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The Book about Blanche and Marie by Per Olov…
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The Book about Blanche and Marie (2004)

by Per Olov Enquist

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (6)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Don't approach this with expectations of a normal novel, for the style is that of biographical fiction (this seems to a a popular style in newish Swedish literature, at least that which make it to English translation, see also "The Journey of Anders Sparrman" and "The Emperor of Lies").

As well as mixing fact and fiction, skilfully done so that the seams do not jar and one cannot tell what is true and what is made up, the author makes good use of repetition so that the story builds non-linearly as it might if one was investigating a past life. There are also a few stylistic quirks, such as mid-sentence exclamation marks, perhaps echoing hysteria, which is one of the themes of the book.

In subject matter, the book is fascinating too, mixing the life of Marie Curie and her assistant Blanche Wittman, previous an inmate at a large hospital specialising in treating hysteria. If you are after a short novel in a different style, or have even a passing interest in scientific or medical history, this book should be of interest. ( )
  rrmmff2000 | Apr 25, 2012 |
I picked up this book because it is on a few ‘must read’ lists and I was intrigued by the subject matter. The book is, as the title says, the story of Blanche and Marie. But the Marie we are talking about here is Marie Curie and her research assistant Blanche Wittmann.
The book is not a straight forward story but it are the observations of the writer as he is going through three notebooks of Blanche. The writing alternates between his take on things and the history he is telling us about. The fact that the book is about characters who have all lived in the real world, but the book is classified as fiction makes it a bit harder for me to determine what is real. But that’s not the point. In the end this story is about love, the meaning of love, the essence of love and what love does to you. Impressive. ( )
  divinenanny | May 19, 2011 |
A strange mixture of fact and fiction. Blanche Wittman, famous hysteria patient of Professor Charcot at Salpetriere Hospital in Paris and friend of Marie Curie, writes of her experiences in 3 books titled the Book of Questions. This is the basis of the novel. Her limbs are amputated - is this the result of radiation treatment - she dies in Marie's apartment in a wooden box. Very weird but hypnotic and just how much is fact? Love, in the end, conquers all the pain and suffering. It is either very profound or very weird. I did like it though didn't fully understand it. Made me want to know more about those people. ( )
  wengland | Jun 20, 2010 |
There are two stories: Madame Curie's illicit love for Paul Langevin, and the parallel story of her assistant Blanche Wittman, who was previously an hysteria patient of J.M. Charcot. The stories themselves are fascinating. The way they are told is appalling. Suffice it to say that Enquist tries much too hard to be artsy.
  arthos | Dec 25, 2008 |
The style of this book is very frustrating to read. It is very choppy and repetitive. The only good part of this book is the last ten pages or so. If you can get through the first 95% of the book, you will be rewarded at the end. It might just be that something is lost in the translation. ( )
  jshullih | Nov 21, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Per Olov Enquistprimary authorall editionscalculated
Butt, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Černok, ŽeljkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Marco, KatiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denin̦a, DaceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engen, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grumbach, LenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gustinčič-Pahor, MitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jędrzejewska, IwonaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kúnos, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lexell, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lôc, Đinh ThêTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maraini, DaciaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcus, CatherineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mažeikaitė, ZitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nunnally, TiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polet, CoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ratković, SpasaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Samuelsson, Liliana DonoseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savit︠s︡koĭ, AnnyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silva, Cristina CerezoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thirup, NannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiina, NunnallyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiusanen, AnteroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"AMOR OMNIA VINCIT' - LOVE CONQUERS ALL - IS WHAT SHE had written on the cover of the brown file folder, the one that contains the three notebooks.
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"Hailed internationally for his unique ability to shape historical facts into tales of extraordinary depth and probing insight, Per Olov Enquist has long been regarded as one of the world's foremost authors of literary fiction. In The Book about Blanche and Marie, Enquist has once again found inspiration from the historical record, this time exploring the complex relationship between two of the twentieth century's most remarkable women: Blanche Wittman, the famous hysteria patient of Professor J.M. Charcot at Salpetriere Hospital outside Paris, and Marie Curie, the Polish physicist and Nobel Prize winner. While the scientist tries to understand the nature of radiation, Blanche, her assistant and, at the time of her death, a triple amputee as a result of exposure to radiation, fills three notebooks with her exploration of deceptively simple question: What is love? With rights sold in ten countries, The Book about Blanche and Marie is at once a haunting look at scientific martyrdom and an intimate and moving portrait of a friendship between two uniquely brave and talented women."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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