edwinbcn reads 80 books by women in 2015

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edwinbcn reads 80 books by women in 2015

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1edwinbcn
Dec 18, 2014, 4:00am

This is truly going to be a bit of a challenge, because last year the proportion was a random 30%.

My reading has never been determined by making conscious selections about whether to read a book by a man or a woman, except in the case of homosexual authors.

My aim for 2015 will be to read 160 books, and the challenge will be to make that half by women, which would be 80.

If I cannot manage to read that many books, I will strive to read half of the achieved number to be written by women.

I, hereby, challenge other members of this group to read half of their books by women, so members in the 75ers Group, can try to make that 37 or 38 by women, etc.

2amysisson
Dec 18, 2014, 9:06am

Challenge accepted -- half by women! I haven't settled on my total overall goal yet but will do so soon. I'm putting mine in Club Read instead of the 75ers group.

3sturlington
Dec 18, 2014, 9:29am

I'm hoping to go over 50%. I averaged around 50% this year and I was consciously choosing more books by women. Next year, I'm hoping to read 75 books and I'm going to aim for 2/3 (50) or more to be written by women. I track my reads in the 2015 Category Challenge group.

Great challenge! Thanks for starting it.

4nohrt4me2
Dec 18, 2014, 10:23am

I'll throw in for 50 percent, though I think I achieved about that this year (I'll have to check, though).

I never set a certain number of books to read. It takes the pleasure out of it for me.

5LucindaLibri
Dec 18, 2014, 11:04am

I'm at just about 50% so far this year (24 women out of 49, with another 2 of undetermined or "other" gender). I think 50/50 is rather low in terms of the % of women for me.

I have a number of women-centered projects that need focus, so I'll shoot for 75% women next year . . . maybe higher.
I'd like to promise that I'll only read books by women in 2015 (I certainly have plenty on my TBR list!) but I'm in a book group that tends to strive for a balance, so will likely read a few books by men.

And now that my curiousity is peaked, I'm wondering if there's an easy way to see the F/M breakdown by year read . . . hmmm.

6lesmel
Dec 18, 2014, 3:51pm

>5 LucindaLibri: ...F/M by year read...
I don't think so, but I think there was an RSI for that.

7LolaWalser
Dec 21, 2014, 12:16pm

>1 edwinbcn:

I'll be following your challenge with interest, Edwin.

I'm afraid I'm bound to show poorly... Too lazy to count all, but if I look at only the last 80 books read, there's a miserable 10 books by women... ack. That's worse than I expected! I hereby promise to try to double that, at least. :)

8overlycriticalelisa
Dec 21, 2014, 8:12pm

my reading has tended toward 50% women naturally and i don't want to see that change (or go down, anyway). but wow, a goal of 160 books. i'm aiming for 78, which i was aiming for this year, but missed by a few.

9edwinbcn
Dec 22, 2014, 3:43am

>8 overlycriticalelisa:

Elisa, I missed a few too. Previous years, I reached 180 and 160, but this year I will be happy with "just" 150 books read, setting my goal a bit higher again for next year.

>7 LolaWalser:

Yes, Lola. I've seen you read a lot. I read a bit more by women, perhaps, but it will mean next year, I'll have to make some conscious choices, and select more books by women. Hence, the challenging aspect.

10Nickelini
Jan 5, 2015, 2:06pm

In 2014 I read 41 books by women, 30 by men and 4 mixed. So I accept this challenge and expect to make it.

11edwinbcn
Edited: Feb 14, 2015, 4:29am

1 out of 3 (33%) Oleander, Jacaranda. A childhood perceived
Finished reading: 11 January 2015



Oleander, Jacaranda. A childhood perceived is not so innocent as it sounds. Penelope Lively writes that she conceived the title from her experience as a child in car rides, observing the blossoming shrubs, alternatingly planted along the road: Oleander, Jacaranda, Oleander, Jacaranda, Oleander, Jacaranda. Flowers you don't see much in England.

Although Penelope Lively may have many beautiful memories of Cairo and Egypt, the memoir consists of a mix of impressions, through the lens of the mature author. These memoirs are based on actual memories, and memories induced through photos, and a visit to Cairo. These three views are all mingled, and present the memoir with a great deal of nostalgia. All familiar sights find a place, although some are introduced very late, so that "Groppi" isn't mentioned until page 80, or so.

