2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, K is for Kohan, Martin Kohan

This week the Crime Fiction Alphabet has arrived to letter “k”. My K is for Kohan, Martin Kohan. Unfortunately I have not read him yet and the information below has been taken from Guillermo Schavelzon Agencia Literaria.

Kohan can not be considered strictly a crime fiction writer, but his last book, Bahia Blanca (Anagrama, 2012) is, in his own words, a love story and a detective story at the same time. Although it’s available in e-book format in Spanish, I found the price too expensive (Amazon.es) at this stage.

Martín Kohan teaches literary theory at the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Patagonia. He has published various books of essays, story collections, and seven novels. His work is published by some of the most prestigious publishing houses in Europe, including Anagrama (Spain), Einaudi (Italy), Serpent’s Tail (United Kingdom), Seuil (France) and Suhrkamp (Germany). His novel School for Patriots was awarded the XXV Herralde Novel Prize, an achievement which solidified his place among the most important writers on the current international literary scene. (Guillermo Schavelzon Agencia Literaria)

Second’s Out (Spanish totle: Segundos fuera) New York, 1923, the Argentine Luis Angel Firpo, called the Wild Bull of the Pampas, knocks out of the ring the American Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champion of the world. In Buenos Aires, the match is transmitted on the radio and Firpo proclaimed world champion. However, the referee does not count the time outside the ring. Dempsey comes back and knocks the challenger out. The Wild Bull of the Pampas will have been world champion for only 17 seconds. Trelew, Patagonia, 1973: to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the local paper, the sports journalist recalls this mythical match. The head of the cultural section celebrates the first performance of Mahler’s First Symphony in the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires conducted by Richard Strauss. In addition to these two great events of the 14th of September 1923 there is also a man found hanged in a hotel room: it is never known whether murder or suicide caused his death. Classical music, sport and crime come together to recreate the past in a disturbing investigation that questions the role of the media in the construction of popular culture.   

Second’s Out has been reviewed at The Complete Review, The Bookbag,

The Guardian

School for Patriots (Spanish title: Ciencias morales, Moral Sciences) takes place in an elite and traditional school in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 1980s, during the final phase of the Argentine dictatorship. Inside the thick walls of the school, a strict and sterile discipline prevails, an ironfisted morality which the students must pay attention to in every facet of their lives. A school and historical moment of the country where all is prohibited, and everything is a transgression.

Serpent’s Tail

School for Patriots has been reviewed at The Bookbag

Martín Kohan’s latest book is a surprising anti-novel; a contemporary take on Crime and Punishment with an ironic portrayal of murder and guilt.

Mario Novoa, an Argentinian linguist, decides that he must escape to the far off city of Bahía Blanca to practice his new philosophy: thinking about something else, always being somewhere else and experimenting in the art of changing the subject. All his attempts to leave his tumultuous past behind him founder when he has a chance encounter in the remote city with an old friend, to whom he tells the whole story: Patricia left him for Luciano, who, soon afterwards, was murdered. Back in Buenos Aires, Mario becomes a Raskolnikov obsessed with the illusion of happiness; a seeker of well-being who is unable to understand the notion of failure.

This is a radical twist on what might have been a classic crime novel.  

Anagrama (in Spanish)    

Serpent’s Tail

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other fellow bloggers.

OT: Late Raphael (II)

Following my previous post HERE, I visited today The Prado. Late Raphael is the first major survey exhibition on Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio, 1483-1520) to combine paintings and drawings in order to focus on the last seven years of the life of the artist, who died in Rome on his 37th birthday. This was the period in his career when Raphael produced the work that would have the greatest subsequent impact on European art. Nonetheless, his paintings have not been fully understood due to chronological issues, to their disconcerting diversity and because the artist did not work by himself.

Some of my favourites paintings were: The Holy Family, or The Pearl (Prado Museum), The Holy Family of Francis I (Louvre Museum), the Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (Louvre Museum) and The Cardinal (Prado Museum). The last one was not included in the exhibition.

To make this day an Italian event, I’m reading The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri. Furthermore Begoña and I finished up at Trattoria Don Lisander.

2012 Global Reading Challenge Update

During the last months I have somehow neglected my participation in the Global Reading Challenge 2012. The Easy Level requires me to read one novel from each of these continents in the course of 2012: Africa, Asia, Australasia/Oceania, Europe, North America, South America and the Seventh Continent (here you can either choose Antarctica or your own ‘seventh’ setting, e.g. the sea, the space, a supernatural/paranormal world, history, the future – you name it). I have restricted myself to “new-to-me” crime fiction writers. 

Click on the titles for my review of the books I read so far. In bold the titles of the books I’m looking forward to reading to complete the challenge. Stay tuned.

  • Europe: A Place of Execution, by Val McDermid (Great Britain)
  • Africa: Mixed Blood, by Roger Smith (South Africa)
  • North America: Open Season, by CJ Box (USA)
  • South America: Retrato de familia con muerta (Family Portrait with Dead Woman) de Raúl Argemí (Argentina)
  • Asia: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
  • Australasia/Oceania: The Brotherhood by Y.A. Erskine (Australia)
  • the Seventh Continent (History): If The Dead Rise Not, by Philip Kerr (Berlin, 1934)

2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, J is for Jimenez, Georgina Jimenez

This week the Crime Fiction Alphabet makes its stop on letter ” j”. Despite Kerrie’s opinion that this week’s  letter J is probably fairly easy, I found extremely difficult to come up with a Spanish crime fiction writer whose surname begins with a “J”.

Finally I found a Cuban writer, whose book I have not read, called Jimenez, Georgina Jimenez. The interesting thing is that she is a late writer and wrote her first and only book, as far as I know, based on her childhood memories, which should have certainly haunted throughout her life.

Georgina Jimenez lives in her native Havana, where she was a professor of History and Philosophy until she became a journalist specializing in education and publishing various essays and a book on the subject. After leaving journalism, she wrote Habana Negra,  her first novel, which was published in Spain by Texto Editores in 2007.  She has also been published in Holland, Sijthoff, and in Italy, Kowalski Editore.  She is currently working on another novel, the story of which takes place in Havana before 1959, the year of the revolution. (Dos Passos agencia literaria y comunicación in collaboration with Guillermo Schavelzon & Asociados Agencia Literaria)

Book Description: The passionate, turbulent, bewitched lives of Caridad Wong and her daughter, Patricia Logan, represent much more than two successive generations: they tell about life in the first half of the twentieth century in the city of Havana, which fosters many myths, ghosts, and all superstitions possible. From the happy 1920’s, with the merry lightheartedness of a certain economic bonanza, through the decade following the Second World War, Habana negra takes the reader through a unique space with the vibrant story of two women who always want what they do not have, love those who do not love them, and pledge themselves to the most occult and ominous forces. Georgina Jiménez combines her restless, rhythmic style here with a suspenseful story full of surprises.The result is a powerful narrative that deals with the mafia, black magic, spectacular cabaret shows, the attraction and rejection of the Cuban spirit, and also betrayals, secret loves, and loves that destroy. (Guillermo Schavelzon & Asociados Agencia Literaria)

Dossier de Prensa pdf. (in Spanish)

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other fellow bloggers.