Needle in a Haystack (La aguja en el pajar) by Ernesto Mallo (1)

Superb Ernesto Mallo. I’ve started reading ‘La aguja en el pajar’. Just to give you a flavour:

“Su alma lo niega y empecinadamente delira con una Marisa recobrada, con una resurrección, con un milagro, con una segunda oportunidad. De vuelta a su lado para acompañarlo día tras día hasta que se le haga insoportable, para que le envenene la vejez, para gastar con ella hasta la última hilacha de ese amor que quedó sin objeto cuando estaba mejor apuntado. Para quererla hasta que se agote toda posibilidad de quererla más, o simplemente de quererla. Para que se transforme en una compañía permanente hasta que la costumbre de tenerla a su lado se dé por sentada, por muerta. Hasta que sus íntimas manías ya no sean un secreto, hasta que no quede un solo pliegue de su piel por explorar, para decirle todas las palabras que ahora lo atragantan. Hasta que su sexo pierda por completo todo sabor a nuevo, todo descubrimiento. Hasta que, a fuerza de costumbre, deje de percibir su olor. Hasta que su voz le sea tan conocida como la propia. Hasta saber por anticipado todo lo que dirá. Hasta que el entendimiento llegue sin siquiera necesidad de mirarse. Hasta que sea tan habitual como la atmósfera y deje de sentirla un apéndice de él mismo. Hasta llegar a sentir la culpa y el remordimiento de desear y hasta tener otras mujeres. Hasta llegar a convertirse en los dos extraños que comen en indiferente silencio en el restaurante, porque ya han dejado de preguntarse qué hacen allí, con ese otro desconocido. Para que sea ella quien se quede sola en el muelle a la hora de partir. Nada de eso, el futuro suspendido, acabado, enterrado bajo una lápida pequeña en el cementerio judío de La Tablada, donde nunca va porque, sabe, ella no está allí”.

This is the fourth paragraph on chapter 4, pages 30-31 in my edition.

Absolutely awesome.

Bitter Lemon Press

La aguja en el pajar

Search inside at Barnes & Noble.

Missing by Karin Alvtegen

Missing A thirty-two-year-old woman seems to be waiting for someone at the Grand Hotel French dining-room in Stockholm, although all she is really looking for is a free dinner and a room in which to spend the night. A middle-aged man, Jorgen Grundberg, falls easily into her trap but she manages to leave him out of her room with a nice excuse. The next morning she wakes up when someone knocks her door. The police just want to ask her some questions but she is able to run away. Sibylla Forenstrom is her name and she is homeless since she fled from a psychiatric institution when she was only eighteen. Now the police are behind her as the prime suspect for Jorgen Grundberg’s murder and then a second murder makes her situation even worse if possible. But with the help of an unusual ally Sibylla is determined to find out who is the real killer to prove her innocence.

I was immediately hooked to this suspenseful story. I could not put it down and I had to read it in one go. Sibylla is an enchanting character which keeps some similitude with Lizbeth Salander. They both have had a very difficult childhood, to say the least, which has marked them profoundly. Now they live at the margin of what it’s considered socially acceptable, but they are determined to stay afloat with the help of their uncommon abilities in a very unfriendly environment. I very much enjoyed reading this thought-provoking book. It makes us think about the value of the things that we take for granted. Despite what may sound as some flaws in the plot the writer’s ability is such that they seem absolutely credible. A highly recommended read. I certainly don’t want to miss the rest of her books.

Karin Alvtegen was born in Jönköping, Sweden, in 1965 and had a varied career, including work in set design for film and stage, before she started to write. She is the great-niece of Astrid Lindgren (author of the Pippi Longstocking stories), and lives in Stockholm.

