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Immediately challenging her and afraid of frightening her away he starts to feed her habit When he does finally confront her they fall into a relationship of sorts but while their connections are physically verything he desires Wolf of Stone (Gypsy Healers emotionally she remains cut off and anntire mystery to him Bit by bit he comes to know her but The Beak Doctor every forward step brings new uestions to light She lives and travels with an old man who may be her lover her father orven her grandfather she spends her days travelling between bookshops and stealing from them and she has ven once visited Borges library and possibly lifted something from those hallowed shelvesA lovely surprise I was given a copy of this book by a friend and fell headlong into it The writing is beautiful the characters particularly the ndlessly Koizora (Love Sky), Volume 1 enigmatic Severina wonderfully painted and the story cleverly and lovingly layered It s a book for book lovers and for that reason in itself a joy Good novella centering on a love of books A small treat if you are interested in modern Guatemalan literature For some reason part of the spirit or style of the book reminded me of Astragal A pretty flawless story well told A man swept into a dream only slightly magically For the first time in my life I wasmbarking on a purely sentimental adventure Lest you think this devolves into romantic schmaltz a few lines later he is reading Dario Executioners of ideals have afflicted the Earth mankind is imprisoned in a well of darkness along with the violent mastiffs of hatred and warSeverina and her traveling companion whose role remains undefined for a frustrating while sound like gypsies Apartment 14 and the Devil Next Door exceedingly smooth peripatetic only taking what they re given In my neighborhood in San Francisco a couple of decades ago a scam run by self d a slim bibliocentric novella about a book proprietor and his infatuation with thelusive young woman who thieves his wares severina is an Cinder enticing little tale by guatemalan authortranslator and paul bowles s literaryxecutor rodrigo rey rosa the seventh of his works to be translated into American Indian Magic english severina weds a love of books and reading with the intrigue and passion of amorous desire and longing rey rosa s story is an alluring one perhaps all the accessible and charming to anyone who sver slung books for a living or been Undisputed enad of another based solely on their insatiable appetite for the printed word it wasn t the first time i had let a bookish impulse carry me away beyond the bounds of reason on the way home i kept laughing at myself thinking of flaubert i had been impetuous before when i got together with my friends to set up a bookstore when i decided to become a writer when i ran away from the family home when but this was different for the first time in my life i wasmbarking on a purely sentimental adventure in a recent bomb interview with francisco goldman rey rosa spoke about writing severina following a break up yes the novel became a sort of coded message to my Seducing Sam ex lover my relationship to literature is very superstitious i see it as a type of spell i was waiting for this message to do its trick friends with salvadoran author horacio castellanos moya and admired by bola o whom he met a few years before his passing rey rosa s works are all somewhat disparate in theme style and scope contrasting severina with say the intensity and violence of the good cripple demonstrates that rey rosa is creative and comfortablenough to write on many different subjects severina is a uick but rewarding read as Reconcilable Differences easily as we can be swept away by the charms curiosity and amatory promise of a new love so too can we by literature and its oftennigmatic purveyors we have been called secret agents and confidence tricksters we have been taken for spies using books to transmit coded messages it has been said that we collect GENTLEMEN PREFER SLAVES editions or copies of books related to all sorts of crimes and scandals that we purvey pornography of one sort or another or what have you but the only thing we do consistently is use books to make a living let me tell you something one of my uncles he was crazy it s true but he also had moments of genius believed or said he believed that books the objects that we call books are animated by a kind of collective spirit like machines and computers in science fiction fantasies and the plants from which drugs arextracted and Sing Out Loud Book II even certain metals like gold and iron he talked about how books struggle for domination in certain regions of the planet a phenomenon whose trends and flows could be tracked using one of those maps with colored arrows to indicate things like the spreading ofthnic groups or languages over the course of history migrations invasions outbreaks The Little Death, Goldenboy, How Town (Henry Rios extinctions there are wars between different kinds or genres of books he said and as in real wars the best don t always win but for us in thend there are no losers although they all fade away we use these bbs and Flows The Way A the way a uses ocean currents we xploit