Month: January 2013

Review: Red Esperanto, by Paul D. Brazill

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Atlantis Lite-editions (2012). Format: Kindle Edition. 338 KB. 21 pages. ASIN: B008NSNVZ2. ISBN: 9788866652090. Luke Case story 1.(Warsaw)

Red EsperantoIn the second instalment of the short stories featuring Luke Case, see my review of Death On A Hot Afternoon HERE, we found out that Luke left Warsaw after stupidly playing hide the kielbsa with both a gangster’s wife and an Ukrainian prostitute. Albeit not at the same time. This is the story.

“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once described London as being a ‘great cesspool into which the flotsam and jetsam of life are inevitably drawn’ and the same thing might reasonably be said of the world of TEFL teaching. A Teacher Of English as a Foreign Language can usually be described as either flotsam – perhaps a fresh faced young thing taking a break from University – or jetsam – the middle aged man with the inevitably drinking problem and enough skeletons in his closet to keep a palaeontologist happy for months.”

Red Esperanto is a short story, nicely written, with a surprising ending. A pleasant read for noir fiction aficionados.

My rating: 4/5.

Who the hell is Paul D. Brazill?

Paul D. Brazill blog

Atlantis Lite-editions

 

Rojo Esperanto, de Paul D. Brazill

En la segunda entrega de relatos breves protagonizados por Luke Case, ver mi reseña de Muerte en una tarde calurosa AQUÍ, descubrimos que Luke se marchó de Varsovia después de jugar estúpidamente a esconder la kielbsa con la mujer de un gángster y con una prostituta ucraniana. Aunque no al mismo tiempo. Esta es la historia.

“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describió en una ocasión Londres como un ‘ gran pozo en el  que los despojos y los desechos de la vida, se sienten inevitablemente atraídos’ y lo mismo se puede decir razonablemente del mundo de la enseñanza de TEFL. El Profesor de Inglés como Lengua Extranjera por lo general se puede describir como despojo – quizá una joven cara bonita que se está tomando un descanso en sus estudios universitarios – o como deshecho – el hombre maduro con inevitables problemas con la bebida y con sufientes esqueletos en su armario como para mantener a un paleontólogo feliz durante meses “.

Rojo Esperanto es un relato corto, muy bien escrito, con un final sorprendente. Una lectura agradable para los aficionados a la novela negra (hard-boiled).

Mi calificación: 4/5.

Reseña: L’Hora Zen, de Teresa Solana

This post is bilingual, scroll down for the English language version.

Edicions 62, 2011. 278 pág. ISBN: 978-84-297-6853-4.

l hora zen-teresa solana-9788429768534

Sinopsis: Los hermanos detectives Borja y Eduard se disponen a recibir en su despacho de opereta a una clienta muy especial, Teresa Solana, que está escribiendo una novela sobre la moda de las terapias alternativas ambientada en la parte alta de Barcelona. Debido a un contratiempo inesperado los dos hermanos se ven envueltos en una conspiración de espionaje internacional que estará a punto de costarles la vida. Al mismo tiempo que el encargo de la escritora les obliga a frecuentar un exclusivo centro de meditación llamado La Hora Zen y a investigar el enrevesado asesinato de un médico homeòpata, Borja y Eduard se las tendrán que ver con la CIA, con un comisario de los Mossos d’Esquadra que les tiene calados, y con su propia incompetencia. Y, a todo esto, para sobrevivir a la crisis, Borja ha decidido hacer de intermediario en una operación de tráfico de antigüedades… (mi traducción de Edicions 62).

Después de las dos novelas anteriores protagonizadas por los hermanos gemelos Borja y Eduard (Un crimen imperfecto/Un crim imperfecte (2006) y Atajo al paraíso/Drecera al paradís (2007), hacer click sobre los títulos para ver mis reseñas), tenía mucho interés en leer su última novela, L’Hora Zen (2011). Si antes su crítica iba dirigida a la clase política (Un crim imperfecte) y al mundo literario (Drecera al paradís), en esta nueva entrega su crítica se dirige a la moda de las terapias alternativas. El resultado no ha cumplido mis expectativas. El tema es menos atractivo y sus dos personajes protagonistas han perdido la frescura incial que tenían en los primeros libros. El resto de personajes son demasiado convencionales y la resolución del caso es bastante simple. El resultado final es una comedia de costumbres en tono de humor que puede hacer las delicias de sus lectores más incondicionales. Confío sinceramente que Teresa Solana recupere su nivel habitual en su próxima novela.

Mi calificación: 2/5.    

Una reseña más favorable de L’Hora Zen la pueden encontrar en A l’ombra del crim  por Anna María Villalonga.

