Stone Mattress: nine tales by Margaret Atwood

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Stone mattress: nine tales raccoglie nove racconti della ben nota autrice Margaret Atwood (per chi non la conoscesse ancora consiglio Il racconto dell’ancella). Non è una raccolta tematica e ogni racconto è a sè stante, a parte i primi tre che compongono una sorta di trittico (con personaggi comuni ma punti di vista differenti).

Ho letto la raccolta con le mie amiche online (le stesse con cui ho affrontato The Weird: A compendium of strange and dark stories che si è meritato una recensione collettiva) e l’opinione generale è condivisa: i racconti rimangono gradevoli per la grandissima abilità nello scrivere dell’autrice – ci si accorge quando qualcosa è *bello* da leggere – però sono spesso deboli per quanto riguarda la trama.

Ci sono ovvie eccezioni, ho apprezzato molto Lusus Naturae, The Freeze-dried groom, Stone mattress e Torching the Dusties; un po’ meno il trittico iniziale (Alphinland, Revenant, The Dark Lady), The dead hand loves you e I dream of Zenia with the bright red teeth (ma questo è legato al romanzo The robber bride che non ho letto).

L’atmosfera della raccolta, per la maggior parte dei racconti, ha il sapore della malinconia; i personaggi guardano al passato, alla gioventù, a quello che erano e che avrebbero potuto essere se la vita non si fosse messa in mezzo. Come commentava durante la lettura Tintaglia, questo passato mai superato, oppressivo, che segna l’esistenza dei personaggi, è molto triste.

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Stone mattress: nine tales collects nine stories written by the well-known writer Margaret Atwood (for the ones who do not know her I suggest The handmaid’s tale). It’s not a thematic collection and each tale stand aside from the others, a part the first three that are a triptych (characters in common but different point of view).

I read the book with my online friends (the same with I faced The Weird: A compendium of strange and dark stories that deserved a collective review) and the general opinion is shared: the tales are nice for the great skill of the writer – we feel when something is *beautiful* to read – but sometimes the plot are weak.

There are exception, of course, I liked a lot Lusus Naturae, The Freeze-dried groom, Stone mattress and Torching the Dusties; less the beginning triptych (Alphinland, Revenant, The Dark Lady), The dead hand loves you and I dream of Zenia with the bright red teeth (but this tale is connected to a novel I have not read, The robber bride).

The book atmosphere, for most of the tales, is melancholic, the characters look at the past, at their youth, at what they were and what they could have become if life had not meddle with them. As my friend Tintaglia commented during the reading, this never overcome past, oppressive, that marks the whole existence of the characters, is so sad.

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Stone Mattress: nine tales by Margaret Atwood ★★★☆☆

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In una lontana città by Jirō Taniguchi

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Hiroshi Nakahara sta tornando a casa da un viaggio di lavoro, prende un treno sbagliato e si ritrova diretto al suo paese d’origine. Coglie così l’occasione di visitare la tomba della madre, morta 23 anni prima; mentre è al cimitero succede qualcosa di incredibile e Hiroshi si risveglia nel corpo del quattordicenne che era stato.

Non riuscendo a tornare nel presente Hiroshi rivive i suoi quattordici anni con la consapevolezza di quello che è già accaduto: è proprio nell’estate di quell’anno che il padre ha abbandonato la famiglia lasciando la madre a prendersi cura dei due figli.

Il protagonista si divide così tra il desiderio di tornare a casa dalla moglie e dalle figlie e quello di impedire la fuga del padre.

Jirō Taniguchi utilizza il meccanismo del ritorno all’adolescenza per indagare sulle scelte passate e sui segreti mantenuti dalle persone care, per Hiroshi il viaggio sarà un mezzo per acquisire consapevolezza sul passato e diventare un uomo migliore nel presente.

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In una lontana città by Jirō Taniguchi ★★★★☆½

[ARC] Archer Coe by Jamie S. Rich & Dan Christensen

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

Archer Coe is a famous illusionist, able to hypnotize everybody, both during his show and when he is hired to discovered hidden secrets from various people.

His last work is about discovering the past of the wife of his client, but some strange events begin to happen: the woman says she know Archer, but he does not remember her at all, and a series of murders drive the police towards Archer himself.

The graphic novel is truly engaging: it’s more linear at the beginning and more and more confused and claustrophobic towards the end, the reader is able to follow Archer’s confusion while he tries to put together the missing elements that seems to belong to his past.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Archer Coe by Jamie S. Rich ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in English

To the moon by Freebird Games

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“To the moon” is an indie retro video game, made by Freebird Games with the design and help of Kan Gao.

The playing style is minima: to move are enough the four arrows and the mouse is needed only to simple interactions, it’s definitely not a frenetic game.

It’s an interactive story (and with story I mean a movie or a book), the beautiful parts are the dialogues that allows to comprehend what’s happening and the protagonist’s past. There are no voices, all the dialogues appears as comic balloons and the only sound is the music composed by Kan Gao.

Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts works for a society that allows, thanks to modern and innovative technologies, to dying people to see their life dream realised at the last moment: the previous memories are deleted and a new story is set up, this of course does not stop death but allows people to die with a new calm gained by knowing their life fully lived.

In this episode – I hope being the beginning of a long series – the two doctors have to face an unexpected desire: Johnny wants to go to the moon, the two will have to retrace what create this desire in Johnny’s past and what inhibited it.

Now [08/01/2014] the game is available in a humblebundle at a price to be set by the buyer, a very good chance to try it.

[ARC] Three bird summer by Sara St. Antoine

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As every year Adam spends summer at his grandmother house near the lake, however lots is different from the previous times: Adam’s parents are going to divorce, his grandmother Viola seems forgetting things and people more and more and the next house has new owners, a couple with a daughter, Alice.

Adam and Alice will share the nature around them and a treasure hunt that will bring them in the past, when Adam’s house was built.

Three bird summer is a nice novel, the writer was able to describe the emotions of a twelve-year-old boy and his wonder in discovering a nature unknown in town.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Three bird summer by Sara St. Antoine ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in English