them as best we can beyond literary good and vil so to speak we that is my granddaughter and i ARE STILL NAVIGATING THE TIDES AND still navigating the tides and of books rendered from the spanish by chris andrews bola o aira Long raven black hair attractive seductive no identity She travels with an lderly man supposedly her grandfather with a fake ID They live by and for books She steals books wherever she goes They read them He watches her Can t take his Cream for the Caveman eyes off her By the cash register he notes which books were taken when Does nothing about it Crossing the boundary between pleasure and the imagination of desire s hope he becomes infatuated with her falls in love She returns his favorsDeception is the default his characters and this writer returns to within the suspense of thislegant 86 page novel Rodrigo Rey Rosa s style is Marias lite Minus the obsessions and digressions he thoroughly knows the precise word to be placed where when with never an Twice Upon an Apocalypse - Lovecraftian Fairy Tales effort revealed at choreographing the melodic poetic prose Without a nod from the writer the reader he sustains the suspension of disbelief coming within a breath of surrealist magic only tovaporate within the storySeverina a book which can be completed within the span of a day or many years is translated by the award winning poet Chris Andrews Including Bolano and Aira he Ngerous Imagine the mesmerized bookseller secretly tracking the volumes she steals hoping for insight into her character her motives her love life In Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s hands this tale of obsessive love is told with almost breathless precision and Mistakes (Mistakes, economy The bookstore owner is soonntangled in Severina’s mystery seductive and peripatetic of uncertain nationality she steals books to actually read them and Bookshops are infested with ideas Books are uivering murmuring creatures That s what one of my business partners used to say He was a poet uite a clever guy though not as clever as he thought and likeable Just Say When (Heartbreaker Bay, enough There s something to it the three little Russian books stood there on the shelf next to the cash register for several days murmuring uivering preserving her memory but she didn t return Those wereventful days or rather I heard that they d been How to Draw Clifford (Clifford the Big Red Dog) eventful there was a rash of lynchings in the inland villages and a coup in a neighboring country cocaine became the world s number one illicit substance stagnant water was discovered on Mars and Pluto definitively lost its status as a planet my life having shrunk once to the ambit of books I had become another specimen of that sad type the book seller with literary aspirationsSeverina is a beautiful highly literary and very short 86 well spaced pages book about books wonderfully brought into English by Chris Andrews Roberto Bolano s translatorThe setting is Guatemala but the wider troubles of society discussed in Rey Rosa s other novels are kept deliberately in the background here There are far serious problems here but I don t want to talk about them nowThe unnamed first person narrator is a part owner of a bookstore albeit motivated by bibliophilia rather than business acumen we didn t have anything better to do and we were tired of paying through the nose for books chosen by and for others asccentrics like us are forced to do in provincial citiesThe she mentioned is the ponymous Severina Ana Severina Bruguera Blanco to give her full name or at least the name she gives to the narrator He doesn t have proof of identity you know nor do I You don t have passports She smiled Yes we have several passports they are all fake And the Russian books are set as a trap to catch her I noticed her the first time she came into the store and right from the start I picked her for a thief although that day she didn t take anythingBut the bookshop owner isn t interested in retrieving stolen novels but rather as a way to gain access to the then unknown girl who he immediately is attracted to perfectly rounded knees they were shaped with vident careSeverina is an artful thief the alarm didn t go off I wondered how she d done it and the narrator learns You re not the first bookseller to fall in love with her And the rest of this brief novel is devoted to his pursuit of Severina who remains an Let there be Gwar enigmaven as he gets close to her Ahmed a fellow bookseller and under Severina s spell had spoken of an illness But I felt there must have been another Doctor Who explanation which I associated with an uncompromising approach to life absolute freedom a radical realisation of the ideal that I too had adopted one fine day the ideal of living by and for booksThere were black days when those fantasies faded away leaving me pray to despondancy and remorse for a life half lived I would think You re kidding yourself she s just a common thief or at best a sad case a kleptomaniacWith clear religious parallels Ana Severina and her ostensible grandfather claim to be from a wandering historical andntrepreneurial tribe of book lovers They believe themselves descendants of Lydians who Herodutus in The Histories records as having invented dice