Edicions 62

 

The Sound of One Hand Killing, by Teresa Solana

 The Sound of One Hand Killing

Synopsis: The two detective brothers, Borja and Eduard, are about to receive, at their operetta office, a very special client, Teresa Solana, who is writing a novel, set in the upper part of Barcelona, about a new fashion, alternative therapies. Due to an unexpected setback, the two brothers will be involved in an international espionage conspiracy that nearly cost them their lives. At the same time that the writer’s mission requires them to attend an exclusive meditation centre called Zen Moments and to investigate the convoluted murder of a homeopathic doctor, Borja and Eduard will have to deal with the CIA, with a local police inspector that knows them well, and with their own incompetence. And, to all this, to survive the crisis, Borja has decided to become an intermediary in an antique trafficking operation…

After the two previous novels featuring twin brothers, Borja and Eduard (A Not So Perfect Crime/Un crim imperfecte (2006) and A Shortcut to Paradise/Drecera to Paradis (2007), click on the titles to see my reviews), I had much interest on her latest novel, The Sound of One Hand Killing/ L’Hora Zen (2011). If previously her criticism was addressed to the political class (A Not So Perfect Crime) and to the literary world (A Shortcut to Paradise), in this new instalment, her criticism is aimed to the fashion of alternative therapies. The result has not met my expectations. The subject is less attractive and her two main characters have lost the initial freshness they had in the first books. The rest of characters are far too conventional and the resolution of the case is quite simple. The end result is a comedy of manners in tone of humour that can delight her more unconditional fans. I sincerely expect that Teresa Solana regains her usual standard in her next novel.

My rating: 2/5.

Bitter Lemon Press

Review: Death On A Hot Afternoon, by Paul D. Brazill

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Atlantis Lite-editions (2012). Format: Kindle Edition. 532 KB. 19 pages. ASIN: B00AJ885QO. ISBN: 97888866653936.

Death on a hot afternoon

Death On A Hot Afternoon is a short story written in the first person point of view by a freelance journalist called Luke Case. The action is set in Madrid six months  after the violent events narrated in Red Esperanto. Luke has been in Madrid just over a month and shares an apartment with Nathan Jones another hack some years his senior with a violent past. They both work occasionally for The Madrid Review, a magazine aimed at wealthy expatriates who swarm the capital of Spain and its environs. There is little work and the pay is not great, but they have some perks.

The heat of Madrid summer, is summarised in the following sentence:

“I’d recently grabbed the door handles of a taxi cab that have been lounging in the summer heat, ignoring the taxi driver’s warning, and burnt my hand. I was never good at listening to people’s advice.” 

Death On A Hot Afternoon  is a terrific read that I’ve enjoyed very much. I highly recommend it to all hardboiled fans. By the way, if you read this short story, I’m sure you will like to visit Bodega de la Ardosa the next time you come to Madrid.

Pity that one has to pay € 1.99 for just 19 pages.

Who the hell is Paul D. Brazill?

Paul D. Brazill blog

Atlantis Lite-editions

Muerte en una tarde calurosa, de Paul D. Brazill

Muerte en una tarde calurosa es un cuento corto escrito en primera persona por un periodista freelance llamado Luke Case. La acción se desarrolla en Madrid seis meses después de los hechos violentos narrados en Red Esperanto. Luke lleva en Madrid poco más de un mes y comparte un apartamento con Nathan Jones otro periodista de poca monta algunos años mayor que él, con un pasado violento. Ambos trabajan ocasionalmente para The Madrid Review, una revista dirigida a los expatriados ricos que pululan por la capital de España y sus alrededores. Hay poco trabajo y la paga no es grande, pero tienen algunas ventajas.

El calos del verano madrileño, se resume en la siguiente frase:

“Recientemente agarré la empuñadrura de la puerta de un taxi que estaba esperando en el calor del verano y, haciendo caso omiso de la advertencia del taxista, me quemé la mano. Nunca he sido bueno escuchando los consejos de la gente “.

Muerte en una tarde calurosa es una lectura estupenda que he disfrutado mucho. La recomiendo a todos los fans de novela negra (hardboiled). Por cierto, si usted lee este cuento, estoy seguro de que le gustará visitar Bodega de la Ardosa la próxima vez que venga a Madrid.

Lástima que uno tenga que pagar € 1,99 por tan sólo 19 páginas.

An article in the Korea Herald

An article in a Korea Herald by Claire Lee reports that while bookstores are disappearing, book-themed cafes emerge as cultural spots. You can read it HERE.

Film review: Django Unchained (2012), directed by Quentin Tarantino

File:Django Unchained Poster.jpg

Last Thursday, Begoña and I went to see Django Unchained (2012). The film was premiered in Spanish theatres on Friday 18th January 2013. I just loved it. It’s written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Synopsis: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, tells the story of Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. (Official website).

I have to admit that I arrived late to appreciate Tarantino’s films, and although I’ve seen most of them, Inglourious Basterds (2009) was the first one I saw on the big screen. As a late convert, I’m now among his most unconditional fans. In Django Unchained, Tarantino pays tribute to the genre of genres, the western. The script is brilliant, the story is fascinating and it has some very funny scenes. Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson have a memorable performance. In a quite positive sense, all his films are excessive and this one is not an exception. They don’t leave anyone indifferent. One can argue that this is only entertainment. In my view that’s what a film is all about, pure entertainment. And Django Unchained is an extremely entertaining and gratifying film.

My rating: 9/10. 

Django Unchained at Wikipedia