Naturally, the home, with the garden and a small pond are all lively in the author's memory, although she wonders how memory plays games, as the size of the pond is incorrectly remembered, probably because to a small child the pond appeared bigger. This distortion works through at various levels. Moreover, the reality of the present day is different from that forty years ago. Then, the children could swim in the harbour of Alexandria, as the water was clean.

Oleander, Jacaranda. A childhood perceived is a wonderful memoir for readers who get a fuzzy feeling of nostalgia about British imperial past. The memoir breathes the air of nostalgia, and celebrates the expat / colonial lifestyle, with its white superiority over the local population.



Other books I have read by Penelope Lively:
Going back
Next to nature, art

12sweetiegherkin
Feb 15, 2015, 4:44pm

>11 edwinbcn: Sounds like an interesting read.

13LolaWalser
Feb 16, 2015, 2:40pm

Yep, you made me curious too. Having had one of those "exotic" expat childhoods myself, I'm fond of those stories, especially set in the Mediterranean. Lively must have lived in Egypt a long time ago, if she swam in Alexandria's harbour. No question of it in 1982.

14edwinbcn
Feb 16, 2015, 8:43pm

I haven't got the book with me, so I cannot check, but I believe the period described in Oleander, Jacaranda. A childhood perceived is the late 1930s to early 1940s. Penelope Lively was born in Cairo in 1933, so before having any coherent memories, one would at least expect her to have been five or six.

The memoir was published in 1994, and is included in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

15edwinbcn
Feb 17, 2015, 11:46am

2 out of 6 (30%) Reflections in a golden eye
Finished reading: 31 January 2015



The characters in Reflections in a golden eye all seem to struggle with their role in society. In almost all cases, they do not really fit. Their emotions are restrained, and they cannot realize themselves. Restrictions come from marriage to an unsuitable partner, their position in society, their limited knowledge and experience, and their inability to break free from conventions. In many cases, constraints also come from the way other people see them. In fact, as Captain Penderton says "any fulfilment obtained at the expense of normalcy is wrong, and should not be allowed to bring happiness." and "It is better (...) for the square peg to keep scraping around the round hole rather than to discover and use the unorthodox square that would fit it." (p. 112)

Private Williams cannot fulfil the normal development of his sexuality because he lacks the knowledge and experience how to devlop normal relations with wormen. Most women in the novel are unhappily tied in marriages that are unhappy, for once, in the case of Captain Penderton because he is homosexual, a thing he could never admit to.

The only character in the novel who is free from all these limitations and constraints, who moves like a child, girlish at times, affected, but apparently not necessarily gay, is Anacleto, the Philipino house boy. He represents the sexual freedom of the Pacific Islands, a more natural, unrestrained spiritual and physical freedom, darting like a little elf between the heaviness of the more seriously troubled American characters.

Reflections in a golden eye is a short, very well-crafted novel, about a theme which has not altogether disappeared, although society has progressed quite a bit since the 1940s.



Other books I have read by Carson McCullers:
The ballad of the sad café and other stories

16edwinbcn
Feb 23, 2015, 12:05am

3 out of 7 (43%) The artist of disappearance
Finished reading: 2 February 2015



Could it be that the essence of a culture is best preserved at the perifery? There are various examples, probably known to all readers of specific features or language, culture or custom that still exist in remote areas, sometimes isolated communities in one's own country, sometimes overseas parts which were former colonies, where certain inflections or cultural traditions have remained alive. In The artist of disappearance Anita Desai brings together three short stories which each describe how Indian ways of thinking, or lifestyles have been preserved in remote areas.

In the first story, "The Museum of Final Journey's the narrator is a well-educated man who takes up a post in a remote district, far from the city where he studied. Although his roots are in this area, it is obvious that he has estranged from living conditions there. He wonders at an exquisite art object he sees in a home and assumes it must be stolen or plundered. He hears from, and eventually visits a museum which houses an enormous, and very valuable collection of anthropological, historical and artistic objects, which he marvels at as he is led through the rooms of the museum, to the last courtyard, where a living treasure, an elephant is kept. The curator explains that he sells off pieces from the collection to feed the elephant. The story seems to contrast the cultured, materialistic world view of the Western view that would focus on preserving the collection of objects, versus the local cultural view that the objects can be sacrificed to keep the elephant alive, and that the elephant is much more important than the art objects.