games before moving to the land of the Ombricans the present day Umbria where Ana claims to have spent the land of the Ombricans the present day Umbria where Ana claims to have spent childhoodAs Ana Severina s Grandfather I Cant Think Straight explains to the narrator Books have always been my life Both my father and grandfather livedxclusively from boomsand I m not speaking metaphorically books are our sole means of substinenceWe have been accused of all sorts of vices and misdemanours Cease Upon the Midnight even crimesBut the only thing we do consistently is use books to make a livingThe religious parallels are clear in my words a People of Books as opposed to the People of The Book Severinaven claims to have The Pacific War Companion entered the Holy of Holies Borges s library and her most valued relic is a copy of the Koran valued for the annotations in the margins I took this book just the one from Borges s library The notes are his There in the margin he started writing one of his stories The Mirror of is this possible said Ahmed without taking hisyes off the book Are you trying to trick me You decide Severina said calmly For such a short novel it is packed with literary games and allusions The bookshop takes it s name from a Cervantes play La Entretenida and Severina s surname Bruguera refers to one of Borges publishers to give just two and the list of books that Severina steals from the narrator and many other shops is intriguing to both the reader and indeed the narrator I kept going over the books that she had taken from me and trying to imagine the complete list of Le Parfum every title she hadver stolen It was as if I thought this would help solve the mystery of a life that seemed bizarre and fantastic to meOverall a beautiful and thought provoking work packing into it s brief pages than most books do into 4 or 5 times that length Rey Rosa is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors following the wonderful African Shore There is a beautiful review by Raphael Rerolle in Le Monde which xpressed what he achieves better than I ver could His work is xtraordinarily precise mythic intriguing it s literature without useless gestures where beauty seems to be born of it s author s curious inclination toward silenceBolano was of course also a big fan of Rey Rosa saying he is the most rigorous writer of my generation the most transparent the one who knows Best How To Weave His Stories And how to weave his stories and most luminous of all albeit Bolano does seem to have been an xtraordinarily generous commentator on fellow authors who he valued okay but not up to what I Counting By 7s expected This wonderful short novel has such a captivating prose that it will have you turning the pages diligently until itsnd It is almost like a lived dream in which the limits between reality and unreality blur I will have to agree with Roberto Bola o s comment on this one Reading Rey Rosa is not only learning how to write but also an invitation to let you A bookshop owner and this book s narrator notices that one of his customers a beautiful young woman who he has fallen for on first sight is stealing books from him Instead of. A new translation of the Guatemalan author whom Roberto Bolaño called “the most rigorous writer of my generation the most transparentthe most luminous of all”“Right from the start I picked her for a thief although that day she didn’t take anything I knew she’d be back” the narratorbookseller of Severina recalls in this novel’s opening pages Imagine a dark haired book thief as alluring as she is da. As translated many Latin American authorsThere are three ways in which I read The choice is but a command from the material At a calculated distance I read slow interpreting and analyzing The next is to frenzy my way through riding the curl of the plot s wave finishing I feel I have conuered not mastered Last within writing that is poetic filled with the cadence of meaning the words are read aloud within my mind Whose voice I m not sure It is Occult America essential I avoid any type ofxorcism for this is the pace I listen to these precious words Rey Rosas words The harmonies of Severina s musical notations flow with a suspense driven plot Never is one at odds or battling the other Even though only 86 pages the suspense is fueled in two separate directions successfully Like many uality Spanish speaking writers this fusion seems to be stocked within their writerly tools In the Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy end I am left due to not having been inoculated as a child with BV or better known as Bookish Virus I must now be reduced from thether of high art to a pup waiting by the large living room window for its master to come home Soon any day any moment the big brown UPS truck will fill the pane of glass and the smiling delivery man will saunter down the steps with my box filled with Rodrigo Rey Rosa s 3 other novels all translated by Paul Bowles InterestingIt s stormy outside raining The floor to ceiling red brick fireplace framed by high bookshelves on Doctor Narendranin Vinoda Vazhakku either side is lit Oneye prompted to the large window I wait Severina is a novella about a beautiful young woman who steals books and the co owner of a bookstore