at the same time always close to him. She is 52 now but nothing is changed in her heart.

« Ô toi ! Toi, céleste cher ! Rester en extase, absorbée par mes souvenirs, est tout ce que je puis. Comment te dire mon bonheur ? (…) J’aurais souhaité, dans mon rêve plein de folie, être aimée à la manière du ciel… À toi ; salut, honneur, amour… 

Sure she starts to be jealous of Laure d'Albrentès. The pleasure donated him by the duchess can't be avoided by Honoré. He had a strong appetite for women and Berny was his favorite.


Victor Hugo, 27 years, on july, invites Balzac for the lecture: Marion Delorme. In that occasion Berny won't attend the event. She prefers a low profile. The ambivalence relationship with the other Laure continues and one day Balzac will write in a beautiful love-letter: "Tu sais que mon cœur, c’est toi qui le possèdes..."


At the same time Honoré de Balzac publishes Physiologie du Mariage, a book that violently remarks the inconsistence of a marriage, affirming the sex equality.

Balzac loved women so badly and understood very well their psychological dramas, being in grade also of understanding their weaknesses, for "manipulating" them.

Victor Hugo was deeply involved in policy, but not Balzac. As writes Emmanuelle "En pleine force de l’âge, Honoré laisse libre cours à sa soif d’érotisme et à ses fantasmes."

Balzac becomes famous thanks to his writings and everyone want to see him. 55 years, Berny is a woman that continues to donate him a lot of pleasure, but not just this: she is a lady that corrects his writings.

As said before, he knew Henriette de Castries but she won't be available and secretely in love for him, Zulma Garraud will try all her best for conquering Balzac.

A big cholera epidemic is taking place in Paris and once returned home Balzac is horrified to see this scenario. And plus, he remains chronically unsatisfied, because he notices that he didn't yet settle down with any woman. Now he is rich, famous, and, oh what a joy if he could marry someone of noble origin, maybe rich, beauty; more than these treats, what Balzac is searching is the biggest love, the one that let you say: she is that one! 

And the ONE is reading his books close to a fireplace. Her name is Éveline Hanska; in exhile in a place that she can't consider her hometown, she considers herself greatly misunderstood.

One day she writes to the publishing house and the letter arrives to Balzac but the sender's name is just  L’Étrangère. Someone he doesn't know and couldn't know and firstly, someone mysterious. 

Balzac will discover who the lady is. Very young married with a wealthy man, Balzac is galvanized because he understands that this lady is also very rich. He will spend in an epistolary love-story with Eveline something like 17 years of his existence.

Oh, in the while he continued to live.

Berny understands the danger of this relationship and she tries her best for interrupt this weird liaison: with the opposite effect.

Balzac, where possible, will fall much more in love for Eveline, and after a lot of years, more than adult, he will marry her.

On 1850 he died and her mother close to the corpse of this son who wanted just to be adored by her, at the end repeated all the time as a mantra: « Je suis fière de toi ,» I am proud of you.

At the end, she said these words to his son. Pity that he could not listen anymore and he could not heal anymore for her lack of affection.

Beautiful book. Quick, engaging, passionate as all the french books are, it's a great reading!

Highly recommended!

I thank Emmanuelle de Boysson for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


sabato, novembre 28, 2020

L'ombra del Potere by Viveca Sten

 I love every book written by Viveca Sten and this latest one, L'Ombra

del Potere is another wonderful one.

The impression is that the island of Sandhamn is not a boring place at all. 

Nora is back to the island with his family, Jonas and her daughter Julia, for the summer vacation. She is happy because she received recently a promotion and life was great. She is of course, pretty soon informed that in the place there is a newcomer: someone from London, mr Carsten Jonsson. He is a business man and decided to buy a big, immense and incredibly rich property that he is restorating for him and his family. The character of Carsten is complex, his business are pretty diversified like also the people with which he interacts with. Tensions with the people of the island are constantly increasing; dead animals are found close to their house as an admonition, but also other unpleasant things happen always more often. For trying to resolve this story, in an island always more exclusivist, Carsten decides to organize a party. The party in itself is a success but at the end someone will burn the depandance and someone is found dead. Considering that the man died carbonized at first it is impossible to recognize the sex of the person. Maybe a man because of some early indications, but...At first investigators thought that the man could be Carsten... Carsten is not living at all a financial moment pretty happy, let's use this euphemism, but was found alive. There are other problems in his existence and the failure is the cause, for this man of an escalation of violent acts started into his family. Celia is horrified, because her husband has never been violent. She would want to go away but she doesn't know how to do that.

Indagating and investigating appear clear something: that Carsten hasn't been grown in an environment (we speak of work) ethical; all the opposite.

Celia of course, after the violent altercation with the husband, because of their kid, is not fine at all; Maria, her babysitter is also leaving because Carsten has been too clear with her as well. She had seen what happened the day before between them.

Alone, isolated, with a violent man.