The second story, "Translator translated" is about two old school friends. One of the two women, Tara, has studied literature at university and after a career in journalism has become an editor at a publishing house. Her school friend. Prema, is enthusiastic about a book written in a local languages, and Tara is persuaded to have one of those books translated and published. Prema also has a degree in English literature, but studied the local language in an evening course, after she had lost it, and then wrote her thesis on an author who wrote in the local language, "Oriya". The translation and publication of the book is successful and leads to a revival in academic interest in both the local languages and the author. The author is persuaded to write more, but in the end her new works are disappointing, lacking the originality are purity of the first work. The story contrasts high culture and low culture, high culture as represented by Jane Austen and Simone de Beauvoir, the works studied at school and university, versus local langauge or dialect writers. In the end, the weight of high culture crushes and corrupts the underappreciated lower, local culture.

In the last story, "The Artist of Disappearance" an old man cannot be persuaded to leave the ruin of his old, burntout house to take up residence in a new apartment. Instead, he hold on to living in old clothes and the old house. Through his lifestyle, he has come very close to nature. Then, a film crew arrives in the village. They are bustling, young people, who want to make a film about unspoilt nature, or the way the modern world threatens nature. As they cannot find what they are looking for, their attention is turned to Ravi, the old man in his ruined house and grown-over garden. Looking for him, they cannot find him at home, they turn up everything in his house, and peek at every corner. The story suggests the intrusiveness of modern, fleeting ideas into the stilled, quiet world of memory and nature of the old man.

The three stories show a different outlook on life, more deeply Indian, that still exist and contrast sharply with the dominant, imported Western cultural values, that are intrusive, corrupting and superficial. The old culture runs deep, far from the centre, where it still exists in small pockets, enclosures and in retreat.

These are three lovely stories, each very original and sincere, and very recognizable. The story telling is quite simple and straight-forward. Highly recommended.

17edwinbcn
Edited: Feb 28, 2015, 9:48am

4 out of 11 (36%) Moments of being
Finished reading: 10 February 2015



Virginia Woolf is a writer who is still very much with us. This is quite surprising, as Woolf had her roots in the Victorian Age, and died in the early 1940s. Many other writers of that era are now obscure. That this was not her fate, can be understood from the quality of her fiction. Apart from some pothumous publications into the 1950s, most of Virginia Woolf's works were published during the 1920s and 30s, and as the main representative of stream-of-consciousness her works have become canonized and included in highschool and university curricula guaranteeing many new generations of readers. Besides, Virginia Woolf appeals to readers imaginations through her participation in the Bloomsbury Group, as a publisher, running the Hogarth Press and her role in female emancipation and gender issues. Because although she grew up in a Victorian milieu most of her literary work was created and helped shape the landscape of modernity.

Sustained academic interest throughout the 1960s through 80s led to the publication of Virginia Woolfs autobiographical writings, foremostly the Letters and Diaries, most of which were published during the 1970 through 1990s. This is really still very recent, and therefore many of these materials appear very fresh to modern readers, who are unlikely to be familiar with much of that material. Who has read, for instance, her Greek travel diary, edited by Jan Morris and published as Travels With Virginia Woolf (1993). A selection of the Diaries has recently appeared in the Red Series of Vintage Books.

Moments of Being brings together a collection of previously unpublished autobiographical essays of Virginia Woolf. In these essays, readers will find the source for many pieces of common knowledge about Virginia Woolf such as the famous scene of horror in which, as a young woman, she imagined seeing something move behind her in the mirror. There are many autobiographical details about herself, her family members, Lytton Strachy and other members of the Bloomsbury Circle, as well as essential descriptions of the author's environs, particularly the houses she lived. Moments of being was first published in 1976, but interested readers are advised to read the updated and expanded second edition, first published in 1985, which includes many new manuscript materials and versions which were discovered later.

Including 27 pages of introduction, Moments of Being is a modest volume of 230 pages, including two larger and four smaller contributions. The earliest youth work "Reminiscences" is somewhat stilted, and could be skipped, or simply included for completeness, as it only consists of 30 pages. Far more interesting is "A Sketch of the Past" which displays all the characteristics of the mature style of Virginia Woolf. In the final pages of this work, Woolf describes how she experienced the transition from the Victorian Age to the Edwardian Period, showing how changes in architecture, and symbolized by the move from 22 Hyde Park Gate to 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury, and manners created a very different world, particularly favourable to the earliest beginnings of women's emancipation. The shorter essays, such as "22 Hyde Park Gate", "Old Bloomsbury" and "Am I a Snob?" were written for the Memoir Club and were read aloud to its members. These pieces are very humourous, and one can almost hear the peals of laughter that they must have earned Woolf as she midly satirized her companions and herself. In some of these essays, Woolf writes very openly about homosexuality, as she would later playfully show her ambivalence in her novel Orlando.