she steals from who falls in love with her It s basically a minimalist love story with some musings of books here and there I imagine that if you took the time to jot down think about and maybe read all of the books that the young thief steals that you would wind up fairly well read and maybe open up some Jazz elements to the story but the majority of the books probably aren t available in America or if you could get your hands of them aren t translated from Spanish The Latin Americans seem to have the market cornered on writing beautifully about the ardor of literature Time and again they seem to capture that feeling that reading and Literature are important and make you feel like maybe you aren t just wasting your time and life reading all those books you read A few weeks before Christmas Karen and I were in the bookstore at Chelsea Market Chelsea Market is an upscale food mall with a couple of non food stores here and there It s the kind of place where you buy things for money than you buy themlsewhere and you feel ok about it because you are spending that xtra money on the high uality of the stuff the various shops sell or at least you tell yourself that it s better than similar stuff you d buy at other places for less money In the bookstore which sells books at the prices that other brick and mortar stores sell them for the cover price which is the actual price of the book and isn t willy nilly decided on by the store but rather the publisher so no the store isn t robbing you just because you see the book being sold at pretty much a loss on and yes Mr Asshole who decided to start yelling at me recently over how unfair it was that costs like shipping the book rent for the store my salary and other operating costs are included in a book you buy in the store because no we aren t all living in a fantasy world or in the uestionable conomy of Bezos land where we just give you your book at in the uestionable conomy of Bezos land where we just give you your book at the cost it took to print a book but thanks for yelling at me there was a sign asking you please not to steal their books The sign was pretty funny it said something like you are not Roberto Bolano there is nothing romantic about stealing books you are shopping here in this place it means you probably have money Stealing books just hurts the store we are trying to carry interesting books by smaller publishers most bookstores don t carry but when you steal THESE BOOKS FOR US IT MAKES books for us it makes difficult for us to stay in business thank you for not stay in business Thank you for not I don t work for a small bookstore I work for the biggest chain in the biggest store and I run what I m guessing is one of the biggest fiction sections in the country I carry lots and lots of books that you wil not find in any other store in the company I know it s considered like you are sticking it to the man in some way when you steal books from my company and I know you think you can get away with it but I have to ask please don t steal my books It makes my life much difficult and if you are really interested in a book by a small publisher or an obscure title you find in a store it s really so much better than you buy the book and lend your support to the creation of uality books When you steal you are just being a selfish asshole and a hypocrite if you then want to bemoan the uality of books being made and how unfair it is that authors and small publishers can t survive in the age of big conglomerate publishing When you buy a book you help that title stay on the shelf You give it a chance to be seen by someone lse There are wonderful places called libraries and they have this amazing service called inter library loans that make it possible to get for free just about any book you want to read It s an amazing service for those who like the narrator in this book begin to find the trading of money for books to be distasteful And again you are doing something positive by using the library you are helping their numbers out showing people are using the library and allowing them to possibly get funding Win win So in books it s romantic to be a shoplifter of books but in reality you re just being selfish And the next time you are in a bookstore and you are looking for a book that you the computer says there is a copy of and you can t find it the bookseller will probably give you some garbage about the book being misplaced or how receiving rrors happen but that s just a way of avoiding saying the book you want to read has been stolen So instead of trying to ruin to the poor bookseller s day with a temper tantrum thank the thief She seemed to be genuinely afraid of people who cleaned the houses of others One day I asked her if she could tell me whyThey can know all about you but yo. O share with her purported grandfather Señor Blanco In this unsettling xploration of the alienating and simultaneously liberating power of love the bookseller’s monotonous Zami existence is rocked by thenigmatic Severina As in a dream the disoriented man finds that the thin border between rational and irrational is no longer reliable Severina confirms Rey Rosa’s privileged place in contemporary world literatu.

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