Friday, July 31, 2015

Europa Editions - New Purchases

For a number of years I really cut down on book purchases. Of course, when you love books, one cannot go completely cold-turkey so I still buy from library book sales and purchase Europa Editions , an imprint that publishes great literary fiction (often translated works). The book spines look wonderful on the shelves they occupy in my reading loft.  So these last few weeks, I used some retirement gift cards to treat myself to even more Europa Editions.

Here's what I got. I've posted a little synopsis of each one as well. Can't wait to curl up with one of these.

  • Everybody's Right; Paulo Sorrentino ---Born on the streets and born singing, Tony Pagoda has had his day. But what a day it was! 
    He had fame, money, women, and talent. He spent his golden years entertaining a flourishing and garishly happy Italy. His success stretched over borders and across the seas. But somewhere things began to go awry, the public's tastes in music first and foremost. His band is now a shadow of its former self and his life is fraught with mundane but infuriating complications. It's time to make a clean break with the past. Following a brief tour in Brazil, Tony decides to decamp and make a life for himself in South America. Here, his hyper- developed and very peculiar vision of the world, irreversibly shaped by those years in which he hobnobbed with Sinatra and enjoyed the adoration of audiences the world over, is under assault. Now that he has abandoned music the world strikes him as a barren place that is completely at odds with his understanding of it. Tony's story is the story of a worldwizened but yet strangely naive man forced to reconcile with life or lose himself entirely. Told in a breathless, irreverent first person voice that is as original as any in contemporary literature, Everybody's Right is the debut novel from one of Italy's most compelling and singular creative minds. Paolo Sorrentino, known principally as the director of movies considered to be among the finest examples of cinematic art by any Italian filmmaker in recent decades, here proves himself to be an equally formidable novelist.
  • Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness; Jennifer Tseng--Books may be Mayumi Saito’s greatest love and her one source of true pleasure. Forty-one years old, disenchanted wife and dutiful mother, Mayumi’s work as a librarian on a small island off the coast of New England feeds her passion for reading and provides her with many occasions for wry observations on human nature, but it does little to remedy the mundanity of her days. That is, until the day she issues a library card to a shy seventeen-year-old boy and swiftly succumbs to a sexual obsession that subverts the way she sees the library, her family, the island she lives on, and ultimately herself.
    Wary of the consequences of following through on her fantasies, Mayumi hesitates at first. But she cannot keep the young man from her thoughts. After a summer of overlong glances and nervous chitchat in the library, she finally accepts that their connection is undeniable. In a sprawling house emptied of its summer vacationers, their affair is consummated and soon consolidated thanks to an explosive charge of erotic energy. Mayumi’s life is radically enriched by the few hours each week that she shares with the young man, and as their bond grows stronger thanks not only to their physical closeness but also to their long talks about the books they both love, those hours spent apart seem to Mayumi increasingly bleak and intolerable. As her obsession worsens, in a frantic attempt to become closer to the young man, Mayumi nervously befriends another librarian patron, the young man’s mother. The two women forge a tenuous friendship that will prove vital to both in the most unexpected ways when catastrophe strikes.
    Exquisitely written, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is part wry confession, part serious meditation. At its most anxious, it’s a book about time, at its most ecstatic, it’s a deeply human story about pleasure.
  • Timeskipper; Stefano Benni--Italy's foremost satirist recounts the adventures of Timeskipper, a young man endowed with a rare gift: the ability to see into the future. A tale in which innocence and imagination defy corruption and conformity, in which the eccentricities and innocence of yesteryear come face-to-face with the moral aridity of today's money-obsessed society, Timeskipper is one of Stefano Benni's most touching and enduring creations. Colored by Benni's trademark linguistic inventiveness and irresistible humor, this is a coming-of-age story with a difference.
  • The Red Collar; Jean-Christophe Rufin--In 1919, in a small town in the province of Berry, France, under the crushing heat of summer heat wave, a war hero is being held prisoner in an abandoned barracks. In front of the door to his prison, a mangy dog barks night and day. Miles from where he is being held, in the French countryside, a young extraordinarily intelligent woman works the land the land, waiting and hoping. A judge whose principles have been sorely shaken by the war is travelling to an unknown location to sort out certain affairs of which it is better not to speak.