But Carsten in this moment doesn't have any pale idea of continuing the altercation with the wife. He knows that someone is cheating him and he must speak with him, trying to change the contract that, apparently he should sign...

Celia is found in miserable state, while Carstem will reach a new enemy...

At the end the story will be completely different from the one imagined by the investigators; maybe more sad, and more important, the gesture of someone changed the existences of most people in the island.

Another intense book by Viveca Sten that you won't put down till the end.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, novembre 23, 2020

L'Esecutore by Ariel Magnus

 L'Esecutore by

Ariel Magnus published by Guanda is shocking under many ways. 

This one is the story of Ricardo Klement better known as Adolf Eichmann the person who organized the mass deportation of Jewish in the concentration camps during the war.

I hadn't never read anything about Eichmann. In my mind there is Mengele, the evil of Auschwitz, that finger, that right, left, life or death, destiny for tons of deported human beings.

Unfortunately Eichmann wasn't immediately captured and escaped in Argentina, a place, thanks to Peron and Evita, pretty clement with these individuals.

It's absolutely shocking that people accused of crimes like these ones continued their existence as if it wouldn't never happened anything. 

The existence of this man was characterized by hallucinations; his dreams were agitated; he could not forget his assassinations just for fun, he couldn't forget how to be cruel also in his new common life; I was shocked when, opening the door at a girlfriend of jewish origins of his biggest son Klaus (for everyone Klement/Eichmann was the uncle of Klaus) he thought that he could kill the girl with simplicity for later burning the body so that nothing could be found. Pity that there were other people at home...

Eichmann didn't never develop common thoughts as a decent man has. No: his memories were only in the past; that past spent in serving Hitler and his demoniacal project: the complete extirpation from Earth of all people of Jewish origins and all the other ones, with problems, mentals or physicals.

One of these individuals, Gregor, maybe for remembering the old times, practiced abortions in Argentina. In the past, that one was the doctor who destroyed the existence of million of children practising "medical studies" on twins. Now, he decided that it was better to end the existences of babies before their arrival on Earth. 

What it is shocking is their cruelty, their thoughts. There is no traces of humanity.

In the cover of this book you see Eichmann with a tender rabbit, immediately killed in the water once the Polaroid was taken for not leaving LIVING witnesses of this picture.

This man like all the other men of Hitler in Argentina was working for building infrastructures. 

Eichmann  considered Argentinian people an inferior race. At some point he started some breeding of chickens, hens and rabbits but what scared me were his thoughts regarding the project, his comparison with the years spent in building camps where most people lost their existences...

His brain continued to repeat as a mantra what happened during the war. Every object, every place, every person reminded him his old existence and starting from these series of anedocts the writer tell this absurd existence with extreme profoundity. The writer has been immensely great entering in the criminal mind of this individual, remembering the hallucinating past but also his peaceless present. Drinking, to Eichmann was an activity useful and appreciated for removing from the mind what he saw; imagines of dead people, destroyed, burned, killed. But no, please, do not misunderstand: he didn't feel any kind of compassion for them. No, no: he was just sorry for himself; he wouldn't never have wanted to see with his eyes all that dead people; just this. Of course they had to be destroyed, but it was unpleasant to see the scenario in its reality. 

People were killed in a senseless way; also when a life was saved because after all that person didn't annoy too much, later Eichmann thought that he would have killed that X  person years ago because maybe now he/she is alive somewhere and completely free.

There is not, never, in any moment, a sensation that this individual could be called: man. Never. He tried, when captured of telling that being a soldier, he respected the orders given, but, you see, he wasn't a simple soldier; he was the so-called architect of the Holocaust, the responsible one for mass deportation, the creator of that system. No, not a common soldier.

What shocked me the most was that, at the end of a work-day, when lived in Germany and you knew what that work-day meant, just death, Eichmann loved to ask everyday to his autist of stopping the car somewhere before to return home for watching the sunset, because Eichmann thought that sunsets were beautiful, like dawns. Pity that a new dawn and a new sunset meant for wagons of people the end of their existence or a horrible calvary! 

Married, with four children, one born in Argentina, Eichmann had a distorted sexuality, exactly like the rest of his character. The wife has been portrayed like a pale character, a mere executor of the orders of her husband.

This guy is disgusting, deserved the end he did. Josef Mengele after the capture of Eichmann emigrated in another close and friendly country, Paraguay. A body was found close to a river, one day of 1979. The discovery that the John Doe of the situation  was the horrible Nazi of Auschwitz only 6 years later.

No one searched for sure for him.

Cruelty, simply, doesn't pay.

Highly recommended! for not forget, for remembering. Always.

I thank Guanda for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, novembre 18, 2020

Salzburg City of Culture by Hubert Nowak

 Salzburg City of Culture by Hubert Nowak

is a new book published by Haus Publishing. If you want to immerse yourself in a virtual trip in words there is nothing better than a title of this publishing house. Literature is mixed with culture and trip and the final product is amazing all the times!