The essays and autobiographical writings in Moments of Being are arranged in the order of the historical events they describe, not the order of conception. It is an absolutely delightful book, which I regret not to have read during my students days, and am very happy to have discovered now, and read with relish.



Other books I have read by Virginia Woolf:
The London scene. Six essays on London life
Selected short stories
Monday or Tuesday
A room of one's own
Orlando
Jacob's room
Mrs. Dalloway

18edwinbcn
Edited: Sep 10, 2015, 5:59am

5 out of 13 (38%) No signposts in the sea
Finished reading: 14 February 2014



No signposts in the sea is a book that grows on you. While the story initially seems a bit boring, and of light kaliber, the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Edmund and Laura provides depth.

When Vita Sackville-West wrote this novel, her last, she was already terminally ill. She and her husband had started making cuises and voyages a few years earlier. No signposts in the sea is told from the viewpoint of Edmund, who is also terminally ill. During the voyage, Edmund comes to terms with the finality of life.

The beauty of the story lies in the contrast between the finality of life and the infinity of the sea. The title, No signposts in the sea does not occur in the novel, but there is another sentence that is very similar, viz. "There are no tombstones in the sea" (p. 48). Tombstones are reminders of death. Perhaps the title should be understood as suggesting ultimate freedom, one can (still) go in any direction.

The contrast between the land and the sea, is also reflected in the personality of Edmund and Laura. It has been pointed out that Edmund is an unlikely character, as he has supposedly never traveled before, although he is an expert on the Middle East. However, this objection seems very contemporary. It enforces the provincial views, the lack of openmindedness and some of the pettiness, such a jealousy or erotic fantasies which Edmund cannot see separate from his dealing with Laura. When Edmund observes the beauty of Asian men stripped to the waist, several times over the course of the novel, this is not with an erotic view, although even that idea may not be entirely impossible, but, more in the sense of estrangement, as British men of the Victorian Age and later, actually well up till today, will normally never be seen in that way. British men are fixed in a kind of formality, which excludes a free, more natural expression of physical prowess and beauty.

Much of Edmund's complicated sense of being is contrasted by the much more natural, and more simple Colonel Dalrymple. However, the most spiritual of the three, is of course Laura. She has a very full, rich life experience, of which Edmund only sees a glimpse, for example when she tells him how she got through the war. To Edmund, the voyage is like a spiritual awakening, although till the very last he confuses embracing the spirit of eternity with the physical embrace of Laura.

19edwinbcn
Feb 28, 2015, 9:50am

Reply to a question on another thread, in the Monthly Author Group

It is not such a bad question, and I recall considering something similar the moment I wrote the review. The answer is that letters and diaries are not essays. Moments of Being does not collect all the autobiographical writings or works, but only autobiographical essays.

In the introduction the editor explains that the texts constituting Moments of Being were found among Woolf's papers. Of some, there is more than one versions, and there are also versions in different stages of pre-publication editing.

Perhaps I should have been a bit more careful in the use of the word "all". The various introductory texts in this volume speak of "a collection' of autobiographical writings", does however mention they were previously unpublished, i.e. by 1976. The Letters and Diaries were published later, but the current volume, Moments of Being, does not contain any letters or diaries.

Based on the introduction, I cannot claim that "this collection" comprises "all autobiographical essays" as I stated in my review. Possibly, or even probably, there may be other autobiographical essays, for instance "the essays published potshumously by Leonard Woolf" (I do not know what this refers to exactly). Moments of Being only collects previously unpublished materials.

Naturally, Wikipedia cannot be taken for the most complete or scholarly bibliography, but Moments of Being is listed as one of only two "autobiographical works", the other being The Platform of Time: Memoirs of Family and Friends, edited by S. P. Rosenbaum (London, Hesperus, 2007). I do not know whether the latter contains other autobiographical materials, although often Hesperus prints selections.

I am not an expert on the bibliography of Virginia Woolf, and I hope this short reply answers your question, at least in the main points. It seems quite clear that the material in Moments of Being is of a very different nature from the letters and Diaries, but Moments of Being should probably not be described as a complete collection of "all" autobiographical essays / writings.