    Three characters. In their midst, a dog who holds the key both to their destinies and to this intriguing plot.
    Full of poetry and life, The Red Collar is at once a delightly simple narrative about the human spirit and a profound work about loyalty and love.
  • The Hollow Heart; Viola DiGrado--In this courageous, inventive, and intelligent novel, Viola di Grado tells the story of a suicide and what follows. She has given voice to an astonishing vision of life after life, portraying the awful longing and sense of loss that plague the dead, together with the solitude provoked by the impossibility of communicating. The afterlife itself is seen as a dark, seething place where one is preyed upon by the cruel and unrelenting elements. Hollow Heart will frighten as it provokes, enlighten as it causes concern. If ever there were a novel that follows Kafka’s prescription for a book to be a frozen axe for the sea within us, it is Hollow Heart.
  • Blackbird; Tom Wright--In a small town in Ark-La-Tex, Detective Jim Bonham has been assigned to a new case. On the outskirts of the town, a woman has been found brutalized and nailed to a cross. Bonham recognizes her immediately: it is Dr. Deborah Gold, one of the town’s psychologists. The questions pile up quickly. How many perpetrators would it have taken to commit this atrocity? Why was a Roman coin found at the foot of the body? And why a murder as gruesome and cruel as crucifixion?
  • Take This Man; Alice Zeniter--Alice is about to marry Mad. Alice is white. Mad is black. Alice is French; Mad, though he has studied and lived in France for years, is not. They have been friends since childhood and never been romantically involved. But now Mad is being threatened with deportation and marrying Alice strikes both friends as the best solution to their problems. On the eve of her wedding, Alice reflects on their years of friendship-from their childhood together to the first time she ever heard racial slurs being directed at her friend to the victory of Jean- Marie Le Pen in the presidential primaries in 2002. This succession of personal anecdotes forms a grand history of racism and a moving portrait of contemporary youth. Recounting stories of rebellion and friendship, of the passage from indignant adolescent to consciously engaged adult, Take This Man is a delightful and original novel by a talented young author.
  • Billie; Anna Gavalda--A number 1 bestseller in France and translated into over twenty languages, Billie is one of the most beloved French novels to be published in recent years. A brilliant evocation of Paris and a moving tale of friendship, Anna Gavalda’s new novel tells the story of two young people, Billie and Franck, who, as the story opens, are trapped in a gorge in the Cevennes Mountains. With darkness encroaching, their situation is dire, and Billie begins to tell stories from their lives in order to survive. In alternating episodes, the novel moves between recollections of the two characters’ childhoods and their dreadful predicament.
    Franck’s life has been impacted by a childhood spent with a perennially unemployed father who toyed with Christian extremism and a mother aestheticized by antidepressants. A bright kid, Franck’s future was menaced at every turn by the bigotry around him. Billie’s abiding wish as an adult is to avoid ever having to come into contact with her family again. To escape from her abusive and alcohol-addled family, she was willing to do anything and everything. The wounds have not entirely healed.
    At the heart of Gavalda’s tender story lies a generosity of spirit that will take readers’ breath away, and an unshakable belief in the power of art to lift the most fragile among us to new vistas from which they can see futures full of hope, love, and dignity. Billie is a beautifully crafted novel for readers of all ages and from all walks of life that conveys a positive message about overcoming life’s trials and tribulations.
  • The Hollow Land; Jane Gardam--The barren, beautiful Cumbrian fells provide the bewitching setting for the adventures of Bell and Harry, two children who find enchanting wonder at every turn, as they explore THE HOLLOW LAND. Everyday challenges give a daring edge to this rural work and play. There are ancient mysteries to explore and uncover, like the case of the Egg Witch, and everyone is curious about the Household Name, a wildly famous Londoner moving in to the jewel of the territory, Light Trees Farm. With painterly ease, Jane Gardam’s stories fly with a marvelous spirit that will delight readers of all ages!


  1. Wow, what a great group of books!

  2. Great way to spend those GC's!!

  3. You'll have some page turning fun!

  4. These books look and sound wonderful, Diane. Enjoy!

  5. Nice selection. I've read a few of this imprint and liked them.

  6. These books capture my attention, the Red Collar especially.

  7. These all look wonderful. Last weekend while passing through Boulder, CO (on vacation) I saw an entire Europa display - first time ever! Wish I could have bought them all.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)