That Salzburg is a special city, is a fact. 

Birthplace of Mozart, his genius started to be recognized only decades after his departure at just 37 years; the city appears sometimes a bit distracted, and its metabolism for "digesting" situations and people is not the quickest ones; Salzburg admits the geniality of people with calm, without rush, with that signorility that doesn't want to ruin anything.

Other people not forgotten but for sure not too mentioned are Zweig but also the Trapp family, that became famous thanks to the movie with Julie Christie, The Sound of Music.

The city was completely uninterested to the movie, and snobbed it with great class; and, if tons of people visited Salzburg for trying to find traces of the places visited by the actors while they were filming the movie, Salzburgers remained cold. 

Yes, the Salzburgers are people of culture. For being considered a real Salzburger the family of the person should have spent more than three generations in the city; in case, a person living in Salzburg couldn't never be classified like a "real" citizen. Other people, immigrants, are tolerate, but sure they are also seen as newcomers and not people constituting the most solid tissue of the society of the city.

A city famous for classic but also modern music. There is an incredible story of a musician of asiatic origin that didn't know Mozart. Unthinkable, but also the one of people born in the city and that are composing inspired by the genius of Mozart, technically perfect in every composition and the last big one that classic music has known.

There is a special place where people love to kill themselves although as reports the author, this news tend of not being too mentioned in newsmagazines or magazine. They love to prepare anyway the scenario at the best!

Salzburg is art. There is an artist that created more than 6000 paintings, who also made a painting at Pope Benedict and in general there is an important gallery where it is possible buying great paintings of Klimt and other successful painters of the past.

There is an Hotel the Sacher one, exclusive and just for rich or powerful people. And there, the parade is immense: from American Presidents, passing through Asian celebrities, European politicians, actors, everyone have visited or spent some nights in that hotel or they were people of passage and they "touched" the hotel. 

Salzburg is a Catholic city and once it was a very powerful one. There are many churches in the city and they are still resonating of its glorious past.

At the same time the same name Salzburg is devotely found in the USA and in several part of Europe for remembering the enchanting Austrian City.

The book will drive us in the most popular places of Salzburg where we will meet a lot of pendular musicians but we will also "enter" in the most colorful places: the markets and in particular the one opposite Mirabella square opened every Thursday.

Although just a murder is committed every year in Salzburg, so it's a very friendly and peaceful city, Baumann a new writer established his novels in the city  and the Commissar Merana became a cult. 

Mozart is everywhere in the city; monuments, houses, the fabulous chocolate balls that every tourist will bring home because simply delicious; for sure he is the most important attraction. 

But...How many days people spend to Salzburg when tourists? Sometimes they don't tend to sleep in the city, they are there for some shopping and they return home at the end of the day; sometimes they stay for one or two days. 

Students studying at the Mozarteum have a fulgid international career in most cases. The school is prestigious and love to present to the world real talents from the entire world! although of course just a little numbers of these students will reach the top of the top.

The philosophy of Salzburg can be: "Small is beautiful!"

One of the most relaxing trip in letters in one of my favorite cities where I left a good portion of my heart for the beauty that Salzburg represent!

Highly recommended ALSO if you dream some evasion from the reality.

I thank so much Haus Publishing for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Totie and Flossy Floss Alrqiq, Reema Boufis Illustrated by Anna Lomakinaue

 Totie & Flossy Floss

by Hosam Alrqiq, Reema Boufis Illustrated by Anna Lomakina is the fourth book dedicated to children and their dental hygiene. It is another spectacular children's book. 

In this episode Totie and his friends understand that dental hygiene is not just brushy but also...something else! They don't know it yet, because Totie and his friends are peacefully eating some junk food, and they don't imagine, being in a sleepy mood that strepto and his gang of friends are close to them again tempted to re-launch a new and destructive attack and expedition!  Hungry for calcium and cavities they are just waiting for them! 

Yes, strepto and his friends are trying to "act" differently because Brushy can does the most but not everything: there are parasites so little, so slim in grade to enter between two teeth and then causing problems. Yes, the sad news is that Brushy can't reach all the angles and places of teeth. But the good news is that, suprise there are several remedies! 

How, Totie and his friends think worried they can defeat that horrible guy of Strepto and his nasty friends that want to kill them, their beauty and integrity? Well, there is just something simple that must be done: using Flossy Floss!

The appearance of Flossy Floss is salvific for Totie and her two friends, imprisoned by a wrong and, better written, uncomplete dental hygiene. Sure it is not possible to do maybe for a little kid the complete dental hygiene alone: the help of a parent with flossy floss will be a salvific one and Totie and all his friends will be incredibly thankful because, this time there won't be anymore enemies in the mouth in search for calcium and cavities; the one that we will see is but just a beautiful and healthy mouth!

Beautiful adventure again!

I thank the author of this book for the copy!

Ana Maria Polidori