20edwinbcn
Sep 10, 2015, 6:00am

6 out of 19 (32%) Onbewoonbaar lichaam
Finished reading: 7 March 2015



Onbewoonbaar lichaam (Engl: "Uninhabitable Body") is a psychological novel by the Dutch writer Semira Dallali. The novel is the expression of a spiritual rebirth.

In the novel, from The Hague to Amsterdam, the main character goes back to the city where she lived as a student. She retraces her steps, reminiscing on people she used to know, and events she remembers, walking along streets, and canals, and crossing squares. The city of Amsterdam is described in detail: the Gerard Doustraat, where she had her first room, the Utrechtsestraat, the Hartenstraat, the Haarlemmerstraat, cycling to Uilenstede. The remembered time is 1985: a pivotal moment in August of that year, and subsequent wanderings, in the following months.

The memories are varied: a fire observed on a canal, a first boyfriend, flirting on the street. But not so innocent as it seems. Men making sexual allusions comes scarily close when they are a doctor, a bar tender, a teacher: too close! (p. 40-1) In a big city, such as Amsterdam, there is a lot of undirected violence, such as Curly, a female tramp who is agressive, targeted at Semira, for no clear reason. Psychological violence, and physical violence.

For all the clarity of the description of the city, the ultimate violence in the novel, the rape, is not described, clearly. One day, cycling to Uilenstede, a man jumps onto her bike and forces her to keep going, directing her where to go. "'Doorfietsen jij', zegt hij, 'doorfietsen.' (p. 89) He tells her to keep on cycling. "Waarom ontvoert hij me?" (p. 88). Why does he abduct me?, she thinks. Faint hope, when she sees a woman with two dogs, but to no avail.

The memory of the rape, in the novel, is a memory within a memory. After being raped, Semira aimlessly wanders through the city, as her mind wanders: in and out of consciousness. When standing in front of a bookstore, reality is mixed with a flashback. She falls and she faints: "Toen was het alsof ik door een luik viel en diep de aarde ingleed." (p. 86) And then it felt as if I fell through a trap door, deep into the earth."

Onbewoonbaar lichaam is a novel that tries to describe the indescribable. The first chapter consists of descriptions all kinds of dead birds found in different places in the city. The bodies are in perfect condition, but the birds are dead. It is a metaphor for the mental state of the main character. There is no apparent physical damage, on the outside, but inside, she is dead. She cannot enjoy sex: "het einde is in zicht (p. 58), she is pessimistic about life, "het einde is in zicht (p. 18). "She can see the end."

The Semira in the novel has a bad relation with her Dutch mother, Marga, a relation characterized by physical disgust. Her French-Tunesian father is dead. The short novel end with Semira reaching out to her Tunesian relatives.

The indescribable in the novel is lifted to a more universal, mythical level, by strong references to Greek mythology. The rape is presented as the rape of Persephone, and the abduction of Persephone by Hades, carrying her off into the earth, into darkness. At the beginning of the novel, Semira has a dream. In the dream, she finds a coin bearing three faces and a torch. The torch shines and shows the way to a door. Behind the door a woman beckons, pronouncing the words 'in darkness, light'. (p. 14). Hecate, another Greek godess, often depicted with dogs, witnessing the abduction of Persephone. She is the godess of the threshold, as dogs guard the gates to hell. Semira remembers her wanderings in Amsterdam, nine years earlier vaguely, but asserts that the memory must be there, "ergens in mijn geheugen moest een spoor van woorden zijn uitgelegd, dat het hele traject als met broodkruimels uitstippelt". A path that can be traced following bread crumbs, left behind. A trace to lead out of the labyrinth. Hecate is also the godess of crossroads. "Trivium", where three roads come together: the roads from Holland, from France and from Tunis.

Onbewoonbaar lichaam (2002) is the debut novel of Semira Dallali. The author, like the Semira in the novel, has a French-Tunesian father and a Dutch mother, and the novel is partly autobiographical.



21edwinbcn
Sep 10, 2015, 7:42am

7 out of 20 (35%) Tampa
Finished reading: 8 March 2015



"... thirty-one is roughly seventeen years past my window of sexual interest." (p.1). Thus, Celeste describes her husband, and thus, right from the start she makes clear what she wants. Celeste is a female, predatory pedophile.

