I hate spoilers. This first report won’t give anything away, it’s merely a short reflection.
What I read? The Polish Boxer, by Eduardo Halfon
Why I chose to include it in my goal of 20 books? Honestly, it was the first novel that inspired my book list. I’m always wandering the library looking at the books they put out on display. Lot’s of times I have already read the books and I get excited about the librarians and I have seem to have similar taste. Nannies can be astute as well, you see. However, one day I saw The Polish Boxer and felt not so astute. I had never seen or heard of it before. I read the first few pages and couldn’t leave without it! I was hooked!
So what did I think of this book?
Overall, I think this was a really powerful read. I haven’t read anything quite like this before. Everything about this book was beautiful, for lack of better words, as the language in this book is indescribable. I knew that it was translation from Spanish, but I couldn’t believe how mesmerizing the diction could be despite the fact it was a translation. It was mind-blowing to me that this novel had FIVE translators! That is so much work & energy into one novel! And with all those minds collaborating, it’s no wonder the language was such a powerful force!
Above all else, the premise of the novel was fascinatingly original. With the re-occurring theme of stories being more than face value, we watch a man embark on one search after another; failing to solve any along the way. And without giving anything away I can’t help but wonder isn’t that what life is really all about? And isn’t that what literature is about as well?
Would I recommend it?
I totally would! But, although it’s a very easy read on the surface,this novel mostly tackled complicated illusions & challenging references that were often difficult for me to place. In all honesty & without trying to be smug, I must admit that without having studied literature, I’m not completely sure I would have understood a lot of this novel. More than that, having studied literature, I know there were lot’s of things I wasn’t able to figure out…
That being said, I think this novel has the power of escape for readers! It takes you to lands of gypsies, the pain of World War Two and life in South America– that’s a lot of powerful experiences in less than two hundred pages! Who doesn’t like to disappear for a short time, right? I think this novel would best be read in a book club, simply because there is such a surplus of topics to discuss. I gauge books on intelligent reads and beach chair reads- this was definitely an intelligent read and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates the intrinsic challenge of fine literature.
Read it! Read it! And let me know what you think? Were you blown away like I was? Are you itching to be a great novelist now? I love when novels inspire us to write!
What are you currently reading?