Her second novel, Missing, won the Glass Key Award in 2001 and it was her first book translated into English. Missing was released in 2003 (UK) and in 2009 (US). In 2006 it was adapted into a television series directed by Ian Madden and with Joanne Frogatt and Gregor Fisher. Missing was nominated for the 2009 Edgar Award for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America. th_scandinaviamap-1

This book was one of my choices for the 2010 Scandinavian Reading Challenge but I finally read Johan Theorin’s The Darkest Room instead. But I’m glad to have read it now and  I can claim to have finish The Scandinavian Reading Challenge ‘stricto sensu’.

Missing has been reviewed by Maxine at Euro Crime, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Martin at Do You Write Under Your Own Name?, Reading Matters, Reviewing the Evidence,

Karin Alvtegen English website


Felony & Mayhem Press Search inside

Female Mystery Writers: Karin Alvtegen and her books

ENGLISH Title: Missing

ORIGINAL TITLE:  Saknad (2000)

Author: Karin Alvtegen

Translated from the Swedish by Anna Paterson

First published in Great Britain in 2003

Canongate Books (paperback), 2007

Number of pages: 348

ISBN: 978-1-84195-938-2

Charles den Tex

I’ve just come across the name of Charles den Tex (Australia, 1952). He is a Dutch author of ten thrillers and three time winner of the Netherlands annual crime fiction award, the ‘Gouden Strop’ (the Golden Noose). Most of his stories are set in international business. In recent novels he explores other subjects, such as the trappings of information technology, identity theft and traffic in women. You can find more information HERE and HERE.

Unfortunately his books are not available in English, but they sound pretty attractive to me. It seems I’m developing a taste for thrillers which I was not aware of. I must be aging for sure.

Have you ever heard of Charles den Tex before? Are you interested in this topics? Are they attractive for your taste?

What’s your TBR Pile to Reading Pace Ratio

It seems to me that Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is worried about the size of her TBR pile. Therefore my question is: When do you really need to start worrying about it?

To help you in this sense you should not be looking only to the amount of it, but at your pile/reading pace ratio. To put it simply if you have about 50 books in your TBR shelf and your reading pace is about 50 books a year, your ratio is 50/50 = 1. So you do have about a year reading book coverage, which is my case by the way.

When do you need to start worrying about it?

After a thorough consideration I have arrived to a magic figure, 5. Once your ratio is over and above 5, which means you will need about five years reading to reduce your TBR shelf to zero, then you should start worrying about it and decide either reduce purchasing or increase your reading pace.

Simple and scientifically proved.

By the way you are still on time to cast your vote on her poll.

My music: Mediterraneo de Joan Manuel Serrat

A 26 year old singer wrote today, forty years ago, this song. It became the most successful and influential song in the history of Spanish pop music. Hope you can translate the lyrics:

Quizá porque mi niñez sigue jugando en tu playa,
y escondido tras las cañas duerme mi primer amor,
llevo tu luz y tu olor por donde quiera que vaya,
y amontonado en tu arena guardo amor, juegos y penas.
que en la piel tengo el sabor amargo del llanto eterno,
que han vertido en ti cien pueblos de Algeciras a Estambul,
para que pintes de azul sus largas noches de invierno.
A fuerza de desventuras, tu alma es profunda y oscura.
A tus atardeceres rojos se acostumbraron mis ojos
como el recodo al camino…
Soy cantor, soy embustero, me gusta el juego y el vino,
Tengo alma de marinero…
¿Qué le voy a hacer, si yo nací en el Mediterráneo?
Y te acercas, y te vas después de besar mi aldea.
Jugando con la marea te vas, pensando en volver.
Eres como una mujer perfumadita de brea
que se añora y que se quiere que se conoce y se teme.
Si un día para mi mal viene a buscarme la parca.
Empujad al mar mi barca con un levante otoñal
y dejad que el temporal desguace sus alas blancas.
Y a mí enterradme sin duelo entre la playa y el cielo…
En la ladera de un monte, más alto que el horizonte.
Quiero tener buena vista.
Mi cuerpo será camino, le daré verde a los pinos
y amarillo a la genista…
Cerca del mar. Porque yo nací en el Mediterráneo…


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