Sadly, repeated sex scandals over the past three decades have numbed readers, and although sexual assault on children by pedophiles still evokes horror, Tampa, by Alissa Nutting is much more a parody than a shocking novel.

The inversion, of making the pedophile in Tampa a female character highlights the groteskness of the idea. Pedophilia is grotesk of itself, and Alissa Nutting uses hyperbole to magnify the problem: the disproportionate, excessive weirdness of Celeste Price is almost humoristic.

Celeste Price is married to the over-averagely handsome Ford. Aged 26, she works as a high school teacher. She is smart, direct and predatory. The novel is written from her perspective, so the reader follows her ridiculous reasoning in line. Celeste's mind is like a parallel universe. Her predatory, rational acting comes natural to her. Her sexual drive toward young adolescents is complete and hard-core. The novel shuns no taboos. Celeste strives for complete sexual relationships including penetration.

Tampa makes the most of its theme, driving Celeste to ever more precarious escapades. Nothing is crazy enough. If she cannot have a boy, she masturbates. She focuses on pupils in her own classes, whom she first approaches after class. If successful, she tries to develop complete sexual relationships with the boys in their homes. Caught, almost in flagrante with Jack's father, she seamlessly proceeds to seduce the father, merely to cover up what has been going on with the son. When Jack's father dies of a heart attack, she takes it in her stride. When boys pass on, or become "too old" she swoops down onto other boys.

Most if not all pedosexual scandals in the real world involve men predating on either young boys or girls. A female sexual predator and sociopath such as Celeste Price in Tampa, do they exist? The psyche of Celeste is a clever construct, whether 'realistic' or not. Nutting does a better job with Celeste's young victims. The psychology of the boys in the novel is quite convincing. Not entirely plausible, though, Tampa has the bravoura of the novels of John Irving, while Celeste has the obsessed mindset of a female American Psycho.

Like the novels of John Irving, ridiculous and balancing on the edge of credibility, Tampa by Alissa Nutting is very well written. However, as the novel is very explicit about sexuality, it is clearly not for everyone. Besides, its taboo theme, however close it may come to parody, is probably not acceptable to all readers.



22edwinbcn
Sep 10, 2015, 9:45am

8 of 21 (38%) Over de grens
Finished reading: 9 March 2015



In Over de grens (Enl: "Across the border"), relations are the result of fate: the fateful event of the holocaust. The survivors are burdened by the guilt and the question whether they really love their partners or whether their bond is the result of circumstance. As a result, they cannot truly come together. There remains a barrier, a boundary.

Over de grens (2001), the fifth novel by Chaja Polak consists of seven short stories, set in 1961, 1965, 1968, 1973, 1979, 1990 and 1992. Rosa van Esso appears in each of these stories, although she is not always the main character.

In the first story, Rosa is 13 years old, traveling in northern France with her mother. There, in the family of Levensky, maried to Maria Pia, in whose home he survived the war, she meets Manuel, their adopted son. Years later, Rosa lives with Manuel in Rome. Marriages are often unfulfilled, such as in the case of Mees Visser and Bregje Hoppe. Mees meets Rosa in the home of a friend, and she reminds him of the girl he loved in his youth, Judith. Judith did not survive the camps. In his heart, Mees has always remained young. This young Mees is still longing, looking for Judith. He thinks Judith has come back in the form of Rosa. When Rosa is 45, towards the end of the novel, she visits Berlin. There she discovers that, although her parents survived the war, they carried a big secret.

The difficulty in reading Over de grens is that the stories are so fragmented. Over de grens is a novel: the seven stories add up to more than seven. However, the seven stories form diachronic slices of Rosa's life history. Each episode reveals nuances in the relations of people, but there is no overarching plot which drives a story. Besides, the characters are all fairly "flat". There is no development in most of the characters other than aging, and there is no development of relationships, even in the case of Rosa, the main character. However, fragmentation and disorientation are parts of the life experience of holocaust survivors.

The stories in Over de grens are more descriptive than reflective. They describe the characters lives at various moments. The past is a factual part of their lives, but whatever happened in the past is buried in the past, both to the reader and to the characters. The horror of the holocaust is not experienced by most of the characters in the novel. Their experience with the horror is only indirect. Over de grens documents the life experience of Jewish people who live with the memory, but not the burden.



Other books I have read by Chaja Polak:
Verloren vrouw